World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade (PC)

Wollf - 2007-03-17 21:41:48 in Gaming
Category: Gaming
Reviewed by: Wollf   
Reviewed on: March 21, 2007
Blizzard
Price: $39.99 USD

Introduction:



World of Warcraft (aka WoW) has been around in North American stores since November 23, 2004 and released by Blizzard, who has also released many large successes like Diablo, Diablo II, StarCraft, and the whole Warcraft universe. With a slow start to World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade due to lagged areas and overpopulated servers, it has grown to be the largest MMORPG to date. Even now it has topped out with over 8 million players worldwide.

World of Warcraft is an online role playing game where you can take on the persona of a character in a basic world of good vs bad, with some very blurred lines as to who is good and who is bad. Choices made in the character select screen decide what path you will play the game. Fortunately, you can have 8 different characters you make per server so if you don't like one you started with, you can start a new one for a different flavor. The classes available are Warrior, Hunter, Priest, Shaman, Paladin, Mage, Druid, or Warlock. The Races are Human, Night Elf, Orc, Blood Elf, Dranai, Undead, Gnome, Dwarf, Troll, and Taurin. Not all races can be all classes, and vice versa.

I have been playing WoW since the release date and while my play time may seem high to some, compared to others it is low. On average, in the winter I can get as many as 3-4 hours a night and during the summer (I like sunlight) I can see as few as 6-8 hours a week. With this extremely varied time frame, I have 6 characters made and they are ranging in levels from 61 to 6, though mostly in the 40s to 60s. Leveling can go very fast or very slow depending on how you choose to play the game. You can spend hours collecting leather and working on your skills or you can head right out and grab a quest to collect items. It's all up to you!

The Burning Crusade is the first purchasable expansion to this widely popular game and was eagerly anticipated by many players, myself included. So much so that I must have placed at least half a dozen calls to my local store and a few carefully worded threats.

Closer Look:



World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade was released on January 16,2007 (is now to be called WoW-BC to help save on my carpal tunnel). It introduces two new playable races, the Blood Elves (picture 1) and the Draenei (picture 2), as well as a large new continent to explore and the two new starting areas for each race. There is a lot of new ground to cover in your explorations! WoW-BC also brought a few new tricks by bringing the player caps up to level 70, introducing flying mounts to both races (available only on the new continent). Also added are socketable items, or better known as armor that you can customize yourself to more suit your needs. Finally, a large new central town is available to both Horde and Alliance.



Let's break this up some and have a closer look at some of the new content. We will start with my personal favorite, the Blood Elves. Starting in their home city of Quel'Thalas, you can see right away the time they put into the making of this expansion. The race is simply beautiful and their starting city is a gorgeous place to spend some time working on the new skill, Jewel crafting. The only problem at the beginning was the overcrowding from all the players making their new Blood Elf Paladins, and the constant server crashes this overcrowding created. However, as the players moved farther away from the crowded areas this soon became a memory. The Blood Elves get a nice treat with their starting area, as it is a very nice improvement over other Horde areas by making it bright and spacious, well lit, and a visual treat for everyone there. This is in contrast to the usually dark and dreary looking starting areas we were all used to having to play in at the first levels. To maintain their wonderful area, they had to ally with the Horde and tap the darker side of magic to use the power of blood to revive their once majestic city.

Closer Look (Cont.)



The Draenei are the Alliance's latest. Even though I'm true to the Horde, I started a new character on a different server and hid from my friends for a while to play one and see how I liked it. Once again, Blizzard did a great job on getting us launched into the new lands with some beautiful new areas. Generally, on both sides the starting lands follow the same type of paths. They get you moving into quests right away and within as little as 30 minutes you can get your new character to level 5 or better with a very nice progression of quests. Of course, you don't have to do them but it does lend a nice little story line that helps you get into the starting of a new character, and takes away some of the drudgery that you used to feel doing the same quests over and over with different characters. Sadly, at around level 20 the newbie areas are all but tapped out and you have to travel to more familiar lands. However, by then they have done a great job of getting you hooked on a character all over again and you don't mind as much as you might have in the past. The /silly command is the character's way of telling jokes and introduces you to their voice. With a little twist, Blizzard gave us Russian accented spacemen as they make jokes of how they crash landed on this planet and are now trapped and allied with the Alliance.



The new high level continent is know as "Outland". The instant you get there (have to be level 58 at a minimum) you can tell that you are in for a new treat. Seconds into the gate, you see one of the new area's Bosses as he sends his minions into a pitched battle right before your eyes. Once you have watched that a few times, as I did, you start to look around and you quickly notice that you're definitely in a new world. You are literally floating in the cosmos and some of the pictures here show you just what that looks like. Battle your way through a few monsters - mostly level 58-60 - and you hit the starting areas for the Horde and Alliance. This is where you can step up most of your skills to raise your cap and pick up more quests then you know what to do with. Some of the quest rewards...well actually, almost all of the rewards are crazy! My level 60 warrior could barely solo one of the hogs in the surrounding areas when I first showed up after a few short, easy, and surprisingly fun quests. One of which you get to throw bombs while flying around an enemy base. I had a new base set of armor and some astounding improvements to my stats. Those same hogs were dropping one right after another with little or no rest in between.


Specifications:

Windows



Macintosh

My system:

Conclusion:



This first large scale expansion is a huge hit. There are so many things that I could keep typing for days and not even scratch the surface of all that it has to offer. Once the crowding moved on, this game never once hiccuped again. The only thing that wasn't enjoyable was the soundtrack. After around thirty minutes or so, I ended up turning it down so far that it was barely audible over the clangs and thunks of the weapons and wild sounds of spells. Whether you choose to start a new character with a new path or continue your old one and explore all that the new world has to offer you, you will not be disappointed in WoW-BC. New visual spectacles, 10 new levels with new spells and new skills to train, as well as Jewel crafting and Socketed items add a whole new dimension to a wonder hit of a game played the world over. Both old gamers and new will be pleased with this expansion and I expect that everyone will sit back once in a while to look at the beauty that the developers from Blizzard put out there for us to explore, just like I did.

The choices and paths in WoW are so varied that to explain them all would take too many words and too many pages. Blizzard offers everyone a free 10 day trial with a free download, so for those who are wondering if this might be a game for them, I suggest hitting that download button and giving it a shot. Feel free to hit my base sever of Dethicus and add one more body to the Horde team.

When asked to list the pros and cons of this game, it had to be one of the hardest things to review. I'm hooked...I have been for a long time and while reviewing the expansion it was hard for me to think of any negative things. However, the biggest con I can come up with would be the lack of communication between Horde and Alliance. There is none, and other than the in-game emotes, you can not communicate. So when a level 70 comes up to your level 30 and kills him on one shot, it's very hard to ask them not to do it. That can become frustrating when it happens time and again. When it came to load times, it was very rare to see a loading screen and even then, they usually lasted only a few seconds at most. As for the pros, well I have given you all many examples of how I love this game. I would have to say, load it up, run the patch and check it out. With a free 10 day trial, how can you say no?