Wrath of the Lich King

It’s been awhile since my last post. In fact I meant to post this a couple weeks ago and sat on the draft for a couple weeks.

Since my last post I’ve kept myself busy with work, Japanese class, and bowling.

If were unaware two weeks a month ago on Nov 13th World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King was released to the world. Since then I’ve gotten back into playing, hit 80 and started raiding again.

I have to say that this expac is the best so far from Blizzard. While I did manage to hit 80 in about a week from release it was probably the best 10 levels of the game. I didn’t do any boring grind but did all the quests I could. See Blizzard has revamped the quest system for the xpac.

In the release version of the game it was common for many tests to involve killing x of some creature, or saving someone then going back and finding our stranded friend is right where you left him. This time around Blizzard still has the kil 10 “Rats of Doom” but has expanded the quests so that there are many more dynamic quests. There are rail shooters, quests which require you to pilot a vehicle, races, button mashers similar to God of War, ones which transform you into a monster and more. Not only that they’ve done a great job creating a cohesive story which evolves as you play.

From the start it feels like you’re making a contribution to the effort to defeat the Lich King. From the start your interactions seem to feed into various stories. This really stands out with Blizzard’s new use of their phasing technology. With phasing Blizzard can control who can see you, what enemies you can see, and what landscape you can interact with. Blizzard puts this to awesome use to let you change the world. Save that guy in a quest? He’s saved forever. Save a town from an attack? The bad guys sieging the castle are gone.

This is really put to great use in the later zones such as Icecrown were the good guys don’t even have a foothold. Over time you fight off the undead scourge and build new bases. Certain enemy infested areas become a safe harbor where you can rest and repair.

The other best use of this technology is the Wrathgate quest chain, which terminates with a fairly epic in game cutscene followed by you laying siege to a horde main city. It’s sweet and some of the greatest fun I’ve had in WoW. In fact with their use of phasing the game really starts to feel like a single player RPG.

Also the gameplay doesn’t stop with 80. By the time you hit 80 you’ll still probably have 2-3 zones worth of quests to do, many of which will continue to evolve the overall plot. You also can rerun many of the level up instance in Heroic mode, try out the new level 80 dungeons, and if you have 10 or 25 friends hit up the new raid dungeons.

My guild is also making forward progress on raiding. On the 10 man side we’ve cleared everything by Malygos but haven’t really bothered with Malygos yet due to schedule (we cleared Naxx the week after release).

On the 25 man side we’re on the last boss of Naxxramas and should have him done and start on Malygos tomorrow. Sadly progress has been slower here since we’ve been waiting for more guildies to hit level 80. We completed most of 25 man Naxx with around 22 people so I won’t complain too much about our slower progress :).

Returning to WoW has been fun so far and I highly recommend this expansion to anyone who has World of Warcraft. To my friends without this game, I’d say give it a try but it’s honestly a lot more fun from 70-80 than it is to get to 70. They’ve just improved the gameply that much in the latest xpac.

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