Retro and nostalgia are deeply rooted in the genes of many gamers. We think back to our first games, personal milestones and the various "first times" with high emotions. All too often, however, our memories play a serious trick on us. Partly because what was totally great back then simply looks ugly or poorly designed from today's perspective. Partly because we naturally suppress the weaknesses of our favorites over time. The latter must have recently happened to over 3,000 buffed readers, who voted Wrath of the Lich King the best WoW expansion of all time in our poll.
WotLK was good, no question about it ...
Right off the bat, I too had a lot of fun with the Northrend adventure back in the day. The Lich King was a great villain, and not just for fans of Warcraft 3 and The Frozen Throne. The final battle in Icecrown Citadel is one of the best boss challenges in WoW history, the final ending sequence has goosebump potential, and even before that there were notable milestones like the Gate of Wrath sequence.04:32
WoW: The Wrath Gate - In-game cinematic from Wrath of the Lich King World of Warcraft from€14.99
Add to that the raid instance Ulduar with its optional hard modes, the fantastic soundtrack (the music in the Grizzly Hills alone), and the premiere of the Death Knight, and it's certainly an expansion I'll look back on fondly. Unlike many others, however, I also remember well the various weaknesses of WotLK that caused a lot of bad vibes in the forums and comment columns at the time.
Thousand Winter Construction Site
Let's just take the PvP area of WotLK, which was a disappointment from my point of view. For example, the open PvP area Thousand Winter caused quite a stir. Everyone wanted to go there in order to gain access to the local raid instance for their own faction by winning. Since there was no limit on the number of participants at the beginning, the servers went down under the onslaught. In the center of the battle, we fought with seconds-long freeze frames. But even in nearby Dalaran or in the Naxxramas raid, there were glaring lags when a battle raged in Thousand Winters. And if you are annoyed today in Shadowlands that the design of Thousand Winter clearly favors one side, let me tell you: it wasn't better back then!
Nothing else going on in PvP
Speaking of PvP and poorly balanced battleground design, the Beach of the Ancients made its debut in WotLK. However, younger WoW (buy now 14,99 € )-players might not care about the BG, as it was kicked out of the Battlegrounds offering with the launch of Battle for Azeroth - clear favoritism of one faction and a lot of criticism from the players, thanks to that. And the still-available Isle of Conquest is also never mentioned when I talk to WoW players about their favorite BGs.
The WotLK BG Beach of the Ancients was so "good" that it is now no longer available. Source: buffed
08/15-Raids to forget
On the one hand, we associate WotLK with two of the best raid instances in WoW history: Ulduar and Icecrown Citadel. On the other hand, the Blizzard developers in Northrend also sold us some crap. The boring Ruby Sanctum, for example, which was supposed to bridge the far too long time until the Cataclysm release, or the Crusader's Trial. In fact, I liked the diverting arena battles at first. But the quickie was inflated into a date that lasted four months. A date that, for the first time, you were allowed to tackle every ID on Normal and Heroic "groan". It didn't help that the whole Argent Tournament experience was like a lame version of Quel'Danas Island from TBC, with dull daily quests and even duller rewards.
The time until the Cataclysm release felt like an eternity... the Ruby Sanctum was nothing more than a run-of-the-mill filler raid. Source: buffed
Phasing until the doctor comes
It seems that hardly anyone remembers the excitement surrounding the phasing system, which was used for the first time in WotLK. On the one hand, it was pretty cool that you could influence the world with your actions. Just think of the quests in Icecrown! On the other hand, the phasing also caused some frustration, namely whenever you wanted to play together with friends who were not as advanced as you - or vice versa. This was a constant topic in the WoW forums back then. Who remembers?
Where does the old Karsten put WotLK?
By the way, WotLK would land on a good fourth place in my current Top 9. Thanks to the strengths mentioned above, the Northrend adventure was a lot of fun for me back then, though not as much as my top 3 from TBC, Classic/Vanilla and Legion. I had already summarized the reasons below the poll in a comment:
1) TBC (Has all the strengths of Vanilla plus the better class/item design, crisp raids and dungeons, flying, arena (despite the balancing weaknesses) and many, many great memories)
2) Vanilla/Classic (Thanks to Classic, Vanilla is pulling ahead of Legion. The last year and a half was just immensely fun. WoW still had an incredible amount of edges back then, but exudes the MMO fascination more than any modern genre representative. Plus: It was the famous first time)
After WotLK, MoP, Shadowlands, Cataclysm, BfA and most recently Warlords of Draenor will follow.
How does it look: Did you not notice the weaknesses at that time at all or do you not weight them so strongly for you? Or does WotLK have a stone in the board of many players just because it was the first expansion for them? After all, with WotLK, WoW had reached its peak of active players. What do you think?Support buffed - it only takes a minute. Thank you!
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