Written by | Posted September 8, 2015 – 9:51 pm Descent and Ascent

It didn’t take long to get from Thunder Bluff to the Echo Isles – Ankona took advantage of a wyvern so she could think and plan before getting to her destination. She had information to confirm with the spirits – was Gromnor dead? Was he really in the northern part of the Eastern Kingdoms, somewhere […]

filed under Feature, Roleplay
The Horrors of Icecrown
comment 11 Written by on December 14, 2009 – 10:00 am

This post contains spoilers about the 3.3 Raid and Instance content. As such, it is behind a “Read More” tag, as surprising people with spoilers is one of the qualifications for being a dick in TRI. (DBAD!)

It is not, however, complaining about Icecrown. Instead, it’s about some of the roleplay implications for what’s going on in the Citadel.

If you don’t want to know anything about these instances until after you get to see them yourself, you’ll want to skip this post. (:


Icecrown is, as it were, a Big Deal.

This is Arthas.

The Lich King. The Bloody Prince. The leader of the Scourge.

In some ways, to some of the people in Azeroth, he’s the Big Bad to end all Big Bads, with the possible exception of Sargeras. They’ve been gunning for him since Warcraft 3.

And if that isn’t enough, walking into the Icecrown instances and listening to Uther stammer and groan in pain/fear when Arthas walks up, or listening to Bolvar Fordragon scream his resistance, obviously in pain, as Arthas is “trying to break him” should be enough to turn the stomach of most veterans of the Third War and anyone that was at The Battle of the Wrathgate or from Stormwind. Not to mention Deathbringer Saurfang, watching an entire friendly force get turned into skeletons and turned against you at the beginning of The Pit of Saron, or seeing what the Pit of Saron really is – a giant pit of forced slaves, wearing next to nothing, chained to the rock as they mine out Saronite. And then getting chased out by The Lich King himself.

In short? Arthas ain’t got much in the way of sympathy goin’ for ‘im.

But all this is worth stopping to think about – even if just for a moment.

This is pretty horrible stuff. And our characters are, to some extent, pretty used to horrible stuff. They’ve seen it all (some of them) – death and destruction, the horrors of war. But seeing it before doesn’t make it hit any less hard when faced with some of these horrible things, even if it does mean that they’re all probably pretty good at walling it off and dealing with it later.

I’m not suggesting (or maybe I am) an entirely IC run of the 5 man instance chain, or an IC raid on Icecrown Citadel.

If you want to take this that far, go for it. But you don’t need to. Just take a few minutes, and listen to the character you’re playing – get into their head for a bit. Some of them are used to war, battle hardened. Some are not. Both have to square with what’s going on, and the veterans of the Third War have to square with facing armies of their own freshly-risen comrades yet again (a wound and a terrible memory that some of them may not have actively dealt with yet).

One of the greatest strengths of the Lich King, and of the scourge in general, is his ability to instill fear, desperation, isolation and misery. Our characters have to manage to fight that, to steel themselves against a force that, by all accounts thus far, will kill them, turn them against their friends, and force their minds into the eternal torment of slavery. Finding hope, resolve, resilience – that’s a challenge every character will face.

Now, don’t get me wrong? Icecrown is cool.

The fights are fun (JETPACK OMG!), the boss fights require coordination, and some of the trash mobs have more health than Anub’Arak in ToC. The architecture rocks, the music is awesome, and the lore is enough to send some of the more die hard lore-junkies onto a week long high.

Just don’t forget where your character is coming from in all of this.

Take some time to see through his/her eyes – you won’t regret it.


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11 Responses to “The Horrors of Icecrown”

  1. I have to say ICC and the new IC 5-mans are some of the most fun I’ve had in WoW since vanilla. I love having an interwoven story that propels me through the 5-mans. And how they set you up to go into the raid. And even though I’m not on an RP server, the entrance dialogue always makes me emote and yell out that I will save Bolvar. I may be Forsaken, but his plight touches my cold dead heart.

    P.S. and the fight on the zeppelins is so much fun!!

  2. … I can’t read this until Thursday, when I get a chance to play. This bugs me to no end.

  3. “an entirely IC run of the 5 man instance chain”

    We did this. And we did it blind. We’d purposely not read anything at all about the instances, and we chose our team at least partly based on their RP relationships to one another. I don’t think I have ever had more fun in WoW, and when you come right down to it, that’s saying one heck of a lot.

    Once we cleared them on heroic, we hauled out a group of alts and did another IC runthrough of the three instances, which, given the particular RP of those other characters, was a completely different experience than the first time through.

    Good times.

  4. When I first heard that death knights were being introduced to the game as a playable class, I was stubbornly opposed to the idea. However, after all the lore carefully set up for players to experience through the opening quests, I have changed my mind.

    Though I have a better-geared hunter, the way my death knight sees the world and himself in relation to everyone around him (his Brothers and Sisters, other undead, and the living) is fascinating. It’s been amazing to develop.

    And now, with the death of the Lich King imminent (in his eyes, at least), he’s dealing with a lot of uncertainty that he feels, for once, can’t be put off. OOCly, I know they’re not going to remove the death knight class from the game, but ICly, he suspects that when the being that raised him dies, so will he. So this past week has been a flurry of activity for him–preparing to join the fight, and making sure he’s going to rest as peacefully as he can when he goes. Other death knights are handling it in different ways, and it’s really interesting.

    I certainly hadn’t planned for this, but it’s one heck of a wild ride.

    By Qaza on Dec 14, 2009 | Reply
  5. Keltyr and I are currently considering an IC run for the Prophecy through the instances, since both of us are ready to stab out eyes over the disasters of the heroic runs of the final instance we had this weekend.

    I hate when I can tank an instance correctly one time and then fail the next.

  6. Let me try this again since I didn’t do a very good job of not mentioning any spoilers the first time…
    I did my very best to remain unspoiled while 3.3 was on the PTR. I was so glad I did because ICC 25m was so COOL! Well, horrible, but cool in a way. I can’t wait to work my way through it with my guild and see what else happens that I am not prepared for. 🙂

    I agree that our characters have been through a lot of really crazy/terrible things. I’m not on an RP server, but I do think of my character ICly sometimes and wonder how she would deal with it all.

    By Adlib on Dec 15, 2009 | Reply
  7. @Nahyomi – I chose to make Aely’s experience of what happened an “Afk” thing, since I was out of game for the end of last week and all weekend, but I’m hoping to catch an actual IC instance group later this week when a few people (cough *Bricu* cough) get back in game.

  8. I want to get Arvoss in there. So. Bad.

    Not just for the RP possibilities, although that’s a big motivator, but I’d like to hear that music. And having Arvoss in there ICly? He’d be cussing and swearing at Arthas almost the entire time. Heh.

  9. One thing I think Blizzard did very well in WotLK is making it personal.

    The Sons of Hodir / Thorim quest chain meant that the first time each of my characters walked up to Loken in HoL, she had a personal reason for killing him.

    For Nahyomi, it was that no one makes a fool of her, the way he tried to. For Katy, it was because he killed someone she was starting to consider her friend. For Rheyna, because the betrayal of a sibling is as close as things get to unforgivable in her moral code.

    Likewise, the Drakuru chain made the final confrontation up top very meaningful, and again each of my characters were left sputtering as the Lich King walked away having let her live. The Arthas’ heart quest chain, the Wrathgate, even the denouement of the Missing Brother chain in Borean Tundra, all this adds up to personal reasons to go after Arthas, beyond his general villain-ness and the fact that he’s the next in a long line of final bosses. My raiding main in BC did not care about killing Illidan or Kil’Jaedan the way Nahyomi cares about defeating the Lich King.

    It’s interesting to me how the lore hooks my characters in different ways, with the same end effect of making them (and therefore me) care about the meaning of the encounters, not just the mechanics. And the ICC instances are the culmination of all that.

  10. One of the things that has always struck me about the Northrend storyline that I couldn’t put my finger on until I read this is the isolation element. Even though you’re fighting alongside others, friends and comrades alike, there is this terrible sense of being all alone, that nobody can fathom what you are experiencing because it defies your own ability to make sense of it. You’re fighting for people far away who you desperately want to spare this- but at the same time, it marks and changes you.

    I’m in a dark place with all three of my characters right now- Athorius doesn’t recognize himself anymore, Luna’s been steadily losing her grip on reality since the end of vanilla, and Mulifein is, well, Mulifein- so that is influencing my outlook on the new content a bit. I really can’t wait for Cataclysm. It’ll be horrid in its own way, but at the same time, it’ll be a new beginning for everyone.

    By Lilivati on Dec 16, 2009 | Reply
  11. Everything I could say on this topic about IC motivations, OOC entertainment values, etc has already been mentioned.

    I do want to add, however, that the colmination of HoR is on par with the 45 minute baron run in terms of sheer adrenaline. Its absolutely amazing and I commend blizzard on it. I also like that it takes a great deal of co-ordination within the group and is a real DPS check, unlike most of the other 5 mans where DPS can just snooze.

    By Mac on Dec 16, 2009 | Reply

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