WoW's Next Expansions Already Planned

World of Warcraft's Legion expansion may not be its last.


World of Warcraft's sixth expansion, Legion, was announced this week at Gamescom. Now, developer Blizzard Entertainment has revealed that it's already planning the next expansions to follow it. World of Warcraft lead designer Tom Chilton shared the detail with GameSpot today in an interview at Gamescom.

When asked if Blizzard ever imagined World of Warcraft would enjoy the enduring success that it has, Chilton said, "It is crazy that we're this far along." He went on to reveal that, "We do have more expansion packs planned already."

Chilton didn't share any further details about what might come after Legion. With Legion just being announced this week, we wouldn't expect to hear firm details on what's coming next anytime soon.

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Legion's announcement comes during the same week that Activision Blizzard announced that World of Warcraft subscribers had dropped to a nine-year low of 5.6 million. Chilton told us that subscriber figures have become increasingly "volatile" in recent years due to the changing nature of player behavior.

Some people who played World of Warcraft in high school or college but now have jobs and families may not be able to play as much as they used to. Now, lapsed players might return for a couple months after the launch of a new expansion and then step away. Even if this leads to extreme peaks and valleys when it comes to subscriber numbers, as long as players enjoy the experience, Blizzard is happy.

"That's part of why our numbers are more volatile than they used to be," Chilton said. "That's part of that changing demographic. And ultimately, what we want is to make sure that we never lose the faith of our players in Blizzard that we'll create great experiences that you'll feel like you've got your money's worth."

Overall, Chilton said reports about World of Warcraft subscriber figures rising or falling--something that's announced every three months as part of Activision Blizzard's quarterly earnings reports--is something that Blizzard is "certainly aware of." But there's more to it.

"Ultimately, what matters to us most is whether we believe we're creating the best possible game experience," he said. "Because there are a lot of factors outside of the team's control that affect subscriber numbers. And so, it's our job to create the best possible experience, factoring in the feedback we're getting from fans."

History shows that World of Warcraft subscriber figures increase with the release of a new expansion. So it may not be surprising to learn that Blizzard's new plan for expansions is to release them faster. As a means to do that, as of October 2014, the World of Warcraft development team was bigger in terms of headcount than ever before.

Blizzard has not yet announced a release date for Legion, though a beta will begin later this year.

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Avatar image for jinzo9988

Of course they have more planned. Freaking Everquest is still going and still getting expansions, and nobody talks about Everquest... which I have to believe is a byproduct of nobody playing it (relatively speaking of course). They still have millions playing World of Warcraft and I've yet to hear anybody talk about a better and more stimulating raiding experience in an MMORPG. They still fill a role that's gone unsurpassed or even equaled even though it's a 10 year old game, and as long as the raiding is as good as it is, I'll probably continue playing it.

Avatar image for Sethalos

They've dumbed down this game so much you could put a retarded monkey in front of the keyboard and play well. No thanks, my time with this game was epic, but after's all been "Meh". Now playing other games like ESO, Neverwinter, and a few others and enjoying those. If Blizz ever decides to innovate again and maybe make WoW 2...I may give it a look.

Avatar image for Wladxq

i already lost faith in blizzard and i will never come back. playing now on vanilla private server, period.

Avatar image for EdmundKain4682

So WoW is becoming Blizzards Assassins Creed?

Avatar image for Bowser05

Speaking from my view point, I actually don't mind a 1-1.5 year structure for each expansion. I'm one of those people who plays the month of launch and the month of endgame. So two months per expansion launch. I get all the content that I'm happy with. I get to play the story (which I care about the most), do all the dungeons and do each raid a few times along with a small handful of diversions. With the number of hours I get out of it, the $70 I spend on the game every expansion launch is worth it to me.

Now obviously this doesn't apply to everybody, but I just wanted to point out that being able to do this yearly rather than every 2-3 years is actually kind of attractive to me because I'll get more major content more often for what I want out of the game.

That's my side, at least.

Avatar image for ronan32

how is it one expansion per year? By the time legion comes out it will be nearly 18 months since the launch of wod. No expansion in 2015 != 1 expansion per year.

Avatar image for billzihang

Just remember to actually support the current expansions. Oh, too late.

Avatar image for Shouoken4Peace

They keep saying the same thing every time they promote their next expansion. "Look, we have a new expansion coming out! But don't worry - we have tons more in the pipeline!" Now if they could just work on class balancing...

Avatar image for CDsmasher

@Shouoken4Peace: Just the common ignorant comments of kids trying to look like they are making meaningful arguments... what do you mean by "if they could just work on class balancing"? They have been doing that for 10 years and ultimately it made things worse. There is no such thing as balancing an elephant and a cheetah, they each excel in different areas. Balancing means giving every class the same thing, the same damage, the same heals, same HP etc. To balance the classes they homogenized the f*ck out of each class, now everyone has healing abilities, mana pools do not dry out because of whiners like you who cried "ermahgerddd rouje energy infinet y no mana ininet stupitt blizzzzzz", all have gap closers, all have immunities or near immunity spells, all have several CCs etc.

The game became a hot pile of sh*t partly due to class balancing. So yeah, maybe they could actually start working on something to fix the state of the game rather than class balancing.

Avatar image for Brakkyn

@CDsmasher: Balancing is more like trying to get different types of systems to work together so one doesn't overshadow the other--so a rogue doesn't play like a priest. It's an impossible thing to accomplish, but they can still try their best.

Avatar image for putaspongeon

@CDsmasher: That's not what balancing is, but hey, your fanboyism is showing and it's pathetic.

Avatar image for putaspongeon

@CDsmasher: Considering what you said was mentally retarded itself and I was just calling you out on it, then your insult doesn't really mean much.

Avatar image for riotinto876

While they have lower subscribers, I'd argue they are overall more profitable with all the cash shop items and mounts they sell.

Avatar image for nurnberg

They will milk the game until there is 100 000 subs left, even if that take 15 more years.

Avatar image for fvckgabenewell

@nurnberg: truth

Avatar image for manhnd92133


Avatar image for Warlord_Irochi

They already said that they were planing one expansion per year after all.
They've also been saying this since TBC :)

Avatar image for Iemander

Just a question, if I join in now, can I still enjoy the full experience of the previous experience.packs and are they still active? Want to know the full story of Arthas.

Avatar image for Godlikan

@Iemander: But experience is going so fast you will skip every second zone... immersion breaker award winners of lifetime! I stopped playing just because of that.

Avatar image for GrendelSP

@Iemander: Yes. You will be able to level up though Northrend if you want.

Avatar image for kadaverhagga

Blizzard drop WOW and use the team to make Starcraft Ghosts. ;)

Avatar image for IanNottinghamX

@kadaverhagga They arent gonna drop their cash cow. I wish they would reconsider making another mmo though. The MMO Genre is so barren at this time. :

Avatar image for kadaverhagga

@IanNottinghamX: Yeah I loved mmo's but age, life and responsabilities caught up to me so it's not for me anymore. But I'd sure love an epic and fantastic singleplayer action/stealth experience in the starcraft universe. One can always hope, but blizzard seems to only focus on multiplayer at this point.

Avatar image for fvckgabenewell

@yandy82: ? why is he a idiot?

Avatar image for IanNottinghamX

@yandy82 No YOU are the idiot because you arent understanding what Im saying and jumping into the conversation calling people idiots....IDIOT!:

Avatar image for IanNottinghamX

@yandy82 ah ha ha such is the way of a troll huh? you trying to use reverse psychology now?:

Avatar image for fallingstar01


Avatar image for meolon123

I'm waiting

Avatar image for Ziehn

Still waiting for the Hello Kitty Island Adventures xpac >_>

Avatar image for TylerGamer84

They ALWAYS have had expansions after announcements planned. Gamespot makes articles for the most inane things.

To everyone saying the game is crap. Find a better use for your time. Don't play it if you don't like it. I don't play anymore, but I don't feel the need to hop from site to site ragging on it.

Avatar image for aurugorn

@TylerGamer84: It's actually not really a BS article because a lot of people seem to think this could be the last WoW expansion.

Avatar image for Flamewolf75

The game has graphics comparable to a game in 2006. I don't understand why people pay so much money for such a dull game.

Avatar image for TylerGamer84

@Flamewolf75 said:

The game has graphics comparable to a game in 2006. I don't understand why people pay so much money for such a dull game.

Because graphics are everything, right?

Avatar image for Flamewolf75

@TylerGamer84: It's called an opinion, bud. Don't get so salty.

Avatar image for wtsmitty

#@Flamewolf75: He's right though, people enjoy the snot out of indies and some of which have late 80's or early 90's graphics. Gameplay over graphics in a heartbeat. Don't matter how pretty it looks if it's shallow or clunky controls. Destiny is gorgeous and a lot of people despise it. Metal Gear Solid V Ground Zeroes looks amazing and it caused a lot of disappointment. Minecraft has some of the worst graphics I've ever seen in my life and people treat it as a religion. It reminds me of the 720 and 1080 definition arguments every time the PS4 gets a game with a slightly higher definition then that of Xbox One and fanboy flame wars start. WoW came out ages ago, therefore it has the graphics to represent that. They have updated character models with the last expansion which was a nice upgrade, and with the cartoony graphics it doesn't look as dated as what it would had it looked more real from the get go.

Avatar image for Warlord_Irochi

@TylerGamer84: <like>

Avatar image for Ultramarinus

"It is crazy that we're this far along."

It is indeed crazy to see people still paying for this crap after 10 years.

Avatar image for wtsmitty

@Ultramarinus: People still pay, because there has been a lot of updates and differences that have freshened up the world and dungeons or what not. The dungeons may have about the same layout, but a lot has changed within them over time. The world itself has gone through quite a lot of changes and a lot of areas don't look like they did initially either. If they didn't provide so much fan service and changes to keep it fresh it would have been done a long time ago. Blizzard knows what they're doing to keep that large of a fan base. Many MMOs with great potential to be WoW killers have come and gone since the beginning of WoW, and they still persevere. I have played WoW on and off for 7 years now and it's a game i'll play a while and then go play something else, but I always find myself missing it and going back. Until a game allows me to be a dwarf that can drink, eat, mine, ride goats, fly off on dragon and hammer away at all sorts of monsters across almost any kind of terrain you can think of I will probably keep going back to WoW. lol I am a huge fan of dwarves. I want to play Warhammer End Times Vermintide to play as the midget dwarf they have on it. Having to look up to attack things is something WoW doesn't really offer for dwarves, which brings a hilarious amount of realism to the table.

Avatar image for Warlord_Irochi

@Ultramarinus: What an original comment, somebody give this guy a cookie.

Avatar image for Ultramarinus

@Warlord_Irochi: You can't help the criticisms going stale when the game is a decrepit 10 year old product.

Avatar image for piraterooster

@Ultramarinus: not so decrepit to the 5 million still actively playing it...

Avatar image for Eraldus

@piraterooster: 5 million retarded braindead morons, you mean

Avatar image for deactivated-58270bc086e0d

It's Activision of course it isn't the last. They won't give up till the last person leaves.

Avatar image for jessie82

so the twelfth expansion will be another legion return?

Avatar image for Barighm

Well, duh. Everquest still gets expansions and it doesn't have WoW's numbers.

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