WARNING: The following post contains spoilers for the book, Arthas: Rise of the Lich King. If you haven’t read it and do not wish to know a major plot point, do not read the following post. I realize most of you either have already read it or are might not care if something is given away, but for those who would have a problem with such things, consider yourself warned.
So the dust is beginning to settle as Blizzcon fades from the rear view and everyone once more returns to the present. The new expansion is looking like it will truly take the game in a brand new direction by returning it to its roots and once more summoning one of the original bad guys from the lore. But with a focus on the upcoming cataclysm and the revelations of the new classes mixed with the brand new races joining both factions, some details concerning 3.3 slipped in a little under the radar. Not that people didn’t notice it, but most of the talk was definitely centered on the upcoming expansion.
Icecrown citadel is shaping up to be the penultimate raid experience of Wrath with what will presumably be the final chapter in the epic saga of the Lich King. The fight and the “ending” of the expansion have been hyped by the developers as “epic”. What has people slightly abuzz concerning this information, however, is the fact that Blizzard did not confirm the death of the Lich King, simply that he would be defeated as part of the raid. So is that enough to start speculating? Would I have already written two paragraphs if it wasn’t?
Yes, the Arthas fight promises to be spectacular and will forever change the lore of the game. The end of the Lich Kings plans and therefore the Scourge as a controlled standing army really must be topped off right considering how much nerd love has flown into this tragic story line for the last 7 years and Blizzard has proven in the past that they have the talent to do just that. Perhaps Arthas will finally fall and the being that has held the collected armies of the Azeroth in check will finally succumb to fate, or maybe he will make a final escape, returning to harry us at a future date. Both are possibilities.
Now some people seem to think that by not specifically stating that the Lich King is being defeated means that Arthas will fall, but Ner’zhul, the original intelligence behind the Scourge will live on somehow, however, this can’t be true. Here’s where the spoiler part I warned about comes into play. At the end of Rise of the Lich King, it is revealed that Arthas mentally exterminates both his last dredges of humanity, and therefore any chance of redemption, and the last portion of Ner’zhul’s soul. Therefore, Arthas, and only Arthas, is the persona known as the Lich King.
I can see them doing some sort of epic scene where Frostmourne is shattered and the Lich King is broken. Maybe Jaina shows up and is the one to deliver the final stroke, which would certainly fit in with lore regardless of which faction is the one to take him down. Speaking of which, the possibilities concerning the factions are certainly quite tantalizing. Will the final fight involve major characters of lore? Perhaps Thrall will fight alongside the Horde party members or maybe Varian shows up with a small party of Alliance, forced to aid that same party for the greater good. We already know that inter-faction fighting will take place aboard zeppelins at some point, so who knows how far they’ll take it.
And concerning Jaina and more spoilers, the filling out of their romance introduced in the book would really come full circle with some sort of scene where Arthas begs forgiveness from her or asks for death or something like that. For those not in the know, the couple were all but destined to get married when Arthas got cold feet and broke off the relationship for a few months. Unrevealed in the game is that their romance is re-sparked during the events of Warcraft III until the point of Stratholme, when Jaina finally denies Arthas, becoming an impetus for his downfall and eventually leading to his assuming the mantle of the Lich King. For her to be the one to finally close the book would be quite fitting in my opinion.
Or perhaps it will be only a temporary reprieve and he will make an escape, weakened but still powerful nonetheless. Blizzard wasn’t even able to set a release date in 2010 for Cataclysm which means that it’s most like 10 months or so away still. That means that if 3.3 comes in let’s say two months, there will most like be at least one patch adding a new raid instance or perhaps hardcore five man before they do the pre-expansion patch that will probably have us seeing the new talent systems and other changes that everyone will experience. That is assuming, of course, that they stick to the same pre-Wrath schedule they had.
So should he escape we may see a final instance where we have to track him down and finally put an end to everything. No matter how things go down though, I think one thing is definite: The Lich King story line should end in order to give the main stage to Deathwing. If you haven’t read the books describing his meddling in pretty much all the wars that ever took place in Azeroth before Warcarft III, then you just don’t know. Deathwing is the original gangster and I for one am looking forward to him being the final big baddie of Cataclysm.
But it comes down to this, really: Arthas has been the face of Warcraft for since the introduction of the final RTS. He is synonymous with this game we hold so dear and should this truly be his final hour, it is only fitting that it be done right. Perhaps there will be redemption or perhaps not. Maybe he’ll be consumed utterly or maybe he’ll be trapped away, forced to slumber until an eon passes and some foolish adventurer once more unlocks the danger of the Lich King upon an unsuspecting Azeroth. Either way, I’ll be seeing you at Icecrown.