It is important to ferret out the types of news that we hear. Official announcements, such as updates to the Wrath of the Lich King bestiary or the Death Knight information page can be trusted as solid information. Treating anything else as official word from Blizzard may set you up for disappointment. But it's fun to talk about.
Death Knights were extensively discussed at the World Wide Invitational this past week. Some of our folks were on-hand to test them out and gather as much information as possible about the new class. Daniel Whitcomb has compiled a lot of information from the Death Knight demo from the convention. Take a look around, and feel free to ask of you have any questions.
All of the information shared at Worldwide Invitational regarding Wrath of the Lich King refers to content that is still under development. It looks like there will be hefty adjustments to all of the classes. There will, of course, be new dungeon instances, environments, monsters, and PvP content. Keep in mind that all of these are still under testing so they may be tweaked or possibly removed before the expansion is released.
Patch 2.4 was a lot of fun because Blizzard used a progressive testing format where they would introduce changes and let folks try them out. Then they would take the Public Test Realm down, tweak it a bit and put it back up. There were some anxious moments, like when the drinking mechanic changed to ramp up over time (theoretically to fix arena issues) on an early PTR. This form of testing allowed players to give feedback that Blizzard actually listened to. After a public outcry, the change was rescinded in a later build.
We must also sort out the rumors that come through regarding WoW. It's easy to get excited about these, but since they do not have the official backing of the game publisher, at this point they are mostly just something fun to talk about. Today's big rumor is that the Beta for Wrath will begin next Thursday, July 3, 2008. Another rumor floating around is that we may see Death Knights in WoW prior to the release of the expansion.
I could argue all day for both why it would be a great idea to release Death Knights early and why it probably won't happen. Blizzard has been tight-lipped about both of these rumors. They have been neither confirmed nor denied but GMs and CMs. Please consider and discuss these topics, but don't call up your leveling buddy and say "Wrath's going into Beta next week."
It's also fun to see what other players are talking about. The WoW official forums are a great way to see what's on everybody else's minds. Every day there's at least one new "nerf rogues" thread which gets a bit cumbersome, but players come out with some great ideas. Let these be a source of discussion, but remember that they are usually the opinion of the posters and don't really qualify as news.
Somewhere in between the truth and the rumor lies the friends and family alpha. Blizzard has allowed a select few people get an early peek at Wrath, but somehow quite a bit of the content has been leaked. Anything that comes of this should also be treated as speculation. Talent trees, class abilities, and new mechanics are all subject to change. Blizzard needs to take time to test these and tweak them. Again, you are free to talk about this information (provided you don't do it on the Forums), but don't get too excited about what you see. Blizzard has yet to dial it all in.
I was a rookie when The Burning Crusade was released on January 16, 2007. I didn't know a lot about what was going on but there were a few things I was truly excited about: Paladins for Horde, Shamans for Alliance, a new level cap with PvE content, flying mounts and mostly the Arena.
WoW Insider is also a great source for news, analysis and opinion. We share the hard facts about game developments as soon as they are confirmed by Blizzard. Our writers are passionate about the game, but also bringing our readers interesting and entertaining posts. We take the time to research our analysis posts for factual accuracy and mechanical soundness. Bloggers also share their opinions about their experiences. I consider our website to be the news, sports, and weather of Azeroth.
Tidbits of news will continue to trickle in for the next several months. We can expect more definite information to be released during Blizzcon 2008. That event is slated for October 11-12, 2008 in Anaheim, CA. You can count on WoW Insider to be there and reporting details as quickly as Blizzard shares them.
Edit: Corrected TBC release Date.
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