World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King

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World of Warcraft:
Wrath of the Lich King
Wrath of the Lich King.jpg
Developer(s)Blizzard Entertainment
Publisher(s)Blizzard Entertainment
Composer(s)Russell Brower, Derek Duke, Glenn Stafford
Platform(s)Microsoft Windows, OS X
Release date(s)
  • EU / NA November 13, 2008
  • AU November 14, 2008
DistributionDVD DL, digital distribution
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World of Warcraft:
Wrath of the Lich King
Wrath of the Lich King.jpg
Developer(s)Blizzard Entertainment
Publisher(s)Blizzard Entertainment
Composer(s)Russell Brower, Derek Duke, Glenn Stafford
Platform(s)Microsoft Windows, OS X
Release date(s)
  • EU / NA November 13, 2008
  • AU November 14, 2008
DistributionDVD DL, digital distribution

World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King, often referred to as WotLK or Wrath, is the second expansion set for the Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG) World of Warcraft, following The Burning Crusade. It adds a substantial amount of content to the game world, including the continent of Northrend, home of the eponymous Lich King, and a new character "hero" class.



In the wake of the Sunwell's purification, a period of suspicious quiet had swept over the world. As if on cue, the undead Scourge launched a massive assault against the cities and towns of Azeroth, this time extending its reach far beyond the Eastern Kingdoms. Under pressure to respond with a full army, Warchief Thrall deployed an expedition force to Northrend led by Overlord Garrosh Hellscream. Meanwhile, the missing human king Varian Wrynn at last returned to Stormwind City and reclaimed his crown. He sent an equally powerful Alliance army, commanded by Bolvar Fordragon, to defeat the Lich King - and any Horde forces who would stand in their way.

The Alliance and Horde eventually led a combined offensive on the Lich King's fortress, the Wrathgate. Before they could succeed however, Grand Apothecary Putress and his Royal Apothecary Society followers (renegade Forsaken) unleashed a new plague that killed friend and foe alike, while his traitorous counterpart, the dreadlord Varimathras, seized the Undercity in a coup that nearly killed Sylvanas. The usurpers were slain for their vile deeds by armies of the Alliance and Horde and the Forsaken capital was restored. The debacle however, created suspicion among the Horde regarding Sylvanas’ loyalties. At the Wrathgate, many brave Alliance soldiers died at the hands of the Forsaken's Royal Apothecary Society; including King Varian's dear friend Bolvar Fordragon. Varian, who had always been wary of the orcs, discovered that the Royal Apothecary Society had been developing the new plague for years. The events that transpired during the battle for the Undercity convinced the human king that the Horde has been left unchecked for too long and becomes hostile to the Horde for the rest of the campaign in Northrend.

Secrets of Ulduar[edit]

The march of Horde and Alliance armies through Northrend led to a number of victories, but these successes paled before a discovery made by the explorer Brann Bronzebeard within the ancient titan complex of Ulduar. This mysterious fortress had long served as the prison of the Old God Yogg-Saron, a being of unfathomable evil whose influence had spread into the continent of Northrend itself. With Brann's assistance, small bands of Alliance and Horde champions infiltrated Ulduar to confront Yogg-Saron, who blasted the invaders with cryptic visions: the millennia-old creation of an artifact known as the Dragon Soul, the assassination of Stormwind's King Llane, and a glimpse of the Lich King's future.

Call of the Crusade[edit]

In preparation for the final offensive against the Lich King, the Argent Crusade - a union of holy warriors from the Order of the Silver Hand and the Argent Dawn - assembled a base near Icecrown Citadel to gather resources and identify the champions who would serve at the vanguard of their army. Highlord Tirion Fordring organized a tournament to test potential heroes of the Horde and the Alliance, but agents of the Scourge quickly emerged to sabotage the event. The undead attack culminated with the appearance of the monstrous crypt lord Anub'arak, who attempted to exterminate Tirion's elite force before it could be assembled.

Fall of the Lich King[edit]

As the final battle against the Lich King approached, the human sorceress Jaina Proudmoore and the Banshee Queen Sylvanas Windrunner journeyed to the icy heart of Northrend. Both had come for different reasons: Jaina hoped to discover whether a part of her former friend and lover, Arthas Menethil, still lived; Sylvanas longed to take revenge on her old enemy. With the aid of these two heroes, Azeroth's champions stormed Icecrown Citadel and vanquished the Lich King's minions. Their confrontation with the Lich King involved thousands of souls consumed by Arthas's blade, Frostmourne. Ultimately, Arthas was slain, and the heroes who triumphed over him learned a chilling truth about the existence of the undead Scourge.

Level increase[edit]

The first expansion pack, World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade, raised the level cap from 60 to 70 and the Wrath of the Lich King raised it from 70 to 80. This was followed later by World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, raising the level cap from 80 to 85, and World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria raised it from 85 to 90. Warlords of Draenor goes back to the earlier pattern by raising the level cap from 90 to 100.

Death Knight[edit]

The Death Knight was the first announced hero class for World of Warcraft. Death Knights, according to Blizzard developers, are able to sufficiently fill the tank and damage per second (DPS) roles. The three Death Knight specializations are blood, frost, and unholy. Death Knights can wear plate armor and wield weapons with rune engravings (enhancements), but they cannot use shields. A Death Knight's summoned pet (ghoul) is temporary and only lasts a short amount of time; however, Death Knights can choose to make their ghoul permanent and have full control over it.

Players who upgrade their accounts with the Wrath of the Lich King expansion pack are able to create one level 55 Death Knight per realm now in Mists of Pandaria, thus the player no longer needs a level 55 character in a realm before making a Death Knight. Newly created Death Knights begin with a larger set of spells and abilities than new characters of other classes. They start without any talent points and must unlock available talent tiers for their level by completing quests in the Death Knight starting area in Eastern Plaguelands (called Plaguelands: The Scarlet Enclave).[3] Both the Alliance and Horde factions have access to the class, and Death Knights may be of any race, except Pandaren.

Instead of utilizing rage, energy, focus, or mana for combat resource systems, the Death Knight uses a new system of runes, which are displayed under the player portrait, and runic power, which is generated by using runes in other attacks.[4] The Death Knight has two of each type of rune available (blood, unholy, and frost) for use. After a rune is used it enters a (nominally) ten second 'cooldown' period before it can be used again. With specific talents, the Death Knight can also turn their runes into Death Runes, which can be used as any runes type. Additionally, runic power decays over time when the Death Knight is out of combat.


Northrend is a crescent-shaped continent in northern Azeroth.[5] The continent is roughly half the size of the Eastern Kingdoms, but matches Outland in length and width. Although Northrend is known for its snow and ice, developers stated that only parts of the continent were frozen over.[6] Northrend features eight zones with content for levels beginning at 68, though players may travel to Northrend at any level.[7] Players arrive by boat (Alliance) or zeppelin (Horde) either at the Howling Fjord or the Borean Tundra zones, each located at opposite ends of the continent. Howling Fjord is home to evil half-giants called the Vrykul who reside in Utgarde Keep, the first dungeon to be described in the expansion. The Dragonblight and Grizzly Hills zones are located in the central-south and south-east parts of the continent respectively. The Ursine Furbolgs reside in the forested Grizzly Hills. Dragonblight features the grave-sites of dragons who came to the region to die.[8] Wintergrasp is the first zone in World of Warcraft designed specifically for Player versus Player (PVP) activities, even on Player versus Environment (PvE) servers.[9]

The forces of the Alliance, unified under King Varian Wrynn, have brought its armies to Northrend with the goal of avenging the Alliance Kingdom of Lordaeron, whose betrayal and destruction at the hands of Prince Arthas Menethil was engineered by the Lich King. The Alliance controls Valiance Keep and Valgarde in the Borean Tundra and Howling Fjord respectively, as well as Wintergarde Keep in Dragonblight.

The Forsaken and their Banshee Queen, Sylvanas Windrunner, have also arrived with a new contagion that they hope will prove to be effective against the undead minions of the Lich King. The Forsaken are seeking vengeance for being subjected to Arthas' magic. They have set up a military base of operations called "Vengeance Landing" and have created a settlement called "New Agamand", both in the Howling Fjord. The magi of Dalaran have also relocated, along with their city, to Northrend in order to deal with the rising threat of the Blue Dragonflight, led by Malygos the Spell-Weaver, and the Lich King. The city of Dalaran functions as the neutral sanctuary city for the continent, analogous to Shattrath City in Outland. Dalaran is levitating at a great height above the Crystalsong Forest zone but can be accessed by either the ground or by flying mount.[8] The expansion also features more creatures and other enemies, such as the 4 new spirit beasts: Loque'nahak, Gondria, Skoll and Arcturis. It also introduces the vicious dragons called Proto-Drakes (dragons with short arms, huge teeth and large wings), and the gigantic dinosaur King Krush, who stalks the jungles of Sholazar Basin. According to Blizzard game designers, Arthas Menethil and Ner'zhul, combined as the titular Lich King, are the main focus of the entire expansion.

Development and release[edit]

Promotion at IgroMir 2012

World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King was announced on August 3, 2007, on the first day of BlizzCon 2007.[10][11] Several enhancements to World of Warcraft's graphics engine were added with the release of Wrath of the Lich King. These include the use of a new shader in areas containing ice,[12] new fire effects, more realistic shadows, and the option to turn down character texture resolution to improve performance.

Wrath of the Lich King was released on November 13, 2008. On September 19, 2012, the Wrath of the Lich King expansion was completely merged with the original World of Warcraft game, just as the Burning Crusade expansion was the previous year. Now all players who purchase the original game automatically receive BC and WotLK at no additional cost. This merging of the expansions with the original game is called a "Battle Chest".[13]


Aggregate scores
Review scores
G45/5 stars[17]
GameSpy4.5/5 stars[19]
PC Gamer UK93/100
PC Zone8.6/10[23]

The reception for Wrath of the Lich King was very positive, scoring a 91 on Metacritic.[27]

The set had sold 2.8 million copies within the first 24 hours of availability.[28] This had made it the fastest selling computer game of all time, beating the record set by the previous World of Warcraft expansion The Burning Crusade, which had sold 2.4 million within its first 24 hours.[29] It later lost its rank as number one after the third expansion set, Cataclysm, which was released on December 7, 2010, and had sold over 3.3 million copies within its first 24 hours on the market.[30]


  1. ^ "Vivendi: Very Good First Quarter - 2008 Outlook Confirmed". Vivendi. 2008-05-14. 
  2. ^ "WORLD OF WARCRAFT: WRATH OF THE LICH KING IN STORES STARTING NOVEMBER 13, 2008". Blizzard Entertainment. 2009-11-15. Retrieved 2009-11-15. 
  3. ^ Gerald Villoria. "Enter the Death Knight". GameSpy. 
  4. ^ Torres, Robin (2007-08-04). "BlizzCon Day 2 Class Panel notes and Q&A". WOW Insider. 
  5. ^ Torres, Robin (2007-08-03). "BlizzCon 2007 Opening Ceremony Liveblog!". WOW Insider. 
  6. ^ "WoW: Wrath of the Lich King Revealed". 2007-08-03. 
  7. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions". Blizzard Entertainment. 2007-08-03. 
  8. ^ a b Schramm, Mike (2007-08-03). "Wrath of the Lich King Demo panel: liveblogging from BlizzCon". WOW Insider. 
  9. ^ Shoemaker, Brad (2007-08-03). "BlizzCon 07: Wrath of the Lich King demo'd". GameSpot. 
  10. ^ Rausch, Allen (2007-08-03). "World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King + (PC)". GameSpy. 
  11. ^ "Welcome to BlizzCon 2007". IGN. 2007-08-03. 
  12. ^ Brad Shoemaker. "BlizzCon 07: Wrath of the Lich King demo'd". GameSpot. 
  13. ^ Battle Chest and Wrath of the Lich King — Together at Last!
  14. ^ "World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King Review from". 1UP. 
  15. ^ "World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King Review". 
  16. ^ Oli Welsh. "World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King Review | MMO". Eurogamer. 
  17. ^ Vinson, Dana. "World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King for PC - Reviews". 
  18. ^ "World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King Review for PC". GameSpot. 
  19. ^ "GameSpy: World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King - Page 1". 
  20. ^ "World of Warcraft Wrath of the Lich King Review - PC". 
  21. ^ "World of Warcraft: The Wrath of the Lich King: Reviews, Trailers, and Interviews". 
  22. ^ Onyett, Charles. "IGN: World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King Review". 
  23. ^
  24. ^ "World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King Review for PC". 
  25. ^ "World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King for PC". GameRankings. 
  26. ^ "World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King". Metacritic. 
  27. ^ "World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King (pc: 2008)". Metacritic. 
  28. ^ Kuchera, Ben (20 November 2008). "Wrath of the Lich King: 24 hours, 2.8 million copies". Ars Technica. Condé Nast. Archived from the original on 16 May 2012. Retrieved 30 May 2014. 
  29. ^ "World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King Shatters Day-1 Sales Record". Blizzard Entertainment. 2008-11-20. 
  30. ^ "WORLD OF WARCRAFT: CATACLYSM IN STORES STARTING DECEMBER 7". Blizzard. 2010-10-04. Retrieved 2010-10-04. 

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