Ever since ArenaNet’s studio leadership came out early in the year and confirmed that planning has begun on a fourth expansion, players have no doubt been mulling over in their heads what that expansion could look like. Thus far, every Guild Wars 2 expansion has, in some way, revolved around Elder Dragons, and now that the dragon cycle has ended, just about anything is possible.
The return of the six(ish) gods
When Guild Wars 2 launched, the humans’ six gods had already returned to the mists. The reason was kind of hazy until finally, Path of Fire spelled it out for us: The Six feared The Elder Dragons and believed that a direct conflict with them would result in the destruction of all of Tyria. So they left and hoped the Humans and other races would just… figure it out. Except for Balth, who didn’t care; he just wanted to fight stuff. Because, y’know, war god.
Well, it turns out, the humans did figure it out, and that threat is over now, so there’s nothing stopping the gods from coming back, right? This would be a great time to further explore more of what the disappearance of The Six meant for the Humans of Tyria. It also kind of bothers me that we don’t get much exploration of what the death of Balthazar has done to Human civilization. We’ve gotten bits and pieces of this in the past, mostly in the background, but never a full-on exploration of it. Are we still calling them The Six? Or The Five? Did they elect a new member? Or did Aurene replace Balthazar in the Human pantheon the same way Kormir replaced Abaddon in Nightfall?
Doubtless there are faithful adherents who believe that Balthazar’s crimes and defeat are a lie, and still others who would like to have some words with the gods for abandoning humanity, plus some who would rather they continued to keep their noses out of human business, and everything in between. We’ve had hints of it here and there, mostly in the background, but never anything that felt satisfying. I want to see all of this explored!
Longtime Guild Wars enthusiasts will remember Guild Wars Utopia, the canceled fourth campaign of the original Guild Wars. This campaign would have sent players to a steampunk city called Xotecha housed in The Mists. These plans were ultimately canned largely due to the technical limitations of the original game, which led to the birth of Guild Wars 2. Ever since I got my hands on The Complete Art of Guild Wars book, I’ve been sad that we never got to explore the beautiful and unique magitech Mesoamerican stylings that were planned for this setting.
So why not now? Thus far, ArenaNet has had no qualms about playing to the nostalgia of Guild Wars 1 players when picking the settings for expansions, so why not play on the nostalgia for what could have been? If nothing else, there is already an abundance of concept art to start from!
According to the Guild Wars Wiki, Xotecha was planned as a playground/retreat of the gods, though it seems there is some disagreement on that point. Regardless of what was originally planned, this could go along with the above idea of Humans reuniting with their pantheon. The gods have to be hanging out somewhere, why not Xotecha? How will Tyria’s humans react to their gods having a city full of human subjects on the side? Do the Xotechans know about Tyria? What cool new mist technology can we use to enhance our jade bots and mounts and things?
ArenaNet has now done two of the four ideas in my article Stories Guild Wars 2 could tell without elder dragons, three if you count Ankka as the “just some regular dude” idea (I’ll assume my royalty check has been delayed in the mail and will arrive any day now), so I guess it’s time to do a Largos-and-Quaggan-themed expansion! Who’s up for killing some horrors from the deep?
Clearly ArenaNet hasn’t forgotten about its Largos teases from the base game. After all, there’s a Largos prominently involved in the Leviathan events in Seitung Province and New Kaineng. Even more interesting, there is an easy-to-miss Quaggan in Dragon’s End who reveals that the Quaggan goddess, Mellaggan, who Humans have long assumed is actually Melandru, was actually Soo-Won all along. He is distraught that while Quaggans believed that she died saving them from the Krait, she instead apparently ditched them to defend the humans of Cantha from the tidal wave caused by the rising of Orr. I guess she just… decided she liked Humans better? She figured the Quaggans would probably be fine on their own? Yeah, I’d be a little miffed too.
Giving Soo-Won the benefit of the doubt, let’s assume that she did leave the Quaggan with some amount of defense against whatever terrible things dwell in the Unending Ocean, say, a magical barrier keeping most of the monsters at bay, with only the smallest slipping out here and there, but enough that the Largos know to fear that region. Now that Soo-Won is gone, that magical barrier will have disappeared because of course that’s how magical barriers work, and these monsters will have free reign over the depths again and will likely begin harassing the land-dwellers as well.
Does anyone really want an all-underwater expansion? Not really. Don’t get me wrong, Guild Wars 2 does movement and combat in a 3-D space better than most MMOs, but that doesn’t mean it’s fun to play (especially as someone who mains a couple of classes whose best skills don’t work underwater). But, if they can find a way to pull it off, I would still love to get to know the Largos better.
Asura and the Depths of Tyria
We’ve had a Sylvari-centric expansion, not one but two human-themed expansions in a row, and the Norn and Charr shared the spotlight in Icebrood Saga. It’s high time for the Asura to take center stage! Ok, I know someone out there is going to say that every expansion is Asura-focused, since most plots are resolved with “Taimi did a magi-science thing and built yet another world-saving gizmo,” but the Asura race is much bigger than Taimi.
Now that the threat of Primordus is over and his Destroyers are doubtless weakened, I would love to help the Asura reclaim their ancestral homelands in the depths of Tyria, along the lines of Lord of the Rings Online’s Mines of Moria expansion. I wouldn’t even be sad if Anet threw the Deldrimor Dwarves in there to make the comparison complete.
I have suggested before the idea of a divergent civilization of subterranean Asura, similar to Rata Novus, that were left behind, either by choice or after being trapped there by the Destroyers, when the rest of the Asura fled to the surface. After living on the doorstep of Destroyers for generations, with no idea that other Asura survived on the surface, I imagine that they would have perfected the art of defending against lava monsters, and that their tech would likely be a lot scrappier.
The Domain of Winds
Everyone loves Tyria’s resident bird race, perhaps more so after they got a lot more diversity in End of Dragons, but let’s just rip this band-aid off: Playable Tengu aren’t going to happen in Guild Wars 2. You want them, I want them, heck, I’ve talked to people at ArenaNet who want them, but it would just be so much work to add all that voiceover, and how would they fit into the personal and past expansion stories?
So the next best thing would be to finally get to visit the Tengu Domain of Winds, the xenophobic race’s walled-off homelands on mainland Tyria. We’ve had little hints of this here and there. For one, there was a dragon response mission that involved befriending a Tengu named Kalidris Sparrowhawk, who, when we help her defend the Domain from Icebrood, promises to do her best to convince everyone she can that humans want to live in peace with the Tengu. Furthermore, many Canthan Tengu can be seen talking about their wish to reunite with their mainland cousins now that travel has been reopened between the two continents.
What, aside from a few stories about nice humans told by Tengu from outside the Domain’s borders, could convince the proud Tengu to allow outsiders into their eyrie? Well, the same thing that convinced the proud Canthans to allow outsiders in: A new threat appearing inside their borders, and The Commander showing up to help, be that leftover dragon minions, void corruption, or who knows what else. I don’t care what ArenaNet contrives, I just want to spend more time with bird people!
Something completely different
As I said in the intro, with the Elder Dragons gone, the field is wide open for just about anything in the next expansion. ArenaNet’s writers will doubtless have ideas I can’t even imagine and are probably still in the process of narrowing down which direction to go right now. I can’t be the only one who’s been daydreaming about what’s next for Guild Wars 2, and I would love to read your expansion pitches and other thoughts in the comments!