Dungeons, Daily Quests, and Raiding in Wrath of the Lich King - Page Two

Next, we made our way over to Dragonblight, which Kaplan noted was the
largest zone that the development team had ever built. In that region
of the continent, players will stumble upon an area that was once known
as Icemist Village, but it has now been overrun by Nerubians from the
Azjol-Nerub kingdom. Azjol-Nerub is actually one of the dungeons that
will be featured in the expansion and features both low level and high
level wings to it.

Further along into Dragonblight, we also ran into an area known as
Wyrmrest Temple which will serve as a low and high level quest hub,
along with being another major raid location in Wrath of the Lich King.
The raid area in Wyrmrest Temple is known as the Chamber of the
Aspects. “It’s a short raid,” Kaplan
stated. “It’s similar to Onyxia’s Lair or
Magtheridon’s Lair. The cool part about the Chamber of
Aspects is that it’s set up in such a way that initially
we’re going to go with just one Dragonflight, but if we
wanted you to face the other Dragonflights in different raid scenarios
we can add those over time, and you can interact with all of

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A snowy portion of

Our next destination was a once massive Alliance base that has come
under some serious siege from the Scourge, and you as a player most
assist the locals in driving out the enemies from the base. Along with
some very cool vehicle quests that are available in that area, players
will also find that Naxxramas is flying over the area. “This
is where Kel’Thuzad is making war on the Alliance,”
Kaplan explained. “Both Horde and Alliance players will have
to go into Naxxramas.”

Originally, Naxxramas existed as one of the most difficult and
awe-inspiring pre-BC raids and was the last raid released before the
expansion pack hit store shelves. “It was one of our
fans’ favorite dungeons from the original game,”
Kaplan said. “They felt like it was one of the coolest
dungeons we ever did, but we felt like not enough people got to see it.
So in Northrend, it’s going to be the entry level raiding
instance, and that should make it much more accessible for many

At this point, Kaplan stopped and really focused his attention on the
press attendees. “We’re making a fairly major
change to our raiding game that I’m really excited to talk
about,” Kaplan began. “We’re going to
have a lot of raid instances in Wrath of the Lich King, but rather than
have some of them 10 person and some 25 person, all of the raid
instances will use our heroic dungeon technology to be 10 AND 25 person

”In the Burning Crusade,” Kaplan continued,
“Karazhan was our most popular instance. It was the one
players run the most each week, but we also had all this great 25
person content. We found that players wanted a full progression through
10 person and a full progression through 25 person content. It
wasn’t a matter of one being hardcore and one being casual;
it was more a matter of what sort of social constructs are players
comfortable playing with, who they played with, and what size their
guild was.”

“So what we’d rather have is a scenario where the
player decides how many people they’re comfortable with
– 10 or 25,” he added. “We want to
provide content for these groups on all tiers, both accessible tiers to
the super-skilled, hardcore end-game. The 10 and 25 man raids progress
completely independently of each other.”

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Zul'Drak exterior

Taking a breath, Kaplan continued his explanation of their system.
“One complaint we did receive in the Burning Crusade was that
our 25 person raid community didn’t want to go through the 10
person content to get attuned to the 25 person content,” he
said. “They felt that they were a 25 person raiding guild,
why should they have to go through Karazhan? They just wanted to move
on to the next content. With them in mind, the 10 and 25 tracks will be
completely independent. We won’t ever force the 25 person
raiding guilds to do the 10 person content or vice versa.”

“That said, we do feel that getting the 25 person raid
together takes a lot more coordination and effort, and we want to
preserve the eliteness of the 25 person raiding,” Kaplan
explained. “In terms of rewards, the 25 person versions of
our raid dungeons will drop not only better loot by almost an entire
tier, but also more of it. If you’re willing to take on the
effort of coordinating the extra people, it’s much more

With that major announcement out of the way, Kaplan was very excited to
let his feelings known about the change. “It’s
going to let a lot of people do the content how they want to do
it,” he said. “It’s not a ‘make
the game better for casual or hardcore people.’ Instead
it’s make the game better for the people that are playing.
Provide them with raids at each level that are both casual and

Kaplan smiled when he made his next comment. “The irony of it
all is that Naxxramas was one of our most hardcore dungeons ever, and
we’re moving it to the front of the raiding queue,”
he stated. “It will be very accessible to both 10 and 25
person raids. We expect those hardcore individuals who have already
done the raid to progress through it very quickly.” 

According to Kaplan, the next raid dungeon after Naxxramas will be the
old home of the Titans, Ulduar. “It’s a massive
sprawling raid dungeon that will be waiting for players when the finish
up Naxxramas,” Kaplan said.

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Drak'Theron circular

On top of the raid dungeons included in Wrath of the Lich King, Kaplan
noted that Blizzard will continue to release more raids through their
patches and that by the end of the patch cycle, people will finally get
into Icecrown Citadel. “We’ll feature Arthas
prominently throughout the expansion, Icecrown will be present from day
one as an exterior question zone, but the final fight against Arthas
will come at the end of the arc of Wrath
of the Lich King
,” Kaplan said. “He
will be the final boss to be defeated in style="font-style: italic;">Wrath of the Lich King.”

Finally, we ended our tour of the dungeons of Northrend with
Zul’Drak, a zone that is entirely dedicated to a nearly
extinct Troll empire. Rather than simply take the Zul idea and continue
making it into another dungeon, the developers at Blizzard actually
created an immense zone with this particular Zul. The zone itself
features two dungeons that aren’t actually wings of each
other. “We did a different approach here,” Kaplan
said. “The entire zone builds up – it’s a
giant ziggurat if you were to look at it from the top down on a map.
Again we went with the Deadmines theme, and this particular zone builds
up to a culmination in Gundrak where players have to fight various
bosses and go through a cool, non-linear dungeon. 
It’s a mid-level dungeon, but it also has its heroic

According to Kaplan the other dungeon is known as Drak’Theron
Keep. “What Drak’Theron Keep is is a gatehouse to
the Troll Empire,” Kaplan noted. “So we wanted that
to be an introduction to this particular series of dungeons.”

With that, Kaplan’s presentation of the style="font-style: italic;">Wrath of the Lich King
dungeons, daily quests, and raiding came to an end. In general, the
entire presentation was incredibly informative, especially for those of
us familiar with the content Kaplan was describing. The idea of 10 and
25 person raids progressing at the same time is a fantastic idea, and I
truly hope that both raids offer players an ability to play the way
they wish.   

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