World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King and You
World of Warcraft: The Wrath of the Lich King is the second expansion for the World of Warcraft game. In the spirit of other reviews / summaries that I've done for the 2.1 and 2.3 patches, I'm going to try to collect, summarize and review all of the information available to the public on WotLK.
From the blurb on Blizzard's Wrath of the Lich King site:
- Master the necromantic powers of the Death Knight - World of Warcraft's first Hero class.
- Quest to level 80, gaining potent new abilities and talents along the way.
- Learn the craft of spell augmentation with the new Inscription profession.
- Brave the harsh new continent of Northrend, the icy domain of the Lich King.
- Engage in epic siege warfare, deploying mighty siege engines to lay waste to destructible buildings in your path.
- Transform your hero's look with new character-customization options, including new hairstyles and dances.
- Explore perilous new dungeons filled with some of the deadliest creatures -- and greatest treasures -- on Azeroth.
From a summary posting on the WoW Europe forums:
- "Northrend is the icy northern most continent of Azeroth. Formed during the War of the Ancients, and initially introduced in Warcraft III, players will be returning to it in The World of Warcraft."
We'll explore lots of that in depth, pulling from interviews, postings and a number of official sources....
Arthas is manipulating the Horde and Alliance to his own ends, pitting them against the Lich King in his domain of Northrend, which lies between and to the north of the two major continents of Azeroth and also against each other in order to weaken them so that he can control both factions. This is intended to mirror the events of Warcraft III where the Lich King sent Arthas against King Therenas. This time, Arthas will attempt to get the Horde and Alliance to turn on and kill their leaders (specifically an attempt to get the Horde to kill Thrall has been mentioned).
The interactions with Arthas in the expansion will be ongoing, and available to all players through quests, not just to the raiding community.
Dalaran will be moved to Northrent by The Kirin Tor, where they are fighting The Blue Dragon Flight and their leader, Malygos who are attempting to purge all magic use. Dalaran will be a neutral city, much like Shattrath in Burning Crusade.
The level cap will be raised to 80, but due to the changes in the 2.3 patch, leveling to 60 won't be the ordeal that it used to be. This should make the process of getting from 1 to 80 about as involved as getting from 1 to 60 used to be.
Update: Leveling from 60 to 70 will also be sped up when Wrath is released and of course, there's now the Recruit-a-Friend campaign which will speed levelling of friends from 1 to 60 by up to 3x.
The Death Knight
- See also: Death Knight on Wowwiki
The Death Knight will be a minion of the Lich King who has broken free of his control, like the Undead in the Horde. They will be able to ally themselves with either the Alliance or Horde as a result.
- The Death Knight will be a tanking, plate-wearing class, on part with the other classes and with their own role in parties and raids.
- The Death Knight is a "hero class" that starts at a higher level than other classes, but is not meant to be more powerful than other classes of equivalent level and gear.
- A death knight will start at level 55, but will progress through a restricted, instanced quest chain to learn their class and acquire equipment, gear and talent points until level 58, at which point they will emerge into Eastern Plaugelands.
- The final stage of the intro is a quest called "Battle for Light's Hope Chapel" in which you will be a part of an epic battle for control of the Argent Dawn headquarters in Eastern Plaguelands.
- One Death Knight may be created per player, per realm once you have another character of at least level 55.
- They will not use shields
- Primarily they are going to use two-handed weapons (especially axes).
- Any axe can be turned into a runic weapon by a Death Knight.
- Death Knight spells require "mana" in the form of the consumption of the runes which they place on their weapons. These runes are refreshed over a certain period, so they will be constrained to a certain mana use per unit of time.
- There are three types of runes (presumably mapping to the three talent trees of the Death Knight):
- Borean Tundra is the south-western most zone in Northrend.
- Level range 68-72
- Garrosh Hellscream is the leader of the Warsong Hold in the Borean Tundrea, the Horde base on Northrend.
- This zone will contain the walrus-like Tuskarr race, with whom the Horde are allied.
- The Taunka are also in the Borean Tundra. They are a race of Tauren who were thought lost.
- The Alliance have a small camp in the Borean Tundra, and are squaring off against the Naga there.
- Howling Fjord is the south-eastern most zone in Northrend.
- Level range 68-72
- This zone is the former home to the half-giants known as Vrykul, who are just now returning.
- The Alliance has a settlement here called Valgarde.
- The Horde also have a presence here on the easternmost shore
- Both Horde and Alliance are under attack from the giant forces from Utgarde Keep, which is an instanced dungeon.
- Coldarra is inset into the Borean Tundra
- It is home to the blue dragon aspect, Malygos (see Instances, below)
- The Borean Tundra is separated from Coldarra by the Westrift Valley
- In Coldarra lies the Nexus, a column of magical energy with rings around it.
- The Dragonblight level range 71-75
- The Wyrmrest Temple will be in this zone. This is a sort of Elephant Graveyard of dragons.
- Zul'Drak level range 73-76
- Grizzly Hills level range 74-76
- Azjol-Nerub level range 74-78
- Sholazar Basin level range 75-78
- The Storm Peaks level range 77-80
- Ulduar, the Titan city is here.
- Icecrown Glacier level range 77-80
- Lake Wintergrasp
- Ulduar, the Titan city, may or may not be a raid instance in WotLK
- Azjol'Nerub, the home of the Nerubian spider people, will have multiple instances associated with it
- Nexus - Levels 70 and 80 5-man instances and a small 25 man raid encounter in the center of Coldarra
- Malygos, a blue dragon, will be a raid encounter on his own like Matheridon or Onyxia.
- Naxxramas will be re-tuned for level 80 and become a 25-man raid instance at the low-end of the WotLK progression.
Caverns of Time
A new CoT instance will cover the events of the "Culling of Stratholme" (also the name of the instance). This will be a 5-man instance that is aimed at level 80 players, where the players help Prince Arthas in his purging of infected citizens from the city of Stratholme and face off against the Dreadlord Mal'Ganis.
- There will be a non-instanced pvp zone called Lake Wintergrasp, in which all players will be flagged for PvP.
- Siege weapons and destructible buildings will be a major feature in this zone.
- There will be multiple objectives spread out through the zone, each of which will have lasting effects.
- Azshara crater is on hold
- Siege weapons will also be used in a new 15 vs. 15 battleground where the goal will be the destruction of the enemy base.
- The arena season will change (season 4?) and a new map will be added.
The expansion will likely not require Vista, and will aim to continue to make the game accessible to the largest audience possible.
Engine and new features
- Destructible buildings and siege weapons will be introduced
Many posts on the World of Warcraft boards from developers and CMs have indicated that WotLK or a patch released very close to the expansion will see a large class balancing review effort that will affect all classes.
The Paladin changes are not really "balancing." The class has essentially been re-designed and Paladins of all levels will be impacted. A brief summary of the changes:
- Seal and Judgement spells are now completely separate, interacting as they did before, but Judgements don't cancel Seals, and there are three types of Judgement now.
- Blessings that used to have a special purpose and were only cast when needed (e.g. Blessing of Freedom will now be called "Hand" spells (e.g. Hand of Freedom) and will not dispel existing Blessing spells on the target.
- Most Paladin spells that do damage (if not all) will benefit from spellpower and attack power, so Prot and Ret paladins won't need to stack spellpower anymore at all (some of this work had already been done for Ret before 3.0).
There may be a change to allow roots indoors.
NEW!Major changes are coming for the discipline tree in the expansion.
In response to the question, "any changes to the early tier enhance talents planned? (shield spec, 5% mana, toughness etc)," Eyonix responded that such changes might appear in the expansion.
- New dance animations are rumored to be part of the expansion.
- We have been promised "giant man-eating undead hampsters" in Lich King! ;-)
- The Ashbringer storyline will be continued, and Tirion Fordring will return in WotLK.
- ↑ The Official Wrath of the Lich King site
- ↑ 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 08/08 Information on Northrend from the European forums by Salthem
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 MP interview Jeff Kaplan - 23/08/07
- ↑ Re: What feature of WotLK excites you the most, blue post on the WoW forums
- ↑ Lowered 60-70 exp a permanent change? by Tigole
- ↑ Recruit a Friend campaign official site
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 Death Knight Interview: Design Team: Q&A
- ↑ Battle for Light's Hope Chapel video on YouTube
- ↑ Death Knight Gameplay official site
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 29/08 Information about the Death Knight by Vaneras on the WoW Forums, EU
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 11.5 11.6 11.7 11.8 Borean Tundra article on the official site
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 12.2 WotLK zone list - WOW Insider
- ↑ Howling Fjord article on the official site
- ↑ Culling of Stratholme on WoWWiki
- ↑ Blue reply to "WotLK OS requirement?"
- ↑ Re: Discipline? Eyonix? by Eyonix
- ↑ Re: Does Blizzard plans to allow Roots indoor by Eyonix
- ↑ Re: Priest Pain Suppression by Nethaera
- ↑ Re: Spirit Weapons fix in 2.3? by Eyonix
- ↑ Re: I usually don't complain but.... by Bornakk
- ↑ Tirion Fordring in Wrath of the Lich King on WoWWiki
- Wrath of the Lich King official site
- Videos from Blizzcon are available on youtube and are indexed on the WoW Europe forums.