World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King
World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King, colloquially known as WotLK, Wrath, or WLK, is the second World of Warcraft expansion, officially announced on the 3rd of August 2007 at BlizzCon. The majority of expansion content takes place in Northrend, and centers around the plans of the Lich King.
Content highlights include the increase of the level cap from 70 to 80, the introduction of the Death Knight Hero Class, the new Inscription profession, as well as new PvP and world PvP content. No additional playable races are planned, though many new NPC races will be featured.
No public beta has been announced ; the game itself is scheduled to be released in the second half of 2008. In April a closed Alpha test for the expansion was rumoured to have been opened - note that people admitted to the Alpha test are not authorized to make public any information.
The expansion introduces a new continent on Azeroth - the harsh, icy Northrend is under the control of the Lich King, and is home to the majority of the expansion's new content.
Northrend is a croissant-shaped continent in northern Azeroth. The continent is roughly half the size of the Eastern Kingdoms, but is expected to exceed Outland in length and width. Although Northrend is known for its snow and ice, developers stated that parts of the continent will not be frozen over, such as the springtime Howling Fjord and the jungle-like Sholazar Basin.
Flying mounts will also be usable in Northrend, currently the plan is to allow players to fly by level 77 instead of at 70. Blizzard said they want to "keep us grounded and guide us on foot for a while", so we can enjoy all the hard work they put into the land and not just "fly over it". There may be new flying mounts introduced with the expansion that will provide a very slight increase in speed and, also as yet finalized, these new mounts may be able to carry more than one passenger.
To alleviate some of the problems experienced at the launch of the Burning Crusade expansion, players will be able to choose where to enter the continent more freely - both Howling Fjord to the east and the Borean Tundra to the west feature level 68+ content, and it is planned that you can level all the way to 72 without visiting both. The continent is designed to allow players to level from level 68 to 80. Both zones will feature a Hellfire Citadel-style instance hub with multiple dungeon wings for level 70 characters, level 80 characters, and raiders. Players will access Howling Fjord via a Zeppelin for Horde from Undercity to Vengeance Landing and for Alliance by boat to Valgarde. Borean Tundra will be accessed via zeppelin to Warsong Hold for Horde and by boat to Justice Keep for Alliance.
Map of Northrend
Zones and their planned level:
Howling Fjord (68-72)
Borean Tundra (68-72)
The Dragonblight (71-75)
Grizzly Hills (74-76)
Azjol-Nerub (74-78 )
Sholazar Basin (75-78 )
The Storm Peaks (77-80)
Icecrown Glacier (77-80)
Lake Wintergrasp (Outdoor PvP)
Various organizations, factions and new races will be highlighted in the expansion. Note that no new playable races are planned.
Dalaran and the Kirin Tor
Dalaran is to move from its previous location in the Alterac Mountains to levitate at great height in the air north of the Dragonblight in Northrend. It will act as the neutral sanctuary city for the continent, similar to Shattrath City in Outland, under the guidance of Rhonin and the Kirin Tor. The Kirin Tor are responsible for the move, but the exact method is unknown - it is likely to be either by teleportation or transportation. It can be accessed by either foot or flying mount. However, as with Shattrath, there will be no class trainers or auction houses. The effect on the current location of Dalaran is unknown.
The Forsaken and their Banshee Queen, Sylvanas, 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 seek to avenge Arthas' destruction of Lordaeron and the plague of undeath that transformed them. They have recently created a settlement, New Agamand, in the Howling Fjord.
The Taunka are an ancient offshoot of the Tauren. They were thought to be lost until discovered by Garrosh Hellscream and his Orc forces upon arriving in Northrend.
The Tuskarr are humanoid walrus people who live in Northrend. Although seen throughout Northrend, they make their homes primarily in the Borean Tundra. Their capital city is Kaskala and it is a Fishing area. They also have Kamagua, a settlement in the Howling Fjord. Moa’ki Harbor is situated in The Dragonblight
The Vrykul are a race of half-giant warriors native to the Howling Fjord. The Vrykul have grandly decorated armor with adorned items attached, such as skulls. These formidable warriors have begun attacking Horde and Alliance settlements, and many of the Vrykul are pouring out of the fortress of Utgarde Keep.
A race of Spider-humanoids that once controlled all of Northrend before the coming of the Lich King. Now, they live mainly in the lower reaches of their destroyed kingdom Azjol-Nerub and other scattered conclaves. It is speculated that they serve the Old God within their city.
The Knights of The Silver Hand
The Knights of the Silver Hand will be making their return in Wrath of the Lich King, headed by the re-inspired Highlord Tirion Fordring. The order seems to be based out of Valgarde in the Howling Fjord.
The Lich King
It is planned for players to interact with the expansion's main antagonist, the Lich King, throughout the expansion, beginning as soon as the player sets foot in Northrend.
Dungeons and end-game content
The WoW Alpha map with Northrend added
The expansion adds group content in a similar fashion to the Burning Crusade, and the 'heroic dungeon' format will be preserved. Many new 5-man, 10-man, and 25-man dungeons will be located in Northrend. The expansion will have as many 5-man instances as the previous expansion and all 25-man raids can also be completed as a 10-man group due to the popularity of Karazhan. Note that, despite speculation, solo dungeons are not being planned. Eyonix has spoken about the possibility of account based or guild based raid attunements for the expansion. This would mean if your guild completed the keying quest or one of your characters has, everyone in your guild or all the characters in your account would also become attuned.
New and original
Utgarde Keep (two 5-man wings, level 70 & 80, and a 10 and 25-man raid)
An instance hub in the Howling Fjord filled with the vrykul, a Viking-like race devoted to serving the Lich King. It was the first dungeon introduced at BlizzCon; the dungeon is comprised of three wings.
The first wing, "Utgarde Catacombs" (level 70), was playable at BlizzCon.
The second, "Utgarde Pinnacle" (level 80), was announced as the second.
The third, a 25-man raid, was revealed, though no details were given.
The Nexus (two 5-man and a 10 and 25-man raid)
Located in Coldarra, it will feature the Blue Dragonflight as the enemy. The Red Dragonflight will be aiding the players.
A level 70, 5-man instance (Ice Caverns).
A level 80, 5-man instance, that lets you fight on magical rings that float above the ground.
A 25-man raid, similar to Onyxia. A rift in the sky where you will battle Malygos.
Drak'Tharon Keep (two 5 man wings between levels 72-76)
A fort where Arthas found the Frostmourne, located on the border between Grizzly Hills and Zul'Drak. Drak'Tharon Keep contains 2 instances with 1 entrance in Grizzly Hills for level 72-74 players and the other accessed from Zul'Drak for level 74-76 players.
Gundrak (Unknown if it's a raid or 5 man)
The capital of the Ice Trolls where players will face off against the Ice Troll King.
Chamber of the Aspects (level 80 10 and 25-man raid)
A single encounter raid instance where players will face-off against a dragon.
Ulduar (level 80 10 and 25-man raid)
Located in The Storm Peaks. A Titan-related dungeon where secrets of Azeroth's history will be revealed. Planned as the next progression step from Naxxramas.
The ancient subterranean kingdom of the nerubian race will contain several instances, with one featuring an Old God and the Faceless Ones.
Icecrown Citadel (level 80 10 and 25-man raid)
Culminating the expansion with a direct confrontation with the Lich King himself. Is to be released in the final major patch of the expansion pack.
Returning, but in another form
Will have 1-2 instances inside the city similar to Stormwind and Orgrimmar.
Naxxramas II (level 80, 10 and 25-man raid)
The instance will be retuned to level 80 and included as a 25-man dungeon at an entry-level difficulty with no attunement.
If one looks at the video on the area of Dragonblight, it seems Naxxramas is floating above the frozen landscape.
Additions to Azeroth
Caverns of Time: Culling of Stratholme (level 80, 5-man instance)
A new wing of the Caverns of Time, where you'll fight alongside Arthas, during the break of his insanity, against Mal'Ganis to purge the city of Stratholme of its citizens, who are infected by the undead plague.
Speculated instance content
This article or section includes speculation, observations or opinions possibly supported by lore or by Blizzard officials.
It should not be taken as representing official lore!
Populated by the naga, could perhaps be a dungeon.
Has been suggested by Blizzard as a possible site of expansion content, though no mention of it being instanced.
Another Titan-related dungeon - located in southern Tanaris. There are no announced plans of Uldum being included
A magnataur community located in The Dragonblight. Led by the mighty Grom'thar the Thunderbringer, they continue to build their numbers and gather resources in preparation for making war on the other races of the world.
PvP mechanics will be extended in WotLK, with the addition of a dedicated PvP zone (even on PvE servers) in central Northrend called Lake Wintergrasp. There is no requirement to visit the zone, but the benefit will be an interesting reward affecting the whole region (or possibly continent).
The expansion will also introduce siege weapons, destructible buildings (with both appearing in Lake Wintergrasp) and at least one new battleground. The currently planned battleground will have siege vehicles, 15 people in each team, and games will last 30 to 40 minutes.
The expansion will introduce the long-awaited concept of Hero Classes to World of Warcraft. It is planned that the Death Knight (see below) will be the first of several "unlockable" hero classes, the only one available at launch, though no definite plans have been revealed. Hero classes will generally consist of classes from Warcraft III that were too strong to play from level 1 or could not fit a primary class role.
Nethaera posted on the new Wrath of the Lich King forums that the current plans are one new hero class per expansion pack.
A Death Knight, seen in the WotLK trailer
World of Warcraft's first hero class, the Death Knight will be accessible to players after having a character reach level 55. Once unlocked, the Death Knight will then complete a series of quests that will explain their defection and background. The Death Knight will start at level 55.
The Death Knight is a plate-wearing DPS/tank class (albeit one that is unable to use a shield) that uses a brand new resource system based primarily on cooldowns. Rather than the existing Mana/Rage/Energy mechanics, the Death Knight will be able to carve Runes into his/her weapon outside of combat, and then use those runes to power abilities (the recharge rate is at 10 seconds, for now).
Bard (April Fools Joke)
Armed with a trusty axe, killer riffs, and a ton of attitude, the guitar-wielding bard excels both as a solo performer and as part of a solid group lineup, able to front in roles as varied as his musical repertoire.
The Bard class was touted as an April Fools day Hero class for WotLK. The link for the class may be found at World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King
Professions and skills
Professions will be allowed to level to 450 skill points from the Burning Crusade's 375 skillcap, whilst leveling professions from 300-375 will be made easier.
Developers consider a possibility to make enchanters able to sell their enchants in the Auction House.
Note that at this time there are no plans to extend the Riding Skill further, nor to lower the cost of mounts and mount skills upon release of the expansion. This almost certainly means no new mount types will be introduced, but more variations of those we already have (i.e. epic land and flying mounts).
Main article: Inscription
Inscription is a new profession that allows players to augment the power of their spells by increasing damage, reducing cooldowns or adding other effect, as well as new kinds of items.
The profession of Inscription is similar to the profession of Enchanting. However, Inscription permanently enhances the attributes of players’ spells and abilities. For example, an "Inscriber" could take the Fireball spell, and give it the ability to daze a target for 3 seconds, or give Shadowbolt a Nature damage bonus, like 50 Shadow damage, then 60 Nature damage over 10 seconds.
In a recent interview, Jeff "Tigole" Kaplan spoke more about Inscription, stating that the uses would be varied, and that the team are working to ensure there is not a single 'best' inscription, but rather a large choice. An example he gave was that a Frost Nova could be inscribed to either root targets in a larger radius, or to keep the target rooted for a longer period. He also mentioned that Inscription will work with melee abilities too.
New monsters have been announced in the official Wrath of the Lich King Bestiary .
Levels, spells and talents
The expansion will allow characters to level to level 80, adding 10 additional talent points to their disposal and extending the talent trees further to allow for 51-point talents. Leveling from 70 to 80 should take the same amount of time as 60 to 70.
Extended character customization
Players will also be able to customize their characters using new hairstyles, as well as change hairstyles of existing characters. However, players will not be allowed to change their characters' face, body shape or size. New dances are also being added.
Blizzard is considering introducing Legacy Items with the expansion. Essentially, these items will be bound to the player's account, with the ability to ship the items between characters on the realm the item was discovered.
The expansion is expected to enhance World of Warcraft's graphical engine - for example, a new shading system is being coded for use in ice caves, whilst flame animations are noticeably more detailed. In addition, the art for the expansion will look more like "classic Warcraft" (gothic fantasy), and less like Outland art (high fantasy).
System requirements have not yet been published, but are expected to be similar to that of the previous expansion, World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade.
I am adding Images of it later but for now a video that came out this week from blizzard.
all from WoWWiki