The Worldwide Invitational in Paris this past weekend saw the release of a deluge of new information on next World of Warcraft expansion, Wrath of the Lich King. We covered hands-on impressions of the Death Knight and the major character-class changes in yesterday's preview. But a good deal more emerged in the various developer panels, not all of which we managed to attend ourselves as we ran around grabbing interviews and tracking down every last snippet of information on Diablo III.
Thank heavens for WOW Insider, then. The site brought news of some interesting changes to faction reputation in Lich King. A new system currently called Championing will allow you to don an item - a tabard, maybe - for your chosen faction, and then earn reputation for them in any dungeon you choose. This should make a pleasant change from endlessly grinding the one dungeon related to your faction of choice.
The same dungeons and raids panel gave attendees a mouth-watering glimpse of The Oculus, a stunning sky dungeon of open design which players will fly through on special drake mounts. The drakes will even have group roles associated to them - damage, tanking and healing - allowing players to switch tasks for a change.
The panel confirmed there would be eight level 70-79 dungeons, four level 80 dungeons for parties of five - all of which will be available in Normal and Heroic mode - and three "first tier" raids for 10 or 25 players. Other dungeons discussed in detail included the revisit to Naxxramas; the Halls of Stone, which will pick up stories and quests from Uldaman and require a flying mount to visit; and a new Caverns of Time instance that has players fighting alongside Arthas in the Culling of Stratholme mission from Warcraft III. Check out WOW Insider's exhaustive notes for the full details.
Elsewhere, a player-versus-player panel gave some insight into Lich King's new battleground. It will be an assault gametype - one side attacking while the other defends - on an island off the coast of Northrend, with a Titan theme. It will have vehicles, siege weapons and destructible buildings, and ten or 15 players per side.
The PVP panel also discussed the new non-instanced PVP zone, Lake Wintergrasp, and revealed some of the new PVP vehicles for the first time. The Demolisher is a siege vehicle for a driver and their passengers with short and long range attacks, and a ram; the Forsaken Catapult is a fast and agile machine for one player with a flame attack; the Siege Engine, which carries passengers inside as well as a driver and gunner; a fragile Flying Machine for pilot and gunner; and the anti-air Goblin Shredder that can rocket-boost into the air. Once again, more info and images are available in WOW Insider notes.
There was also a hint that players may, in future, be given access to two talent specs to switch between, without having to respec laboriously and at great cost with the trainers. For example, a warrior might be able to switch at will between ready-made tanking and damage-dealing roles. This is potentially a huge change, but there are no details available on it yet.
We'll have more from the Worldwide Invitational - including a definitive preview of Diablo III - in the coming days.