There are currently over eight million people playing World of WarCraft worldwide, a staggering number which makes it not only the most popular massively multiplayer online game but also the best selling PC game ever, beating even The Sims. It’s easy to imagine then why this expansion has been so keenly awaited by so many people. At first, the additions may seem relatively minor to anyone that hasn’t played the game before, but for fans that have been exploring and battling through every inch of the game world for the last two years, the chance to open up a whole new continent is like all your virtual Christmases come at once.
The other obvious new addition to the expansion is two new races for you to play as, each inverting the normal abilities and appearances of the opposing Alliance and Horde factions: the Blood Elves are bad guys and the Minotaur-like Draenei are goodies. Importantly all characters using the expansion pack can now rise to level 70 instead of 60, the access this gives to new weapons, armour and dungeons being of great importance to long time players. There’s also the prospect of flying animal mounts to get around the newly enlarged world more quickly.
Admittedly none of these features, including the new spells, talents and hundreds of new monsters, quests and items makes any real change to the basic gameplay or the now slightly dated looking graphics, but clearly there’s a very large number of people who don’t believe that needs changing.
World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade expands the already massive, award-winning multiplayer online role-playing game by tremendous bounds, adding new races, lands, battlegrounds, professions and items, and much, much more.
The expansion pack features an increase in the level cap to 70. There are two new playable races, including the magical Blood Elves that you can read more about below. There will be new starting zones in Quel’Thalas and beyond. Another eye-opening addition is the entirely new, unexplored continent of Outland that is reachable through the Dark Portal. Plus, you’ll find many new high-level dungeons to explore in Azeroth, Outland, and elsewhere that will substantially boost gameplay. There are new flying mounts in Outland; tons of new and dangerous monsters (including epic world bosses); hundreds of new quests and items; and even a new profession: Jewelcrafting.
The New Story
Several years have passed since the Burning Legion’s defeat at Mount Hyjal and the races of Azeroth have continued to rebuild their once shattered lives. With renewed strength, the heroes of the Horde and Alliance have begun to explore new lands, and have broken through the Dark Portal to investigate the realms beyond the known world. In this expansion pack, The Burning Crusade refers to the Burning Legion’s ongoing efforts to destroy life on Azeroth. To date, the Burning Legion’s exploits have been documented in Warcraft III and in the War of the Ancients novel trilogy. As part of the expansion pack, players will now be able to travel through the Dark Portal to confront the Legion on otherworldly battlefields.
Players last visited Outland in Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne, alongside Illidan as he conquered the Pit Lord Magtheridon’s domain. Players can also access Quel’Thalas, the region to the northeast of the Forsaken lands, where the Blood Elves reside. Blizzard has also added new dungeons and battlegrounds with the expansion including Karazhan, which is located within Medivh’s tower.
Blood Elves: The New Race
Thousands of years ago, the exiled Highborne landed on the shores of Lordaeron and founded the enchanted kingdom of Quel’Thas. These high elves, as they called themselves, created a fountain of vast, magical energies within the heart of their land — the Sunwell. Over time, they grew dependant on the Sunwell’s unstable energies, regardless of the bitter lessons they’d learned in ages past.
During the Third War, the villainous Prince Arthas invaded Quel’Thalas and reduced the once-mighty realm to rubble and ashes. His undead army decimated nearly all of the high elven population. In addition, he used the Sunwell’s energies to resurrect a powerful undead Lich, Kel’thuzad, thereby fouling the Sunwell’s mystical waters. The few elven survivors, realizing that they had been cut off from the source of their arcane power, grew increasingly volatile and desperate.
In the midst of the elves’ darkest hour came Kael’thas Sunstrider, the last of Quel’Thalas’ royal bloodline. Kael, as he was commonly known, knew that the remnant of his people would not long survive without the nourishing magic that once empowered them. Renaming his people “blood elves” in honour of their fallen countrymen, Kael taught the survivors how to tap into ambient mystical energies — even demonic energies — in order to sate their terrible thirst for magic. In search of a new destiny for his people, Kael’thas ventured to the remote world of Outland where he encountered the fallen night elf, Illidan. Under Illidan’s watchful eye, Kael and his blood elves regained much of their former power.
Unfortunately, the blood elves practice of embracing demonic energies caused their former comrades in the Alliance to shun them. Thus, the remaining blood elves on Azeroth look desperately to the Horde to help them reach Outland where they can reunite with Kael’thas and achieve the golden destiny he has promised them.
Outland: The New Continent
Once the beautiful homeworld of the orcs, all that remains of Draenor is the scattered wastes of Outland. Following the Second War, the Alliance invaded Draenor by crossing through the Dark Portal. To their horror, they discovered that Ner’zhul — the dark warlord of Horde — had constructed a series of new gateways that could lead the beaten Horde to newer, unspoiled worlds. As the Alliance forces closed in around him, Ner’zhul opened his gateways as a means of escape. However, his plan backfired and the gateway’s clashing energies resulted in a massive catastrophic explosion that ultimately ripped the world of Draenor to pieces.
Nearly thirteen years later — towards the end of the Third War — the fallen night elf, Illidan, discovered that huge chunks of Draenor still existed, floating upon the astral winds of the Twisting Nether. After his defeat at the hands of the evil Prince Arthas, Illidan fled to the remnants of Draenor and dubbed them “Outland.” He quickly seized control of the chaotic region and sealed the last of Ner’zhul’s gateways.
Though he is the undisputed ruler of the ravaged land, Illidan lives in fear that he will be discovered by his powerful enemies — most notably Arthas, the new Lich King, and the remaining Lords of the Burning Legion. For now, Outland is home to a number of scattered draenei tribes, primitive orcs, and powerful, arcane creatures of the Nether itself. Agents of the Burning Legion have also targeted the region as a vital strategic location in their unending Burning Crusade to scour all life from the universe.