The fifth expansion to World of Warcraft is already in the works.
During a visit to Blizzard's HQ to see Mists of Pandaria, CVG spoke with COO Paul Sams about the future of World of Warcraft once the latest expansion goes live. He confirmed that the fifth pack is already in the works, and that the team even knows what additional expansion packs will contain. Other than that, he wouldn't cough up any details as to what these packs will contain.
"I got the pitch from Chris Metzen of what they plan for 6.0 and I'm pretty geeked up about it," he said. "They already know what they're going to be doing for multiple expansions ahead. They have an idea - a general framework. They're these lore creators. They're the ones who drive what the world looks like today and what it'll be like tomorrow and beyond."
"I think the future of World Of Warcraft continues to be bright and I think Mists of Pandaria is going to breathe huge life into what I believe is the best MMO out there," he added. "I think the number of people we have playing and the level of enthusiasm they have for the game suggests that to be the case."
"This is the next of many ways in which we're going to grow and improve and evolve this game," he concluded.
CVG suggests that WoW's roadmap indicates that team members may not be pulled away from development to work on Blizzard's other MMO, Titan. On the contrary, the roadmap indicates that the core lore creators are busily building on the virtual world and capable of sustaining continuation while other members are assigned to the Titan project. Blizzard certainly isn't going to focus on one over the other although right now it's primary focus is WoW given that it's the primary money machine.
News of a fifth expansion pack already in development shouldn't come as a surprise. After Blizzard saw a dip in subscriptions once players quickly devoured the third expansion, Cataclysm, company president Michael Morhaime said they would focus on decreasing time between content releases. "We need to be faster at delivering content to players," he said. "And so that’s one of the reasons that we’re looking to decrease the amount of time in-between expansions."
Currently Blizzard just opened the doors to the Mists of Pandaria beta. Those who got into the program received a confirmation email with instructions on how to download and retrieve the installer from Battle.net. Blizzard did not provide direct links in the email, so beware of fake beta approvals (if they get past your spam filter, that is). The email may or may not look like the image below (as the installer hasn't shown up in the Battle.net account as of this writing):