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The World Reborn!

Finnaly, we’ve waited this entire time for cataclysm to release! With release date in a couple days I wanted to give you guys a short preview of the new world we will be entering! The world will never be the same! Enjoy! =)

I also wanted to mention that since we only have a couple days left in the “old” world, we should take advantage of the time left to us. Go out and explore some of your favorite places you’ve had fun leveling or PvPing in. We all loved World PvP back in Pre-BC! The World will never be the same! I know one of my favorite places of leveling as a mage was in Desolace! Leave your comments, what was your favorite place in the old world?!?

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Shamans getting an enhancement buff!
Shamans are getting a small buff with a hotfix, but we feel like this isn’t enough to put it where it needs to be, but it’s a start!

Quote from: Ghostcrawler (Source)
We agree with some of the recent discussion about Enhancement dps. We are going to hotfix a change to the Flurry talent to increase it from 25% to 30% attack speed with 5 ranks.

We also agree that Enhancement may have survivability problems and understand that players don’t necessarily feel they can afford the bonus Stamina from the Toughness talent, at least in PvE. We don’t have an immediate change to deploy here, but it’s something we’d like to fix and a candidate for future patches.

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New Recruit a Friend Mount coming soon!
Guess there is a new mount coming soon for those who are going to be doing recruit a friend! Kind of smart making a recruit a friend mount that allows seating for two! The new X-53 Touring Rocket!

X-53 Touring Rocket

Quote from: Bashiok (Source)
Beginning in just a few days, players who participate in the Recruit-A-Friend program will receive a whole new reward for showing a friend the ropes in Azeroth: the X-53 Touring Rocket, a two-seater flying mount that automatically increases its speed as your mount skill improves (up to 310% speed if you already have a 310% mount). The X-53 will be replacing the current Zhevra mount reward, which is retiring from the Recruit-A-Friend business after a good run. If you’ve already claimed a Zhevra (or claim one prior to the change), you’ll be able to hang on to it, of course. We’ll have more details on the new Recruit-A-Friend mount once it becomes available.

Current Recruit-A-Friend FAQ – http://us.blizzard.c…articleId=20588

If you’ve claimed your Recruit-A-Friend gift and received the Zhevra you’ll need to refer a new friend (thus gaining a new reward to redeem and claim after this change) to also obtain the X-53 Touring Rocket.

If you have a reward waiting around you have not claimed it can be used to claim a Zhevra now, or you can wait and claim an X-53 after the change.

Cataclysm Class Information coming soon
New Cataclysm info will keep coming as the week progresses. Check out the Schedule Below to view more information about the topic!

Quote from: Bashiok (Source)
Beginning Wednesday, April 7 we will begin releasing class previews containing an overview of some of the changes currently being planned for each of the 10 World of Warcraft classes. The type of information you can expect from these posts are a list of the new spells from 80-85, the new passive mastery bonuses for all talent trees, a brief outline of some of the talent changes we’re currently planning, and in some cases new low level spells for select classes.

These changes will by no means be comprehensive, and are subject to change between now and the launch of the expansion. It’s also important to understand that some classes are currently further along in the development process than others, and as a result the amount of information will vary from class to class. Please do not let this frustrate you should your class be amongst those which are on the “lighter” side of things, as all classes will receive the same level of design attention before the expansion is released. Additionally we’ll be providing more information for all classes, especially as we move into the beta phase.

Below is the schedule for each class:

Shaman – April 7
Priest – April 7
Warlock – April 7

Warrior – April 8
Death Knight – April 8
Rogue – April 8

Hunter – April 9
Druid – April 9
Mage – April 9

Paladin – April 16*

These posts are being coordinated internationally so they’ll be posted at different times throughout the day and night on the given dates to give players around the world the ability to see posts made at a convenient time. This thread will be updated with links directly to each class preview as they’re posted.

*The paladin is still deep in development. Instead of giving a preview that would be potentially less comprehensive than the other classes we made the decision to post it when it’s ready, in order to properly honor the paladin class and those that play them. The wait isn’t too long however as we’re expecting to be able to post it on April 16.

Cataclysm Dispel Mechanics coming!
This week is turning out to be a big week for cataclysm as there was a post previously announced Rage Normalization in Cataclysm, now they are talking about class information as well as the new dispel mechanics for the expansion!

Quote from: Zarhym (Source)
We wanted to introduce some of the changes to dispel mechanics coming in Cataclysm. Our goals were to make dispelling a little less trivial to do in PvP, and to make sure there is more equity in dispel capabilities among healers in both PvP and PvE.

Within the system, there are currently five types of dispellable (or curable) buffs and debuffs: curse, disease, poison, defensive magic, and offensive magic. An example of defensive magic dispelling would be using a dispel to free a polymorphed ally, while offensive magic dispelling would be utilizing a dispel ability to strip away an enemy’s buff or heal-over-time (HoT) spell. The main distinction between these two types is in whether or not you can target an enemy with your dispel.

In Cataclysm each healing class will be getting three out of the five types of dispels, with one of these always being a defensive dispel magic. This design makes sure that finding a healer with the ability to remove magic isn’t restrictive in building teams for Arenas or rated Battlegrounds. It also allows the encounter designers to assume, when designing dungeon or raid fights, that every group can dispel magic.

In addition, we’re making the opportunity cost (what the player could have accomplished with different actions) for dispelling a bit steeper. We think the cost is too low for three reasons: 1) The actual mana cost is low. 2) You never waste a dispel. If you try to dispel a debuff that isn’t there then the dispel just won’t go off. 3) We have spells that remove debuffs with minimal input on the part of the player. In Cataclysm we are raising the mana costs, making it possible to waste mana by casting a dispel when there is nothing to dispel, and removing Cleansing Totem, Abolish Disease, and Abolish Poison from the game. With these changes in mind, we are working to plan dungeon and raid encounters where dispels aren’t in constant demand or spammed in order to be successful, though some need for dispels will still be a part of the design.

As previously mentioned, we are providing three dispel capabilities to all healing classes as follows:

  • Druids will be able to dispel defensive magic, curses, and poison.
  • Paladins will be able to dispel defensive magic, diseases, and poison.
  • Priests will be able to dispel defensive magic, offensive magic, and disease.
  • Shaman will be able to dispel defensive magic, offensive magic, and curses.

There is some trade-off that is being made in making these changes and we wanted to expand on this further.

  • Protection and Retribution paladins will lose their current ability to dispel magic.
  • All shaman will lose dispel disease and dispel poison in exchange for Restoration gaining dispel magic.
  • Restoration shaman, Restoration druids, and Holy paladins will need to talent into their defensive magic dispels.
  • Shadow priests won’t be able to remove disease in Shadowform.
  • Mage, hunter, and warlock will retain their current dispel mechanics.
  • Body and Soul remains the same, and basically any dispel mechanic not mentioned above is currently planned to remain as it is.
  • When possible, we’d like to combine dispels into a single action. For example, the druid ability to dispel curses and poisons might be a single spell with a Restoration talent that also allows it to dispel magic. This part of the design isn’t finalized, however.

As with all of our Cataclysm previews, keep in mind that any of these decisions could change when we’re in beta.

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Rage Normalization – Big news for Druids & Warriors
Looks like Blizzard will be talk about all this leading up to the Cataclysm Beta! We can expect more information on the topic in the coming days or weeks before beta begins!

Quote from: Bornakk (Source)
We are going to take the opportunity in Cataclysm to try and fix some of the problems with the Rage mechanic for both warriors and druids. Some of these problems include:

  • Warriors/druids in the lowest levels of gear can be Rage-starved.
  • Warriors/druids in the highest levels of gear no longer have to manage their Rage when it becomes infinite.
  • Warrior/druid tanks lose Rage income as they improve their gear and take less damage.
  • The gameplay of warrior and druid tanks loses a lot of depth when massive boss hits means never having to manage Rage.
  • Heroic Strike and Maul are effective, but tedious abilities for using up extra Rage.
  • In general, warriors and druids don’t have enough control over their Rage.

To resolve these issues, Rage will be normalized in Cataclysm. This will make the Rage gained by characters more consistent and avoid drastic differences between low-end and high-end gear.

The concept of normalized Rage may leave a negative impression on some veteran players, as we tried it once before in The Burning Crusade and it wasn’t successful, resulting in them feeling weakened. However, we think that the concept is still sound — it was just that the previous implementation didn’t balance the values correctly, leading to players being Rage-starved. That is not the goal. As part of the change, we want to give warriors and druids a lot of ways to control their rage, so even in the worst-case scenarios they won’t feel like they lack the resource to do their job.

Here are some of the ways the Rage mechanic will change in Cataclysm:

1) Rage is no longer generated based on damage done by auto-attacks. Instead, each auto-attack provides a set amount of Rage, and off-hand weapons will generate 50% of the Rage main hands do. This amount is based on a constant formula which factors in the base swing speed of the weapon. This means the Rage gained should be averaged out between fast and slow weapons. The constant formula also gives us the ability to easily increase the rage gained if it feels too low (or reduce it if is too high). We are also implementing the following mechanics, which will still allow rage to improve to some extent as you improve gear:

  • If the attack is a critical strike, it will generate 200% Rage.
  • Haste will accelerate swing times to generate Rage faster.

2) Rage from damage taken will no longer be based on a standard creature of the character’s level, but instead will based on the health of the warrior or druid. Again, there is a constant that is multiplied by the rage generated in order to allow for fine-tuning. This calculation ignores all damage reduction from armor, absorption, avoidance, block, or similar mechanics, so improving your gear will not reduce Rage gained.

3) We will provide warriors and druids with more instant sources of rage. For example, the warrior shouts are changing to work more like the death knight ability Horn of Winter. Instead of Battle Shout consuming Rage, it will generate Rage but have a short cooldown. Both classes will have additional methods to generate Rage in an emergency or bleed off Rage when they have too much.

4) All “on next swing” attacks in Cataclysm are being removed. Heroic Strike and Maul will be instant swings that cost a variable amount of Rage. For example, imagine Heroic Strike costs between 10 and 30 Rage. You must have at least 10 Rage to use the attack, but it will consume all available Rage up to a maximum of 30. Any Rage consumed above the minimum will cause the ability to hit harder, and in some cases much harder. We will tune the ability so that it’s generally not a good idea to hit it when you have low Rage (unless everything else is somehow on cooldown) but becomes a more attractive button the higher your Rage.

We understand this change may be scary for many players, but keep in mind that the constants in the formulas for gaining Rage will give us the ability to make quick adjustments if we feel Rage generation is too low. Our goal is for each character’s Rage to not be always high or always low, but rather a resource that needs to be managed properly by the player.

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Icecrown Citadel Buff is now 10%
Not only is the Icecrown Citadel buff Strength of Wrynn/Hellscream’s Warsong 10% right now, but it will continuously keep growing. Also the number of attempts for heroic mode may increase to 40. But here is the percentage growth for the buff.

  • 15% – April 27th
  • 20% – May 25th
  • 25% – June 22nd
  • 30% – July 20th

Quote from: Zarhym (Source)
We have increased the potency of the Strength of Wrynn and Hellscream’s Warsong buffs in Icecrown Citadel by an additional 5%. These buffs now increase total health, healing done and damage dealt by 10%. In addition, the number of attempts allotted for all final bosses on Heroic difficulty has been increased to 40.

Blue Posts

Taunts missing = interesting gameplay? (Source)
I’m going to vote for not interesting gameplay.

At the very least, you should be able to reduce your chance to miss a Taunt to zero if you reduce your chance to miss with a weapon to zero. It’s also possible we’ll just let them always hit.

Druid
Starfall coefficient stealth nerf (Source)
At some point I posted some numbers for Starfall since there hadn’t been a PTR build in some time and druids were chomping at the bit to figure out just how much damage it was going to do. The numbers we went with for 3.3.3 were slightly lower than that if I recall correctly, but we haven’t made any changes to Starfall since the patch went live. The live Starfall numbers are still much higher than they were in 3.3.

We generally don’t try to execute actual “stealth nerfs.” The community will nearly always figure it out anyway so we don’y gain much by trying to hide anything. Sometimes “stealth nerfs” are just things we didn’t manage to document, but many times they are misunderstandings.

(I’m talking about live anyway. On betas and PTRs numbers are going to change quite a bit — that’s the whole idea.)

Warrior
Silence is still preventing Thunderclap (Source)
It is called “Thunder” and “Clap.” That implies some noise. :)

Seriously though, silence isn’t a dispel. Dispels are tied to magical effects. Silences are just tied to things that (more or less) logically require an audio component (in the game fiction — I’m not talking about your sound card) to work. Most caster spells qualify but some other abilities do too.

Reasoning behind Shield Slam / Warbringer nerfs (Source)
Allow me to make some slight edits to your post.

“The reason why Warbringer and Shield Slam got nerfed was because they were overpowered.”

What is overpowered is something we, and only we, get to determine. If players bring something up, we typically look into it. Just because sometimes player opinions align with ours does not mean the former drive the latter. There are plenty of counter examples of the community convinced something is a problem that we think is working fine.

The forums are a good source of feedback for us, but don’t turn them into some kind of design council.

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Blizzard Released a video on Febuary 9, 2010 of an interview with Greg Canessa, Project Director of battle.net Check it out!

Battle.net Preview

Quote from: Blizzard (Source)
Battle.net is about to undergo the greatest update in its long and storied history as one of the world’s most successful online gaming services.

Fully integrated, user-friendly, and fast, the all-new Battle.net makes it easy to find and play games, opening the world of online gaming to generations of players. In the 14 years since the original Battle.net’s launch, the service has seen tremendous growth both in terms of features and active players. Currently, there are more than 12 million active accounts on Battle.net worldwide.

This raises an interesting question. If the original Battle.net was so successful, why change it? Updating a service like Battle.net is a hugely complex undertaking. Are there really that many new features that Blizzard Entertainment could offer that would deliver a world-class online gaming experience to its community?

In one word: Yes.

The list of past innovations integrated into the legacy Battle.net service is long and varied — the introduction of competitive ladders, server-hosted games, online-stored characters, automated matchmaking, and more. But with the release of StarCraft II, Battle.net will evolve into an even more powerful and advanced online game service that will power all Blizzard Entertainment titles moving forward.

The final metamorphosis has only just begun….

The Always-Connected Experience

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In the past, Battle.net was presented as a multiplayer option off to the side, off of the main menu of Blizzard Entertainment titles. That is all changing. With the new Battle.net experience, the service and the game are now interwoven into one experience. Whether you are in single-player or multiplayer StarCraft II, you are always connected, and enjoy a bevy of new and enhanced functionality.

Battle.net and StarCraft II are designed to be seamlessly connected. That means even if you’re playing solo you will still view the latest news, receive game and content updates, and be able to see your friends’ status and chat with them. But this new interconnectivity between the game and the service goes even deeper than that. Now, each player will create a StarCraft II Battle.net character. This character serves as your single persistent identity across the service. Everything you do in the game — win/loss record, achievements, unlockable rewards, friends list, and more — will be saved to your character profile for you and your friends to see. Even your save game progress in the campaign can be synched to Battle.net. Say you upgrade your computer and re-install the game; once you connect to Battle.net, you can continue the campaign right where you left off. This is especially useful if you play on more than one computer, because all your data will be carried over for you via Battle.net.

Competitive Arena For Everyone

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One of the biggest improvements that the new Battle.net service brings to StarCraft II is smarter and more accurate matchmaking. While the legacy Battle.net service had good matchmaking, the standard experience for new players was usually a series of crushing defeats against seasoned Battle.net veterans until they either left or developed the skills necessary to thrive in Battle.net’s competitive environment.

The new Battle.net matchmaking service will measure player skill more accurately than ever before, making online competitive play more accessible for a wider audience. What’s more, we are introducing an all-new Battle.net Leagues and Ladders System to the service. After using the auto-matchmaking system a few times, Battle.net will automatically slot you into a league and division that best suits your skill level. Our goal here is to encourage local competition by finding you a neighborhood of 100 players of equal skill against whom you will be ranked. This will make ranked online play much more enjoyable and give everyone a realistic chance to win their division.

Beyond ranked matches, Battle.net will also make it much easier to compete by offering a number of other game modes. Custom games will of course make their return, but there will also be a slew of new, casual-friendly game modes such as the Practice League, Co-op Versus AI (players versus the computer), Challenges, and more.

Connecting The Blizzard Community

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Battle.net’s social networking and communication capabilities will be some of the service’s biggest new features. This new social backbone for the entire service will seamlessly integrate friends lists, matchmaking, messaging, and more. Text and voice chat are now seamlessly interwoven into and out of the game, enabling communication whether you are in Battle.net or in-game playing StarCraft II. And as is the case with previous Blizzard Entertainment titles, you can form friendships with other characters on Battle.net while preserving your anonymity.

With the new Battle.net, we’re also introducing an entirely new concept called Real ID. With the Real ID feature, you are able to send invites and form friendships on Battle.net with your real-life friends and family. Real ID friends are mutual, which means that both sides need to agree to the friend request. Forming Real ID friends comes with its benefits. You will see your Real ID friends by their real name, along with any character they are logged in as. You will also be able to get rich presence information about what they are doing, send broadcast messages, and communicate cross-game between StarCraft II, Battle.net, and World of Warcraft.

And of course, Real ID is totally optional. By enabling this, you can set up your Blizzard Entertainment social network, communicate and play games, and best of all, carry your network forward to future Blizzard Entertainment titles.

Mods and Community-Created Content

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With a community as dedicated and as creative as that of our players, the abundance of exceptional community-created mods is no surprise. When the legacy Battle.net service introduced support for user-created mods such as DotA, Tower Defense, and many others, these user-created game types became immensely popular. But while Battle.net supported mods at a basic level, integration with tools and the mod community wasn’t where it needed to be for a game releasing in 2010.

The new Battle.net service will see some major improvements in this area. StarCraft II will include a full-featured content-creation toolkit — the same tools used by the StarCraft II design team to create the single-player campaign. To fully harness the community’s mapmaking prowess, Battle.net will introduce a feature called Map Publishing. Map Publishing will let users upload their maps to the service and share them with the rest of the community immediately on the service. This also ties in with the goal of making Battle.net an always-connected experience — you can publish, browse, and download maps directly via the Battle.net client. Finding games based on specific mods will also be much easier with our all-new custom game system, placing the full breadth of the modding community’s efforts at your fingertips.

Sometime after the release of StarCraft II, modders will have access to an even more advanced means of sharing their work via Battle.net with the StarCraft II Marketplace. With the StarCraft II Marketplace, players will be able to browse, download, rate, comment on, and even buy mods if their creators choose to put a price tag on their work. We strongly believe that providing content creators with the option of being compensated for their work will lead to some truly amazing projects; having a budget will give modders much more freedom to explore and fully realize all their ideas. This in turn will lead to a bigger selection of mods and a greater variety of content on Battle.net.

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PvP Healing Change updated

Quote from: Bornakk (Source)
After further observations of the recent changes made to resilience and healing in PvP, we have made an additional change via an in-game fix so that the PvP healing debuff in Arenas, Battlegrounds, and Wintergrasp now also lowers the effectiveness of Power Word: Shield and Sacred Shield by 10%. The majority of other strong shields or damage absorption mechanics are already affected by the healing change, so we feel this new adjustment is an appropriate step in balancing the effects of resilience versus healing. The ultimate goal is to find a better median between PvP encounters feeling too quick from burst damage, or too long from heals, shields, and absorption effects. We will continue to monitor the way these changes play out and let you know if we feel any further changes are needed. As always, feedback based on your PvP experience with these new changes is welcome.

Blue Posts

Deathbringer Saurfang Hotfix (Source)
We’ve just deployed a hotfix that reduces Saurfang’s blood power gain from ability damage back to 3.2.2 values. There was also a minor visual range issue with Blood Nova that was fixed.

Nibelung Hotfixes (Source)
We are currently in the process of applying two hotfix improvements to the Nibelung staff. The first change is that we are improving the chance for a val’kyr to proc from 1% to 2%. While this may not seem like a significant improvement, it will be notable and result in the val’kyr appearing more often.

The second change is that anytime a summoned val’kyr casts her smite spell, she will heal herself for 25% of the damage done. This will help keep them alive when AoE damage is happening but not make them invincible as we still want them to feel like a summoned creature and not a special form of a DoT spell that has awesome art.

We understand the frustrations players have had with this weapon so far. We currently plan to make more proc weapons in the future and are committed to making this and other proc weapons fun and competitive items.

Upcoming Culling of Stratholme Changes (Source)
We are in the process of making changes to speed up The Culling of Stratholme, but they are not just an on-off switch so we weren’t able to get them into patch 3.3.2. For more details on this check out the post Daelo made:

Warlock

3.3.2 Warlock Improvements (Source)
Affliction was doing good damage before and with the buff should now be competitive with any class in the game, depending on the fight involved (and how much the mages benefit from IA). That doesn’t mean *you* are going to top meters. Big difference. :) The management of Corruption rolling with NMIC isn’t ideal gameplay. We generally like the kind of gameplay that lets skilled players eek out a little bit more damage, but we agree the Corruption behavior is a little extreme. That said, it’s not as bad as the haste effects on rolling, and ultimately we know how to fix it with a little tech. (Which doesn’t mean we can fix it immediately, unfortunately.)

I’m not sure we have enough data on Demo yet. The buffs definitely did something. Totally agree on the mana issues. That’s something we want to address (standard no ponies promises applies).

We knew the buffs to Destro wouldn’t be enough, but we still thought they were worth making (compared to doing nothing at all). To finish the job will require more extensive talent changes. (Don’t interpret that as a complete redo of the tree though.) We think we can do some of this before Cataclysm ships, but it’s not the kind of thing we felt safe doing with the kind of limited testing / non-PTR status of patch 3.3.2. We could have just thrown caution to the wind and made the Empowered Imp or Conflag changes gratuitously overpowered, but that carries risks of A) forcing all of the Affliction locks to respec, or B) breaking PvP.

It’s tricky with the pure classes because a lot of players will flock to the spec with the highest dps, even if the margin is only 1% (not saying that’s the case here, mind you). The risk then for us is that we force players to constantly change specs every time we make adjustments because someone else is now top dog. We screwed up and did this with hunters and mages in earlier patches and nearly did it with rogues in 3.3. Rogues aren’t in a bad place now, where some players just prefer Combat over Mutilate and actually hunters aren’t far from that either with MM vs. SV (yes, both of those classes have a third tree, but having two raid viable specs is still better than one or none). In any case, we still want to get Destro’s dps higher.

We really don’t expect the healing nerfs that affect warlock self-healing to have a huge impact on PvP one way or the other.

Warrior
Devastate Hotfix (Source)
Yes, we are hotfixing Devastate to do 20% more damage, not just 20% more weapon damage.

I can’t comment on when the hotfix will go live, because there are a lot of people involved in getting those changes pushed out, so we just don’t know. Often hotfixes go live within a day or two, but some may take longer if we find a bug or unexpected side-effect to the initial change.

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Blizzard released a newsletter recently. In the news letter came an interview with Scott “Daelo” Mercer and Greg “Ghostcrawler” Street about the Lich King and how the stories leading up to the Lich King and more, check it out!

Quote from: Blizzard (Source)

Arthas! The blood of your father… of your people… demands justice! Come forth, coward, and answer for your crimes!

Highlord Bolvar Fordragon

In the Fall of the Lich King content update (patch 3.3), Arthas Menethil, one of the most sinister and iconic antagonists of the Warcraft universe, concludes his tragic tale in a final confrontation with the Horde and Alliance.

To gain more insight into this epic moment in Warcraft history, the Insider sat down with World of Warcraft Lead Encounter Designer Scott Mercer and Lead Systems Designer Greg Street. Read on to learn more about how Arthas evolved, how his fall from the Light influenced the history of Azeroth, and how the end of his tragic character arc could shape the game going forward.

What was the inspiration for the character of Arthas? Was he originally intended to be such a central figure in the Warcraft universe, or did his role evolve as the story developed?

Scott Mercer: Early on in the development of Warcraft III, we knew the game would be about heroes leading their armies into battle. We initially created Arthas as one of those leaders, so we knew from the beginning he would be central to the storyline. Arthas starts the game as a young paladin of the human armies and then, after his fall from grace, he leads the undead through the Scourge campaign. His transformation is the bridge connecting the human and the undead campaigns, and he continues to serve as a villain in the other campaigns as well.

Despite Arthas’s importance in Warcraft III, we weren’t initially sure just how big of an effect he would ultimately have on Azeroth. A lot of his storylines — such as his battle with Illidan and his inadvertent creation of the entire Forsaken faction — didn’t really take shape until Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne, or even much later on in World of Warcraft.

Greg Street: Also, it bears mentioning that the Lich King and Arthas are actually two separate entities. The Lich King is the lingering spirit of the orcish shaman Ner’zhul. Ner’zhul originally started the demonic invasions in Warcraft II: Beyond the Dark Portal. So, in a sense, the entity that players know as the Lich King has been around for a long time, even long before Arthas was born, and has had an even larger hand in shaping the ongoing history of the Warcraft universe.

How did the Lich King’s centrality to the concept of the expansion shape its development?

Scott Mercer: After The Burning Crusade, we realized that Illidan had appeared many times in the concept art and the other material surrounding the expansion, but very few players ever actually saw him in the game itself. To most heroes, Illidan was a bit like Sauron from The Lord of the Rings; he was an omnipresent evil that they would hear about, but never actually meet in a face-to-face confrontation.

When development began on Wrath of the Lich King, we knew we wanted the players to have a more personal connection with the Lich King than they did with Illidan, even if it was an antagonistic relationship. So we started designing quests and instances in which we could show the Lich King to the players, even have him interact with or hamper them on their quests, like in Utgarde Pinnacle or Howling Fjord.

In addition to the Lich King himself, we also referenced the events from Warcraft III many times in the content of Northrend. Players can see the wrecks of the Alliance ships that Arthas set ablaze during Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne. They can also find the altar upon which Arthas first discovered Frostmourne. And of course there’s the Culling of Stratholme, the Caverns of Time instance that allows players to relive the moment Arthas first began to adopt his zealous “ends-justify-the-means” attitude, which ultimately lead to him becoming a death knight. We deliberately built these aspects into Wrath of the Lich King to help remind players who Arthas is and where he came from, which we hope makes his character that much more vivid in players’ minds.

Overall, we think this new direction for the portrayal of the expansion’s main villain worked very well in Wrath of the Lich King, and we will likely adopt this approach for other villains in the future.

The Fall of the Lich King content update is the culmination of Wrath of the Lich King. Was it daunting to try to create an encounter that topped all of the expansion’s previous epic encounters?

Scott Mercer: Encounter brainstorms rarely begin with the idea of topping previous encounters. Instead, they start with a discussion about finding the best way to portray a particular character or idea. In this case, the initial discussions revolved around how to best convey the Fall of the Lich King via a raid dungeon. Of course, we’re always experimenting with new tools and ideas, especially when it comes to designing encounters, so a lot of what may be perceived as “topping” of previous encounters is actually a byproduct of what we learned through the course of our experimentation. That said, the Fall of the Lich King is going to be epic, even by World of Warcraft’s standards, so get ready for a world-altering finale.

From a gameplay standpoint, how do the other raid encounters in Icecrown Citadel build up to the final Lich King event? Do any raid encounters stand out in particular as the prelude to the Lich King?

Greg Street: One of the things I’ve enjoyed about the evolution of Icecrown Citadel is the way the art and the encounters in the dungeon come together to portray a fully functional enemy stronghold. No boss in Icecrown Citadel is just standing around, waiting for players to kick in the door. Instead, they all have a reason to be there and a vital role to play in the Lich King’s army. As the players progress through Icecrown, they are attacking the leaders in charge of the various day-to-day operations of the Scourge. There’s the Soul Forge in charge of “recruitment” and Professor Putricide who heads up R&D…. And that’s pretty much what Icecrown progression is all about, attacking the Scourge’s operational strength as you move higher and higher up the chain of command before finally confronting the Lich King himself.

Can you give us any teasers about the final Lich King encounter from a gameplay standpoint? How difficult will he be? Any insight into how his skills and powers from Warcraft III will carry over into the final Lich King raid event?

Scott Mercer: We’re going to keep those cards close to the vest, as players will be toe-to-toe with the Lich King soon enough, but I can say that he will pose the greatest challenge yet found in World of Warcraft. Beyond that, I can only share a few additional details. The battle against the Lich King takes place at the top of Icecrown Citadel where the Frozen Throne protrudes from the citadel’s tallest tower. Throughout the fight, players will have an epic view of Icecrown Glacier, and falling off the tower will be a real danger, especially as the fight progresses. Also, I’ll just say that Frostmourne serves as more than just a weapon wielded by the Lich King during the encounter; it will actually provide a core mechanic of the fight itself, a mechanic which we hope will resonate strongly with all players — especially the lore buffs.

The rest, you’ll have to see for yourself.

Let’s talk loot: what kinds of rewards await players strong enough to bring down the Lich King?

Greg Street: Well, with great challenge comes great reward. So, in addition to the usual stuff, the Lich King is also going to drop some epic weapons that have a higher item level than any other item in Icecrown Citadel. We’re hoping to have something for every character class in this bag, but note that this is just our current goal, not a promise. The main idea is that the Lich King has an inventory of weapons that he has stolen and corrupted throughout his reign. These weapons originally belonged to characters like King Terenas, Antonidas, Sylvanas, and Muradin Bronzebeard. In addition to the corrupted weapons, we’re also planning to have Arthas’s undead mount, Invincible, drop each time the Lich King is defeated in 25-player Heroic mode. Also, once the Lich King is finally defeated, there will be an in-game cut scene, similar in size and scope to the Wrath Gate cut scene.

The title “Fall of the Lich King” suggests the end of an era. Can you give us any teasers for what next awaits the denizens of Azeroth?

Scott Mercer:: Players have been gearing up to fight the Lich King for a long time and it’s definitely the end of an era, but it’s by no means the end of World of Warcraft. We’ve already begun to hint at an in-game event surround the upcoming Cataclysm expansion that will be at least as big as the zombie invasion that kicked off the Wrath of the Lich King. Players already know that the Barrens are getting cut in half by a volcanic chasm, so we’ll have to show you how that happens. The Cataclysm in-game event will probably hit in a patch before the actual expansion goes live. We’re still figuring out the details, but whatever happens, it will be felt throughout the entire world, and it’ll be just the beginning of the reign of Deathwing.

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First Lich King Kill
Very epic video, something most of us have been waiting for since the expansions release! Well here it is brought to you from Hordelife! We would like to also thank Blood Legion for releasing the video for everyones viewing pleasure! Congratz to you guys!

World First Part 1

World First Part 2

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Speculations Correct!
So it seems as if our previous post about who we think is going to be the next one to take up the crown was right. It seems as if Bolvar was alive! It was a really close call but watch the video and find out what happens! Quite a shocker! Amazing video by the way, won’t want to miss it.

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Hey, I've created this fansite for all World of Warcraft players to come conversate and read up on interesting information. I will post humerous pictures, polls, and topics for people to view as well as comment. I do play World Of Warcraft and I play for the Horde faction! So all you alliance players, watch your backs! FOR THE HORDE!