Burning Crusade gave us some nice ten man content and cut down the larger instances down to twenty five. In Wrath of the Lich King this has been made even better as -all- the end game dungeons have both twenty five and ten man versions making it more accessible for players and the end game content less of a private club for the mere 9% of players that saw it.
All this is in addition to a new profession in Scribing that allows you to customize you're character's abilities in various was, added arena and PvP areas, the ability to change your character's hair and various other cosmetic features and some nice re-works to each of the classes to keep things fresh and interesting to make sure that you don't play WoW the same was as you did before.
All of these are of course mere improvements of things that we've been playing for some time now, what could be considered WotLK's "other" feature.
The Hero class, Death Knight.
Well, I say "Hero Class" but it's not what you would traditionally refer to as such. Typically the hero class in a game is when you take your standard character as far as you can then they "evolve" into the hero class. In WotLK this system has been ignored in favor of a system that allows you to create one Death Knight per-server that you have a level fifty five character on. Once you created you'll find your Death Knight's starter area to be something unique as you participate in quests that tell a story of how evil the undead Scourge really are and has you doing some wonderfully evil things to some passing villagers who happen to get into your way. Here we discover a new introduction to the game, "Phasing". The "Instancing" of dungeons is a fantastic little swish to WoW's enjoyment, when you enter a place to hunt for bosses that experience is unique to you and your party so when venture in you're not greeted with a collection of rotting corpses and another group of dingbats posing around with that really nice helmet of infinite greatness that you wanted.
The phasing is a mechanic that once you've completed a part of the story of a quest, the world around you changes for your benefit. Anyone that's not on that particular part of the story will become invisible to you and indeed you will become invisible to them, it's this and other little touches like it that really won me over with this game.
However, it's not a flawless experience. The mere fact that it's an online game does leave a certain amount of your game experience in the hands of other players and anyone that's used the Internet for any length of time will know that there is not guarantee that other players will be as helpful or good natured as yourself. Also it should be remembered that the game engine is nearly five years old at this point and despite some amazing art design and upgrades to the engine there's still times when the visuals show their age. Adding to that some classes still don't fill their game roles with the ease you would expect your experience with Wrath of the Lich King may be effected in unintended ways because of such slight imbalances.
However in the end "Wrath of the Lich King" is an extremely well polished and well thought out title with fun game play, good humor, amazing music and creative visuals that breathes life in Blizzard's huge MMO juggernaut for at least a few more years. We've gone from a time where the biggest problem for the MMO player was finding the willingness to sit there and play their game of choice to a place where the WoW player needs to find the willingness to stop playing.
And if that's a problem, well, I suppose I'm in quite a bit of bother right now.