The first episode is out now
While modern Blizzard is perhaps best known for constantly putting out fires and fixing game launches, old-school Blizzard was practically untouchable from a quality point of view. This Wrath of the Lich King retrospective showcases one of the publisher’s best periods, when for many, World of Warcraft was arguably at its best (Burning Crusade is the right answer, but that’s neither here nor there).
The series is called Building Azeroth: Northrend, and the cast includes Ely Cannon (Art Director World of Warcraft), Sarah Boulian Verrall (Lead Level Designer World of Warcraft), and Aaron Keller (Game Director Overwatch), as they muse on their time with the series, and direct involvement with the original expansion.
One of the more fascinating anecdotes that the team shares in the clip is the “pirate ship measuring system.” Apparently there was no standard metric of measurement in WoW up until this point, and developers wanted to measure how high things were: so they used stacking pirate ships to do that in the engine “as their yard stick.” This sort of “pushing” of the game’s system led to a lot of discoveries, and is likely why it feels like a turning point for WoW as a whole.
Aesthetically, Wrath of the Lich King was one of the best things Blizzard has ever done. Given that the storyline was a direct continuation of the fan-favorite Warcraft III narrative and dealt with Arthas (The Lich King), a lot of folks got into the game without any prior interest in WoW just to see how it shook out. The zones are also among the best designed in Blizzard history, even if you include their entire game lineup outside of World of Warcraft. This sub-10-minute-video will give you a glimpse into a lot of the concept art for it!
As for more, Blizzard told us to “keep an eye on the Warcraft YouTube channel for additional videos that will go live later this year.”