So … I kept promising a review of World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King and after so much time here it is.
Did I like the new WoW expansion? Defenetively! But let start from the beginning … and forgive me if I will be brief (very brief), but it is the only way to get back in shape on writing for this blog.
Questing and Leveling
The first and most obvious addition of this new expansion are the new 10 levels to rise and therefore new spells and talents.
Personally I always liked the leveling part of WoW as I like to do quests, but for me Wrath of the Lich King surpassed at least TBC and maybe even the vanilla WoW (that probably is still holding the first position on the leveling fun rank as it has been my first MMORPG). What took me so much? In this expansion the player is walked to accomplish many more lore-wise chain-quest than the past.
One great example is the Wargate chain-quest in Dragonblight: it starts with Into Hostile Territory and it end with The Battle For The Undercity … well, I can’t spoiler it too much, but I can tell you that there has been some very intense scene (and for the first time, cinematics too).
Between all the new additions that this expansion brought, there are two nice new mechanics.
The first is the possibility to drive “vehicles”. Vehicles are very similar to mounts, but they provides abilities that can be used while driving them. Know that most of the vehicles (all, as far as I noticed) are actually provided during specific quest and they can be used only to perform the given quest (as a matter of fact some of them will automatically dismount you if you drive to far from the relative questing area).
The other peculiar thing is the zone-phasing: the first feature introduced to the game that allow your surrounding to evolve as you proceed with questing. Basically there are zone in Northerend that at the beginning are either not inhabited or they controlled by the scourge and through some chain quest you can help a faction to establish an encampment there.
There is one important thing to know and keep in minds about phasing: it is character based; this means that if there are several players on the same zone, but they are on different level of progression on the relative chain-quest, they will see and can interact only with mobs and npc of their phase status and not the other players’ npc/mobs. So if you intend to play the expansion with some friend, be sure that you both are on the same level of the chain-quests.
Wrath of the Lich King is currently offering four raid instances:
- Obsidian Sanctum;
- Vault of Archavon (in order to enter it, the raiders’ faction must currently controlling the PVP area of Wintergrasp);
- The Eye of Eternity;
The Patch 3.1 will will release a new raid instance: Ulduar.
With the above raid instances, Wrath of the Lich King introduced two important changes to raiding:
First, each raid instance is actually available in two versions: “normal” for raid groups up to 10 players and “heroics” for raid groups up to 25 players. The binding to these two versions are separate, so if a player engage the “normal” version with a raid group, he/she can still play the “heroic” version with another group. With the availability of two raid instance versions, there are of course two separate “Tier” armor sets:
- the “normal” version is offering the Heroes’ Scourgeborne Battlegear set;
- the “heroic” version is offering the Valorous Scourgeborne Battlegear set.
Second, Blizzard introduced the concept of “Hard Mode”; the feature is currently available only to Obsidian Sanctum, but Ulduar will offer it as well, as soon as it is released. “Hard Mode” means that the raid group can decide to engage a boss with a different condition compared to the “standard mode”; the boss will become harder to defeat, but then it will also offer more loot if downed. Obsidian Sanctum, for example, has Sartharion as main boss and three drakes (Shadron, Tenebron, and Vesperon) as side bosses: on “standard mode” the raid group would kill the three drakes separately and than engage Sartharion alone, but if they want to face it in “hard mode” they have to skip one or more drakes; in this case the drake(s) left alive will join Sartharion during the combat and if the raid group can win they will receive additional loot based on how many drakes were left alive.
I am playing with Genei Ryodan, an Italian guild on Hakkar EU that raid three nights a week. Through the weeks we have been able to clear almost all the 10-men raid content starting with Obsidian Sanctum (with no drakes up yet), than followed by Naxxramas, and finishing with Malygos on March, 10; we are planning to deal with Sartharion (Obsidian Sanctum) with some of the drakes left alive.
Many veteran raiders complained that Wrath of the Lich King’s raids have become too easy to confront and Blizzard always claimed that it is intended because it wants to give the chance to more players to experience them. Personally I want to thank Blizzard about that since I am one of the target players that enjoy this “easiness”.
World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King bringed many more additions than I mentioned in this review, like the first “Hero Class” introduced to the game: the Death Knight (of course I have created mine, but I have yet to play him seriously to report any personal opinion) and the PVP zone of Wintergrasp … but as I have been so late with this review, you have probably read everything there is to know about them.
For now this is it … I know, I know it is not much, but again … I am trying to and I will coming back to be more regular with posting.