First Impressions of the “Wrath of the Lich King” Beta

I finally got my BlizzCon 2007 beta key Tuesday night and got the download installed Wednesday morning.

Nothing Ever Works…
Last night after getting home from work I finished patching up, and started the long annoying process of migrating all my UI settings and AddOns over to the beta install of Wrath of the Lich King. Of course, almost nothing AddOn-wise worked, and I’ve become highly dependent on bartender3+cyCircled to get most of the user interface out of my face.

I checked out the Achievements window, and it seems pretty fancy and well designed.

First thing I did was head to Orgrimmar to respec over into a poison heavy assassination/combat build with full parry/dodge/riposte talents. Essentially designed to handle soloing mobs. Next I rode the zeppelin over to Undercity, and then took the zeppelin from there to Vengeance Landing.

It turns out ‘Deadly Brew’, the rogue talent that gives you deadly poison applications when instance poison is applied is not yet implemented. Sadface.

Howling Fjord
Vengeance Landing is basically an undead encampment with lots of towers set along a coastline. The skyline has a nice aurora borealis effect going on, but other than that is pretty much your average ‘Norse’ coastline. I picked up a few quests to kill some flying crows for crow meat, and burn some dead corpses. South of town a line of archers has an alliance base under siege, and another quest sends you out to some boats to fight off an attack by marines against the coastal fleet. After dispatching some marines I was assigned to drop some smoke signals on the base cannons so that the fleet could take them out. After I did this, I rode out the front gate of the encampment, and was cut down by a massive bombardment of friendly fire from all the NPCs opening up on each other. Whoops.

Utgarde Keep
After recovering my corpse, my group was finally ready to head to Utgarde Keep. Our party was composed of two guildmates from Stonecutters; Thar (resto druid) & Cinaed (prot paladin), as well as an ex-guildmate Fallee (boomkin, who I hung out with at BlizzCon 2007) and a pickup belf mage.

At BlizzCon I had tanked the instance on a premade warrior, so at least getting to the instance was manageable. The area on the way to the dungeon is a bit more fleshed out now with a couple of quest givers for other stuff. Utgarde Keep is a lvl 70+ dungeon, and was a completely easy run for a group of pretty well raid-geared 70s. It is mostly all Valkryn, undead and proto-drakes. The proto-drakes look especially cool, and later on in the dungeon you fight spear throwing guys on them. Unlike the blood-elf mounts in Shadowmoon, you can target either the rider or the mount.
There was a cool animation for the Valkryn jumping off the dying proto-drake. The dungeon itself has a pretty good layout, its not too long and the pulls are pretty quick. There were three boss fights, all of which had some interesting gimmicks. The last boss was a fairly rough fight and at the end after we killed him some sort of undead angel shows up and starts yelling about how he had been found worthy and to rise and fight in the service of the lich king. Uh oh. Undead Valkryn boss starts throwing his weapon around and I died. I got battle-rezzed, and then immediately died in his battle shout thing. After you finish the dungeon, a door near to the boss platform unlocks, and you can jump down into some water, and drop down a ton of stories to the exit. After this our party split up to go quest individually.

Also, the new druid spell ‘Typhoon’ looks freaking awesome. Fallee was like blasting waves of water that was ripping through the low hitpoint undead trash. Cool spell.

Dragonblight Scenery

Journey West
I headed back to Vengeance Landing, turned in a few quests and then headed west. I passed through Grizzled Hills which looked fairly foresty but was not all that impressive. It wasn’t until I got to the Dragonblight that the zone became very graphically impressive. As I headed west the scenery seriously improved. Dragonblight has a bit of the EverQuest ‘scars of velious’ going on, with a massive icefield filled with a gigantic tower, patrolling shrieking dragons overhead, and all sorts of nasties fighting it out with mammoths on the icefield itself. I quickly crossed the zone, and made my way to the Borean Tundra picking up flight points as I went.

Borean Tundra
Borean Tundra looks amazing. There is a flood plain, and a real arctic tundra feel going on here, rather than the ‘Midgard’ style forest on the other side of Northrend. Water occasionally blasts out of blow holes in the grounds, some sort of fattened squat creatures frequently attacked me as I rode my horse across the flood plain, and in the distance I could see these kite-like things that they flew over their encampments which looked really cool. I then found some sort of stone quarry which was being looted by these Beryl caster guys, and spoke to a massive tiki head statue which wanted me to find some other ancestral spirits inside the overrun quarry. The Beryl guys I think are some sort of Nexxus raiders, and they arrive in
these spaceship platform things which can be seen hovering over the quarry.

Just over the hill was some sort of encampment for the Dalaran mages, with a massive dragon sleeping there. I rode down across a valley of mammoths from there, and was attacked by an 71 elite deathknight on a mount as I went through the crowd. After blowing some cooldowns I took him and his mount out and made my way to the horde base in Borean Tundra. Garrosh Hellscream and High Warlord Saurfang are running the ship, and it is an impressive fortress (in horde terms) filled with goblin war machinery and activity. Unlike most bases which are just an encampment of guys standing around surrounded by some sharpened logs, this had more of a feeling of an active war base. Garrosh is his usual emo self, suggesting that I get out of here. Saurfang on the other hand, suggested I get to work helping free the quarry from Nerubians.

I worked my way through the outdoor quarry killing Nerubians.
I busted apart an egg sac (similar to the ones in Terrokar forest) which popped out a female Tauren Shaman who followed me around casting chain lightning on the bugs I was squashing for a bit before transforming into a ghost wolf and riding off. Not being one to actually finish a quest when there is wandering to do, I made my way up out of the quarry and over the next hillside.

In the distance I could see some horde war machinery driving around a field. Later when I got down there you could see Kel’thuzad on some platform directing a massive army of undead, while some pillar looking thing floated around casting dark magic on the ground. I think the war machinery was part of some quest I hadn’t hit on yet.

Down along the coast is another area called Garrosh’s Landing or something like that, which was a bunch of undead Valykrn spirits burning horde corpses. As soon as you walk in, a heavy mist rises up, and swirls around the edges of your UI, cutting out your ‘peripheral vision’. Very very creepy mood with all sorts of ruined horde ships. I escorted a tauren lady out of hiding to her father at a small encampment at the outskirts of the cursed town. After talking with some players on general chat about the location of Dalaran, my computer hard-locked up a second time and I called it a night.






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