With the release of World of Warcraft's Patch 5.4 rapidly approaching, Blizzard has released the official story trailer. The trailer provides the backstory behind "Siege of Orgimmar," the new raid zone that awaits players.
The events of the trailer might be a bit hard to follow if you haven't played WoW or the current expansion Mists of Pandaria. I'll try to recap what's going on (deep breath):
The Horde uncovered the Heart of Y'shaarj, a deceased Old God. Garrosh Hellscream, the Sonny Corleone of the Horde, wants to use the Heart to turn his nation into an unstoppable force. To do that, he brings the organ to the Vale of the Blossoms and puts it into the magic pools there. In addition to unleashing the Heart's power, this act also turns the Vale into a corrupted mess.
The whole Horde isn't behind Garrosh, though. The Darkspear Trolls, led by Vol'jin, are in open rebellion. Alliance and Horde players have been assisting their assault on the Horde capital of Orgrimmar since patch 5.3.
Even if you don't care about the story, it's a fun trailer. Blizzard rendered the entire thing in-engine but even with WoW's aging tech, the fight scene is well-made. They always find ways to breathe life into those old bones. I can see why WoW is so popular among the machinima crowd.
In "Siege of Orgrimmar," players will finally invade the capital and put an end to the war. The raid has 14 bosses in total. The last boss is Garrosh himself.
This will be the first instance to support the Flexible Raid difficulty. Flexible Raids are between the Raid Finder and Normal difficulty levels in terms of balancing. The exact difficulty depends on how many players are in your party. You can tackle it with between 10 and 25 players. In other words, if some of your guildmates don't show up, you'll still be able to raid. Might not work so well if your group composition is all out of balance, though.
Patch 5.4 brings plenty of new content for non-raiders as well. The Proving Grounds gives solo players a chance to test their skills. Connected Realms will aim to shore up the imbalances between server populations. Other features include a new quest hub called the Endless Isle and the final stage of the legendary questline.
WoW has been steadily losing subscribers since Pandaria's launch. I don't think that this content patch - or any patch, really - could reverse that trend. At the end of the day, WoW is still an 8+ year-old game. The improvements and new content in the patch could help Blizzard keep the remaining player base while they plot some bigger change, such as an expansion or a new MMO.