My thoughts are that Northrend will be the next X-pack, there is some datamined evidence to support this (See: Second World of Warcraft expansion). It surely will not be called "Nothrend"... BC wasn't called "Outland and some other stuff".
Arthas being the final boss or not is up for debate:
- They said that you would need to be lvl 80 to face him. TBC gave us 10 lvls so this can be assumed to be a pattern.
- The above statement may have just been early speculation by the designers.
- Even though he is extremely powerful, any statements on his true power could be flavor lore based on fear.
- Some lore character could aid in the battle, like with Illidan.
- Something could weaken him, this is how 'gods' like Ragnaros, Hakkar the Soulflayer, and C'Thun are killable.
- X-pacs need a pinnacle of raid bosses; he is arguably the most powerful thing on Northrend.
- The thought of Icecrown being added later is feasible, with possibly Anub'arak as the final boss guarding the unusable entrance to the glacier.
If the Lich King is a raid encounter, I think he will drop Frostmourne for non-casters and the Jeweled Scepter of Sargeras (Ner'Zhul had that on him) for casters. There would be a quest to cleanse them both in different ways.
Also, I do not believe they will add any new races to the Alliance or Horde. Blizz has been leaning more and more towards neutral factions lately. If any races have strong reason to join either side it will most likely be a Kurenai/Mag'har thing where one side can not ally with them. This also ends all technical difficulties.
Flying mounts will most likely be unusable on Northrend. Will new 160% ground speed mounts be introduced (likely as new faction rewards)?
Many, including myself, have foreseen periodic Scourge Invasionesque attacks on the towns of Northrend every so often.
Show a fleet of Lordaeron ships slowly moving through Daggercap Bay. Show footman and other units killing the races that allied with Arthas to destroy the fleet in front of some of the burning vessels, as Arthas walks away smiling evilly. Show Arthas gaining Frostmourne as Muradin dies, then Arthas killing Mal'ganis. Show Arthas sitting on the frozen throne. Show a tuskarr spear fishing in an icy river then walking back to a group of igloos. Show a furbolg walking through a blizzard then get snatched up and eaten by a nerubian. Show rapid combat scenes in Northrend. Show explosion. Show expansion logo. End.
The following zones will be squeezed and distorted into a horizontal rectangle:
- The Alliance will Get there by a boat to Valgarde from either Theramore with it's two unused docks, or maybe Menethil Harbor or Auberdine, but those ports already have all their docks used.
- The Horde will get there via a Zeppelin on the continent the Alliance boat does not leave from that goes to perhaps Icemist Village or Kaskala.
- A Neutral Zeppelin will leave from Everlook to some goblin outpost of the Steamwheedle Cartel. An extra way to get to Northrend from Kalimdor will balance things because the Dark portal is in the Eastern kingdoms.
- Alliance: Furbolg
If Furbolgs are a new playable race, I think their starting zones should be the caverns of the Barrow Deeps and the current Hyjal. They could start off in a secluded catacomb where they would gain the first few levels, them move on to the main tunnels to quest (and see lore areas like Illidan's prison). They would later move above ground to the ravaged but healing Hyjal where they would quest some more. I think they would Un-instance Hyjal and create a Bulwark-like thing to defend against Darkwhisper Gorge. The Ony style raid instance (what ever it is) could stay and be used by high level players later on. Their capital would have tunnels connecting to Ashenvale (for their third zone), the Timbermaw Hold in Azshara, and the path that ends at the bottom of the regular Timbermaw Hold (Lands of Mystery says that the tunnels are supposed to link to these places anyway). Their mount could be Dire Bears.
- Horde: Tuskarr?
Umm... their capital is Kaskala, which is in Northrend. While fitting the expansion (and lore for Horde is perfect), Northrend is not the place for 2-3 low level zones... Maybe it broke off the continent and drifted south on a large iceberg to the Eastern Kingdoms? The Mammoth is a good mount for them, and their leader is Tusklord Hrak'kar. Here is a joke: What do you call a tuskarr vendor? A Pinnipeddler.
New class stuff
- New Class: Death knight
Using knowledge gained fighting the Scourge in Lordaeron, and now Northrend, human and dwarf paladins, longing for revenge and filled with hatred of the Scourge for destroying Lordearon, pull an Arthas and forsake the light in favor of darker spells. This new order has a cool name and has taken up refuge in the Cathedral of Light’s dark basement and a new building in the Forlorn Cavern. Meanwhile the Forsaken and Orcs, much to Thrall and the Earthen Ring's disgust, decide to be Death knights too. The Horde's Death knights are based in the War Quarter and the Cleft of Shadow. I do not know how their spells would differ from warlocks.
- Paladin end-game talents
Holy: Nearly identical to the WCIII Resurrection spell, Resurrects more than one person and heals everyone in a radius, to prevent overpowering I thought possibly that this may not be used in combat and the cooldown ends next expansion set.
Protection: The long awaited/nerfed Blessing of Spell Warding.
Retribution: Turn into a sword wielding Celestial for a time and gain massive buffs.
- Shadow priest ability
The priest bonds his soul to another player. When that player dies the priest instantly revives the player and makes that player invincible but only dealing shadow damage. The return cost is the priest being rendered immobile and unable to be healed. When the priest dies or runs out of mana (Mana can be replenished during this spell) the other player also dies and gets a large debuff. This will be nerfed due to complaints.
Angry at the rest of the Alliance and not present for new treaties, these survivors’ names are yellow (a lot like Honor Hold).
Rebel nerubians based out of the Sundered Monolith and Old Kingdom would be a perfect Northrend faction. They would start out hostile, and you would gain rep by killing their undead brethren throughout the continent and doing things in the Azjol-Nerub zone/instance. They could also give out (for a fee) Ankheg mounts of varying colors. They will be more willing to alley with the Alliance than Horde. In a side note, I think what the Silithid are to the Qiraji, the Arachnathid are to them, in terms of relationship. Though, both evolved form the Silithid. Where do the Scorpid fit in here? A lot of '-id's... Some more Nerubian thoughts I have are that they are much less evil than their southward cousins, with the trolls splitting the empire and the sundering made it permanent they were cut off from C'thun, and thus developed their own cruel but still not Old God worshipping culture. Also I think Nerubis (a portmanteau of 'Nerub' and 'Anubis') was the first lord of Nerub or one of their gods (Death god ursurped by the Lich King?). They may have a neutral capital somewhere, but it seems against ther nature to be so open to everyone.
- Blues Brothers (Brood of Malygos)
Malygos (and his flight), tired of the three factions Nozdormu's Bronze Dragonflight gets, will start up his own faction, then get mind controlled by Arthas (the plague is not his only power!). It will possibly have quests dealing with killing Frost Wyrms and freeing the Nexus and its leader of Scourge control.
A faction of Paladins of the Knights of the Silver Hand that where slain by Arthas and the Scourge and resurrected as Revenants called Deathlords, but due to their devotion to the Holy Light, they remain uncontrolled by the Lich King. Led by the dark lord Uther the Deathbringer, embodiment of Uther's hatred of Arthas, they have become the opposite of paladins in practices and beliefs. if anyone were to prove themselves by combating the Scourge, they would most likely lend their aid. At Exalted, you get a long quest chain where you eventually get to duel Uther for his Legendary/Artifact hammer.
Muradin Bronzebeard's ghost resides in the room Arthas found Frostmourne. He is not a faction, just a ghost.
- Kaskala (Horde only)
The primitive and shamanistic tuskarr ally themselves with the Horde in their time of need, defending their land from many threats, because of cultural similarities.
- Grizzlemaw Hold (Alliance only)
Though many of their kind have been corrupted, the Grizzlemaw furbolgs extend their friendship to the Alliance because of their friendship with the night elves and after hearing of the kindness the draenei have shown their Stillpine brothers.
- Scarlet expedition (Alliance only)
A branch of the Scarlet crusade that went to Northrend before their corruption to combat the Scourge, even though they lost and were left behind they still continue the fight.
- Zul'Drak (Horde only)
We trolls be gettin our asses kicked by de dead mon. We even lost Gundrak! We sorry for all da nasty tings we be doin to ya villages. We got plenty of stuff t be givin away if ya be willing to help us. Ja mon!
The name says it all.
- Forsaken Royal Apothecary Society/Those who long for life again (Horde only)
The climax of the undead racial plot line! You can side with the Apothecaries, who are very close to perfecting their new plague of undeath, or rebel apothecaries (and tauren?) who seek to really find a cure for undeath. What will be the fate of the Forsaken?
- Penguin kingdom
- Sons of the Storm
(It is likely that each or most zones will have an winged/raid instance with a corresponding faction and heroic mode, like in TBC, and Outdoor PvP will be prominent)
Northrend: (Of course there will most likely be content not shown on the above map, if like Outland each zone will have an instance)
- Azjol-Nerub (Many raid wings)
-Need I say more?
-Scourgerific ice troll keep.
-Naga controlled nerubian ruins.
-Scourge's Crystal golem factory.
-Raid where you have to fight a mind controlled Malygos.
-Lost by the blue dragons to the Scourge, this is now a massive Boneyard to create frost wyrms.
-Another troll instance... Filled with undead ice trolls in service to the Scourge.
- The Vault, a Stockade-like instance but bigger and harder, will be opened. There are datamined maps of this instance, but it is unknown how old they are.
- Uldum will open with attunement linked to to the Disks of Norgannon quest and the Sons of Storm faction. Does not have to be like the city of Uldaman, may be more "Lab-like" where flora and fauna of the planet were designed.
AT LAST! In the Northrend expansion, Via the 5 Great Trees, adventurers will be able to enter the domain of The Dreamer. This will be a massive continent which is representative of what Azeroth would be like if no sentient races had ever altered it (most notably the sundering), the barrens are lush plains, the Well still stands, ect. In this pristine world, the Nightmare has corrupted much, warping the landscape into an umm... nightmarish place. Forests are warped and twisted worse than Felwood, the giant dire animals have all gone mad, and the Green Dragons are losing the fight!
- Massive continent that encompasses all pre-sundering Azeroth! Or, just a few surreal areas.
- Your character moves several times faster than usual (especially mounted)!
- Emerald Dreamguard
Furion is back along with Eranikus and everyone's favorite heart of the land! Help stop the Nightmare! "Ysera is a freakin' hippie! Why does she not take more action!?" -Leader of the Green Dragonspawn.
- Eye of Ysera