Tobold's Blog
Saturday, May 10, 2008
 
The news about Wrath of the Lich King

Again thanks to all the readers who sent me links. Blizzard went on a publicity spree and distributed new information about Wrath of the Lich King to every major gaming site: IGN Gamespy, Worldofwar.net, Tentonhammer, WoWInsider, to name just some of them. The news are mostly about three things: the new zones of Northrend, deathknights, and changes to raiding. I'm not going to talk about the zones, for the simple reason that I on purpose skipped reading about them, I'd rather see them from playing myself. But here are the major points on deathknights and raiding:

The only requirement for playing a deathknight is that you already have at least one character of level 55+. That's all, there is no unlock quest or any sacrifice of a previous character to become a deathknight. You can install Wrath of the Lich King and make a new deathknight right away, of any race, with the only limitation being that you can only make one per server. Why only one per server? Because the deathknight starts at level 55, and if you could make lots of them, they would become everyone's favorite crafting alt. Deathknights don't start naked, they come out in a mix of green and blue quality level starting armor and with a normal ground mount. They all have the plaguelands as starting zone, where there will be deathknight-specific quests to gear up and get an epic ground mount. I do expect this to get ugly, because most players on every server will want to try a deathknight, and with both factions and all races having the same zone as starting area and required questing area, there will be endless lag and kill-stealing.

Deathknights are designed as anti-caster tanks with high melee dps, which will be incredibly useful in PvP against mages and warlocks. They can also transform a corpse into a ghoul, and if that corpse belonged to a player, that player is given the option of controlling the ghoul. They will be wearing plate armor. Whether deathknights are good enough PvE tanks for regular dungeons is anyone's guess, but I'd expect the big raid guilds to stick to one or two protection warrior main tanks, using deathknights for caster bosses or as dps. But as only few warriors got a main tank spot in a raid guild, you can expect the number of warriors played to drop dramatically. Deathknights have blood, frost, and unholy talent trees, corresponding to the three types of runes they can use for their unique rune magic, so apparently they don't suffer from having to respec between a protection tree and a dps tree every time they join or quit a group.

On dungeons and raiding, Blizzard is expanding the heroic dungeons concept: Every 5-man dungeon in WotLK will exist in a normal and heroic version as in TBC, but now the two versions get completely separate loot tables. And now every raid dungeon will also get two different versions with different loot tables: a 10-man version and a 25-man version. So yes, even a small guild can visit every single raid dungeon in WotLK with just 10 raiders. Although obviously the loot for 25-man raids will be better, at least it will be easier to get to see everything. And again of course the devil is in the detail, we don't know yet how easy or hard these 10-man dungeons will be. But as a basic concept the idea is commendable.

No news on a release date, which is still scheduled at "when it's ready". And it doesn't look as if it will be ready anytime soon. I'm still hoping for November, but that might be optimistic. There will be a beta, and Blizzard is handing out beta access a prize for their latest artwork contest. I hope that I can get beta access by going to the 2008 Worldwide Invitational in Paris end of June, but there is no guarantee, I might only get the chance to stand in a queue for 4 hours to play WotLK for 10 minutes.
Comments:
If you're starting out with a basic armor set, I'd be willing to bet you also start out with your crafting skills at the appropriate levels.
 
One thing to note that I don't know if you noticed is they DO have a tanking tree Tobold; Frost is their tanking tree, Blood is maximum PvE DPS, and Unholy is their PvP tree. In general, that is also how their skills correspond.

From what's been said, their prime focus is tanking magic-using mobs. They have lots of ways to counter magic damage, primarily anti-magic shell. As for normal mobs, they will have their prime tanking stat be parry, in sort of the same way druids use dodge.

Another important thing that was mentioned, although I can't seem to find it now although I could have sworn it was mentioned was...they have been mulling over giving tanks more damage. They realize that, especially with a new DPS/tank hybrid, other tanks want to have fun to.
 
All of this "new stuff" doesn't really alleviate the real problems that WoW has, does it? The old world is still pretty much dead, and we are just going to see a flood of Deathknights. WoW will still be a grindmill for loot...

Gee I'm going to be disappointed if AoC sucks.
 
I went looking for the place I read this and can't find it, so pardon lack of reference.

I was really excited about the PvP area. It seems that it will be a daily quest hub which is a brilliant idea. Anyone on a PvP server knows how nuts the Shattered Sun Offensive was for a good while. Several of us went around picking fights while people did daily quests. It was the chaotic world PvP thing that some players still seem to ask for. If the daily hubs are in a zone where you already get rewards for PvPing, it will make thing very interesting. The idea is actually brilliant. You have to lure the PvEers out into the world with the promise of loot/gold to get them into world PvP. In theory it sounds cool: it could be a gankfest, if there are many other daily hubs it could be a vacant zone.
 
In WotLK, I think we will have a change of perspective to hardcore raiders.

Instead of glory from denial (doing what others can't) it would be a glory from skill (doing better than others).

But of course thats just personal especulation.
 
"Deathknights have blood, frost, and unholy talent trees, corresponding to the three types of runes they can use for their unique rune magic, so apparently they don't suffer from having to respec between a protection tree and a dps tree every time they join or quit a group."
I've also read about the three types of runes, but I'm not quite sure that we can draw a conclusion like "they don't need to respecc for tanking and damage". Its entirely possible that most tanking spells will be of a spefic kind of rune and will require skilling in the accordant tree to be effective above 5-mans.

I'm pretty excited about the news for 10-man raids. I expect an increasing difficulty like Karazhan-->ZA with the difference, that the next instance should be doable with gear from the instance before. In ZA you had no chance getting that nice bear mount with a group in Karazhan-Equip.
 
Well, as a casual player I am very excited that it only takes 10 to enter any raid. I do enjoy the content, and have been unable to see it to-date due to an absence off 24 close friends with my schedule.

Also, i read that regular instances are supposed to take about an hour. This is HUGE. Hopefully, this means more Magtheridon style play with less boring trash and more face time with bosses.
 
Most of the WotLK news is pretty exiting, what i miss most is something, anything about a releasedate. Blizzard have access to immense amounts of resources and still they are lagging, probably not being able to fulfill their promise of 1 Xpack a year. I guess the main difficulty of an expansion like WotLK are the classes. How to make the new spells, abilities and talents really exiting and meaningful and still keep some balance.
 
Blizzard have access to immense amounts of resources and still they are lagging, probably not being able to fulfill their promise of 1 Xpack a year.

Probably? I'd say certainly. Bringing one expansion out in January 2007 and the next in December 2008 does NOT qualify as "one per year" in my book.
 
10/25 man raids is a fantastic addition, and should make endgame more enjoyable for untold masses of people. Well done Blizzard!

Alas, it's arriving a little too late in the day to tempt me back to Azeroth, but I'm now much more optimistic about the direction Blizzard will take with their next MMO.
 
@ Nathan

"Several of us went around picking fights while people did daily quests... You have to lure the PvEers out into the world with the promise of loot/gold to get them into world PvP."

Grouped pvp gear players attacking multiple pve geared players not grouped together doing daily quests in not pvp.

It's called one-sided ganking.

All "World pvp" is one-sided ganking/griefing, where one party attacks a weak party/player from a position of strength, where the attacking party/player's victory is virtually guaranteed.

It's hardly something to proud about.
 
"...so apparently they don't suffer from having to respec between a protection tree and a dps tree every time they join or quit a group."

Come on now, just because warriors have defensive and berserk stances does not mean they don't have to respect to swap between tanking and faux dps'ing.
 
Mmmm PvP dinner will be served in the plaguelands.

I really don't know how this works lorewise. Alliance don't like deathknights. It works for the horde sure. But wouldn't pallies be pissed to work with a deathknight.

I dunno I have a feeling of tripping the shark here.

Could this be WoW's Trial of Atlantis, which pretty much killed Dark Ages of Camelot for me.

There are some things I like about this expansion, then there's somethings I really scratch my head, and go huh?
 
I don't see any backstory issues with Death knights working with alliance/horde, if warlocks got in with no issues, death knights will also. (Though the "all races can be death knights" is iffy in backstory terms.)
 
ahhhkay, so, this is what i really want to know about WotLK, inscribing, and any other possible professions, i heard two were coming out, so whats with the prof's? tell me please?
 
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