Friday, May 9, 2008

Gamespy has a bunch of new articles up on Wrath of the Lich King.

Here are the important tidbits I picked up from the articles:

  • Northrend (the new continent) is bigger than Outland.
    • That’s a damn good thing considering that 90% of the WoW population is going to be crammed into it.
  • Areas are pretty varied visually even within the zone.
    • Apparently there is even an Ungoro-like jungle area (which seems silly to have in a temperate-to-cold climate, but whatever).
  • Pre-Burning Crusade NPCs, faction and lore apparently make a comeback and some of the storylines are updated.
    • Another very good thing. There were several quests that did this in Nagrand in BC and those were by far the most enjoyable to me. It’s good to hear that Nesingwary won’t be the only one to make it to Northrend.
  • All players with a level 55 character will be able to create one Death Knight per realm, per account.
  • Vehicles will play a part in some dungeon encounters and quests.
    • I don’t know if this is really worth all the hype it recieves. We already have mounts bombing run quests that require flying mounts. Will driving around a Zepplin be all that different? Now – a siege weapon like a Catapult or Ballista – that’d be more interesting.
  • 10-man and 25-man version of every dungeon with varying loot.
    • For the life of me, I still don’t know why they don’t tune for 20-man. Two 10-mans can form a 20-man, but anyway… I’m glad to see they want to make more content accessible to more people.
  • Blizzard is purposely trying to make the 5-man content take 1 hour or less.
    • Agreed. I’d much rather run 3-4 smaller instances than one large instance (like Maraudon). One of the things I appreciated about BC was that the first instance was Ramparts and was something that could be quickly completed. Unfortunately, later instances turned out to be quite a bit longer.

  • All 5-man heroics will be itemized separately from the normal dungeons.
    • That’s certainly something that stinks about Heroic Shadowlabs, Arc and Black Morass. The boss drops are exactly the same. Of course, you can see with MgT that they already learned that lesson.
  • Designed zero raid bosses at this point (Kaplan interview)
    • Well, I suppose it makes sense that type of tuning comes last. Still… it doesn’t sound very promising for a release next week or a beta test anytime soon.

And about Death Knights in particular:
  • Death Knights start at level 55
  • Death Knights wear plate and summon a skeletal charger similar to Paladins (big surprise)
  • Death Knights don’t use mana, rage or energy – they have a mechanic built on Runes (?!)
    • Up to six Runes slot into your Blade of three types (Blood, Unholy, Frost) and once spent they refill after a set period of time.
    • Blade configuration will impact the frequency of spell use.
    • Talent trees will correlate to Runes (Blood, Unholy, Frost) but that doesn't mean that every spell in that tree will only use that rune type.
  • Death Knights gain “Runic Power” as they use Runes that decays like rage if not spent. Gamespy believes this will be used as a finisher similar to how Rogues spend combo points.
  • Death Knights have a self-buff similar to Warrior stance and Auras to define their role (Tank, Damage-Dealing, PvP?)
  • Death Knights will use Diseases to apply debuffs to targets.
  • Death Knights can raise undead.
    • One ability sounds like it will act like the Druid trees.
    • The other sounds you can raise a fallen ally (or foe) to temporarily fight for you as a ghoul. Apparently, if you are raised, you will even be provided a dialog box to decide whether you want to take over control.
  • Death Knights don’t use a shield. The emphasis will be on Parry instead.
    • I’ve maintained for a long time that this would be a very cool mechanic for a tank. Particularly since parrying increases weapon speed.
  • Death Knights will have at least one ability that significant reduce spell damage. The niche role they are intended to fill is tanking fights that require a lot of spell damage.
    • I’ve always thought it was silly when Warlocks tanked these fights, so this is a good change.


Terroxian said...

Thanks for the info and your comments about each item.

I love a few of the changes I see the top of the list being 5 man's that take 1 hour-ish. I can't tell you how often I only have about 1 to 1.5 hours to play at most and not being able to run an instance in that time really subtracts from the game value (there is probably only once a week that I can sit for 3 hours straight...RL ya know).

I like the idea of bigger zones (hopefully jam packed with even more quests than in TBC) and I'm glad there will be a variety of visualities within a zone. Can you imagine playing for the next 2 years on almost all white backdrops? (even though you and I both know it should probably be this way considering its location north).

On the death knight, it sounds like they are changing it up enough to create something new and fun and quite possibly will not take over the warrior position (as so many people have been fearing). I've always felt this series could use a 'necromancer' style play like in DiabloII (who was my favorite toon btw) so it'll be interesting to see all the 'death' related materials this brings to the table.

Regardless of all I've read about people being burned out, I'm betting this expansion will keep alot of people around alot longer.

sid67 said...

I’m reserving judgment on the DKs till I have a chance to see them in action. I think everyone will have a DK alt, but how many will take the time to level it up to 80. Still – I wanted an alt for disenchanting, so at the very least my level 55 DK might just end up as a level 55 bank alt. Hahaha.

I’m real interested in the bigger zones too. One thing they did well with the new zones in BC is very little wasted space. Offhand, I can’t think of a single place to go in Outland that doesn’t have at least one quest attached to it. Maybe the very edges of Zangamarsh and that’s about it. Compare that to Azeroth where there are whole zones (like Azhara) that feel pointless. If they can provide the expansive feel of one of the Azeroth continents and keep it jam-packed like Outland – that’s going to be one heck of a lot of content.