Burning Crusade - Does It Deliver

Burning Crusade - Does It Deliver Burning Crusade - Does It Deliver

Now that the final version of the first expansion pack to one of the most popular games in the history of the industry has been released in most major markets, it is reasonable to examine exactly what the new title brings to the vast World of Warcraft and which changes are likely to impress fans of the original title.

Since launching in November 2004 in North America, Australia, and New Zealand, World of Warcraft has quickly grown to become the world's most popular MMORPG, with a worldwide subscriber base of around 7.5 million players. It is understandable then that the announcement of the first expansion to the WoW universe would cause some excitement in the industry and Blizzard's announcement fueled that fire by describing World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade as taking up where World of Warcraft left off, with the races of the Horde and the Alliance continuing to rebuild their lives among the shattered lands of Azeroth. In the game the Burning Legion's age-old war against Azeroth - the so-called Burning Crusade - has been rekindled and threatens to consume the world in another firestorm of war and strife. Old allegiances fall and new ones rise as both the Horde and Alliance look to new friends in this time of need.

PvP in HellFire

The expansion also promises to bring new richer content to an already massive game. The main features mentioned included:

- New Player Races: New allies will join the game, the Blood Elves and the Draenei, expanding the story line and allowing players to develop powerful new characters within the world.

- Higher Level Limit: The game's level cap is being raised to 70, and every new level will offer meaningful spell, ability, and talent upgrades for each character class.

- New Lands and Battlegrounds: Explore the magical realms of the Blood Elves, journey through the Dark Portal into untamed Outland, and visit dungeons and battlefields previously inaccessible to players.

- Flying Mounts: In Outland, players will gain access to unique airborne mounts that will allow for smoother travel over some of that region's more hazardous terrain.

- Jewel crafting, Socketable Items, and More: Crafters will be pleased to know that the expansion adds an all-new profession to the game: Jewelcrafting. With Jewelcrafting comes the advent of socketable items in World of Warcraft, which will give players additional variety in how they can customize their gear. In addition, existing professions will be enhanced to take advantage of the increased character-level limit.

- New Quests, New Monsters, and New Challenges: As the boundaries of World of Warcraft are stretched farther than ever before, there will be exciting new quests for players to undertake and new monsters to confront. And with greater challenges come greater rewards....

So, has Blizzard managed to make a good thing better or has it just cashed in on the phenomenal success of the WoW franchise?

Big events and celebrations across N. America and Europe, with Korea, Australia, New Zealand, and Singapore to follow shortly, marked the release of World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade, an add-on to the most successful MMO in the history of gaming. Blizzard also managed to use the attention of the industry, which it had due to the launch, to mention its other franchises such as Diablo and Starcraft.

New Races

Both new races introduced are closely tied in to the expansion storyline; the Dranei, members of the alien race of Eredar, who were chased off by Sargeras, the Destroyer of Worlds. The Blood Elves are magic-addicted elves that have but a single, burning desire; to recover their land, Quel'Thalas, lost to the Scourge. Both races contribute significantly to the storyline and make for an exciting addition to WoW. Each of the races has a home area that was designed with attention to detail and an obvious, even playful love for the game.

Jewel Crafting

This new profession, introduced by The Burning Crusade, has been carefully conceived and the creation of socketable items will add an additional earning layer for those players with the time and skills to create the right jewels.

No More Caps

The Burning Crusade feature which most appealed to seasoned WoW players had to be the increase of the level limit. The introduction of The Outland, an in-game area accessible through the dark portal to all those with a level of 55 and up, spices things up as it has become the most exciting place in the WoW universe. Although of little to no use to players under level 60, this new area has quickly become the experts' playground as seasoned WoW gamers get a new lease on life. Offering a variety of quests and missions, The Outland includes goodies such as level 60+ abilities and skills.

Flying Mounts

The Lear Jet of The Outland Skies

For those with some cash to spare, the flying mounts offer an excellent mix of luxury and performance, as they will take you to your destination in speedy comfort. An excellent alternative for exploring The Outland and unraveling its many graces.

Overall Blizzard has delivered an expansion which does exactly what it should; introduces new content without greatly altering the gameplay. It makes sense that Blizzard would not want to change much of the recipe that has produced such an unprecedented success. In that light, Burning Crusade delivers what it promises, new content, some tweaks and additional PvP arenas and other minor improvements.
It feels like an overgrown patch but it still packs enough of a punch, including some excellent attention to detail and storyline cohesion, to justify its price tag and to give WoW fans an excuse to continue paying their USD 15 monthly subscription fees.