Monday before the launch of the long-awaited World of WarCraft expansion Cataclysm, Blizzard lead systems designer Greg Street revealed his plans for the next (4th) expansion pack. His approach will be to bring an entirely new continent to the MMORPG, a new place for players to visit rather than revamp more existing areas.
"More like the Burning Crusade or Nothrend, where we send players somewhere new that they haven't seen before," he told CVG. "I think the Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor are good now, we won't have to mess with them. There might be some small areas that may require polish or changing if things still don't feel quite right."
But he also realizes that there's a weirdness about the overall story when players access the Burning Crusade and Lich King content. It's almost as if players move back in time. "We're going to have to do something to bring that up to speed," he admitted. "We need to make that whole story a little smoother."
Bringing the previous expansion content "up to speed"-- or rather, overall plot fixing-- could mean an update via a future patch or by way of the next expansion pack. Right now the team is currently banging out bugs now that Cataclysm has officially gone retail, however Street said that he wants to stay on a consistent release schedule with expansions, indicating that the 5th installment could arrive sometime in 2011 or 2012.
"We want to get expansions out on fairly regular schedules so we can't really sit back for too long," he said. Burning Crusade launched in January 2007, followed by Wrath of the Lich King in November 2008. Blizzard waited two years to release the 3rd expansion, Cataclysm, which went live today, December 7, 2010.