Monday, September 15, 2008

Wrath of the Beta King

Yeah, I said I'd post on video podcast today in my last post. Well that's not happening, check back Wednesday if you have a burning desire to read about what videocast I watch each week.

/*Warning Spoilers*\

A million thanks to my good friend Chris who got into and was kind enough to let me play the Wrath of the Lich King beta this weekend. The header image above is of my death knight on a frost wyrm, who shall remain nameless should the Blizzard police come looking for Chris. Onward to my exploits that seem more grandiose than anything I have ever done in the World of Warcraft. That's right bigger than killing Rag in MC, Nef in BWL and every other boss I have downed since way back in 2004. It is bigger and badder because Blizzard is building on a foundation of game play and world that they have had four years to iterate on. Don't mind the alliteration.

I started at level 55 oddly enough on a Death Knight, a class I had previously had no interest in leveling. Given the opportunity to get behind the curtain and meet the beta wizard early and it was the first thing I wanted to try. As far as I know Blizzard has yet to create a story driven set of levels (55-58) that is this compelling. You start out high above the world aboard the necropolis Ebon Hold and one of the first NPCs you talk to is the Lich King himself Arthas. Soon I had completed my training, received my first runeblade and was on my way to the world below to wreck havoc on the mortal races. The story ultimately culminates in the reason your death knight changes sides from scourge to horde (in my case). Even if you don't plan to play a death knight beyond level 58 it is worth your time to see this event. It rains freakin blood!

Death Knight shenanigans complete it was on to world exploring. Chris was kind enough to transfer a bunch of his characters over to the beta servers and some level 80 premades as well. So I had my choice of whatever I wanted to try out while exploring. I ended up picking a level 70 shaman which may seem strange given the choice of a level 80 with a flying mount, but the best way to see anything in WoW is from the ground. My first taste of the new continent was a zeppelin ride from Orgrimmar to Howling Fjord, which was made cooler by the full crew that manned the zeppelin. When I landed at HF I hopped on my mount and tooled around Northrend through three zones before the server crashed.

When the servers came back up I decided that I wanted to see Icecrown and Dalaran before Chris came calling for his account. I logged on to a level 80 shaman this time and took a zeppelin from Undercity to Borean Tundra. When I landed I was amazed at the fortress that the horde call home in Borean. I was soon aboard my flying sperm and on my way to Icecrown. On the way I was awe struck by the Nexus and reminded of Un'Goro Crater by Sholazar Basin. Upon arriving at the Citadel I just sat back and marveled at how freaking big the place was. Half way through making kissey faces at Arthas's casa Chris came on vent kindly asked me to log off. I spent a few more moments with the Lich King's beta and I was back to AFKing in AV. See you in two months Arthas.

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