Daelo and Ghostcrawler discuss the Lich King

The latest edition of Blizzard Insider, Blizzard's very sporadic email newsletter (and no relation to our old name, WoW Insider) has been released. Issue 32 features a note that the Starcraft II: WIngs of Liberty site has been revamped, blurbs about the mobile Authenticator and the Armory app, and some calls to buy their merchandise.

More interesting for WoW fans, though, is an interview with Scott Mercer (Daelo), WoW's lead encounter designer, and Greg Street (Ghostcrawler), a crab who needs no introduction. They discussed the arc of Arthas and the Lich King from Warcraft II through World of Warcraft (congratulations again to Blood Legion on their 10-man world-first).

Please note that here there be spoilers for some details about the Arthas fight, so stay away if you want it all to be a surprise.

The interview is fairly short, and a nice read if you have a few minutes. Here are my summary notes, though:

  • In Warcraft III, a big part of Arthas's role (design-wise) was to be the bridge between the human and undead campaigns. However, they didn't always know how big a deal he was going to be in the ongoing story of the Warcraft universe.

  • If you were around for the beginning of Wrath, you likely remember the developers talking about how they wanted Arthas to be a very real, direct presence for all players in this expansion, as opposed to Illidan's remoteness in Burning Crusade. Well, apparently they think it "worked very well," and "will likely adopt this approach for other villains in the future." I have mixed feelings about it myself -- I think it slightly cheapens the villian to have him running around in half the instances in the game. Overall I like it this way better than the BC way, but they could tone it down a bit.

  • One of the interesting things about the Icecrown Citadel raid is that the bosses all have a reason to be there. They're not just standing around. "Putricide heads up R&D" for the lich king, and so on.

  • I'm sure this information is out there for the finding right now, but apparently the Lich King fight takes place at the Frozen Throne at the very top of Icecrown, and falling off the tower is "a real danger." Also, Frostmourne is "a core mechanic of the fight itself."

  • The story behind the Lich King's big sack o' weapons: "The main idea is that the Lich King has an inventory of weapons that he has stolen and corrupted throughout his reign. These weapons originally belonged to characters like King Terenas, Antonidas, Sylvanas, and Muradin Bronzebeard." Awesome.

And finally, the devs tell us that the in-game event that kicks off Cataclysm will be "at least as big as the zombie invasion that kicked off the Wrath of the Lich King." I can't wait!