Various leaks and rumors about the name and contents of the MMO's ninth expansion have been floating around its community for a while now. However, the most credible leaker seems to have spilled the beans on what to expect – Blizzard Entertainment itself.
As spotted by users on Reddit(opens in new tab), inspecting elements of the World of Warcraft home page(opens in new tab) leads to references to World of Warcraft: Dragonflight in the source code. Furthering the leak, reference is made to pre-ordering the expansion, which has three tiers you can buy – base, heroic and epic. That's consistent with how the Shadowlands expansion is sold.An official announcement is set to be made on April 19, where Blizzard will finally lift the lid on what's coming next on the nearly 18-year-old game. While obviously none of this is confirmed, it would take a real security error on Blizzard's part for the World of Warcraft website's source code to be changed without its notice.
Interestingly, adding to this leak, an image(opens in new tab) started floating around at the exact same time, showing key art for World of Warcraft: Dragonflight. It shows the popular character Alexstrasza in front of a dragon.
It's unclear exactly where this image is from, but it reportedly showed up before the leak(opens in new tab) of the expansion's name, so it doesn't appear to be a hastily thrown together Photoshop. This is less ironclad than Blizzard leaking it themselves, but the timing is encouraging.
While we don't know much else about the expansion, this would seemingly confirm that adventurers in World of Warcraft are headed to the long speculated Dragon Isles. This is a long-scrapped raid from earlier in WoW's history, but it has started to show up in mention in the game's lore, so it would make sense that Blizzard would finally pull the trigger on the home of the dragons.
Here's hoping the expansion delivers and reverses the fortunes of the game. The last two expansions haven't been received particularly well, so this next one feels like it's a big moment for the beleaguered MMO.
This all comes in the middle of the heinous allegations made against Activision Blizzard, which is currently being sued by the state of California due to a toxic workplace culture where sexist behavior is said to have thrived.