August 3, 2007

World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King is Official!

World of Warcraft's next expansion has been officially announced.
It's official: The next World of WarCraft expansion is coming; it's called Wrath of the Lich King, and will open up the continent of Northrend to players of level 68 and above. This second expansion will focus on the return of Arthas Menethil, a.k.a. the Lich King, ruler of the Scourge, and one of the most powerful beings in all of Azeroth. This semi-sequel to the saga of Arthas (from WarCraft III: The Frozen Throne) is intended for experienced players with a couple level 70 characters in their pockets.
Breaking down the details a little: there will be a new class, a new continent, and ten new levels.

The new class will be a Hero class, entitled Death Knight. Hero classes are epic character classes that will be gained through a quest at max level (which will be 80). Once gained, a newly created Death Knight will start life at level 60 or 70.

A new continent, Northrend, will also be included with a tentatively scheduled ten new zones. Among these zones will be a new outdoor PvP zone featuring destructible environments and siege weapons. Plus, another battleground will be added. Finishing it off will be classic whack a mole zones for leveling goodness.

Finally, there will be ten new levels bringing the level cap to 80. Along with this the skill cap will be increased to 450.

If I had to describe these changes in one word, it would be mudflation. Its just more of the same. I haven't even touched The Burning Crusade, but from playing the base game for almost three years, I have a pretty good idea how TBC plays. Therefore, I have a pretty good idea of how Wrath of the Lich King will play. Blizzard does not reinvent the wheel. Blizzard makes shiny, stable new wheels and then polishes them to a mirror like sheen.

The most distressing news, is the lack of news about the good old world of Azeroth. Azeroth is quickly becoming a wasteland and nothing more than a speed bump for The Outlands and soon to be new playground; Northrend. I truly wish Blizzard would drop half the planned zones for Northrend and restructure the current zones of Azeroth.

From all accounts, Blizzard learned a great deal from the base game and made the effort to make TBC kick ass. Hopefully, they will do the same for WotLK. However, I strongly caution Blizzard not to apply what they've learned simply to new expansions. Blizzard needs to take that knowledge and revamp the original game, or the WoW community will become even more splintered.

Oh, and Blizzard, I better damn well be able to level past 60 or 70 without buying the damn expansion.