The World of Warcraft is home to over eleven million people. Think about that figure for a moment. That’s the size of an Ohio or Michigan or even more astounding parallel to the number of people inside Tokyo, Japan. A bunch of people playing gnomes, trolls, orcs, night elves and more. For four years, players have battled through the original World of Warcraft and the adjoining expansion pack: The Burning Crusade which allowed characters to play in Outland and bring their character to 70 levels of pain, sacrifice and dedication. Now they have a new task. The Scourge has come to take over Azeroth and bring an end to all life. They are lead by the Lich King Arthas and nothing will stop them until their mission is completed. This opens up players to a whole new area called Northrend as well as bringing us a new class: the Death Knight. But is it enough to stop the forwarding advance of the Scourge Army and Arthas’ quest for blood?
(Please note, this article could not have been done without the cooperation of my girlfriend, Sarah. Her characters including her druid and her death knight were the instruments by which this review was created. I merely became a medium for the crafting of this article. I hope you the reader enjoys this interview and review of Lich King. Thank you.)
Moderator(Kedrix): Please describe your characters that were involved in Northrend and/or the Death Knight starting area? How many hours have you put into each one since the expansion release?
Sarah: I had three involved. Sindanarie, my level 71 Night Elf Balance Druid. Jaelenei, level 70 Draenei Beast Mastery Hunter. And Signoramorte my 71 Geeeeegnome Unholy Death Knight. I have probably logged the most hours on my Death Knight, since she has jumped 10 levels, but my Druid is close behind her. My Hunter was mostly just in it to play with taming the new and spiffy Northrend beasts (You all know you want a Rhino as a pet).
Moderator: Obviously Sindanarie your druid got the most playing time in Northrend. What was some of the quests or activities you found yourself doing upon entering the new area?
Sarah: First few quests were really easy, “Go here and kill some of these” or “Hey yo, go talk to this dude over there” kind of quests. I made sure to stop at probably every vendor in Valiance Keep (the first place you see when you get off the boat from Stormwind) to see what they had to offer. New food and mana drinks mostly. There is also all the profession trainers that want to rob you blind (50 Gold for the next levels of First Aid, Mining, Skinning, and Cooking!), though I have slacked on my professions, and didn’t have to worry much. Valiance Keep kinda looks like Menthil Harbor and Theramore, smushed together. But once you get outside the Keep, just about any place you go has a different feel, from kind of a wasteland, to an air strip (with planes! yes!), to a snowy tundra.
Moderator: One of the knocks on Blizzard is that everything is recycled and they have run out of new tricks. Did any of these quests or areas strike you as different or something that WoW hasn’t tried before? Give an example.
Sarah: Well, to be honest, I would mostly agree with that statement. Even Dalaran (the new main and neutral city) doesn’t seem that different to me. Looks very Silvermoon-ish to me. Most of the areas I have been in look like a rerun of another area I have seen in Pre-Lich King. For example, some of the Borean Tundra reminds me of the surrounding areas of Ironforge, covered in snow. Or the air strip that very much reminds me of Toshley’s Station in Blade’s Edge Mountains (Outlands). The quests are (so far) pretty basic, like I said. Go here, kill these things… Go talk to this guy… Take this over here and use it… Though I did find the D.E.H.T.A. (Druids for the Ethical and Humane Treatment of Animals) quest chain to be kinda funny. It’s like you are working for P.E.T.A. in World of Warcraft.
Moderator: However, I did see you flying around in an airplane with your death knight in Northrend. Apparently, that is something that we haven’t seen before. Surely it is the work of gnomish engineers. Comment on that some.
Sarah: Well, using an uncommon mount to complete a quest is not really all that new. One in Nagrand has you riding a Netherdrake to scout out a Forge Camp. And another in Zangarmarsh turns you into a crow to scope out what the Nagas are doing to the lakes. So the concept isn’t really new, just the mount itself. And of course Gnomish Engineers made the planes, we are awesome like that.
Moderator: I see. I hear that there is a new city called Dalaran. I suppose this is the new Shattrath. Is there anything special or advantageous over it if say my hearth is currently set in Shatt? In other words, should I be looking for some gold and a mage to port me over pronto?
Sarah: Other than the fact that you can buy toys?! I mean what other reason would you need? I do suppose the new bottles of wine and cakes that serve up to 5-25 people wouldn’t be good enough either eh? Ah well, the place is nice, looks much like Silvermoon to me. There are some new vendors, with new items, but nothing really over the top. There are portals to all the major cities, including Shattrath, but with the main downfall of Shattrath, no Auction House. This place hasnt benefitted me much, other than getting my drink on, and really wont benefit anyone that is not questing in the surrounding areas of Northrend. Oh and don’t forget to go into the sewers and see Splinter and the Ninja Turtles…
Moderator: No auction house, bah. Seriously, how hard would it be to create three auction houses in Dalaran, one for alliance, one for horde and one neutral? Ummm, Splinter and the Ninja Turtles?
Sarah: Apparently, it is very hard, cause they didn’t do it. lol. Yes, in the sewers you will find a level 80 rat surrounded by four turtles that are level ones. Pretty funny.
Moderator: Good stuff, let’s take a quick detour and move on to the new profession: Inscription. This was originally slated to be part of the Lich King expansion but was patched in right before the gold date. Explain it a little bit and some of the advantages of taking it up.
Sarah: Well, I didnt take this up. I have other professions that benefit me more and that I have worked hard on. But inscription is where you can make those nifty Glyphs. They added Glyphs to your spell book, which are kinda like adding a socket to your abilities. That is the best way I can describe it. It would be best to take up herbalism with this, since you use the herbs to make ink, and buy the parchment. You can also make some nice off hands with it, and those buff scrolls (Scroll of Intellect and such). Oh and for all those hunters who thought it was cool for about five minutes to name thier Corehound or Devilsaur “Fluffy”, there is a scroll to change your pets name as well.
Moderator: There is a new class to be played with the Lich King expansion and it’s tied closely to the overall story of the expansion set. It’s called the Death Knight. Explain the requirements behind rolling a death knight and a little about what he or she is about. You seem to like yours very much.
Sarah: Well, you have to have a character at or above 55 on the server you want to roll your Death Knight on. Faction, does not matter, so you can go either way. I was tempted to go horde, but rolled Alliance to quest with a friend, who ended up going horde (go figure!). Does kicking ass and taking names qualify as a good enough answer as to what we are about? Probably not, ah well. Simple and basic lore is, we broke free of the Lich King’s control after battling at Light’s Hope Chapel, and have allied with the Alliance and Horde to defeat the Lich King. Of course there is more to the story, but it would take me forever to write it here. A google search for “Death Knight Lore” will get you lore freaks all the information you want.
Moderator: I noticed when you were playing that some of the Death Knight’s initial quest line had conditions where you had to kill innocent people and perform horrible acts since you were technically doing quests for the Lich King. This certainly calls into question one’s morals. Are there any specific quests that you greatly liked or disliked?
Sarah: HA! I love that you asked me that! There is a quest that you have to do that requires you to mount a skeletal dragon of sorts, and destroy 150 Scarlet Soldiers and 10 Scarlet Ballistas. Sounds like alot of work, the 150 soldiers are the EASY part (Easy kills while mounted on the skeletal dragon). Its the 10 Ballistas that are a pain. They are sitting on top of the gate there, and you use your dragon thing to shoot them. Sounds ok right? Until you have to get close enough to the gates to get your “mount” mauled, and you fall to your death. If you were not high enough to fall to your death, you fall into a group of about 15 soldiers, good luck with that! Took me about 15 minutes to complete this quest just because of the Ballistas. Oh and don’t forget to be the first one to hit one of them (Try that with 100 other people trying to do the same quest on the day of the Launch!), and be within 30 yards of the Ballista itself, or you wont get credit for the kill!
Moderator: I didn’t care for that quest either, made me almost want to delete my Death Knight and roll something like a Shaman. Totem, Totem, Totem! Okay, maybe not. Now you specced UnHoly for your Death Knight. Why did you choose it?
Sarah: Shammies are like locks, they can roll their face over a keyboard and win. Haha. I see a duel coming from that comment. Well anyways, originally going Unholy was just to try it out. I had a plan to try the three different specs of the Death Knight (Blood, Frost, and Unholy). But… grew partial to Unholy and stuck with it. I am a more laid back sort of player, or lazy maybe lol, and don’t like the responsibility of being a tank, so Blood and Frost became more and more undesirable to me. I also enjoy having my ghoul as a pet of sorts, me and Corpseslobber (or whatever his name is next time I summon him) can smash some face, and I like it that way.
Moderator: So your ghoul becomes something like a pet, Unholy Death Knight kinda like Beastmastery Hunters. If you had to compare the Death Knight to already existing classes where would you put it? Is the character a viable tank or more like a DPS?
Sarah: Hmmm. I would probably say a cross between a warrior and a warlock. Maybe, lol. You wear plate like a warrior, which is nice. You have a minion like a lock (which if you spec right can be a pet like a hunter). You cast spells of sorts, but you don’t use mana like a caster. You have Runic Power which is like rage. It’s kinda hard to explain without sitting you down and showing it to you. Tank or DPS, depends on your spec. Tanks are Blood or Frost (From what I hear, I have not tried either), and Unholy is DPS for sure. Any of them can tank really, but it’s hard on an Unholy spec, trust me I know.
Moderator: In summary, do you think the Death Knight is a good addition to the family of classes and are you excited for future hero classes and expansion packs? On a scale of 1-10 (feel free to use decimal points): what would you give the Lich King experience?
Sarah: I love my Death Knight, so yeah, I think it was a good addition. I am more curious than excited about upcoming expansions but I honestly cannot say if I will be playing that long. You never know. I imagine that there are people excited about expansion packs because they were stupid and leveled themselves to 80 within a day of this expansion, only to sit there and do nothing for a year or so. But not me, I’m going to just take it easy, for the most part. From a 1-10… I would say that it gets a 7. I like it for the most part… but there was alot of rush work, places in the game that couldve used more time and effort put into them. But all in all, not bad.
Moderator: Well thank you for your time, may you enjoy your time in Northrend and getting your Geeeenome Death Knight to level 80.
Sarah: No problem. Just remember kiddies… Alliance owns your face. See you in the battlegrounds. Have a nice day!
The collector’s edition might set you back $30 extra dollars. However, unlike many collectors or limited editions; this one is packed to the gills (not murlocs). Included (besides the game on dvd) is a behind the scenes dvd (in its own case) which has developer interviews & commentaries. This includes the intro cinematic to the game with Director’s Commentary and additional trailers & features. There is also some art and material from the major content patches on the disc. In addition, you get the collector’s edition soundtrack which has twenty-one different tracks of epic music to satisfy your musical side.
That would be enough for most collector’s editions. But wait there is more Blizzard fans. The Art of Wrath of the Lich King hardback book is provided. This book many would consider is the prettiest addition to the package with over 200 pages of art from Death Knights to the many regions of Northrend. Some more bonuses include a Northrend Mouse Pad which is extremely functional and has found its way to this reviewer’s desktop. World of Warcraft Trading Card Starter Packs are also included from the March of the Legions game set. This also has a special card which will include in-game bonus item: Papa Hummel’s Pet Biscuits. The other in game item is an awesome vanity pet named Frosty, an undead dragon whelp.
The extra thirty bucks that you will spend on this set is nothing compared to the amount of material that you get back instantly upon purchase. For any of the Warcraft aficionados, this is a collector’s edition worth buying.
Wrath of the Lich King has a lot of people excited and rightfully so. The Collector’s Edition is a gorgeous box and has plenty of cool things inside for the geeks in us all. The content holds inside a different story, according to our interviewee. The game is still interesting and still presents new challenges but it is a familiar shade of paint. The death knight is an interesting class and does have a good back story. However, is it really all that new of a concept? Warriors, Warlocks and Paladins would like to say hello. That aside, most hardcore players will keep coming back for more and eagerly await the next expansion pack. But for the more casual player there isn’t enough here to keep them interested. Instead, they will get to level 80 and then sit around Stormwind or Orgimaar and wonder what else is out there. Recommended but only if need to get your next fix of the World of Warcraft.