Let them come. Frostmourne hungers! – The Lich King
The trailer gets me psyched to get into Icecrown Citadel and kick some ass for a shot at the Lich King, even if it doesn’t exactly give the impression that Tauren (or anyone other than humans, for that matter) are going to be the ones taking him down.
I’d also like to point out here that the trailer looks pretty damn good — and shockingly cinematic — despite the use of the in-game engine and what looks like actual gameplay footage during boss encounters.
But what really strikes me is how much better of a job Blizzard has done this time around. In The Burning Crusade, there were players who didn’t know — or care — who Illidan Stormrage was. To a lot of players, especially casuals, that was territory that belonged to the hard-core raiders and elite guilds, who were privileged to be able to see the inside of places like Black Temple.
Not so in Wrath of the Lich King — Arthas and his deeds pervade everything, and every player feels them, from the Lich King’s influence in questlines large and small, to cameo appearances in dungeons like Drak’tharon Keep and Trial of the Champion. Upon landing in Northrend, there’s a very real sense that both factions, and their leaders, are really gearing up for something. And even when things began to border on the ridiculous, as they did on the Argent Tournament grounds, the designers kept reminding us of our ultimate goal for this expansion.
The Burning Crusade’s story sounded an awful lot like an L. Ron Hubbard mythos — this guy was corrupted, and stole the souls of these people, who in turn seek vengeance for wrongs done to them by space aliens, and in the mean time here’s a parade of lesser evil creatures, who work for increasingly more evil dudes, and…you get it. I spent the better part of two years playing through the damn thing and I’m still confused on how it all ties together.
But not Wrath. In Arthas, Blizzard created a real boogeyman for Azeroth. Players will enjoy killing him.
The question is, in this era of universally accessible raid content and varying tiers of difficulty, how easy will it be? If ‘normal mode’ Arthas is a pushover, the entire story feels a little cheap, especially since killing Arthas on normal difficulty is the only route to the heroic Arthas.
It just won’t feel right unless Arthas is the most badass encounter players have seen to date. He should be powerful. Ridiculously powerful. And none of this relying on adds or cheap gimmicks — as the Lich King, Arthas should radiate real, overwhelming force. The story doesn’t demand “OMG nerf it i wantz epicz,” it demands an epic battle and a memorable challenge. Here’s to hoping we all bang our heads against this particular raid boss.
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