Blizzard released Wrath of the Lich King last night at midnight, and while I didn’t do a live UStream.tv stream of the installation—chill out, WoW Insider—I’m now prepared to give y’all a quick “here’s what’s up” of sorts.
Thankfully, the game ships on a DVD. No more “please insert disc 87” nonsense when installing. So that’s good.
The three biggest new features are the level 80 cap (increased from 70), the continent of Northrend and the Dark Knight, the game’s first Hero class. Northrend can’t be accessed till you’re level 68. Once you’re there you’ll probably run into some high-level, really powerful stuff, like bows that shoot witches instead of arrows. While the game’s packaging and general marketing campaign may have suggested that Nortrend is some icy dump, that’s only partially true; it’s not icy everywhere. There’s a good ol’ fashioned fjord there that’s filled with giants. Presumably you’ll fight the Lich King or his brother somewhere on the continent.
Now, Death Knights. Blizzard says they’re meant to be both tanks and DPS damage dealers, not unlike Fury Warriors. DKs can’t use shields, though, so there’s that. You can only create a DK—any race can be a DK—on a server where you have a level 55+ character.
Also, DKs are pure evil. Their starting area is one of the flying fortress things that were all over the place during the zombie invasion from a few weeks ago. You’re right about a small village where your first few quests involve you killing completely innocent villagers in cold blood and stealing their horses for funsies. You also kill hard working miners, only in there to put food on the table for their families, and turn them into Scourge zombies. It’s the most fun starting zone of them all. That may be because you start at level 55 and have more abilities at the outset than “run in fear” and “swing piece-of-garbage axe.” You’re able to do some damage as soon as you log in.
Double also, but DKs look amazing. (How many of you play just to get cool-looking gear?) My character, Medfresno, looks fantastic, even though she’s wearing the WoW equivalent of Wal-Mart clothes.
As to the other stuff in the expansion—the new professions, PVP areas, etc.—I have no idea. I suspect I’ll have more I that, including unhinged rants, as I come across them.