‘Wrath of the Lich King’ set to return

Tens of thousands of players pack servers ahead of game’s Sept. 26 release

Classic servers released in 2018 to allow players to experience older versions of “World of Warcraft” starting with the original 2005 release and progressing through the rest of the expansions with “Wrath of the Lich King” being their second. 

Blizzard Entertainment is re-releasing the expansion “Wrath of the Lich King” (2008) for their hit MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) “World of Warcraft” to be playable on their Classic Servers on Sept. 26. 

“Wrath of the Lich King” is free for any player with an active “World of Warcraft” subscription but they have the option to purchase two different upgrade packages, Epic and Heroic for $79.99 and $49.99, respectively, each of which includes a variety of exclusive digital items for in-game use. 

This is a stark contrast from the original 2008 release, which was only available for purchase as a physical disk for $39.99 and sold 2.8 million copies in the first 24 hours. The longtime MMORPG frontrunner hit its all-time subscriber peak of 12 million players during this expansion in 2010 and is critically acclaimed by fans and critics alike such as Metacritic scoring the expansion a 91/100. 

Blizzard introduced a pre-patch on Aug. 30 that aims to transition from the current expansion, “The Burning Crusade” (2007), into “Wrath of the Lich King” by increasing all player experience earned by 50% as a catchup mechanism for the upcoming content, which is primarily for high-level players. 

After 12 years since the end of “Wrath of the Lich King” it’s very apparent that returning players are excited to scratch that nostalgia itch, current players are preparing for their upcoming adventures, and newbies are just getting their feet wet as some queues to play the game are over 25,000 players long during peak hours on high population servers like Benediction and Faerlina.

As someone who played this expansion every second I possibly could throughout its original run, the magic is gone for me and I fortunately don’t see it consuming my life as it once did, but deep down I secretly hope it’s my Hotel California. 

Immediately upon opening the character creation screen I notice that you are no longer presented with the choice of selecting a gender but rather a body type even though none of the visual aspects of the player character models have changed from the original male and female options — a sign of the times perhaps. Blizzard was relatively progressive in making their original 2008 player character creation options, which include a fair amount of body types, skin colors, piercing, and hair colors available, so with this new addition any player should be able to create their perfect character.

The second I log in to my new character I forget about everything, the soundtrack and cinematic monologue cause memories to come running back to me of former adventures 12 years ago. Nostalgia and excitement is soaring and the world is bustling with the influx of new and returning players. 

I have no trouble finding a guild full of players returning from hiatus that I can play who are rather inappropriately named the Big Brains Club. My new big-brained friends and I journey up to level 25 together with just a few hiccups over a couple days, which has proven to be an overall positive and enjoyable social interaction between all parties, something refreshing for an online video game. 

I appreciate the content being 99.9% the same as it was originally with only small quality-of-life changes and a few additional cosmetic items that don’t detract from the game. The biggest difference I notice is unfortunately the lack of wonder and mystery of the world, no more the days of discovering things organically when there’s an abundance of guides available for every aspect of the game. First-time players should actively avoid all guides and enjoy the journey naturally by discovering things themselves and asking other players for help in-game to remain as true to the original experience as possible. 

I’m glad to return to “Wrath of the Lich King” to relive the magic again but deeply envy those living the nascent magical experience. I don’t know that this time around I’ll be skipping class 

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