Updated Wed, Nov 19, 2008 by DarkFact
With the expansion announced, there's a lot to be glad about - many players' petitions such as destructible buildings and siege weapons within PvP were answered, the level cap was raised once more, now to 80, and many 'new weapons, items, dances, hairstyles' are going to be made available. Now, let's take an objective view to each of the features of the new expansion - Wrath of the Lich King.
While Raid Content details are still not readily available past the design of a few zones, we can see Blizzard is still adding more 10 and 25-mans to Northrend. This can be both good and bad news to many players - given the alternatives, if there's not a strong PvP showing for weaponry or alternate character advancement through questing and reputation grinding, the player populace will once again be affected with only one true path to follow - the endgame raiding.
Now, thankfully, and hopefully this is a trend, Blizzard added halfway through the Burning Crusade enough PvP incentives and reputation items to be obtained so that people would not be completely obliterated in PvP with Illidan's weaponry or Vashj's and Kael's armor. In fact, they made it so that the raid items could barely be passable (weapons excepted) as PvP gear, and many players had to adjust to the new resilience stat as well as the importance of stamina.
This way, Raid items remain useful mostly in raids, and PvP items remain useful only within PvP. The balance Blizzard initially wanted with the game is almost reached; let's hope it continues down this path upon the expansion hit so it gives all of us something to do and some way to advance our character no matter our preference.
The level cap being increased again comes off as no surprise to all of us; we knew that it would become a trend upon knowing of further expansions past the Burning Crusade. Blizzard devs would be quoted as mentioning we would need to be level 80 or so to stand up against Arthas. Now, with the new expansion, that will be possible.
It's a needed mechanic, in order to introduce players to new zones and make them do quests, simple items won't do, you need experience, and I believe the Burning Crusade handled it flawlessly. The only problem I can see is, will the player become too powerful for enemies outside of Northrend? Right now, trivializing content is not a big deal, but when you start adding more levels, how long before players can use a small group to defeat Kel'Thuzad, C'thun, Kael'thas, Vashj, Illidan with reduced numbers? You're defeating WoW gods and demigods, rather easily, and this could be seen as a potential flaw in the flow of things.
All in all, it's not too much of a gripe, we will need to be more powerful to defeat whatever Arthas and his minions have in Northrend, and hope Blizzard will handle our new levels gracefully like they did with the Burning Crusade.
This would be the time to add something like Dark Age of Camelot did to their users, though. Once someone reached a maximum level, they were able to create alts at a pre-set level, skipping over most of the dullness of the early stages of the game to get right back into the game. With 80 levels available soon, would it not be convenient to be able to start a new character at level 20, 30 or even 40? there's still a long way to go from there, and I know many people don't even consider alts in the Burning Crusade simply because there's just so much work to do before having your alt viable for any good, updated content.
In PvP, we stand to get possibly the best revamp in all of the expansion, with the addition of siege weapons and destructible buildings, which will make WoW battlegrounds feel more like a game of Unreal Tournament, giving it a feeling of competition and rivalry only before felt in a FPS. If this, coupled with new abilities, is implemented correctly, it will be a lot of fun and not just the "alternate grindfest" many players consider PvP to be.
Hopefully, new Arenas and Arena Types will continue being announced. Imagine 2v2 (or 3v3!), only with 3 or 4 teams entering the fray at once, last team standing wins. If you disable /say in that type of Arena, it has a lot of promise to bring continued entertainment to an otherwise 'boring' battle.
The PvP rewards will hopefully still be kept up right on par with dungeon content, only with bonuses to the PvP crowd, this way, the separation keeps existing between both types of player, yet it isn't restrictive as it was once before.
Long petitioned by many fans, this ends the first wave of announcements on features about the expansion. Many I know will be wanting to get alternate dancing patterns or changes in hair color or style. This, while not doing much to the game mechanics, is a nice touch by Blizzard and I expect it will make the community happy to know they're being listened to, and the petitions they make eventually do get included into the game.
Finally, the most important announcement in my eyes for the expansion, the first Hero class! While it is still a mystery what kind of quests you will need to embark on to become a Death Knight, I believe many will strive to unlock and play as one, so they will probably be common to see among others in the server, unless they make the questline long and arduous like the Gates of Ahn'Qiraj one. Here's hoping for a perfect balance so that we may all enjoy this class and its strange perks in the future, should we choose to! Hopefully, they'll be a true hybrid class so they don't steal warrior roles as far as tanking goes.
So what do you think? What is your greatest expectation from the Wrath of the Lich King? Is there something you know you will dislike, or plainly puts you off? let us know by commenting about this topic in our forums!
Got questions or comments? Email me at DarkFact@TenTonHammer.Com!