World of Warcraft: Utgard Keep and the Gods of Zul’Aman

8 11 2007

Utgard Keep

Utgarde Keep is a must see for players arriving in Howling Fjord. It will more than likely be the first dungeon experience most players partake within Northrend.

An article by the developers on wow-europe.com says:

“When we started working on Utgarde Keep, we knew from the start that we wanted some sort of ‘impenetrable fortress in the side of a mountain.’ In considering the continent of Northrend’s history and geography, we pretty quickly found a source of inspiration for Utgarde Keep, and to an extent the entire region of Howling Fjord, in a combination of elements from Norse mythology. One of our goals was to make the starting areas feel more “human.” The presence of the Vrykul, the imposing half-giant warrior race native to the region, and the architecture connected to them helped achieve exactly that. ”

Areas like ‘the Forge’ and the ‘Dragon Pens’ will no doubt provide new and interesting boss encounters to tax the most seasoned players.

The Vrykul (basically bis angry Vikings) have made Utgarde Keep their staging ground for attacks against nearby Horde and Alliance settlements, including Valgarde. According to wow-europe when you arrive in Daggercap Bay, you will experience regular Vrykul attacks and they will rain fire down on the buildings from above while riding their proto-dragon mounts. They want you to feel deeply involved in the expansion’s overall plot from the moment you step off the boat, and like in the Burning Crusade there’s really no better way to achieve this than to have a Vrykul giant chase you around with an axe that’s easily twice your own size. This was achieved the moment people went through the dark portal and I’m sure it will be achieved it Wrath of the Lich King.

Gods of Zul’Aman

The next major content patch for World of Warcraft, The Gods of Zul’Aman, will add an impressive array of new challenges, features, changes, and rewards to World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade.

What we know so far is that Zul’Aman is a 10-person raid dungeon located in the Ghostlands, with enemies and spoils that pick up where Karazhan leaves off. This outdoor raid dungeon (much like Zul’Gurub) is home to the vicious Amani forest trolls and their leader, the infamous Zul’jin. You and your band of heroes will battle the dungeon’s six bosses, including four avatars of Zul’Aman, each bearing the aspect of a different ferocious creature (Zul’Gurub de-ja-vu again?). Zul’Aman also features a challenging bonus reward structure based on completing certain objectives within a time limit, which will provide an extra level of challenge – and thrills – for seasoned raid groups. This idea of a time limited run… much like the “45 minute Baron run” introduced prior to the Burning Crusade will defiantly provide players with an extra level of dynamic gameplay, with loot being better the quicker you kill things.

The other defining characteristic of The Gods of Zul’Aman is the bounty of rewards, both material and intangible, that it offers many types of players. The powerful epic items found in Zul’Aman are just the beginning. There is a host of new purchasable rewards as well, from the gladiator rewards of Arena Season 3, to the dozens of new Badge of Justice rewards and the full set of new Honor rewards. There are also more useful and fun items such as the new Flying Machine flying mounts, which can be built and operated by skilled engineers (people will no doubt be re-rolling engineering soon .. hehe). Among the more abstract benefits to players are faster leveling to 60, the revamping of Dustwallow Marsh with new quests, new daily quests for dungeons and battlegrounds, and many class balance changes. T

Gods of Zul’Aman New Features

    • The Guild Bank is a shared repository for an entire guild and will be accessible through Guild Vault objects near existing banks. The Guild Bank will allow players with the appropriate permissions to store items and money for use by the rest of the guild.
    • An all-new assortment of epic rewards is available from G’eras in Shattrath City. In addition, Badges of Justice will now drop from bosses within Karazhan and Zul’Aman.
    • Now leveling from character levels 20-60 is faster, with less experience needed per level in that range as well as higher quest experience rewards for quests levels 30-60.
    • Battlegrounds, normal dungeons, and Heroic dungeons all have new daily quests. The particular battleground or dungeon in which the quest takes place is randomly selected each day.
    • New flying mounts can be found in this patch, including the first ever player-craftable mount: Flying Machines! Engineers of sufficient skill can now create these fantastic contraptions in both normal and epic varieties.
    • The Auction House has been revamped with a more streamlined user interface and smarter functionality.
    • This new statistic reduces the chance that your attacks will be blocked, dodged, or parried. Expertise rating replaces weapon skill rating on current items.
    • Bonus healing effects now convey a percentage of its value towards spell damage. Both previously existing and new items will reflect this on their tooltips, and the amount granted is approximately 1/3 of the bonus healing amount.
    • Additional design elements have been introduced into the battleground to improve its gameplay with higher levels of competition and fun.
    • Many new quests have been added to Dustwallow Marsh to provide more leveling options for mid-level characters.

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