The lights are on
It's only been nine months since the release of Blizzard's last well-received World of Warcraft expansion, Cataclysm, but in the high-speed world of MMOs, a developer always has to be planning ahead for what's next. A new trademark filed by Blizzard gives us a pretty big hint at what might be next for WoW.
MMO Champion has the scoop that Blizzard has filed a trademark for something called "Mists of Pandaria." Notably, this trademark is filed under codes that specifically refer to "computer game software" and "on-line computer games," so it's likely to be an expansion rather than, say, a Warcraft novel.
Pandaria is a reference to the homeland of the Pandaren, a Warcraft universe race of panda-like humanoids. Pandaria has never been explored in World of Warcraft (nor in any other Warcraft game or book that I'm aware of), so it would be an exciting location to finally reveal for fans of the game's lore. It's also a good opportunity to expand WoW's race selection with a group that players have asked for since World of Warcraft's launch, although I'm not sure whether Pandaren would fall on the Horde or Alliance side.
I contacted Blizzard about the trademark filing, but a representative from the company declined to comment, saying only that they are "not ready to reveal any details at this time." The most likely time for further details would be this year's Blizzcon, which will be happening October 21 and 22. The Cataclysm expansion was revealed at Blizzcon 2009 and similarly had a trademark filed a few months earlier.
We'll report any pre-Blizzcon updates or leaks if and when they hit, but otherwise I'll be at Blizzcon covering whatever news comes from it. Who else is excited at the prospect of a panda-focused expansion in World of Warcraft's future?