I loved Wrath of the Lich King.
Despite all its flaws I enjoyed every single minute. From the moment I set foot into the frozen wasteland of Northrend I was in awe of the place. Blizzard had managed to strike a chord so deep within me, it resonated every time I ventured out into the world.
The dungeons and raids were the same too.
Lavishly detailed, crammed with story elements and dripping with so much ambience it was palpable.
Sure, Naxxaramas was rehashed content but, for the majority, did it actually matter? It was the perfect place to begin the campaign. It was the first raid tier to be released under the new banner of "accessible content" and so for the majority of us was the first taste of end-game raiding. The atmosphere was amazing and damn the place was fucking enormous.
Then came Ulduar.
Don't press the Red button
Holy shit, the city of the titans blew me away. I had already fallen in love with Halls of Stone and Lightning which twinned the raid instance but here the architecture was simply jaw dropping. It didn't matter in which direction I looked I was overwhelmed with immensely detailed, towering structures ... the scale of it was staggering.
The encounters themselves matched their surroundings. Huge hulking beasts, interesting fight mechanics and amazing role play all worked together to deliver a man-sized slice of epic adventure. Ulduar had massively raised the bar and it was going to be a tough act to follow.
You face Jaraxxus
And it did indeed prove too much.
The Trial of the Crusader, while attempting to set the scene for what was to come, failed on so many levels it was universally despised. Of course, we raided it. We had to. It was the stepping stone to the next tier of content but damn it was boring as hell. Unfortunately, too many other players felt the same way and stopped playing. Ultimately, it resulted the demise of many raiding guilds.
Had Blizzard peaked too early?
On 8th December 2009, I was greeted with the release of patch 3.3 and with it came the final raid instance of the expansion, Icecrown Citadel. This was what everything had been leading up to. We were finally going to face the Lich King and put an end to the misery he was inflicting on the world of Azeroth.
My expectations were high and Icecrown Citadel delivered in spades. Just like Ulduar before it, the environments were impressive. Huge vaulted ceilings, rampart lined balconies and stone block walls. It really felt like we were storming a strong hold.
But it was the encounters that really set the place apart for me, especially the hard modes. Each of them were memorable for their own reasons but some of them were just outstanding.
And then there was the Lich King himself.
Like no fight before it, or since, this encounter gripped me at my core. The normal mode of this fight was superb but the heroic mode was on a completely different level. The mechanics were stunning. The environment perfect. But the role play, oh my, the role play was simply ...
I downloaded Paragon's video of their un-nerfed kill, I still watch it on occasion when the fond memories of Icecrown mist my eyes, and that fight, to this day, still sends chills down my spine.
To me the heroic Lich King encounter was the pinnacle of what raid encounters should be. It was the the perfect mix of storytelling, challenge and atmosphere. It was years in the making. Setting the scene for the final showdown of good versus evil entwined in every aspect of the expansion. From levelling to dungeons to end game raid content, the presence of the Lich King permeated everything. I wanted nothing more than to see the end of Arthas Menethil and his reign over the scourge.
When I finally stood in front of the Frozen Throne, I was ready.
The World Ender
That same feeling still lives with me today. There were so many stand out moments in the raid content of Wrath of the Lich King, that I can't help but smile whenever I reminisce. It was me in the mountains, I did laugh in pity at the trifling gnome, I know who they named Dranosh and I was betrayed by my own magic. And I loved every minute of it.
So, I am sitting here, having saved Azeroth from assured destruction (multiple times) and I am wondering ...
... where was the soul in the Dragon Soul?
by Griearth on Jun 08, 2012 at 12:46 PM