The Rocket’s Red Glare

There are few things in life as awe inspiring as a fireworks display.  A down home, sit in the stadium, feel the explosion in your body, type of display, where the colored sparks light up the sky for miles around.  Even more impressive is when those fireworks are set off in celebration of the independence of your country, with the display sequenced to the national anthem.  These fireworks represent something.  They represent for many of us,  the celebration and understanding that without the sacrifice of many, many people on our behalf we may not be out here enjoying this truly magnifacent display of colors.

As Lich King was getting nearer to launch last year, I decided to break my vow of not reading spoilers, and read a few reviews.  Almost all of them had glaringly positive reviews, but the major theme was that the big villian – Arthas – was going to play a bigger role in the early game.  We will see him, fear him, and have a reason to go knocking at his door with 24 (or 9) other people to go slay him.

By most accounts, Blizz succeeded.  I remember the first time I saw Arthas, I flipped out and dropped my mouse.  I was blown away by the power of his voice acting, and couldn’t wait to  see him in game again.  One thing I didn’t feel?  The fireworks.  The awesome power that he is supposed to wield over death.

Lichie made a few more appearances over my leveling curve (Utgarde Pinnacle, Icecrown, Zul Drak), but I never really *feared* him.  He was never a demonstrable threat.  Sure he made a huge army of undead out in Icecrown, but for the most part I could avoid him by simply flying around.  In Utgarde, and even Zul’Drak, I couldn’t attack him, and he didn’t come in and attack me.  He came in to “power up” a mediocre boss (at best) and peeked his way out.

What I would have liked to see was a real threat from the Lich King, a real presence in the development of your character.  In Utgarde, I would have liked him to have come out from that portrait and taunt us.  Smack one of our team members down to show us who the boss is.  I know this would not be entirely fun for the person that got killed, but it would instill a sense of dread every time the player saw him.

And what about death?  He can raise entire undead armies, but he cannot influence, sway, or pester a single toon on their trip back to their corpse?  At the very least, this is where I would like to have seen the Lich King…  be a Lich King?  In the lower levels of Northrend, it would have been very nice to hear the voice of the Lich King during your corpse run, in a similar style that they have Yogg-Saron in your head up in the Icecrown quest to free the saronite slaves.

Of course, just hearing voices of an omnipresent figure would only be mildly annoying after a while.  There has to be a real threat. So how about the risk of loosing your actual corpse?  Let there be a random chance every time you die to see the Lich King pop in and steal your corpse (boy wouldn’t that set the stage for a wild “insanity” type encounter in Icecrown?).  The only option you would have would be to spirit rez.

Of course, my suggestions would have real impact on the game mechanics.  But that’s ok.  We should have felt his presence in the game in a more real way.  The great villian of the expansion should not be forced into glorified cameo’s – he should be in there, laying the smack down on the very heroes that are attempting to take back the world from his oppression.

Because as it is now, I just don’t see the fireworks.

One Response to “The Rocket’s Red Glare”
  1. Tutunkommon says:

    I agree completely. I enjoyed seeing him during the DK starting quests, and even jokingly would say “Um.. excuse me, Mr Arthas, sir?” whenever I clicked on him to turn in a quest. I really enjoyed the battle at light’s hope chapel, even if it seemed heavily scripted (because it was). Unfortunately, that was kinda the end of it.

    I admit that, having grown completely disgusted with the changes to affliction warlocks, I never progressed beyond howling fjord, I didn’t get to see any of the other areas you mentioned. However, I would have thought that since we are all massing in Northrend to try to take him out, he would at least show up once in a while to try to sweep off the front steps, so to speak.

    Anyway, enjoying the read. Keep it up!

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