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World of Warcraft - Wrath Of the Lich King Is In Alpha 303

Posted by Soulskill
from the i-think-we're-prepared-this-time dept.
simrook writes to tell us that World of Warcraft's second expansion, Wrath of the Lich King, has entered closed alpha testing, as reported by WoWInsider. Wrath of the Lich King, which we've discussed previously, will raise the level cap to 80 and introduce a new class: Death Knights. World of Warcraft remains the most popular MMORPG on the market with over 10 million subscribers. WoWInsider notes, "Various players are being invited to check it out, under a strict NDA."
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World of Warcraft - Wrath Of the Lich King Is In Alpha

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  • Re:level 80 (Score:3, Informative)

    by snuf23 (182335) on Thursday April 10, 2008 @08:44PM (#23031554)
    I hear that. Basically if you getting experience from questing and especially soloing you will level very slowly. You get about 10,000xp per quest turn in.
    If you can afford a 1-3 hour session the better route is to run the instances. I mostly do pickup groups which of course can be painful but still generally worth it. With rested XP you should get over 1000xp per standard kill.
    I did 60-62 mostly through questing and it took me about the same time to lvl 62-66 mostly through instance runs.
    Some of the Outlands instances are pretty short too. Hellfire Ramparts only takes about an hour. You will generally get better items than from questing as well.
  • Re:Death Knight? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Zironic (1112127) on Thursday April 10, 2008 @09:17PM (#23031734)
    They're the opposite of a paladin.

    Holy Light->Death coil
    Devotion aura->Unholy aura
    Divine shield->Death pact
    Resurection->Animate dead
    (WC3)

    in WoW they'll be a dps/tank class like warriors only they only use 2-handed weapons and instead of stance changing they switch runes on their sword.
  • Re:Death Knight? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Psychotria (953670) on Thursday April 10, 2008 @09:18PM (#23031736)
    Apparently they are powerful necromancers.

    From http://www.wowwiki.com/Death_Knight [wowwiki.com]:

    A new order of death knights emerged during the Third War, in service to the Lich King. They were created from living and undead humans (and occasionally other races) who had been granted unholy runeblades, and most were former paladins who had forsaken the Holy Light.
  • Re:No permadeath (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 10, 2008 @10:21PM (#23032104)
    Not too mention that many of WoW's encounters almost guarantee you will die the first try or second try until you get your strategy down (especially in instances and raiding).

    Tactics, not strategy.

    Strategy is in the long term. In WoW, the typical strategy is to build up the strength of your character by repeated battles, purchasing better weapons, and improving your tactics.

    Tactics are what you use in individual battles and skirmishes.

  • Re:No permadeath (Score:2, Informative)

    by P51mus (1266460) on Thursday April 10, 2008 @10:23PM (#23032116)
    Diablo 2's permadeath was optional, and was called "hardcore" mode. A lot less people played "hardcore" than normal mode.
  • by maglor_83 (856254) on Thursday April 10, 2008 @11:00PM (#23032324)
    cromulent isn't a word.
  • Re:No permadeath (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 10, 2008 @11:18PM (#23032436)
    It does actually require skill. Not to the same extent that many other kinds of games do, and persistence is at least as significant a factor, but there is a level of skill required. And sure any idiot can get to level 70 given enough time, but once there only people with actual skill are able to do anything much in raids.

    As for the kinds of quests you do while levelling, it's really only as mindless as you want to make it. If you only look at them as "okay, I just kill X number of Y and collect Z number of A, and do variations of that over and over again", of course you're going to see it as a mindless repetitive grind. But if you immerse yourself a little more and think of the reasons why this NPC is telling you to go on this particular quest and what you're achieving by it, and the places it takes you, it's more interesting. And of course, once you're at the level cap it's largely a different game.

    Of course, it could be that this kind of game just isn't your cup of tea at all. My point still remains that it's not as mindless as it seems.
  • Re:No permadeath (Score:3, Informative)

    by xouumalperxe (815707) on Friday April 11, 2008 @02:07AM (#23033232)

    Despite your arguments of freshness, the perma-death model of CS isn't in any way, shape, or form, applicable to WoW. You accept the death model because there was close to zero time investment in creating your character, and because death is not, in fact, permanent. It's only a 10 minute, or what have you, respawn timer until the next match begins. Elsewhere Diablo II's perma-death was discussed, and that is indeed much closer to WoW's scope, but even then I doubt it would really make sense.

    In fact, part of what makes it genuinely fun for me is the learning experience of raiding, and that, almost by definition, involves wipe after wipe after wipe to figure out how to get a specific boss down. Other than giving everybody some sort of safe escape mechanic to abort failed attempts, and made bosses much more lenient, in such a way that "failed attempts" doesn't mean "people are dead", I can't see how you'd achieve that. If you *do* give such a safe escape mechanism, then for all intents and purposes you have achieved something that is almost mechanically equivalent to WoW's death except you don't see your character as a ghost.

  • Re:Death Knight? (Score:3, Informative)

    by deke_kun (695166) on Friday April 11, 2008 @02:26AM (#23033314)
    They have explained this a number of times already, including in the very first speech in which they announced the class. The PC Death Knights will be former minions of the Lich King (aka the aforementioned scourge) who have exerted their own influence on their destiny and broken free of his control. No longer a mindless pawn they swore allegiance to a new faction (insert horde or alliance here). They can be of any race, as all races are susceptible to the temptation and corruption of the lich king.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 11, 2008 @03:11AM (#23033512)
    It's news, because it allows devoted WoW watchers to make a very good guess on the release date.

    Burning Crusade entered this Alpha phase July-August 2006, with open beta in October and launch in January 2007.

    With WotLK hitting Friends and Family alpha in April, that would put closed beta at June or July, and assuming no major problems, launch in October or November 2008. This is the first time anyone can give anything than a wild guess on the WotLK release date. I'm not saying it's definitely Oct/Nov 2008, but I say based on today's information, a very good educated guess puts it there, based on the previous expansion and it's testing schedule.
  • Re:No permadeath (Score:4, Informative)

    by Quill (238781) <martin@NOsPAm.simaltech.com> on Friday April 11, 2008 @10:17AM (#23035950) Homepage
    It's the lack of consequence.

    No one who dies in WoW is unfazed by it. Dying sucks. Even if you take away the repair bill, it sucks.

    You have to run your spirit back to your body and even though this only takes 5 minutes in the worst of circumstances...it still sucks. If you're raiding and you wipe, then you have to wait for 25 people to run back to their bodies and rebuff and reorganize themselves for another boss attempt.

    The time penalty is significant...you're playing a game, even a single minute of "unfun" is punishment. But even more significant than the time cost is the ego-cost. Dying means that you failed and it stings.

    Blizzard correctly determined that they didn't need harsh death penalties in WoW. Dying is its own penalty.

    (I also play Nethack, and permadeath is an important part of the game. In the first Aliens vs. Predator FPS for the PC, the limited saves per level were also an important part of the game, and I'm disappointed that they eliminated that for the sequel. But WoW does NOT need a more severe death penalty.)
  • Re:No permadeath (Score:2, Informative)

    by Daravon (848487) on Friday April 11, 2008 @10:33AM (#23036166)
    https://secure.eve-online.com/ft/?aid=102321&bid=&nogreet=1

    From a google search of "eve online trial".

    Mostly unrestricted access to the game. They only limit some of your skills (and therefore ships) that you can learn, but it is mostly late game ships.

    I always felt the tutorial was a fun into to the game. They show you how to move around, do mining and missions and the like.
  • Re:No permadeath (Score:3, Informative)

    by Fozzyuw (950608) on Friday April 11, 2008 @10:41AM (#23036278)

    I agree that it's not grinding if there is challenge present. I lost count of the number of hardcore characters I took through Diablo 2

    It's interesting that you define "grind" as something that's simply "not challenging". I've always assumed "grind", in the context of MMO's, meant having to do something repeatedly, independent of difficulty settings.

    However, since I see so many people passionately talking about MMO's and the designs behind them, I would like to encourage everyone to pick up the massively big book Designing Virtual Worlds [amazon.com] by Richard Bartle [wikipedia.org], one of the "fathers" of virtual wolrds (aka MMO's).

    In that book, Richard will talk at great length about the history of MMO's and how they started out as MUD's and where the term MUD came from. He'll go into his famous "Explorer, Achiever, Killer, Socializer" paradigm, and he'll explain why games like WoW are as popular as they are and why there isn't as many games as so many people on these boards "think" should be made. He even covers "perma-death", why it's not popular with the majority, and why companies don't make these types of games en masse.

    Long story short, current MMO's like WoW, EQ, EQ2, AC, AO, DAoC, etc. all fall into the same quadrant of a MMO design box, that based on DikuMUD, which is more action based than anything else. However, back in the day of MUD's there existed all kinds of games that went from the fairly static world like WoW, to worlds where people could control every aspect of it. A new city/house/building could pop up anywhere. Trees could be planted and cut down and the landscape entirely changed.

    If you're really interested in MMO design, I'd recommend this book and I have many times on /. Warcraft threads. I own it. I've never gotten through it, but it's really fascinating.

  • Re:No permadeath (Score:2, Informative)

    by Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) on Friday April 11, 2008 @11:55AM (#23037258) Journal
    Gee, you just figured out the main problem on the original EQ PvP servers.

    A magician, largely naked, would start casting at a tank. The tank wouldn't fight back, but would instead start putting their equipment into their bags as quickly as possible. The ganker would get the money, and the ability to loot one thing on your body (or top level in your pack?)

    In any case, PvP became completely stupid because of that. Of course, EQ I wasn't designed with PvP in mind, it was just an afterthought to satisfy a small percent of their subscribers.
  • Re:No permadeath (Score:3, Informative)

    by danzona (779560) on Friday April 11, 2008 @01:01PM (#23038048)
    Maybe only alienating 98%. I would drop WOW in a second for a game like this, and I have no reason to believe (based on previous gaming experience) that I would be the "one in a hundred".

"Consequences, Schmonsequences, as long as I'm rich." -- "Ali Baba Bunny" [1957, Chuck Jones]

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