At first there was a bit of back and forth as to whether this news actually pertained to WoW’s next expansion, or if it could be one of our first solid bits of information regarding Blizzard’s next MMO. This all ended when it was further revealed (speculated?) that Blizzard had snagged the URL wowcataclysm.com from someone in Australia.
The opinion here at Loregy? It’s simple.
The term “Cataclysm” already has a strong foothold in WoW lore. The explosion that created the Maelstrom is known most of the time as the “Sundering”, but also sometimes as the great “Cataclysm”.
So guys, gals… the money is leaning strongly now towards Maelstrom. Yes, I personally find it strange, since the rest of the franchise will now have to take place “outside” of Azeroth. But note that I say “outside” in quotes, since with Blizzard’s new phasing technology, the “Emerald Dream” could mostly take place on a phased version of Azeroth.
In fact, here’s something to consider. The Emerald Dream is a version of Azeroth that never went through the Cataclysm. In other words, it’s Azeroth… and then some. With that in mind, it makes sense that Blizzard would have to complete the Azeroth we know before they could create an Emerald Dream version of it.
Speaking of Emerald Dream, with all of our eyes focused on this “Cataclysm” trademark news, we need to not forget about the “Malfurion” book. Yes I keep harping on it, but look, Blizzard would not be coming out with a book about Malfurion Stormrage unless they were finally doing something with his character.
So what does this mean?
It means that Maelstrom is most likely the next expansion, and Malfurion Stormrage will somehow be involved. How? Who knows. Could Malfurion be standing there the first time we log on? Sure. Could he not be involved until the Maelstrom Expansion’s “Sunwell Plateau” type patch is released to finish things up? That’s possible too. It’s also possible that after all this time the “Emerald Dream”, as we know it, ends up being “just an instance”. I hope not. But it’s possible.
If we are indeed deciding that Maelstrom is now the most likely next expansion, then the current question has become, “Why are they releasing a Malfurion book to coincide with Maelstrom?”