World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King Review
You've got to hand it to Blizzard; when they make an expansion they go all out. Wrath of the Lich King is simply packed with content that goes beyond the introduction of a new area crammed with quests and things to do. There's the introduction of the hero class, a new profession, and a host of other additions such as achievements, barbershops, an in-game calendar and more. While some of these additions have been patched into the main game just prior to Lich King's release, the opportunity to explore Northrend and to try your hand as a Death Knight together more than justify purchasing this expansion – as long as you have at least one existing World of Warcraft character at level 55 or above that is. Lich King has a few barriers of entry to keep in mind, and these barriers will completely leave you on the outside looking in if you're a new player to World of Warcraft. The first requirement is that you already own the previous expansion, The Burning Crusade, which makes sense considering that Lich King raises the level cap to 80 and you need Burning Crusade to get your characters beyond level 60. The other requirements are character-based, as you need to own at least one character at level 55 or higher before you can create a Death Knight and you need to be at level 68 or higher before you can receive quests in Northrend.
I won't go into detail on the secondary enhancements that come with Lich King that were patched into the game. Since more than likely you're already playing World of Warcraft if you're reading this review then you already know that the achievement system is a great addition to the game and that the new inscription profession allows players to create magical scrolls. Also, it goes without saying that the expansion raises the level cap to 80, as well as raises the professions skill caps and introduces all new recipes for each profession. All that aside, let's take a look at the Death Knight.
The Death Knight is a completely unique class to World of Warcraft, and is the first class in the game to be given the moniker of 'hero class'. Death Knights enter the game at level 55 and begin play in a unique multiplayer instance that's reserved exclusively for Death Knights. At the beginning there is no distinction between Alliance and Horde Death Knights, but your chosen race will determine your eventual affiliation. Death Knights begin the game in the service of the Lich King, and your initial quests will be a series of commissions of evil acts in his name and at his bidding. I don't want to give away the storyline, but I will tell you that it culminates in a historic battle in the Warcraft mythos and involves a shared multiplayer instanced quest that is the first true clash of armies seen in World of Warcraft.
The initial Death Knight quests are unique in that they award talent points in addition to experience and gold. Since you're starting out at 55, you've got a lot of catching up to do in terms of talent points and character spec. The Death Knight is primarily a melee-based character, but the talents allow you to customize your character as DPS, tank, or a battle mage of sorts with an assortment of damage over time spells. It's not the same with professions, though. You're on your own in that regard and will start out at level one in your chosen professions just like everyone else. This is probably the biggest downside to the Death Knight character as you'll have a lot of catching up to do in this area. If you chose a crafting profession you'll spend a lot of time at the auction house, buying new recipes and ingredients until you can craft enough items to get your skill levels up to par with your character level. Gatherers will need to spend a lot of time in low-level areas trying to gather enough items to reach the point where things can be gathered from the high level areas.