Flying out to Blizzard's California headquarters this week to see the second World of Warcraft expansion, we felt neither apprehension nor any great excitement. After the reinvention and reinvigoration that was first expansion The Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King seemed a more workmanlike sequel: ten more levels, a new continent, a new profession, a new class, a new battleground, all as expected, little of it pulse-raising. Fine; Blizzard had earned the trust that it would get it right, and the right to stop driving itself so hard.
We should know better. A lot more detail and a little more time on Lich King remind us that laurels - and Lord knows there must be a mountain of them stored somewhere in this clean white campus - don't get rested on at Blizzard. A stunningly brave revamp of raiding is the big surprise; every raid dungeon in the expansion will be playable with either 10 or 25 players, opening the full sweep of the game to far more people.