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 August 3, 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, and new PvP/world PvP content. There are no additional playable races, though many new NPC races will be featured.
Opt-ins for the public beta began 3 July 2008; the game itself is scheduled to be released November 13, 2008. The Beta began on July 17, 2008.
- Main article: Northrend
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 at level 77 instead of at 70. Blizzard said they want to "keep us grounded and guide us on foot for a while", so that players 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 just 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 Valiance Keep for Alliance. Zones and their planned levels:
- Howling Fjord (68-72)
- Borean Tundra (68-72)
- The Dragonblight (71-75)
- Zul'Drak (73-76)
- Grizzly Hills (74-76)
- Sholazar Basin (75-78)
- Crystalsong Forest (77-80)
- The Storm Peaks (77-80)
- Icecrown Glacier (77-80)
- Lake Wintergrasp (77-80) (Outdoor PvP)
- Dalaran (Sanctuary)
Revised or added areas in Azeroth
- Acherus: The Ebon Hold and the Scarlet Enclave
- A new area in the easternmost parts of the Eastern Plaguelands, near Tyr's Hand, which will act as the starting area for Death Knights.
- Stormwind Harbor
- Western Stormwind City will have a new harbor added which will provide naval transport to Northrend.
- Dalaran Crater
- An enormous crater where Dalaran once stood, encased with a violet-colored magical shield orb.
- Shaper's Terrace
- A new Titan-related area in Un'Goro Crater, accessible by waygate from Sholazar Basin.
Factions and races
Various organizations, factions and new races will be highlighted in the expansion. Note that no new playable races are planned.
A new faction tabard system will be implemented called "Championing", where wearing a tabard of a certain faction will give you rep with that faction for kills in instances on top of the existing faction rep an instance. This is to combat the feel that gaining rep with factions is a long grind and that there is no flexibility for players to choose which factions they gain rep with.
Dalaran and the Kirin Tor
Dalaran is to move from its current location in the Alterac Mountains to levitate at great height in the air north of the Dragonblight in the Crystalsong Forest located 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, ground mount or flying mount. However, as with Shattrath, there will be no class trainers (except for a Mage trainer)or auction houses. The huge opaque dome at Dalaran's current location in the Alterac Mountains will be replaced with a translucent dome, allowing players to see the huge crater that remains after the city was removed.
Malygos and the Blue Dragonflight
Malygos has started a war with the mortal races for their reckless use of magic. Using his flight, Malygos now seeks to divert Azeroth's ley lines to his own home, the Nexus, by the use of giant constructs known as Surge needles, and send the energies out in the Twisting Nether. This would have disastrous consequences for Azeroth, so the Kirin Tor have joined forces with the Red Dragonflight to neutralize Malygos.
The Orcs of the Warsong Clan led by Garrosh Hellscream have landed in the Borean Tundra. Garrosh wants to lead the invasion to prove himself to Thrall. They have encountered the Tuskarr and the Taunka.
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 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. According to the aftermath of the Battle for Light's Hope Chapel, the Knights of the Silver Hand have merged with the Argent Dawn to form the Argent Crusade.
The Knights of the Ebon Blade
A counter to the Knights of the Silver Hand, the Knights of the Ebon Blade are an order of renegade Death Knights who have broken away from the Scourge. They are led by Highlord Darion Mograine, the son of Alexandros Mograine.
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 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: 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.
There will be 3 raid dungeons and 12 5-man dungeons (8 for leveling up and 4 max-level, each with heroic versions) at release. Heroic access will also no longer require any faction reputation. All 5-man dungeons will be designed to last around an hour.
New and original
- Utgarde Keep (two 5-man wings, levels 70-72 & 80)
- 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 consists of two wings.
- The first wing, Utgarde Keep (level 70), was playable at BlizzCon.
- The second, Utgarde Pinnacle (level 80), was announced as the second.
- The Nexus (two 5-man wings, levels 71-73 and 80, and a 10/25-man raid wing)
- Located in Coldarra, it will feature the Blue Dragonflight as the enemy. The Red Dragonflight will be aiding the players.
- A level 71-73, 5-man instance (The Nexus).
- A level 80, 5-man instance, that lets you fight on magical rings that float above the ground (The Oculus).
- A 10/25-man raid, similar to Onyxia. A rift in the sky where you will battle Malygos (The Eye of Eternity). 
- Ulduar (two 5-man wings, levels 77-79 and 80, and a 10/25-man raid wing)
- Located in The Storm Peaks. A Titan-related dungeon where secrets of Azeroth's history will be revealed.
- Icecrown Citadel (10/25-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
- 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 sanity, against Mal'Ganis to purge the city of Stratholme of its citizens, who are infected by the undead plague.  The Infinite Dragonflight storyline will continue here.
Speculated instance content
- Another Titan-related dungeon – located in southern Tanaris. There are no announced plans of Uldum being included. It was on the original list of dungeons to be added, but it is now unsure. However this latest statement may have been from confusion with Ulduar on the part of Blizzard staff, but they did call it 'old world content'.
The currently planned battleground referred to as the Strand of the Ancients will have siege vehicles, 10 or 15 people in each team, and games will last 30 to 40 minutes.
The issue with battlegrounds starting with unbalanced teams, caused by multiple queueing and the grace period for joining, will be addressed. The reporting system is also being further tuned to allow players to better police abuse of the PvP to gain easy marks of honor.
Two new Arenas will also be introduced in the expansion. One in the currently unused Orgrimmar Arena and the other in a new Dalaran Arena in Dalaran's sewers. These arenas will introduce moving objects such as pillars and waterfalls, and damaging objects such as spikes in arenas and other such mechanics to create dynamics with line of sight and gameplay. Orgrimmar Arena will also be the first and only arena to allow mounts.
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 that all bosses in instances will drop a token, similar to Spirit Shards in Bone Wastes, when your faction holds the keep everyone is fighting for. Players will be able to use these tokens to purchase gear.
- Main article: Hero class
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.
- Main article: Death knight
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 Fool's Joke)
- Main article: Bard (hero class)
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 Fool's day Hero class for WotLK. The link for the class may be found at http://www.worldofwarcraft.com/wrath/features/bard/bardclass.xml.
Professions and skills
Professions will be allowed to level to 450 skill points from the Burning Crusade's 375 skillcap, while 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. This has since been confirmed, with Inscription providing the reagent that makes it possible.
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). Rumors have been circulating about new mounts which can carry multiple people, but this has yet to be confirmed.
Blizzard are planning to have more professions represented with rare recipe drops as well as making them accessible, such as being on earlier bosses.
- 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, a "Scribe" could take the Fireball spell, and increase the initial damage by 5% but remove the DoT, or reduce the mana cost of Shadow Bolt by 10%.
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, as well.
- Nerubian vizier
- Plague eruptor
- Shovel tusk
- Iron Dwarf
- Flesh giant
- Darkfallen No info on the site yet.
- Ice Troll No info on the site yet.
- Proto-dragon No info on the site yet.
Levels, spells and talents
The expansion will allow characters to level to 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 leveling 60 to 70. Blizzard is also working on a new method of allowing players to switch between 2 different talent specs.
Extended character customization
Players will also be able to customize their characters using new hairstyles and skin colors, 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, as are new skin color variants and possibly tattoos and earrings. There is also the possibility of other feature customization, eg. tauren horns.
A Dance studio is being worked on to allow players to add and change dance animations. The amount of variety is dependent on the amount of development time they can devote to it closer to release. The animations will be race specific.
Death Knight voices will be modulated for each race so that they sound deeper.
- Blizzard is considering introducing Heirloom Items (sometimes referred to as 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 color for heirloom items used is gold, very similar as seen to the one in Diablo II: Legacy. Heirloom items are still not the same as artifact items, even if they (for now) use the same coloring for names.
- PvP armor will be different from the PvE armor entirely in looks and colors.
- 25-man raids will drop more loot than 10-man versions and be separated a full tier of item stats.
- The token system will remain for PvE. Spirit Shard-like tokens will be award from all instances to players in the faction that controls Lake Wintergrasp. They will be used to purchase basic PvP gear from doing PvE content.
- Blizzard is making a design shift to reduce the number of items they must design and to prevent unwanted drops being wasted, with the end result being that more classes will use the same items. This will be accomplished by reducing the amount of varied stats different classes and specs need. Their aim is to have 3 classes share the same items.
- Blizzard announced on the official Wrath of the Lich King forums they will be adding a convenient upgrade that will change how vanity/miniature pets and mounts are handled.
- Quoted from official WotLK forums :
- "We’re pleased to announce a convenient upgrade to the way that mounts and vanity pets are handled in Wrath of the Lich King.
- Players will be able to “learn” a mount or non-combat pet much like learning a spell, recipe, or new ability, and these creatures will then show up on a new Pet tab within the Character Info section of the interface. Players will be able to access and preview their learned mounts and vanity pets through this tab.
- Once learned, the pet icon or mount icon will no longer appear in bag spaces or bank spaces. This inventory space will be made available once again for other adventuring needs. Pets can still be set to hotkeys by dragging them to the hotkey bar, much like any other spell or ability." - Nethaera''
In the expansion, mounts no longer take up space in your bag; they can be retrieved from the pet tab. Lost mounts and pets can be restored from a stable master. 
Here is a listing of the new mounts that have been released in the Beta:
- and are available to purchase when you have Revered and Exalted reputation with the Sons of Hodir faction.
- wooly mammoth mount can be purchased in Wintergrasp for 300 . s
- and vanity mount for sale from the exotic pet vendor Mei Francis in Dalaran for 15,000G and 900G respectively, although the price is reduced with reputation. Note that the caravan mammoth reads "This is a very fast three person mount that carries vendors."
- and Tailoring mounts can be crafted with 380 and 420 tailoring respectively.
- Deathknight class mount
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. Blizzard are in the process of reevaluating the way distances, line of sight and collision are calculated to address some bugs and exploits with spells and add improved mechanics. This may not all be completed in time for release however. In addition, the art for the expansion will look more like "classic Warcraft" (gothic fantasy), and less like Outland art (high fantasy).
Blizzard are also looking at improvements to the engine to better handle the impact of large amounts of players in one area in anticipation of Lake Wintergrasp. A suggested solution is for the area around the player that receives updates (can see, events received etc.) will be dynamically reduced based on the amount of players in an area to lessen the impact on the client (though this also reduces the impact on the servers too).
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.
New Gameplay Features
The ability to spectate arenas is still on the list of things Blizzard want to do, but they are being careful about it. They would also like to add this ability to raids too, but in both cases it would be an opt-in feature only.
Paradigm Shift: Dungeons and Raids in Wrath of the Lich King
Heroic dungeons were one of the most popular innovations of the previous expansion, so it’s no surprise Heroic mode will return in Wrath of the Lich King. Just as in The Burning Crusade, every five-person dungeon will have a Heroic variant that will present players with an added challenge and improved rewards.
One exciting new feature in Wrath of the Lich King is that all raid content will be available as either a 10- or 25-person dungeon with completely independent progression paths. Both the 10- and 25-person versions will be the same dungeon; the look, layout, and design of the dungeon will remain the same. However, each will be adjusted, tuned, and balanced for its respective player size.
In Wrath of the Lich King, players can expect both 10- and 25-person raid progression paths to get increasingly difficult as they adventure to their final battle with Arthas. This new gameplay mechanic will allow more players to enjoy the raid content of Wrath of the Lich King in their preferred play style. Because it takes more effort to get 25 people together than it does for 10, players who participate in the 25-person raid progression path will receive higher quality and more loot than those who play the 10-person versions.
In addition, players will never be required to attune in a 10-person raid to progress to a 25-person raid in the progression path. Raid lockouts are same-size as well, so joining a 25-person raid for a dungeon will not lock a player out from the 10-person version of the same dungeon. This freedom of choice between raid-progression paths will let personal preference play a much bigger role in how players experience the raid content of Wrath of the Lich King.
New Quest Mechanics
The quest designers are hard at work to make sure that the road to level 80 will be paved with quests unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. The Burning Crusade innovated with bombing runs and daily quests, and Wrath of the Lich King will continue this trend with still more unique and varied adventures to undertake.
Just one example of the new mechanics you can expect from the expansion is the new vehicle-based content, which puts an interesting spin on some of the concepts originally developed for PvP siege gameplay. Certain types of vehicles and mounts can now carry passengers, making it possible for players, for example, to break a prisoner out of a tightly guarded compound by attempting a daring escape on horseback. While the NPC steers the horse, the player lobs explosives at a pack of pursuing worgen. In another quest, the roles are reversed as the player takes to the skies in a flying machine to track down and rescue survivors of a catastrophic event. Even beyond the ability for vehicles to hold passengers, Wrath of the Lich King introduces an aerial combat system that will add a new dimension to gameplay.
Ever wanted the world to know that you've fully explored every zone in the game? Killed all the bosses in Molten Core? Melted faces in PvP? Now you can with the Achievement system!
Below are a variety of screenshots from the expansion. Many more can be found on relevant articles.
|World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King cinematic trailer|
|World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King preview|
|World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King IGN Footage 1|
|World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King IGN Footage 2|
|World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King IGN Footage 3|
- ^ http://www.youtube.com/?v=1Q3W0v098sI
- ^ Press Release.
- ^ http://uk.pc.gamespy.com/pc/world-of-warcraft-wrath-of-the-lich-king/872789p1.html
- ^ http://www.xfire.com/blog/blizzcon2007/14820/
- ^ http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/thread.html?topicId=6417312045&sid=1
- ^ http://www.mmo-champion.com/index.php?topic=630.0
- ^ http://www.wowinsider.com/2007/08/26/wotlk-zone-list/
- ^ http://www.wowinsider.com/2007/08/03/liveblogging-the-blizzcon-expansion-demo-panel/
- ^ http://wow.incgamers.com/forums/showthread.php?t=402753
- ^ http://www.actiontrip.com/features/gc2007worldofwarcraftwrathofthelichking.phtml
- ^ http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/thread.html?topicId=1230503915&pageNo=2&sid=1#20
- ^ http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/thread.html?topicId=4976329321&sid=1&pageNo=1#16
- ^ http://www.worldofwarcraft.com/wrath/features/dungeons/nexus.xml
- ^ http://www.mmo-champion.com/index.php?topic=750.0
- ^ http://www.worldofwar.net/articles/413336/wotlk-report-may-2008/page6
- ^ http://www.worldofwar.net/articles/413362/jeff-kaplan-video-interview-transcript/page2
- ^ http://www.mmo-gamer.com/?p=218
- ^ http://www.egames.de/?ren=news_detail&news_id=65631
- ^ http://www.worldofwarcraft.com/wrath/features/northrend/dragonblight.xml
- ^ http://www.mmo-champion.com/index.php?topic=735.msg7299;topicseen#new
- ^ http://www.1up.com/do/previewPage?pager.offset=1&cId=3163178
- ^ http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/thread.html?topicId=2520310773&postId=25749401435&sid=1#20
- ^ http://www.mmo-champion.com/index.php?topic=9454.0
- ^ http://www.wowinsider.com/2008/06/29/wwi-08-notes-from-the-pvp-panel/
- ^ http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/thread.html?topicId=6417312045&sid=1
- ^ http://forums.wow-europe.com/thread.html?topicId=304260533&postId=5081156701&sid=2
- ^ http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/thread.html?topicId=1230604291&pageNo=1&sid=1#18
- ^ | 2007-08-24 22:52 by Bornakk
- ^ http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/thread.html?topicId=1230553915&pageNo=1&sid=1#11
- ^ http://www.wowwiki.com/Image:Blizzcon-booklet.jpg
- ^ http://forums.wow-europe.com/thread.html?topicId=612613436&pageNo=1&sid=1#0
- ^ http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/thread.html?topicId=6417312045&sid=1
- ^ http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/thread.html?topicId=9679633896&sid=2000
- ^ http://us.blizzard.com/blizzcast/archive/episode3.xml
- ^ World of Warcraft PTR Patch 3.0.2.
- ^ http://www.actiontrip.com/features/gc2007worldofwarcraftwrathofthelichking.phtml
- Official site
- Death Knight
- Rise of the Lich King background story
- Forum posts
- Unofficial sites