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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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  • by QuantumG (50515) * <qg@biodome.org> on Thursday April 10, 2008 @08:12PM (#23031314) Homepage Journal
    means you've gotta keep moving those goal posts, cause anyone who grinds enough can get to them, and so the carrot keeps being moved further away from the donkey.

    • by Spokehedz (599285) on Thursday April 10, 2008 @09:11PM (#23031696)
      I wish there was a server with permadeath and you were on there. And while you were complaining on why this wasn't a Permadeath PVP server--I would gank you in the back.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Starrk (1268600)
      Leveling in WoW is easy; getting the best equipment from raid dungeons or pvp can be very, very hard. If there were no more expansions, the vast majority of players would never be able to finish the existing content, so that's not the real problem.

      No, even if you had permadeath (like that's a fun idea in an RPG that takes hundreds of hours to get through), you'd still get bored of the same old content, and want something new.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by mindwanderer (1169521)
      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, and they were always fun right from the Den of Evil all the way up to Bhaal. Thing is, permadeath wouldn't be much of a challenge because world PvE in WoW is a complete joke and you could even bypass the difficult quests. And no, permadeath on a PvP server would never be implemented for reasons which I believe are quite obvious.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Fozzyuw (950608)

        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 massivel

    • Re:No permadeath (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Turnpike Lad (1006707) on Friday April 11, 2008 @08:47AM (#23034990)
      Permanent death will never work in a static, quest-based MMO like World of Warcraft. But it could definitely work in a game that actually tries to simulate a virtual world. There was a game called Trials of Ascension that I followed for years. The developers lost funding and it was never released, but I think it had an amazingly well-thought-out design. It was a full PvP, skill-based permadeath game. Characters had 100 lives each, but they were planning on adding a single life server as well. The first central idea of the game was that real power must come via real risk. To become a powerful mage, you would have had to discover a unique set of formulae for your character's spells, all the while risking death from backfire from critical failures. The goal was that about one in a hundred players who tried to become real, full-blown sorcerors would actually make it. Those who succeeded would be rewarded with great power. I feel that that power has more _meaning_ than that of a level 70 in WoW who simply had to grind for 40 hours to get there. This significance is impossible without the risk of permadeath. Another main tenet of ToA was that the world would be run by players. Instead of having a central currency, each town would be encouraged to mint their own currency and value it how they like. The lack of an easy way to bring goods from one place to another, and the selective availability of resources, would contribute to a real scarcity-based economy. Almost all items would be player-made, including player-written books, music and pictures. Towns would be built and territory claimed by player organizations. Players would become the leaders of the eleven religions. There were to be no NPC quests and the sole role of NPCs was as guards and hired workers. This meant that a character could make a positive contribution to their organization from the very beginning. Not just as fighters, but as crafters, artisans, builders, farmers. And it would be that participation that would increase your character's abilities, not running a static dungeon. And if your character died, you would have left a tangible mark on the game. Starting over would not be going through the same old content another time, because each character you make would contribute to the community in a different way. In a virtual world, you're playing both your character and your community. Your effort both improves your avatar and enriches the gameworld. When your character dies, your contributions to the community remain. What it comes down to is this: Permanent death can be implemented in modern games, to great utility. But the game must be designed for permadeath from the ground up. Sticking it in WoW will cause a disaster.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by QuantumPion (805098)
        I think this pretty accurately describes Ultima Online (in its early days). There was no permadeath, but dying meant losing a significant amount of skill points, as well as all of your armor and possessions on your character. There were no character classes, and "leveling up" a new character only took a couple days. Becoming a powerful mage was more difficult, and risky, beacuse the reagents required for casting spells were expensive and had to be carried on you. The questing in UO was as you described -- t
      • Re:No permadeath (Score:4, Insightful)

        by gad_zuki! (70830) on Friday April 11, 2008 @01:54PM (#23038594)
        The real problem with that setup is that the "i have all day to game" demographic is usually just bored teenagers. So once they control the towns, the currency, and the quests you'll end up logging in and told by "GnarrlyDude" to "fetch me a burrito of knowledge for an advnaced twinkie." Thats the best case scenario. Most likely it would degenerate into a Second Life fetish fest.

        WoW works for the exact opposite reasons. Its centrally controlled, quests and mobs are in-game, etc.

        Dont get me wrong. ToA sounds like heaven to me, but you need some serious role-players and people dedicated to running this thing well. I doubt your average WoW player could fill those shoes. I would imagine this would only work with lots of "players" who were actually employees and some pretty strict filtering, censorship, and lots of bans and kicks.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anne_Nonymous (313852)
      On the permadeath server, I'm a Level 1 Couch Potato with a +1 remote of channel changing.
  • level 80 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gangien (151940) on Thursday April 10, 2008 @08:13PM (#23031324) Homepage
    ugh level to 80?

    i mean i hear all the time how easy 60-70 is, supposedly, but man it's a pain if you're a casual player like myself. 62 and i need 600k to level or whatever. i have lost my motivation to play much.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by snuf23 (182335)
      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 Outlan
  • But how is this news? So it's getting closer to release... it was closer to release yesterday than it was the day before, too.

    If it was an open alpha, that would be different. But nothing really changes, apart from increase hype from stories like this.

    If you're in the closed alpha, I think there's a good chance you already know and hence this news article is old news. Hell, they're probably never going to see it, since they're probably playing it even now.

    To those who AREN'T in the closed alpha thi

    • by khallow (566160) on Thursday April 10, 2008 @08:26PM (#23031448)
      How is it not news? Entering alpha, even if it is "closed" gives new information on Blizzard's progress to this upgrade. And some people care about that. So it has relevance too.
    • by bar-agent (698856)
      But how is this news? So it's getting closer to release... it was closer to release yesterday than it was the day before, too.

      Well, if it weren't for that pesky NDA, we could learn about the Death Knight rev. 1 or new lands or whether WotLK is teh roxxorz or teh suxxorz. But, alas, as we are all law-abiding citizens here on Slashdot (ahem), we must wait with 'bated breath.

      (And yes, it is 'bated breath, not baited breath. I have abated my breathing, not eaten nightcrawlers.)
      • (And yes, it is 'bated breath, not baited breath. I have abated my breathing, not eaten nightcrawlers.)
        ARRRGH!

        1: No apostrophe is necessary if you use the old spelling. "Bated" is a perfectly cromulent word.

        2: English does not now nor ever truly had one singular guide to spelling. As with word definition, spelling is fluid and will change with time.

        3: Go ahead and use thine old spelling, for verily it must make ye quite gay, else thee wouldn't use such. But, prithee, take no insult when another uses such new spelling in textual intercourse with you.

        4: Go ahead and say cromulent isn't a word. I dare you.
        • 1. True, 'bated' is a word in and of itself

          2. I take it you never heard of this company? http://www.merriam-webster.com/ [merriam-webster.com]

          3. It's not the old spelling, it is the correct spelling.

          4. Just because the writers for the Simpsons decides to make up a word doesn't make it so.

          5. Stop being a festizio
          • by bri2000 (931484)
            Cromulent is actually from to the Dr Johnson episode of Blackadder III. If the Simpsons have used it, it was in homage (or they stole it, if you prefer).
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by maglor_83 (856254)
          cromulent isn't a word.
        • Just to be picky, "use thine old spelling" is wrong. The correct form is "use thy old spelling". Thee/Thine/Thy parallels Me/Mine/My perfectly (I guess you wouldn't get any of those wrong if you spoke a romance language).
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      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,
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 10, 2008 @08:17PM (#23031368)
    Yes, I know, offtopic. But it just seems like for the past couple of months the Games section has been primarily ignored - even through things like the release of Smash Bros. Brawl, a game that was worthy of a story when it was delayed but apparently not when it was released.

    I'm glad to see Games stories like this making something of a comeback, but after checking the front page, a front page story on an alpha release of an MMORPG? Seriously?

    I'd love to see stories like this limited to the Games section, but a front page story seems a bit much.

    On an ontopic note, I wonder if this new expansion will get me interested in playing again. Probably not - I kind of ground myself out of MMORPGs. I've found that, if I'm forced to grind, I like portable games much better. I can grab the DS or PSP and grind for 10 minutes during lunch break or some downtime at home, but I can't manage the several hour commitment that an MMORPG requires.

    I kind of wish some other company would do something interesting in the MMORPG space, but then I remember the Sony's "NGE" and the ever-so-innovative Square Enix "you can't pick your server" system and realize it's probably just as well Blizzard remains on top.

    But even so, I'm still basically WoWed out, expansion or not.
  • by ScrewMaster (602015) on Thursday April 10, 2008 @08:27PM (#23031456)
    will the King's henchmen be known as "lichens"?
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by dbIII (701233)

      will the King's henchmen be known as "lichens"?

      Only Algy - and he's halfway to being a fun guy.

      Cryptic raving to some - utterly horrible pun to others.

  • Obligatory (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 10, 2008 @08:49PM (#23031580)
    I'm Rick James, Lich!
  • by SYSS Mouse (694626) on Thursday April 10, 2008 @08:53PM (#23031602) Homepage
    Can someone check whether the Bard is in it?
  • And JUST when I thought I was done with WoW. Honestly, a crack addiction would probably cost less - I might spend more money on it, but I'd also have more friends and more free time.
    • by ScrewMaster (602015) on Thursday April 10, 2008 @09:04PM (#23031664)
      And JUST when I thought I was done with WoW. Honestly, a crack addiction would probably cost less - I might spend more money on it, but I'd also have more friends and more free time.

      Yes, and if nothing else there will be a few crack whores around to help you through those cold winter nights.
    • by geekboy642 (799087) on Thursday April 10, 2008 @11:23PM (#23032474) Journal
      Warcraft: $15 / month, 6 hours a day. It's a social event with friends...ever tried to raid with people you hate? No. You can hold down a job and even eat well. If you're careful, you can even keep a family.

      Crack: $25 / hit lasting 10-15 minutes, and then you want another. Try holding a job when the urinalysis shows you a drug addict. Try caring about buying food when your entire body is twanging for the next hit. Try keeping a family when you steal and pawn your wife's wedding ring just for another dose. Do you have any friends? Do you know the expression "crack whore"?

      Unless you turn tricks for $15 to pay for your Warcraft "addiction", you're not addicted. World of Warcraft is not just like Crack, and anybody who seriously claims it is should go and volunteer in a real rehab center for a full day. You don't have an addiction, you have a hobby. Learn some god-damned perspective, you molly-coddled children.
      • Stop being so sensible and reasonable! No conversation about WoW should be this sensible. Where's the ranting?

        Now let's all talk about why Retribution-spec'd Paladins are the best type of character! That should get things back to an uneven keel.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        My x-wife played Wow over 4,335 HOURS in one year.. Tell me that isn't an addiction.. And it is the primary reason she is the x.. and it ruined our family..

        I agree, my father has been on the wagon for 25 years and I've seen all sorts of addictions destroy people's lives. But seriously, computer game addiction is real and it is as dangerous as any other addiction, just it won't kill you over night (no sleep, bad diet maybe help kill you sooner).
      • by Stalyn (662) on Friday April 11, 2008 @03:13AM (#23033524) Homepage Journal
        Unless you turn tricks for $15 to pay for your Warcraft "addiction", you're not addicted. World of Warcraft is not just like Crack, and anybody who seriously claims it is should go and volunteer in a real rehab center for a full day. You don't have an addiction, you have a hobby. Learn some god-damned perspective, you molly-coddled children.

        You know being addicted to something doesn't mean you have to be a ragged homeless person wandering the streets looking for a a fix. There are millions of people who are addicted to alcohol/cigarettes/prescription drugs/gambling/etc who are highly functional. They have a job, an active social life, wife/husband, kids etc. But they can still be addicted to something. If anyone has a "childish" view of addiction it's you.
        • I don't know if he has a childish view of addiction -- he's just aggro'd because the guy said that a crack addiction would cost less than World of Warcraft. Which is, obviously, complete hyperbole. But still.
      • by eugene_roux (76055) on Friday April 11, 2008 @03:15AM (#23033534) Homepage

        Unless you turn tricks for $15 to pay for your Warcraft "addiction", you're not addicted.
        I'm rather glad to hear you say so... You see, I have MET people who have skipped work to play WoW; I have KNOWN women who have left their husbands because they would rather play WoW than have a marriage...

        YOU tell me there is no such thing as being ADDICTED to WoW...

        WoW is might not be all it's crack(ed) up to be, but it's not excactly innocuous either. Especially for people with naturally addictive personalities...
  • So Lich... Is that short for Lichard? ;-)
  • Nooo!!! I am not ready! I am not ready, yet!

One man's constant is another man's variable. -- A.J. Perlis

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