Blizzard launches media blitz for Wrath

It all began with twitter, a micro blogging site out there on the tubes. I checked in randomly, and saw both the WoW Insider account and one of their writer’s, Matticus, post that they had received a tip that Gamespy would have new info on Wrath of the Lich King at midnight PST. It was about 25 minutes away, so I opened up the many places I post to, and waited impatiently. What follows is the deluge of info released.

An interesting quote I pulled from the article has Jeff Kaplan saying “going forward, all the five-man heroic dungeons will be itemized completely separately from the lower-level experience.” This is an interesting change. Matticus has also posted on Twitter under Patyomatt that he found that all WLK raid dungeons will have 10 and 25 man versions… that is really interesting! Oh, and the two versions, like the 5 man normal and heroics, will be itemized individually.

Coldara, the dungeon in Borean Tundra, is where we will face off against the blue dragons, including an encounter where we get to fly drakes around and use their abilities in the fight. Sounds like a blast! Another thing Blizzard learned is that players like 5 man dungeons that can begin and end within about an hour, which I will concur is very much a welcome change.

Another point on the Raiding and Dungeon front is that there will be no attunements in Wrath, nor will there be any requirement to do a 10 man dungeon in order to do the 25 man, meaning blizzard learned from the frustration that was heroic keys and painfully long attunement chains.

Death comes in many sizes
For the Death Knights, the news starts with the lore, and this is where the Alliance get to share in some Forsaken style stories. The Death Knights will be, much like Forsaken, former servants of Arthas who broke from his control and now battle against him. Other news is a solid standing of how to make a Death Knight, limitations on them, and some of the features.

The main article goes more into how the Death Knight will work, but the more I hear about the system for the DK, the more I think we will need to see and play it, not to mention doing the hero intro quests, in order to properly understand the class. The change from an expected Level 80 epic quest to unlock, to a simple ‘have a level 55 or better’ is really going to explode the number of Death Knights.

Speaking of Death Knights, the site also has an article specifically about the class, detailing what I say above, and giving a bit more info on them. First, the Death Knight will be able to summon undead, sort of like the Druid trees from the Balance side. Second, the DK will be able to ressurect a friendly or enemy fallen, though not in their form, and not in their control, instead using them as a Ghoul that they can choose to control or set wild on surrounding mobs.

For you Warriors out there, worried about losing your raid spots to some up and coming young Death Knight, we got some more information on how the DK tanking will be. First, there will be no shield for the Death Knight. “their primary forms of mitigation will come in the form of Parrying, and the inherent power of their Presences and rune abilities.” writes Gerald Villoria. He adds that Blood will, contrary to early speculation, not be the DPS runes, but the primary tanking runes. Not surprising, though, Frost will be the CC type runes.

With a reported niche in magic dealing bosses, versus melee bosses, the Death Knight will definitely fill some roles that current tanks need major healing through. I will definitely agree with Mr. Villoria, there is a lot that players will be outraged about when it comes to this hero class, but like many have asked for, this new class is feeling a lot more heroic as more details emerge.

The videos
With this new deluge of info on Gamespy, we also received 5 new zone videos. I am going to give my thoughts on them here.

Borean Tundra – I love the whale under the water, but I hope we don’t need to kill them. They look too cool, and I have waited too long for non monster water life to appear. The tuskarr look neat, but very cartoonish. Ok, even more cartoonish than the rest of WoW. The Alliance town by the sea actually looks like I had expected Menethil to, large, bustling, and ever growing. Oh god, not more Harvest Golems! I thought I was rid of them at level 20! Wow, Coldara looks awesome! No, it’s not just the epic LOTR style of music either. Oh, nice, platforms, more places for me to fall off of!Definite goblin presence. Some very neat looking undead structures, I am guessing this is the vaunted ‘first time the undead make something instead of take it over’ type settlement.

Sholazar Basin – AKA Un’goro Crater: The Sequel! Looks like a jungle, with palm trees and great waterfalls. Can I bring my Canon 350D into WoW? Please? Whoa! Vehicle combat? Looks sort of cool… umm… did he just shoot some flying beasts out of the sky in his fighter plane? What about looting the bodies? This looks so cool, it makes the TBC bombing runs look almost boring! Ahh, those ‘flying things’ were gargoyles. Oh, look, his fighter plane even comes with a parachute that is so tattered he couldn’t float if he were made of feathers. Still, it looks really neat.

Zul’Drak – Another troll dungeon or zone. Yay? Ahh, troll, abominations, and spiders. What else can they throw in a dungeon? Aww, the Lich has his own Dalaran bubble.. how cute! Hmm, that looks like a skeletal form of Hakkar… but smaller I think. Another place I could spend hours with my camera at if it were real… and not filled with stuff trying to kill me. Wait, what? Red forests reminscent of the area near Silvermoon? Huh? Ok, now I am confused, back to back shots of what looks like the same place, one has everything covered in snow, the other, looks like it could be a summer evening. Have to look into that more.

Dragonblight – Wow, that was a loud intro. Lots of channeling for some reason. Is that the boss from Magister’s Terrace? The guy from the fight that is just like Curator? Nice dragon bones. Umm, why did they include a shot that looks barely rendered and not even colored or textured? Do giants in Northrend have no color or texture? More red foliage. Hmm. The Alliance under attack. Shocking. Naxx perhaps? With flying skeletal dragons partoling nearby? They look reminscent of the Wyrms from the Manga that the scourge was raising. Ok… now we are onto… Grizzly Hills – Another busy Alliance port city. Will these boats actually move? Be used? Horde deforestation… *sigh* Enough sterotypes, Blizz! Whoa! Ironforge in Northrend! Oh, wait, probably Ulduar. Looking impressive for sure.

Howling Fjord – Wait, ok, so this is where the Undead settlement is. I guess the one before was scourge or Nerubian. Did I mention that the undead scourge buildings and structures are largely Nerubian by design? Oops. We also have a Thunder Bluff type rise. Weren’t there supposed to be ancestors to the Tauren out in Northrend? Requisite Dragon. Looks like a Vrykul settlement, and I do not want to know if that ‘dragon hide’ draped over a steel skeleton is real hide. neat, flaming ancient in a flaming forest ala Charred vale in Stonetalon. I sooo want to fly through this continent on my bird or dragon. Utgarde Keep looks cool, with some really neat fights and mechanics. I look forward to LFG UT in a few months.

That is about it for the videos. Some really amazing stuff to be seen, and I cannot wait for WLK to ship. Sadly, my predicted release range of summer keeps slipping. Maybe I thought too highly of Blizzard’s ability to ship this game in less time than the last took. Look for a podcast between now and Saturday morning. 
More coming soon…

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