World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King, often referred to as WotLK, WLK or Wrath, is the second expansion set for the massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) World of Warcraft, following The Burning Crusade. It adds a substantial amount of content to the game world, including the continent of Northrend, home of the eponymous Lich King, and a new character "hero" class. It was announced on the first day of BlizzCon 2007, August 3, 2007.
Wrath of the Lich King was released on November 13, 2008, selling 2.8 million copies within the first 24 hours of availability. This made it the fastest selling computer game of all time, beating the record set by the previous World of Warcraft expansion The Burning Crusade, which sold 2.4 million within its first 24 hours. It later lost its rank as number one after the third expansion set, World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, which was released on December 7, 2010, and had sold over 3.3 million copies within its first 24 hours on the market.
Northrend is a crescent-shaped continent in northern Azeroth. The continent is roughly half the size of the Eastern Kingdoms, but matches Outland in length and width. Although Northrend is known for its snow and ice, developers stated that only parts of the continent were to be frozen over. Northrend features eight zones with content for levels beginning at 68, though players may travel to Northrend at any level. Players arrive by boat (Alliance) or zeppelin (Horde) either at the Howling Fjord or the Borean Tundra zones, each located at opposite ends of the continent. Howling Fjord is home to evil half-giants called the Vrykul who reside in Utgarde Keep, the first dungeon to be described in the expansion. The Dragonblight and Grizzly Hills zones are located in the central-south and south-east parts of the continent respectively. The ursine Furbolgs reside in the forested Grizzly Hills. Dragonblight features the grave-sites of dragons who came to the region to die. Wintergrasp is the first zone in World of Warcraft designed specifically for Player versus Player (PVP) activities, even on Player versus Environment (PvE) servers.
The forces of the Alliance, unified under King Varian Wrynn, have brought its armies of Priests and Paladins to Northrend with the goal of avenging the Alliance Kingdom of Lordaeron, whose betrayal and destruction at the hands of Prince Arthas Menethil was engineered by the Lich King. The Alliance controls Valiance Keep and Valgarde in the Borean Tundra and Howling Fjord respectively, as well as Wintergarde Keep in Dragonblight.
The Forsaken and their Queen, Sylvanas Windrunner, have also arrived with a new contagion that they hope will prove to be effective against the undead minions of the Lich King. The Forsaken are seeking vengeance for being subjected to Arthas' magic. They have set up a military base of operations called "Vengeance Landing" and have created a settlement called "New Agamand", both in the Howling Fjord.