In a few weeks (or months), the heroes of Azeroth will face off against one of the greatest villains in the Warcraft universe – the Lich King.
Many villains have already been defeated (although some seem to have a habit of reappearing). We as heroes have grown in power, destroying all who dare to stand in our path, from Onyxia to Illidan to Yogg-Saron.
The Lich King might seem like just another boss to many raiders. They’re focused on preparing for the battle – gathering consumables, planning gear lists, and fighting for raid slots. They’re salivating over shiny purple epics and emblems of frost.
I think they’re missing out.
Arthas, the Lich King, is one of the most epic villains in Warcraft – not because he’s so powerful, but because his story is so powerful. If you’ve read the novel Arthas, by Christie Golden, then you know that the story of Arthas is captivating.
It is a tale full of intense emotion, of tragedy, of betrayal and destiny. It brings together many of the important characters in the World of Warcraft. Traveling through Arthas’ past we encounter important members of both the Horde and Alliance such as Jaina, Varian, Thrall, and Sylvanas. We meet other villains such as Kael’thas, Kel’thuzad, Ner’zhul and Illidan. There are ties to the Burning Legion, and possibly even to the Old Gods (although this we don’t know much about).
In essence, the story of Arthas is one of the single threads that connects the universe together. Without him, the world would be an utterly different place. If Arthas had never been born, would Illidan ever have been released? Would Kael’thas have turned evil? Would the blood elves have joined the Horde? Every choice Arthas made led to the shaping of the world as we know it. Arthas’s story is not just one of the downfall of a young man, but a story of the creation of the World of Warcraft as we know it.
It’s sad to know that many people won’t think about this as they face off in battle with the Lich King. I find the rich lore that Blizzard has created to be one of the most immersive parts of the game. Sometimes I grow tired of running Drak’Tharon Keep hundreds of times, but then I think about how that was the place where Arthas defeated Malganis (or so he thinks), and it brings a little of that spark back.
I know that I probably won’t be able to make my way into the Frozen Throne until long after the Cataclysm has torn Azeroth asunder. That is okay with me – because Arthas will still be there waiting.
Someday I will enter those doors, with friends at my side. My poison-tipped daggers will fly, and lich, frostwyrms, and patchwork creatures will be defeated. I will reach the top of that Citadel and stare into those cold, insane blue eyes. I will be there to witness the fall of the Lich King.
To me, that moment will be far more than just the defeat of another boss. It will be a moment in which I am a part of the history of the world I’ve grown to love.
So while you’re waiting for the servers to stabilize, go check out the trailer Blizzard has released and think about what the defeat of Arthas might really mean for the world.