Want to know what's going to be in WoW: Wratch of the Lich King? As in, exactly what's in it? Well, you can. Even though you shouldn't.
The closed WOTLK Friends & Family Alpha/Beta/Oh Let's Be Honest Blizzard Probably Finished It Ages Ago And This Is Just Clever PR is very much a private affair. Traditionally, details of Non-Disclosure Agreement-bound MMOs have stayed impressively under wraps, but it's fairly inevitable some info-crumbs will fall off the privileged table for us norms to scavenge. In the case of WoW, clearly the world's gigantic Want for it makes that all the more probable. But the sheer amount of leakage that's just turned up is nevertheless startling - especially given how tight Blizzard has been with WOTLK screenshots and hard'n'fast details until now. This useless guff is all the official site has in terms of screenies, for instance.
Look away now if you don't want to know the scores.
It was actually Kieron who stumbled across this one, over on one of the gaming forums he spends 25 hours a day on, but by his own admission most of it was so much gibberish to his relatively unWoWed eyes. He passed it on to me, and I duly pretended not to care (18 months clean!). I suspect he didn't believe me. I didn't believe me either. Here it all is, anyway. I had two reactions upon reading it:
#1 - Thank Jeebus I'm not playing WoW anymore.
#2 - WHY THE HELL AREN'T I IN THE BETA?
And back and forth and back and forth. I'm remarkably fortunate that level 71+ Rogue skills apparently aren't in the beta yet, which means my slumbering l70 Gnome Rogue is of bugger all use for now and thus my hankering is relatively manageable.
There's a hell of a lot of minute detail on supposed new skills and talents in there, which will doubtless prove the most thrilling element of this enormo-leak for dedicated WoWians, but those of us who care about more than the numbers can enjoy all the screenshots of new monsters and armours and the like. How Arthas, fallen prince of Azeroth and current Lich King (and WOTLK's Biggest Bad) appears is in there, as are cutey-wutey clockwork gnomes, a possible demon form for Warlocks and Tauren canoes. We even get to see what Gnome Death Knight looks like. My main character was a Gnome. I could be a Gnome Death Knight NO STOP IT NO NO NO.
Death Knights do sound remarkably fun, however. They can summon ghouls, make corpses explode, protect themselves with a floating bone shield and assault enemies with a cloud of disease-bearing insects. I pity the existing classes.
Of course, there isn't any guarantee that the ability etc information is entirely accurate, or at least that it will be come the final release. Things like the Warrior's Titan Grip, which lets 'em wield two-handed weapons in just one hand (once rumoured to be in The Burning Crusade) seem a little too-good-to-be-true - but then again, it's what people want, so why not?
It's a truly exhaustive leak, though. Even the loading screens are in there. Cripes. Video clips and music samples also await, which rather make me think the hosting site won't be around for that much longer.
(Sorry - not going to post any pictures directly, as I'm already afraid I'll be murdered in my sleep by men in Murloc suits.)