In a chance to be difficult and present an alternate view, from the tales of EU-Silvermoon.

It has been pondered amongst the blog rolls of many why some people do not find guilds, why pick up groups form for content and what draws people into the game if they are not in a guild with a consistant group of friends. Often however for many of us a guild is restrictive, forcing us to raid certain days, to carry players that we would kick from a group if they didn't bear the same tag as us, or even simply to stay at a fight beyond the time we want to or risk sanctions.

Silvermoon is a strange server. It is a relatively hardcore raiding server yet is very friendly to undergeared players. We tend to have three gearscores characterised as "I just hit 80 (again)", "Noob", and "Don't even ask". Players in the first category tend to get a carte blanche, simply no one asks them for more dps, or expects them to have it, the other members of the party simply carry them through which ever heroic it is without question. Our middling gearscores tends to be the worst treated, simply being less than 5,000 score and wanting to raid is unlikely unless you are the raid leader, its doable through heroics and crafted gear so put in the effort. For everyone else, everyone has an achieve and gear somewhere.

Almost since the day the Lich King was downed we have had pick up groups running at him, and downing him. My first kill of him came at the 10% buff with a four pull from scratch moment (well really a lie, I had pulled him twice before in guild for the laughs at 0% but then went afk for a while). The buff has since increased to 20% and the tactics required to down this boss have changed massively in that time. So what follows is a random trade chat pug.

I had logged in last night with the intention of finding some badges to farm (not really sure why since neither of my mains needs them other than for bank gear or off sets at the moment). In trade I spotted an extended raid aiming for Lich King with the remaining bosses down, seeking only a discipline priest. I logged (at this point I should explain that I have played discipline exactly four times, a heroic (which I swapped to holy half way through), ICC 10 for 3 bosses, and ICC 25 for 10 bosses, and now... Thankfully I had done Lich King before so I knew what to do, but this time I was on the other side of the massive damage.

I have to say that this fight is totally different as a healer than as tank, well not really but the stuff I care about is. I was on bubble spam for infest duty and dispel duty for the plague so essentially refreshing a PW:S on everyone after infest (to negate it completely), dispelling the disease runner, and occasionally throwing heals to help cover the Paladin healer's downtimes for mana. Overall it wasn't that bad, it took 7 pulls from start to end with disconnects killing three, two downed by defiles, one by a val'kyr and defile combo and the last by the death of the Lich King. The huge buff altered the tactics used totally, our off-tank died at the transition into phase two leaving us with the MT handling the spirits and the Lich King, our tank healer getting continually Val'kyr'd (we brought two locks and a hunter, and we got 1 use of their avoidance mechanics between them). One thing to note, with a discipline priest and the buff to health the best tactic to deal with the vile spirits now seems to be a scrum / American football solution, just run into them and make them go pop! Four waves of spirits (one when I was taken into the Frostmourne room resulting in two more deaths from our suicidal charging solution) and the Lich King fell to his knees, dropping loot that was worse than that from a normal ICC 25... sad priest was very much sad, but I had a new title.

So here it is in slightly more dramatic form!

A view from the Throne

"They have come for us Arthas. They have finally decided to take our head for your arrogance.", The voice of the long dead Ner'zul spoke softly in Arthas' mind.


"They will fail. I will not allow them to claim my victory after this time. We have met before and each time I spared them, now they shall repay me in kind." Arthas thought back to himself, Ner'zul was of course dead and powerless, he was the master of the fel blade and it was his choice alone what would shape the world.


"Kil'Jaden is dead. We serve no master now, the choice is ours alone", Ner'zul understood the treachery that had lead to today, however his visions for the future had always led him forwards. Perhaps someday the young Prince would actually listen to him rather than treating him as the remnant of the former Lich King


"No, the choice is not ours alone. We did what we had to do, the world must be remade", Arthas replied haughtily.


"A servant to our master to the end? I suppose it matters not the future I foresaw will end today..."


We teleported up onto the Frozen Throne behind the Highlord Tirion Fordring, it was a much longer teleport than others inside the citadel, taking us up the entirety of the inner core away from the endless undead and plagued minions of the Lich King.


The frozen throne lived up to its name. A small windswept 'island' floating in the highest levels of the citadel open to the elements. A large area for supplicants, large ice hewn steps leading upto a simple throne upon which the former Lord Menethil, now the Lich King sat. The calmness of the area broken only by Highlord Fordring's footsteps and the muffled groans and curses from the still living yet burned and ravaged body held in chains above the throne. The Highlord stepped forwards towards the throne as we spread out to assist him as needed. His pauldrons flickered in the high winds, the small fires in each pauldron warding off the life stealing chill, yet threatening with each step to provide no more light.


"Arthas. Former Lord Menethil and King of Lodaeron, now nothing more than a puppet of demons, not a Lich King but a slave to that which you once fought." Tirion yelled up towards the seated Lich King, his words not revealing the nervousness he felt underneath.


Arthas ignored Tirion's words, rising slowly to his feet and drawing the mighty blade that had rested by his side, Frostmourne.


"So...the Light's vaunted justice has finally arrived. Shall I lay down Frostmourne and throw myself at your mercy, Fordring?" Arthas mocked the Highlord, both knowing full well one of them would not leave this place alive.


Slowly the Lich King started to descend the stairs, each footstep crunching heavily into the snow, then the metal on metal shriek of his frost enctusted armour. Fordring stepped closer towards the stairs, looking to force Arthas to fight from them and end it quickly as he faltered on the icy steps.


"We will grant you a swift death, Arthas. More than can be said for the thousands you've tortured and slain." His voice remained stern, but those of nearby could see Tirion almost pleading with Arthas to simply drop the blade and return to being the Prince he had once been.


The Lich King gave Tirion no chance to stop him, simply completing his walk to the base of the stairs, their eyes both shone with an inner fire, an unquenched hatred for each other like I had never seen before that day.


"You will learn of that first hand. When my work is complete, you will beg for mercy - and I will deny you. Your anguished cries will be testament to my unbridled power." Arthas, I had to admit, looked impressive as he yelled his defiance at Tirion, as neither Prince nor King had he tolerated the views of others above those of his own.


Tirion bowed his head towards the former Lord Menethil, a sadness in his eyes capped by a single tear.


"So be it. Champions, attack!"


With that command Tirion surged forward, the Lich King however was ready for his movements and ice erupted from the ground, four swirling pillars writhed up the Highlord's plated skirt, surrounding his body and coating him in ice, his pauldron fires flickering and dying under the magical assault.


"I'll keep you alive to witness the end, Fordring. I would not want the Light's greatest champion to miss seeing this wretched world remade in my image." His tone again mocked the Highlord, I felt despair creep into me as he spoke, truly he held power within his body that we could not imagine, yet he seemed to want to toy with us.


He turned then to us, Frostmourne radiating power and hatred towards us. Each step of his massively armoured form moved him towards our formation, no longer supporting the Highlord but engaging the Lich King ourselves...


"Come then champions, feed me your rage!", We would be happy to oblige him, however none of our numbers ranked in the beserker clans and so we would have to stand alone with merely the Light to guide us forwards.


With calls to the Light the ancestors our magic shielded our comrades, those heavily armed and skilled in melee combat interposing themselves between us and the Lich King. Each second they moved, swords striking against heavy armour, misses and parries with wounds that would have killed anyone not protected by our magical forces. Slowly Arthas was driven back, the sheer weight of numbers in the tight melee and the cascading demonic energies flung towards him by our two warlocks. It would not end here though, Arthas gripped Frostmourne and drove it into the frozen ground beneath himself. Energies radiated from the sword, lines of force summoning and posessing the ice itself into an elemental attack on us


"I will freeze you from within until all that remains is an icy husk!" Arthas roared as he threw back our staunchest Paladin, his body slid across the ice away from the Lich King and the blade slicing towards the ice.


We stayed silent, though moved towards the edge of the floating island. Black arcs came from the entrenched sword striking us across our exposed flesh and flaying what it could, where it struck armour or cloth we suffered mere pain as though driven across hot ashes. His torture though was not alone as three of our number rose up into the air, writhing as though held by their throats, then arcing backwards as a spirit replica of themselves came into being. We dealt with each in turn, confusing them in melee and striking their corporal forms, slowly infusing their bodies with energies until they could no longer be contained and each exploded with a whirlwind of arcane energies. One of our number fell here, a Death Knight and redeemed servant of the Lich King himself. It seemed painless, or at least I hope so, his body was held by the spirit as it shrieked at him, magical energies thrown from its throat then compounded by those released on its death. He slumped to the ground, armour charred and flesh burned beyond recognition.


"Hope wanes!" Arthas taunted us... it instead strengthened our resolve, our friend and the Highlord would not die for nothing today


Arthas grew bored of us it seemed, no longer toying he pulled Frostmourne from the ice.


"Watch as the world around you collapses!" The world shuddered with Arthas' words.


His warning was correct, the ice under our feet glowed with an ethereal power. Chunks turned bright luminescant blue then dissolved as we rushed back towards him. He continued to fight as he had before, this time though his mere presence defiled the ground underneath him as he drew upon the powers of the vile blade he held. Each spawned under us, a rippling surface oily and slick yet burning hotter than the best forge of Ironforge. We edged around them, trying to hold our own against his strong attacks when he called down his flying servants, the Val'kyr, upon us.


"Val'kyr, your master calls!"


We could do little but hold our own. While the Warlocks channeled massive shadowy bolts into the Lich King our melee reformed, two continuing to distract and force Arthas to stay with them while the others savaged the Val'kyr's. Each one flew down to a flurry of knives and blades, destroying or hampering their ability to fly, then slaughtering them on the floor to stop them aiding their master further. We were not prepared when he reformed the ledge that had broken asunder with another thrust of Frostmourne into the icy ground. This time however the spirits drawn from our companions proved no threat to us, our Shaman brother cried an ancient battle cry and we attacked renewed, leaving nothing between us and Arthas himself.


"Frostmourne hungers..." His continual yelling was becoming annoying, each time he spoke his voice, half orc and half human rattled around and grated on us, this man was no Human being but a monster that needed slain!


My spirit was drawn from my body into the blade itself. Facing me a great demon attempt, however a spirit form interposed itself between us. It was an older man, wizened by time and wearing robes not seen in many years, kingly robes.


"You have come to bring Arthas to justice? To see the Lich King destroyed?"


I could do little but nod dumbfounded as he struck at the beast. Recovering my wits I shrouded us both in the energies of the light and together we struck at the beast.


"First, you must escape Frostmourne's hold, or be damned as I am; trapped within this cursed blade for all eternity."


"Aid me in destroying these tortured souls! Together we will loosen Frostmourne's hold and weaken the Lich King from within!"


The beast died slowly, however both myself and the kingly spirit were unharmed by it. He grasped my arm, and with that my spirit was repulsed from the blade, returning to my body, exhausted mentally and physically I dropped ot my knees.


"Argh... Frostmourne, obey me!", the fell powers of the blade were beyond even the control of Arthas, those within it could escape and challenge him if they could but conquer their inner demons.


Slowly I recovered, just in time to see spirits being dredged from the cursed blade, each flew towards one of us and as they met us we were shaken, our bodies spasming and writhing against our wills as we lost a fragment of ourselves to the blade. We stood firm, forming two rings we continued to pound the Lich King with mystical energies and simple cold steel.


"You gnats actually hurt me! Perhaps I've toyed with you long enough, now taste the vengeance of the grave!"


"Face now your tragic end!"


Arthas raised his blade aloft. It pulsed with a malevolent energy. Then nothing. Blackness and dark overcame us as we slumped prone to the ground.


"No question remains unanswered. No doubts linger. You are Azeroth's greatest champions! You overcame every challenge I laid before you. My mightiest servants have fallen before your relentless onslaught, your unbridled fury... Is it truly righteousness that drives you? I wonder."


"You trained them well, Fordring. You delivered the greatest fighting force this world has ever known... right into my hands -- exactly as I intended. You shall be rewarded for your unwitting sacrifice."


Drawing upon the former powers of the Light that he possessed mixed with the dark energies of the felblade Arthas began to reconstruct our souls, our bodies healing themselves rapidly yet settling onto us with a strangeness, no longer were we quite ourselves


"Watch now as I raise them from the dead to become masters of the Scourge. They will shroud this world in chaos and destruction. Azeroth's fall will come at their hands -- and you will be the first to die."


"I delight in the irony. Those who served the light, who followed the path I set for them and whom I have saved shall rise again to serve me and the new Light."


"LIGHT, GRANT ME ONE FINAL BLESSING. GIVE ME THE STRENGTH... TO SHATTER THESE BONDS!" Fordring yelled inside his icy tomb, we had thought him dead and the threat to keep him alive but a taunt, but he had survived this long bound by the magic of the Lich King.


Before our eyes, still half glazed as our spirits returned light blossomed from the icy tomb of the Highlord. Energy infused his body, lighting the ice from within. Then shattering it.


The Highlord wasted no time, he ran towards Arthas and leaped, the Ashbringer in his hands biting intot he fel blade held aloft in our resurrection, then cleaving it in two pieces.


"Impossible..." Yelled Arthas


"No more, Arthas! No more lives will be consumed by your hatred!" Tirion countered him, smashing the Lich King to the floor with a powerful blow.


Spirits flowed freely from the blade now, reaching our world then turning on their former master. As more reached him they suspended his form in mid air leaving him vulnerable and weakened. A single spirit in human form appeared, the same from my earlier vision and confronted Arthas directly


"Free at last! It is over, my son. This is the moment of reckoning.


Terenas Menethil the Second raised his arms, shrouded in pure light. Our spirits already partially returned to our bodies surged back into them, fully and under our control.


"Rise up, champions of the Light!" Terenas drew us back to life with his words and magics.


With that, our bodies returned we joined the assault. Tirion Fordring, the spirit of Arthas's father Terenas Menethil the second and ourselves, mere bystandards in a game played longer and over our heads inflicted wounds upon the Lich King until his fel energies could no longer sustain him.


"Now I stand, the lion before the lambs... and they do not fear." Arthas sounded piteous, his words mere shells of his former confident speech


"They cannot fear."


Arthas fell to the ground, released by the spirits, the crown falling from his head to clatter loudly on the ice towards Tirion's feet. He reached for the helm, striving to survive despite the grevious wounds to his body and soul. Finally collapsing mere inches from the helm, fingers stretched outwards, the Lich King no more but simply Arthas, former Lord Menethil and now a piteous man wracked by his own guilt.


...

"It is not yet over though. As once there was created so there must be. Perhaps though you will wear the crown with a cooler head since your life has already been spared..."