World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King
||This article may require copy editing for grammar, style, cohesion, tone, or spelling. (June 2014)|
|World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King|
|Composer(s)||Russell Brower, Derek Duke, Glenn Stafford|
|Distribution||DVD DL, digital distribution|
World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King, often referred to as WotLK or Wrath, is the second expansion set for the massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) World of Warcraft, following The Burning Crusade. It adds a substantial amount of content to the game world, including the continent of Northrend, home of the eponymous Lich King, and a new character "hero" class.
Just as the first expansion pack, World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade, raised the level cap by 10 (from 60 to 70) so did the Wrath of the Lich King, raising it from 70 to 80. This was followed later by World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, raising the level cap from 80 to 85, and World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria with 85 to 90. Warlords of Draenor goes back to the earlier pattern by raising the level cap from 90 to 100.
The Death Knight was the first announced Hero class for World of Warcraft. Death Knights, according to Blizzard developers, are able to sufficiently fill the tank and DPS (damage per second) roles. The three Death Knight specializations are Blood, Frost, and Unholy. Death Knights can wear plate armor and wield weapons with rune engravings (enhancements), but they cannot use shields. A Death Knight's summoned pet (ghoul) is temporary and only lasts a short amount of time; however Death Knights can choose to specialize to make the ghoul permanent and give them full control over it.
Players who upgrade their accounts with the Wrath of the Lich King expansion are able to create one level 55 Death Knight per realm now in cataclysm, the player no longer needs a level 55 character in a realm before making a Death Knight. Newly created Death Knights begin with a larger set of spells and abilities than new characters of other classes. They start with no talent points and must unlock available talent tiers for their level by completing quests in the Death Knight starting area in Eastern Plaguelands (called Plaguelands: The Scarlet Enclave). Both the Alliance and Horde factions have access to the class, and Death Knights may be of any race, except Pandaren.
Instead of utilizing rage, energy, focus, or mana for combat resource systems, the Death Knight uses a new system; runes, which are displayed under the player portrait, and runic power, which is generated by using runes in other attacks. The Death Knight has two of each type of rune available (blood, unholy, and frost) for use. After a rune is used it enters a (nominally) ten second 'cooldown' period before it can be used again. With specific talents, the Death Knight can also turn their runes into Death Runes, which can be used as any runes type. Additionally, runic power decays over time when the Death Knight is out of combat.
Northrend is a crescent-shaped continent in northern Azeroth. The continent is roughly half the size of the Eastern Kingdoms, but matches Outland in length and width. Although Northrend is known for its snow and ice, developers stated that only parts of the continent were to be frozen over. Northrend features eight zones with content for levels beginning at 68, though players may travel to Northrend at any level. Players arrive by boat (Alliance) or zeppelin (Horde) either at the Howling Fjord or the Borean Tundra zones, each located at opposite ends of the continent. Howling Fjord is home to evil half-giants called the Vrykul who reside in Utgarde Keep, the first dungeon to be described in the expansion. The Dragonblight and Grizzly Hills zones are located in the central-south and south-east parts of the continent respectively. The ursine Furbolgs reside in the forested Grizzly Hills. Dragonblight features the grave-sites of dragons who came to the region to die. Wintergrasp is the first zone in World of Warcraft designed specifically for Player versus Player (PVP) activities, even on Player versus Environment (PvE) servers.
The forces of the Alliance, unified under King Varian Wrynn, have brought its armies of Priests and Paladins to Northrend with the goal of avenging the Alliance Kingdom of Lordaeron, whose betrayal and destruction at the hands of Prince Arthas Menethil was engineered by the Lich King. The Alliance controls Valiance Keep and Valgarde in the Borean Tundra and Howling Fjord respectively, as well as Wintergarde Keep in Dragonblight.
The Forsaken and their Banshee Queen, Sylvanas Windrunner, have also arrived with a new contagion that they hope will prove to be effective against the undead minions of the Lich King. The Forsaken are seeking vengeance for being subjected to Arthas' magic. They have set up a military base of operations called "Vengeance Landing" and have created a settlement called "New Agamand", both in the Howling Fjord. The magi of Dalaran have also relocated, along with their city, to Northrend in order to deal with the rising threat of the Blue Dragonflight, led by Malygos the Spell-Weaver, and the Lich King. The city of Dalaran functions as the neutral sanctuary city for the continent, analogous to Shattrath City in Outland. Dalaran is levitating at a great height above the Crystalsong Forest zone but can be accessed by either the ground or by flying mount. The expansion also features more creatures and other enemies, such as the 4 new spirit beasts: Loque'nahak, Gondria, Skoll and Arcturis. It also introduces the vicious dragons called Proto-Drakes (dragons with short arms, huge teeth and large wings), and the gigantic dinosaur King Krush, who stalks the jungles of Sholazar Basin. According to Blizzard game designers, Arthas Menethil and Ner'zhul, combined as the titular Lich King, are the main focus of the entire expansion.
Development and release
World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King was announced on the first day of BlizzCon 2007, August 3, 2007. Several enhancements to World of Warcraft's graphics engine were added with the release of Wrath of the Lich King. These include the use of a new shader in areas containing ice, new fire effects, and more realistic shadows and the option to turn down character texture resolution to improve performance.
Wrath of the Lich King was released on November 13, 2008. On September 19, 2012, the Wrath of the Lich King expansion was completely merged with the original World of Warcraft game, just as the Burning Crusade xpansion was the previous year. Now all players who purchase the original game automatically receive BC and WotLK as well at no additional cost. This merging of the expansions with the original game is called a "Battle Chest".
The set sold 2.8 million copies within the first 24 hours of availability. This made it the fastest selling computer game of all time, beating the record set by the previous World of Warcraft expansion The Burning Crusade, which sold 2.4 million within its first 24 hours. It later lost its rank as number one after the third expansion set, Cataclysm, which was released on December 7, 2010, and had sold over 3.3 million copies within its first 24 hours on the market.
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