So Wrath of the Lich King is all over bar the snoring, time for a retrospective about the great and the not so great in the latest expansion before we all scuttle back to the Old World just in time for it to get the painters in.
Best Class – Druids
Mage flavour of the month spec changed so often in Wrath their gear was always playing catchup with whatever stats your spec of the week demanded. Hi mages, welcome to Naxx, you’re going to be a Hybrid Elementalist Frostfire spec here. Stack lots of crit now. Oh, welcome to ToC. Yeah, it’s all about the Arcane here. Hope you stacked haste. Oh you’re still Frostfire? Really? Do try to keep up. And here we are in Icecrown, I really hope you picked a decent Fireball spec. Except halfway through Icecrown you’re going to want to go Arcane again, oh and keep a Fire AoE offpsec for trashpacks.
Druids on the other hand, well I can’t speak for Ferals but Resto druids started off strong and just kept going. Remember how everyone was terrified of Heroic Halls of Reflection when it was first released? Speaking from experience, I was scared of the place on Aluriel, my Disc Priest; wasn’t overly fond of healing the place on Askara, my Resto shaman, but could generally get through it well enough; and wouldn’t go near the place for a million gold and a night of sexytime with Tyrande Whisperwind on Galadan, my Holy Paladin. On Shinano, however, there wasn’t a thing in there she couldn’t handle. She could remove the curses, abolish the poisons, blanket the group with HoTs to cope with being Ice Trapped, battle-rez a dead player in a weak group to keep fighting through the gauntlet, apply reliable crowd control with Entangling Roots that even a Deathknight would have a hard breaking with splash damage… You name it, a Resto druid had a tool to counter everything that Halls Of Reflection threw at you. And as for Balance druids, well who doesn’t like doing 68,000 dps on aoe trash packs in Icecrown Citadel? Improved Faerie Fire was the best caster debuff in the game and Typoon was beloved by anyone and everyone who had to kill Blood Beasts on Saurfang. Flexibility has always been the hallmark of the Druid class from day one, and in Wrath of the Lich King they, in my opinion at least, really had their day in the sun.
Worst Class – Warlocks
Because this is a Mage blog so they smell of pee and have no friends.
Best Raid Instance – Ulduar
Where do we start? The first raid to introduce Hard Modes that actually meant something, changed the encounter design (hi there XT and Council of Iron) and rewarded better loot instead of just another ten meaningless epeen points. Amazing architecture, genuinely hard bosses (I’m looking at you, Mimiron and Yogg) that are still challenging done on hard mode two tiers of content later and a mass of encounters with rich and varied design that ensured you never got bored. And it had its own train. ITS OWN TRAIN!
Worst Raid Instance – Trial of the Crusader
ToC’s open tonight guys! Today’s raid is going to start at the Argent Tournament, everone make your way there.
5 minutes later…
Ok folks, we’re not really sure how this one’s going to work, but there are going to be some Beasts and we have to defeat them one after the other, make sure your Boss Mods are up to date, everyone ready?
5 minutes later…
Is that it? Really? When do we get the second boss? HOW long? Ok. Well… back to Ulduar, I guess. At least it’s close…
Best NPC – Lafoo of the Oracles
Tough call this one. Any of the Sholozar Basin companion npcs could have clinched it, but Lafoo’s charmingly puppy-like enthusiasm for everything wins it for me.
“Crunchy bugs so delicious! Want?”
“You have pie? Someone give us pie year ago. Really yummy.”
“Dig, dig, dig!”
“You got funny looking eyeballs.”
“Big comfy tree. Make good home.”
Worst NPC – Jaina Proudmore
Tirion Fordring was in the running for this. He had one of the best questlines in vanilla WoW, started off awesome in Wrath at the Battle of Lights Hope and just got better as the expansion went on and he laid the smack down on the Lich Kings Frozen heart at the Cathedral of Darkness. But then we got the Argent Tournament… Oh dear. Because stopping at the Rhine and flying the Engineering Corps two hundred miles behind German lines to build a sports stadium half an hour from Berlin is exactly how we won the Second World War, isn’t it? And the Trial of the Crusader… I’d stop there but then we had the final confrontation with The Lich King in Icecrown Citadel where he talks smack for a minute and then spends the rest of the fight in an Ice Trap because he couldn’t remember how to cast Hand of Freedom. Tirion would have been a shoo-in if not for Jaina Proudmore, who’s so useless she makes the Glyph of Kilrogg look like a Prime Glyph candidate.
Seriously woman, you were awesome once. Stop your crying and get over yourself. No, he never loved you. Deal with it. What, are you still fifteen or something? Oh, and get your facts straight, Wrynn isn’t your King, never was and unless he invades Theramore, never will be. And please try to stop getting everyone around you killed, there’s a reason why everyone would rather take the deserter debuff than join your group.
Best Questline – A Hero’s Burden
I’ll be the first to admit that there are many other quests in Wrath that are worthy of this one. The whole Loken/Thorim/Sons of Hodir quest is pretty epic. Crusader Bridenbrad, even though I’ve given him crap in the past, always leaves a lump in my throat when the Naaru arrive to take him to paradise. The Wrathgate/Battle for Undercity quest is right up there, too, as is the Brann/Muradin Bronzebeard reveal. They’re all fine quests, rich in lore and storytelling. But while A Hero’s Burden isn’t particularly epic, the rewards are pretty pedestrian and there isn’t a whole lot of lore involved, it’s got one thing that never fails to move me.
You and Moodle are at the Mosswalker Village, trying to find survivors of the Scourge attack. There are dead and dying Mosswalkers everywhere being tormented by the Scourge. The Mosswalkers, like all of the Gorlocs, are a simple, innocent people, and they just can’t understand what they did to bring the Scourge down upon them. Didn’t they give enough shinies to the Great Ones? The truth, of course, is that you can live as honest and upstanding a life as you want and it doesn’t mean squat when someone bigger and nastier comes along and stomps all over your beliefs. But the Mosswalkers still cling to their faith in the Great Ones, asking you not to save them, but to save their shinies for the Shrine before they die. Moodle, the smartest and most sarcastic of the Sholozar companion npcs, for once has nothing witty to say.
“The Mosswalkers were good people… they did not deserve this.“
Worst Questline – Um…
For once I’m stumped. Sure, there were some pretty pedestrian quests in this expansion, there’s always going to be some filler content. But even the filler content gets a sly nod from Blizzard. Look at the Take Their Rear quest in Grizzly Hills. I, and I’ve no doubt many others, regularly moan about the pointless “kill x of these/collect y of these” quests that are a staple of MMO grinding. There’s even a sarcastic meme evolved to describe them, the “Collect 10 bears’ asses” quests. Well in this quest, that’s exactly what you do. Gotta hand it to Blizzard, this is a boring quest, no question about it, but they know it and they create it as a nod to boring quests. It’s all getting very meta all of a sudden.
Wrath had its ups and downs, but after playing a Mage in The Burning Crusade I can’t be anything other than pleased with this expansion. Heck, I liked it so much I’m levelling a second Mage to 80! I’m sure there’s stuff I’ve missed in this roundup, and I’m equally sure you’re going to disagree with many or all of my choices. Except worst class, obviously. Warlocks smell of wee. Fact.
Let me know in the comments!