|System: PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Blizzard Entertainment||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Blizzard Entertainment||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: TBA 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: Unlimited||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Pete Richards
August 15, 2007 - There is a preview now available for the new World of Warcraft expansion to tantalize the tastebuds of the rabid WOW fan base. And while game publisher and developer Blizzard hasn't gone into great detail about the contents of the new game, it has released some very interesting tidbits.
Due for a release possibly late next year, Wrath of the Lich King will involve a completely new storyline, a level 80 cap, new skills and abilities, new dungeons, gear, an extra profession, and a brand new hero class to add a new level of longevity to the World of Warcraft online gaming experience.
Lich King takes place in new land known as Northrend where a fallen prince by the name of Arthas (the Lich King himself) is set to take his revenge on the world. By the looks of the newly released trailer, the players are thrust into Northrend, a world full of trouble unlike any other WOW experience. It is an icy, mountainous land full of all-new creatures of all shapes and sizes, some cute, some terrifying. Upon entering the game, players will have two starting regions to choose from which both feature the same level range, so you can start from either area and have a unique experience in both while leveling up.
The eastern starting point of Northrend is known as Howling Fjord. Game designers at Blizzard have deliberately avoided a bleak looking tundra-like environment by covering Howling Fjord with a mix of forested areas and mountains. The land is scattered with destroyed airships from an evil Viking-like race who call Howling Fjord home.
The western starting point is a region known as the Borean Tundra. But again, don't let the name fool you, this is more than just a dull, icy landscape. The tundra is in the process of melting, so some areas will be icy while others will be damp and in some cases covered with frigid water. Blizzard has made sure to keep a nice contrast of landscapes throughout Northrend while still giving the world a cold and Icelandic feel.
There are a number of regions throughout the map, including an area that hasn't yet been seen in a World of Warcraft game. Grizzly Hills, located just north of Howling Fjord, is a warmer area of Northrend, full of deep forestry and mountain areas, resembling somewhat of a redwood forest. It is home to inhabitants known as Furblogs, a race of creatures that can be found throughout the game.
As you venture on throughout Northrend, you will enter a land known as Dragonblight, which is somewhere between the eastern and western starting regions. So no matter which region a player chooses as a starting point, both will lead to this land somewhere in the middle of Northrend. This is when the game starts becoming a bit more difficult, as Dragonblight is the land dragons go to die and is a dark and intimidating atmosphere. The tundra is littered with giant skeletons of the fallen dragons. From Dragonblight, the player will move on into a region known as Zul'Drak, which is when the game becomes even more complicated.
North on the map from Dragonblight is Northrend's capital city Dalaran. It is a magical city which relocated so it could be placed in the frontlines to face the forces of Azeroth. Dalaran is a floating city which players will still be able to reach from the ground and will also be accessible by the flying mounts. The entire city is protected by a magic dome.
Wrath of the Lich King will introduce several new elements to the World of Warcraft series never before seen in its Player versus Player gaming. There will be a number of new siege weapons that are meant to destroy in-game structures such as enemy bases. Destroying structures will be the focus in an all-new battleground where a large PvP battle can take place and the goal will involve destroying the enemy's base and as many structures as you can. Your buildings must stand as well, however, which will be the ultimate test in defensive and offensive action.
Lich King will also include a new arena season, with a completely new map and new gear. Also new will be a brand new inscription profession, which will allow gamers to alter their own as well as other characters' spells and abilities. This will allow you to make your character even more unique as you can create your own individual skills and spells, similar to jewelcrafting your weapons. Players will also be able to customize their character even further with new hairstyles. More is yet to be announced by Blizzard.
While details are still a bit sketchy, and Blizzard are still in the early stages of releasing information about Lich King, more information about the upcoming game should be released as time moves on.
CCC Freelance Writer