Blizzard Entertainment was interviewed by 1up.com to discuss details of World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King. Tom Chilton talks about the Death Knight’s runesword system and Lake Winterspring Outdoor PvP. Each race will have its own unique siege weapon: Meat Wagon, Catapult, Steam Tank, Ballista, etc. We might find Nerubian survivors in Azjol-Nerub. Surprisingly, Azjol-Nerub won’t be entirely a dungeon. It is an underground region like any else, with outdoor terrain, buildings, Naxxramas’ like interiors.
The Scourge adopted the Nerubian architechture for their own buildings, so it will be seen widespread in Azjol-Nerub.
Mechanically, the plate-wearing Death Knight fills a hybrid DPS (damage per second)/tanking role (“People are always looking for tanks and healers,” says Chilton), though they have no mana, rage, or energy bar. Instead, Death Knights have a “rune sword” interface element beneath their health that displays six different runes of three different types—Blood, Frost, and Unholy—that you can mix and match whenever you’re not in combat. Different Death Knight spells and abilities require different numbers of runes, and using a spell darkens the required runes for a set cooldown time. An ability called Army of Dead, for example, summons a small army of undead to pull aggro—and that might require one Unholy rune. Death and Decay, an area-effect spell Blizzard is planning, may require one Unholy and one Blood.
“The current idea we’re playing with is you have a fixed time, say 10 seconds, for a rune to fade back in and become usable again,” says Chilton. “And there are potentially things you can do to speed that up or immediately light up runes. We have this one idea for an ability called Blood Boil—it’s a damage-over-time ability, and after the end of the duration, it lights up two of your Blood runes.”
In general, Blood abilities are damageoriented, Frost is control-oriented, and Unholy contains utility and damage-over-time mechanics, but that’s not a hard and fast rule. “We don’t want to pigeonhole it to the point where when you’re tanking you use all Frost runes, or when you’re DPSing you use all blood runes…. There are inherently good reasons to use a mix, and even if you have at least one rune type on the bar, you’ll have access to all your abilities should it become necessary.”