An intial review of Wrath of the Lich King

Ok, so just a warning here – this post may be a bit confusing for anyone who doesn’t play WoW (and a tad spoilerific for those who do play, but I’m only level 74, so it’s not anything you wouldn’t learn fairly quickly in playing), so I don’t really mind if you skip this one if you don’t play WoW. On the other hand, I invite you to read on if you want to see the crazy inner-workings of a WoW player!

New Content

I love having new content to play – the game was getting kind of stale with our guild running Karazhan (a 10-man raid dungeon, for those who don’t play) every week and there not being much else to do but grind reputation and badges for gear that I’m already replacing. I actually took a break from the game because I was kind of bored with it, but I’m really glad to be back because it’s a really fun game and we’ve met some really nice people through it.

We’ve only played 2 of the new zones so far, but they’ve been really fun. We started out in Howling Fjord (HF), which I much preferred – it’s very pretty, has a good variety of quest activities that flow well, introduces some interesting storylines, and has nice music. After reaching level 72, we went over to Borean Tundra (BT), which felt a bit more scattered and routine. Both had very interesting parts though – Coldarra and the Temple City of En’Kilah in BT and Gjalerbron in HF.

Howling Fjord - lots of green, trees, high cliffs.

Borean Tundra - not as much to look at here. There are also some very snowy areas.

Borean Tundra - not as much to look at here. There are also some very snowy areas.

The new dungeons have been pretty cool too! We’ve done Utgarde Keep (in HF) and The Nexus (in BT) so far. Interestingly, my opinions here are completely opposite of my opinions on the zones themselves. I thought Nexus was really pretty and quite varied in fight styles for each boss, which made it fun, whereas Utgarde Keep was pretty much tank and spank the whole way through and not quite as cool looking.

Utgarde Keep - this is actually probably the most interesting looking part of the dungeon (theres also an external area that has sweeping views). Mostly its a fairly standard keep.

Utgarde Keep - this is actually probably the most interesting looking part of the dungeon (there's also an external area that has sweeping views). Mostly it's a fairly standard keep.

The Nexus - full of pretty, icy blue colors.

The Nexus - full of pretty, icy blue colors.

Gear Upgrades

So, I was all epic-ed out before this expansion came out, so I haven’t really gotten too many gear upgrades yet for my main character. Which I’m torn on – part of me wants new shiny gear and part of me is incredibly depressed to give up epic quality gear for greens (for those who don’t play, epic gear is harder to get and may take lots of time to get what you want whereas greens you get from any quest you do – easy to get). I am a bit disappointed that most of the quest reward gear seems to all look the same so far – I like to look a bit unique. I guess I’ll just have to wait till I start getting epics again to look unique.

Anyway, I’ve replaced a few pieces of gear so far with quest rewards and I’ll soon be replacing my boots through a leatherworking recipe. I’m really glad to see that leatherworking is finally useful! I picked up leatherworking as a profession at level 10 or so and pretty much never used what I made and most of it didn’t sell on the auction house either, unless it was a rarer item. But finally, I’m making a killing on the auction house (I even made a customer for life who special ordered an entire set of gear from me and plans to contact me for future upgrades!) and I’m already getting recipes for items I can use myself! Woot! Most of the recipes that provide actual upgrades are at least rare items (a step down from epic, but a step up from green), so that’s not too bad – and they’re easy enough to make. I just need to get the materials to make them, which I get from skinning enemies that I kill anyway (and some that I didn’t kill myself – there seem to be lots of bodies laying around for me to skin. Where’d all the skinners go this expansion?).

New Class

They also introduced a new class of character to play, the Death Knight, which is really fun. I don’t typically like melee classes, but I’m having a lot of fun with my Death Knight. I think it may be because she has a pet and I like the variety of skills she has, whereas my tries at Warriors and Paladins felt more restricted and routine. It also is nice that Death Knights start off at level 55 (you need to have at least one other character who’s at least level 55 to make a Death Knight and you only get one per account), which lets you skip a good chunk of leveling and a good chunk of quests you’ve done 8 million times before if you have more than one alt.

Adarys, my Death Knight. Also, her death charger and her ghoul.

Adarys, my Death Knight. Also, her death charger and her ghoul. She is meant to be scary looking, but under that helmet, she's kinda cute.

It was also pretty fun being evil. Which is why I’m actually disappointed that the Death Knights leave Arthas, the Lich King (and big bad guy of the expansion) and join the Knights of the Ebon Blade at the end of the starting zone. I suppose that was something I should have easily predicted.  I mean, it makes sense logically, that we couldn’t stay evil, because it would make gameplay difficult since there are only 2 factions in the game (Alliance and Horde) and staying evil would put you in a third unable to communicate and group with pretty much anyone other than Death Knights, but I dunno. It was fun. I kinda wanted to stay with Arthas. And I somehow missed the whole shift in the story. One minute, we were fighting all the people at Light’s Hope Chapel with lots of scourge help and Arthas showed up and tried to kill Tirion Fordring, and then he failed for some reason I didn’t understand and disappeared and the next thing I know, Tirion was telling me I was part of his little group now! And then I was sent to Stormwind where NPC’s threw rotten fruit at me! While Chris was bowing in front of King Varian Wrynn, asking for acceptance, I wanted to slaughter the whole city! Chris had to explain to me what happened. Apparently Arthas knowingly sent us to our death for his own purposes, but I felt my Death Knight was serving her master with loyalty and it was like 1000 to 300 in our favor and I didn’t die, so I don’t see why I should be mad at Arthas.

Which brings me to my next point. What’s going to happen with Arthas? Chris thinks he’s pure evil and too fused with Ner’Zhul, an extremely powerful evil spirit, and there may be some plot twists but we’ll eventually need to kill him. He thinks Arthas was always power-hungry and that he has completely lost his mind (and he did kill his father, which is one of the things I can’t explain in my own theory), so there’s no way we could do anything but destroy him. I, on the other hand, hope we’ll redeem him somehow and I want Arthas to want that in the story. I think there must be something in him that isn’t completely taken over by Ner’Zhul that will allow him to realize the error of his ways – I think the majority of the bad things he did, he did under Ner’Zhul’s control. Perhaps it’s just my weird fondness for bad guys (I want to save them and make them better!), but I just feel it would be anti-climactic and boring for us to just go to him and kill him. I mean, yes, we’re level 80 by the time we face him, so we’re supposed to be all strong and heroic, but he’s like an epic bad guy. It just doesn’t seem right that 10 people could just walk up and kill him after he’s been such a huge bad force in the world all this time. In this expansion, Blizzard made it so that even casual players who don’t have lots of time and huge guilds can experience ALL of the story, but unfortunately, I think an epic bad guy SHOULD require a huge collective effort – I’m talking a small army, like 75-100 people, not 10! 10 casual players walzing in and killing an epic bad guy just seems cheap. I’M IN a casual guild! And I’d rather listen to a real raiding guild’s experience than go in and have the pity-experience.

Arthas, before and after his corruption by NerZhul

Arthas, before and after his corruption by Ner'Zhul

Arthas in his armor and with Frostmourne, his sword.

Arthas in his armor and with Frostmourne, his sword.

Boy, this has gotten quite ranty, hasn’t it? I don’t mean to make it sound like I don’t approve of the expansion. On the contrary, I love it. It’s been loads of fun so far. Chris and I are up to level 75, which seems faster than the last expansion, but maybe we’ve just been playing more. There’s already lots of level 80’s on our server, but I’m not really interested in rushing there myself – I want to enjoy all the new stuff.

So, overall, I really do like the expansion so far – the story is great so far (I’m much more involved than in the past), the zones look great, the music is nice, and really, I’m just having fun with all the quests and stuff. So, 2 thumbs up from me!

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