World of Warcraft (WoW 3.0.1): Wrath of the Lich King (WOTLK)
World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King is the second expansion set for the massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) World of Warcraft, following The Burning Crusade. It launched on November 13, 2008 and sold 2.8 million copies within the first day, making it the fastest selling computer game of all time released at that point. The game added a substantial amount of new content into the game world, including the new continent of Northrend, home of the eponymous Lich King and his undead minions. In order to advance through Northrend, players are required to reach at least level 68 and the level cap for the expansion is 80. The first hero class was introduced, the Death Knight, that starts at level 55.
In the wake of the Sunwell's purification, a period of suspicious silence swept over the world. As if on cue, the undead Scourge launched a massive assault against the cities and towns of Azeroth, this time extending its reach far beyond the Eastern Kingdoms. Under pressure to respond with a full army, Warchief Thrall deployed an expedition force to Northrend led by Overlord Garrosh Hellscream. Meanwhile, the missing human king Varian Wrynn at last returned to Stormwind City and reclaimed his crown. He sent an equally powerful Alliance army, commanded by Bolvar Fordragon, to defeat the Lich King—and any Horde forces who would stand in their way.
The Alliance and Horde (led by Dranosh Saurfang) eventually led a combined offensive on the Wrathgate, the entrance to the Lich King's fortress of Icecrown Citadel. Before they could succeed however, Grand Apothecary Putress and his Royal Apothecary Society followers (renegade Forsaken) unleashed a new plague that killed friend and foe alike, while his traitorous counterpart, the dreadlord Varimathras, seized the Undercity in a coup that nearly killed Sylvanas. The usurpers were slain for their vile deeds by armies of the Alliance and Horde and the Forsaken capital was restored. The debacle however, created suspicion among the Horde regarding Sylvanas's loyalties. At the Wrathgate, many brave Alliance soldiers died at the hands of the Forsaken's Royal Apothecary Society; including King Varian's dear friend Bolvar Fordragon. Varian, who had always been wary of the orcs, discovered that the Royal Apothecary Society had been developing the new plague for years. The events that transpired during the battle for the Undercity convinced the human king that the Horde had been left unchecked for too long and he becomes hostile to the Horde for the rest of the campaign in Northrend.
Secrets of Ulduar
The march of Horde and Alliance armies through Northrend led to a number of victories, but these successes paled before a discovery made by the explorer Brann Bronzebeard within the ancient titan complex of Ulduar. This mysterious fortress had long served as the prison of the Old God Yogg-Saron, a being of unfathomable evil whose influence had spread into the continent of Northrend itself. However, the safeguards keeping Yogg-Saron imprisoned began to fail, and the Old God's influence corrupted Ulduar's guardians. With Brann's assistance, small bands of Alliance and Horde champions infiltrated Ulduar to confront Yogg-Saron, who blasted the invaders with cryptic visions: the millennia-old creation of an artifact known as the Dragon Soul, the assassination of Stormwind's King Llane, and a glimpse of the Lich King's future. However, the heroes manage to prevail and destroy Yogg-Saron.
Call of the Crusade
In preparation for the final offensive against the Lich King, the Argent Crusade (a union of holy warriors from the Order of the Silver Hand and the Argent Dawn) assembled a base near Icecrown Citadel to gather resources and identify the champions who would serve at the vanguard of their army. Highlord Tirion Fordring organized a tournament to test potential heroes of the Horde and the Alliance, but agents of the Scourge quickly emerged to sabotage the event. The undead attack culminated with the appearance of the monstrous crypt lord Anub'arak, who attempted to exterminate Tirion's elite force before it could be assembled. Fortunately, the gathered heroes prove to be too much for Anub'arak to handle and he is defeated.
Fall of the Lich King
As the final battle against the Lich King approached, the human sorceress Jaina Proudmoore and the Banshee Queen Sylvanas Windrunner journeyed to the icy heart of Northrend. Both had come for different reasons: Jaina hoped to discover whether a part of her former friend and lover, Arthas Menethil, still lived; Sylvanas longed to take revenge on her old enemy. With the aid of these two heroes, Azeroth's champions stormed Icecrown Citadel and vanquished the Lich King's minions. Their confrontation with the Lich King involved thousands of souls consumed by Arthas's blade, Frostmourne. Ultimately, Arthas was slain with the aid of Tirion Fordring, and the heroes who triumphed over him learned a chilling truth about the existence of the undead Scourge. Without a Lich King, the leaderless undead would go on an unstoppable rampage across Azeroth. Bolvar (revealed to have been altered by the red dragons' flame), steps forward and voluntarily becomes the new Lich King, promising to keep the Scourge contained in Northrend as its eternal jailer.