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Wrath Begins to Unfold

Blizzard announces patch paving the way for expansion.

World of Warcraft’s latest expansion is deep in closed beta at the moment. A few days ago the level cap for characters was raised from 77 to the new maximum of 80 and testers are rapidly getting their teeth into the new endgame.

The expansion pack brings a lot of new features to WoW. Besides the ten levels of new continent called Northrend, there is the addition of the Death Knight class, a long-needed ability to change hairstyles through Barbershops, the Inscription profession, and major tweaks and revamps to existing classes.

When Blizzard prepared to launch the last expansion, The Burning Crusade, it released the class changes and new PVP arenas in a pre-expansion patch. As expected, it has now announced that there will be a major patch coming soon to prepare the game for the Wrath of the Lich King expansion.

Surprisingly, the patch includes a chunk of expansion content, not just the class changes seen last time. Here is the announcement from Eyonix (one of the WoW Community Management team).

With the release of Wrath of the Lich King approaching, we wanted to provide you with some important information. In preparation for the expansion, we will be issuing a new content patch in the coming weeks. Much like the patch made available shortly before The Burning Crusade’s release, this content patch is designed to bridge current game content with that of the expansion and will contain some exciting changes and additions.

We have outlined some of the larger features scheduled to release with the patch below:

New class spells and talents
Stormwind Harbor
Barbershops in capital cities
Zeppelin towers outside of Orgrimmar and Tirisfal Glades
Two brand-new Arenas featuring challenging new layouts, terrain hazards, and moving obstacles
Guild calendar
Hunter pet skill revamp
New profession: Inscription

As mentioned above, this is not a comprehensive list, just some of the major highlights. We’ll post the full patch notes as soon as they’re available. Regarding Inscription, please note that all Burning Crusade players will be able to select Inscription as one of their two professions and level up to a skill level of 375 with it. Upon the release of Wrath of the Lich King, players who purchase and install the expansion will be able to continue leveling in Inscription and the other professions beyond 375.

The inclusion of Inscription is surprising, as the Jewelcrafting profession from the previous expansion did not open up until launch. It makes sense, as it means people will be ready from day one to experience the new profession content. Similarly, the Barbershops seem the kind of pure fluff selling point that would be kept for retail.

What remains to be seen is whether Blizzard includes an in-game event in lead up to the expansion. The pre-Burning Crusade event was crappy, with a bunch of monsters running through a glowy gateway in the middle of nowhere. Rumours from beta indicate that this time something pretty significant might happen to spur players northward towards the frozen throne.


2008.08.27 21:16

I am happy and eager :D