It can be hard to come up with interview questions about a game you've been following as closely as I have the upcoming World of Warcraft expansion Wrath of the Lich King, so when I found myself with 15 minutes with the game's lead producer J. Allen Brack, I instead delivered praise for a specific moment that occurs during the Death Knight starting experience. It turns out I was not the only person impressed with what Blizzard has crafted. Mind you I don't want to ruin the surprise for folks who haven't experienced it yet, so I will have to remain a bit vague. Let's just say that your character is faced with a task that they normally would never complete, but are forced to anyway, caught in the thrall of the vile Lich King.
"When I got to that point I had to stop. I actually said "Holy shit" out loud in the office."
Having played through the entire Death Knight experience myself on multiple occasions, I know exactly how Brack feels. There were several moments in the starting area where I was completely blown away. It's an experience unlike anything I've experienced in an MMO, all centered on this one, heart-rending moment.
During our discussion, J. Allen actually brought up the old Electronic Arts magazine ad that asked the question, "Can a computer game make you cry?" He then quickly dismissed the comparison, but I thought it was quite apt. The Death Knight starting experience from start to finish is one of the best things I've seen in any MMORPG, and Brack agrees.
"It's a very powerful, very visceral experience. It's one of the best things we've ever done."
Those of you who know the moment I speak of try not to ruin it for everyone else. You have to agree that it is something you just have to experience for yourself.