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PAX 08: World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King

PAX 2008World of Warcraft

I actually live under a rock; I’ve never played World of Warcraft for more than a few hours. Our photographer friend Niki Hanson, on the other hand, knows exactly how huge this expansion is going to be. We let her loose at the Blizzard booth to see how it was shaping up.

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A lot of people have been making a fuss about the new expansion for World of Warcraft; Wrath of the Lich King. Well this weekend I got to try it out. It’s a lot like The Burning Crusade at first glance, with the new quests and new level cap, but there are a lot of new features. For instance, the new continent isn’t made with the basic map models. Buildings and land from most cities and terrain are changed for the new areas, and is, in fact, new content. Also along with the new map area, Northrend, you have new features for the old areas; achievements. Achievements you can accomplish can be as simple as discovering a new area or completing a quest line, or even just getting “a shave and haircut”. Looks like you can change your character’s features!

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Along with the new features and maps, you also have new creatures. There are a handful of new species that you can defeat and gain reputation with. They look very unlike current beasts in The Burning Crusade. With the user interface (UI) there are also many changes. Mounts and pets are stored under a space labeled “pets” in the character tab. It is a place to store the icons/buttons to summon mounts, and also keeps track of pet statistics (For warlocks and hunters). There are now 51 talent points to spend, with new spells and talents in talent trees. Checking out the Warlock talent tree, the last spell in the demonology tree, Metamorphosis, turns the warlock himself into a demon, increasing armor by 360%, durations of snare and stun effects by 50%, and increasing attack power by 75% of your spell power. Pretty sweet if you ask me. All of the classes get new spells and 51 points for talents.

One of the most anticipated features of Wrath of the Lich King is the arrival of the Death Knight, World of Warcraft’s first Hero Class. Now, not everyone can create a Death Knight, and there is only one allowable per account. Only those with a character of level 55 or higher on their account are capable of making a Death Knight that starts out at level 55. The Death Knight has an entirely unique set of talents and spells that no other class is capable of. They can be placed in any race, however, so they’re mix-and match-able.

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Once you enter the character to game play, you will undergo a line of quests that are designed to teach you each of the skills and spells of the Death Knight, to help you get accustomed to the new class. The Death Knight wears plate, and can take the role of tank or dps, which is familiar, but the spells and abilities also run off of runes. Each talent tree requires a different type of rune to be able to use the powers of that tree. So it’s a new style of character with new features being introduced to this widely played MMORPG. And from my experience, it’s going to be kickass.

The author of this fine article

is an Associate Editor at Thunderbolt, having joined in October 2006.

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