There is a lot I expect from an expansion, and I'm sure the same goes for everyone else. There is the obvious, which I'm pretty sure we all want: a clear story, character progression, awesome content and rather sexy gear. But there are other things I expect, things that aren't really important, but things that make the game so much more amazing for me, and the biggest of them all are the neutral sanctuary cities, and the vendors and activities therein.
I liked Shattrath. It was a good place to find allies and torment them with emotes, but once I outgrew that, it was just a generally nice place to mingle with the other faction - for characters who were neutral against the opposing faction, and considered themselves as explorers and adventurers that knew how to defend themselves from unknown threats rather than warriors looking for a fight. I liked the useless vendors like the jewellery sellers, and Haris Pilton's uselessness. I only had like 50 gold at that point (I used to spend it all on any cloth epic in the AH regardless of usefulness) and I spent it all on some random piece of jewellery, The Rock I think it was. But I still loved it. And I still haven't bought the "Gigantique" Bag. I even bought Soap on a Roap from Griftah.
But then Dalaran came along and blew Shattrath to (more) pieces. The wine and cheese vendors, the cake vendors - the toy shop. Half of Dalaran was useless, and even the parts that weren't, like First To Your Aid, had a few useless items. I've not taken the Antiseptic-Soaked Dressing off of Spinegrinder since she bought it at about level 73. I loved the place so ridiculously much, and given the trend of neutral sanctuary cities, I had expected one in Cata. I think that was my biggest disappointment of the entire expansion, but I kind of understood it, since there wasn't really any new land masses. Then there's The Wonderworks - a fricking toy shop. I bought everything Jepetto Joybuzz had to offer, and being a typical cake fiend, I found Aimee's cake stand to be particularly delightful. Cutest stand ever.
When Pandaria was revealed I had truly expected it to have a neutral sanctuary city, especially since the Pandarens were going to be on both the Horde and the Alliance. The odd thing was, I had heard nothing about a city while playing it. I have a tendancy to try and avoid everything about new expansions until it's released. That proved to be a mistake because I ended up not really knowing what was going on, so I won't be as strict with myself this time, but the thing was that it was even while playing it. I think I was in Kun-Lai Summit when I first heard a whisper of a capital city in Pandaria. (and I didn't power level from 85 to 90 in 2 days), and I got so very very excited. I had these images of a more majestic Valley of the Four Winds in colour (which, I suppose, is the Vale of Eternal Blossoms) with rich architecture and loads of cherry blossom trees and stuff growing throughout the place. The thing was, though, that I couldn't find any info on it online when I searched several variations of 'Pandaria neutral sanctuary capital city'. So I continued through Kun-Lai, since it was all I could do, until I found the quest that took me into the Vale of Eternal Blossoms. I was so excited when it mentioned a city, and when I saw the building I was even more excited.
But when I got there there was nothing but Pandaren and Horde. I was confused, and when I found out that there were two seperate cities, rather than one large one, I was quite disappointed. I was even further disappointed when I struggled to find a single novelty vendor in the city.
I've learned not to expect it, since that's 2 expanions in a row, but I can't help thinking that, since there hasn't been a neutral sanctuary city since WotLK, that one is surely due soon. I'm keeping my fingers crossed, but I feel it's in vain. The only scenarios I can come up with for an expansion that would include one is another Outland expansion, and whether that's in the Outland we know, or another fragment we discover, is another matter. But it's something I'm really hoping to see, regardless.
I need more uselessness in the game!
What is the biggest thing, aside from raids and a story, that you like to see, or even expect, in expansions?