World of Warcraft Wrath of the Lich King

Jan 10, 2009
Just what is it about World of Warcraft that keeps 11 million subscribers enthralled? And why has the arrival of a mere expansion pack caused more excitement than the launch of any blockbuster on PS3… or Wii Music for that matter?! We’ve got five reasons to help you understand.

Reason No1: The world is beautiful, incredible even. Northrend with its spectacular ice-hewn architecture and fabulous new beasts has been meticulously realised. You feel like a kid rampaging in newly fallen snow, but then there’s also that sense of foreboding because you are so very close to the source of the Scourge. Northrend is more than just a pretty picture… it artistically embodies the drama within.

Reason No2: The new hero class offers another tantalising way in to World of Warcraft for newcomers, while offering a magnificent new class for seasoned players to explore: Death Knight. This guy is arguably the character many players secretly desired from the beginning, a great all-rounder who can cast spells just as readily as he can fight toe-to-toe. Before the Death Knight you had to choose one of the extremes. He’s powerful to begin with, starting at Level 55, and looks magnificent all dressed in dark armoured plates, but the real treat is Death Knight’s story. We won’t spoil it for you, but there are shades of Darth Vader in there. Gobsmacking!

Reason No3: All character classes can learn talents such as new spells or class-specific skills, so nobody can moan about characters being unbalanced any more. A friend of ours compared Lich King to Street Fighter II Champion Edition… which is rather obtuse, but basically means that all the characters have been balanced out to enable surprising victories or defeats in skirmishes between familiar adversaries.

Reason No4: The new ‘Inscription’ profession makes you everybody’s best friend, even if only at Level 1. The Inscription profession gives characters the ability to enchant items or abilities, and so even a 5% ‘buff’ to, say, your running speed is considered useful. Now you can create a legendary weapon or suit of armour, just like in favourite books or movies. There’s a real sense of fantasy to Wrath of the Lich King; that your actions are contributing to an evolving tale.

Reason No5: If the last time you checked you were perturbed by quests that involved nothing more than killing ‘x’ amount of specific creatures, or collecting ‘y’ number of a particular thing, look again. Quests in Wrath of the Lich King are more akin to the story-driven tasks in traditional console role-playing games, they’ve caused everyone in WoW to scratch their heads in wonderment. Again this ought to appeal to a wider audience who’d prefer to avoid ‘grinding’ out results to level up characters. The new Quest mechanic also introduces something called ‘phasing’ which means that certain events that are specific to your quest are not visible to other players – for example a cauldron that gives birth to Scourge minions. In other words, you won’t be forming an orderly line to slay the exact some Orcs as everyone else – which looks stupid.

In summary, World of Warcraft Wrath of the Lich King really cements its place as the provider of something for everyone. Sure EA's Warhammer offers extensive Player Versus Player options, but this also means the overall experience isn’t balanced. In WoW, everyone can approach the adventure according to your real-world preferences as a human being. And as a friend of ours is fond of saying, WoW never lets you down.


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