Since we're starting to hear little tidbids about patch 5.2 already why not just sit down and completely make up the flimsiest possible pretext about what potential new raids we might see in patch 5.2? We've already been mercilessly teased by the folks at Blizzard about it, who made many a WoW player from the Wrath days quiver with the following statement.
Now, I have no more actual information than that to share with you. But why let that stop us? Let's sit down and play Wouldn't that be cool? and see if we can come up with any contenders for a big, sweeping Ulduar style raid for patch 5.2. What are our best contenders?
Zarhym: Just to add to that really quickly, I was sitting in on interviews with Ion (Hazzikostas) yesterday, and he kind of mentioned that we look back fondly on raids like Ulduar, in terms of scale -- so if that's any indication on where we might be going ...
Whether or not the island to the extreme north of the Townlong Steppes will be revealed to be Zandalar Isle or not, it's an exceptionally good place for a raid tying up all the troll/mogu storylines we've seen so far in Mists of Pandaria. For one thing, it's in a very good position to be the stronghold from which Lei Shen the Thunder King is now directing the mogu war against the pandaren. If you've done the end of the Golden Lotus reputation questline, you've seen the mogu attack the Vale of Eternal Blossoms in force. The Thunder King, despite commanding the attack, was nowhere to be found.
However, we've been told many times that Zandalar Isle was destroyed during the Cataclysm. This begs the question, what does destroyed mean? Was it sunk under the waves? Was it destroyed by massive vulcanism? Did angry elementals pour out of the underground and lay siege to the trolls? Is it a deserted wasteland, an occupied battleground? Even if the island to the north of Townlong is not itself Zandalar Isle (thus freeing it up to be a mogu stronghold) that doesn't mean we couldn't see Zandalar Isle at some point. One can imagine both the Horde and Alliance being interested in claiming a strategic foothold on the place, and getting embroiled in whatever the agenda of the mysterious Zul turns out to be. You could easily have a raid that starts off dispatching elemental entities on the surface, then descends into the depths to deal with desperate Zandalari mystics who've offered up thousands of their own people as sacrifices to dark Loa gods, before arriving at the last bastion and facing Zul himself.
Another possibility for a huge raid is the Vale of Eternal Blossoms itself, specifically the depths below Mogu'shan Palace. Much as how we first entered Ulduar itself in the Halls of Stone and Lightning, we might see a complex beneath the Palace that tied into other mogu sites like the Terrace of Endless Spring and potentially even the distant Mogu'shan Vaults. With the mogu ruins all over the Vale and Kun'Lai Summit, it wouldn't be hard to imagine a sprawling series of caverns and halls presided over by terracotta warriors and lost technology.
Another possibility, however, is that the Alliance and Horde conflict will lead us to the next raid. We've had raids before that varied depending on what faction you were a part of -- Trial of the Crusader and even ICC had different experiences for each faction -- and so we could easily see the conflict between the two spilling out into a raid. And one of the places with resources for the Horde and Alliance to fight over is the Townlong Steppes, which holds reserves of fuel in the form of the oil that the yaungol use as a weapon. One of the things that hasn't been explored much at all this expansion is where, exactly, all that oil is coming from. It's not hard to imagine Garrosh sending a Horde force to drive the yaungol out and seize control of the oil fields, and the Alliance trying to push the Horde out.
What lies beneath, lost following the Sundering and Shaohao's creation of the mists? It could be anything -- old gods or their servants, completely unrelated subterranean horrors, elemental spirits displeased with an invasion of oil-greedy plunderers -- in an old fashioned dungeon crawl with a resource hunting twist. Imagine how angry the dark voices of the underworld would be to discover that mortals dare beard them in their very lair purely out of greed?
While we're speculating on Horde and Alliance hostility, Krasarang itself has potential for a large raid, specifically based around the Dojani ruins and the ancient war between the mogu and the saurok. We know that Garrosh Hellscream seeks the secret of the ancient mogu's ability to create an army of warriors out of unthinking beasts, and it's fairly certain that the Alliance would want to stop him. Now, in addition to the mogu themselves, many saurok infest the Krasarang Wilds, especially in numerous caves in the cliffside separating Krasarang from the Valley of the Four Winds. Who knows what ancient secrets about the birth of the saurok linger there? And since the two factions are already fighting here, it wouldn't be much of a trip for them to come into conflict over these secrets, since they're already fighting over the various mogu ruins along the cliffs to the north and east of the zone already.
Again, this is all speculation. And it leaves out plenty of other options. The mantid have plenty of ancient sites to explore, there's the Veiled Stair region with its ancient mogu caves, and even that all-virmen raid I'd die for. So what do you think? Where are we going in 5.2?
Mists of Pandaria is here! The level cap has been raised to 90, many players have returned to Azeroth, and pet battles are taking the world by storm. Keep an eye out for all of the latest news, and check out our comprehensive guide to Mists of Pandaria for everything you'll ever need to know.