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World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade Preview

publisher: Blizzard Entertainment
developer: Blizzard Entertainment
genre: MMORPG

PIII 800, 512MB RAM, 10GB HDD, 32MB video card
ESRB rating: T

release date: Jan 16, 07
» All About World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade on ActionTrip

In my long years of being a game junkie I have never encountered an ethereal substance as potent as whatever it is that's trickling from my monitor screen when I'm playing World of Warcraft. Still, I take solace in the fact that I'm just one of the four and something million souls feeding off the mysterious trickling substance. We need it to trickle as we need the air we breathe and the food we ingest. And if someone asks you, I'm not addicted. Nope. I deny the existence of the word 'denial' and that's that. I'm fine. (The first step in breaking an addiction is to admit you have a problem -Mo)




You see, the problem is that Blizzard won't leave me or my "druidish princess" alone (No, you don't have a problem. You're just a freak -Mo). Just when I thought another Stratholme run would make me go homicidal on the people in Goldshire and I'd finally start crying for the sweet trickling nectar to stop, they pull me back in with these wild stories about the upcoming expansion pack, The Burning Crusade. The last thing you want to do to a junkie is to show him trailers of new potent drugs that are going to "blow his shit away." Seriously, that's cruel.

Blizzard fans who were fortunate enough to visit BlizzCon this year were amongst the first folks to test the new expansion pack. While Blizzard didn't have all that much to show at the Con (mostly a new starting area and some starting quests), they did a number on our frail nerd, mat-gathering psyches by releasing a bunch of info on the features that will find their way into The Burning Crusade.

To start with, The Burning Crusade will introduce two new races and a whole new continent for players to explore, the Outland. In addition, in an ingenious move by the designers, old areas will become new, courtesy of the little thing known as time travel.

Let's start with the new races. At the moment, no one has a clue what the new Alliance race is going to be. In fact, some unofficial sources claim that not even Blizzard has a clue at this point (?! -Mo). Most fans are expecting it to be the Panderans though, another nature-aligned race of cute-looking samurai pandas.
The situation is much clearer when it comes to the new Horde race. For one, we know its identity - it's the Blood Elves.

Thousands of years ago, the exiled Highborne landed on the shores of Lordaeron and founded the enchanted kingdom of Quel'Thalas. These high elves, as they called themselves, created a fount 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, (this pertains to the events in Warcraft III) the villainous Prince Arthas invaded Quel'Thalas and reduced the once-mighty realm to rubble and ashes. His undead army decimated nearly ninety percent of the high elven population. In addition, he used the Sunwell's energies to resurrect Kel'thuzad - a powerful undead Lich - 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 magics that once empowered them. Renaming his people blood elves, in honor of their fallen countrymen, he taught them 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 tutelage, Kael and his blood elves have regained much of their former power.

Unfortunately, the blood elves' practice of embracing demonic energies resulted in them being shunned by their former comrades in the Alliance. 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 promised them.

To better explain the plight of the Blood Elves, I ask you to suppose that all World of Warcraft players are Blood Elves (They soon will be - Mo.). A rather powerful force has taken all of their main characters (together with all the gear, skills, and precious materials they acquired since they started playing the game) and transported it using an ancient portal to a distant land. Wouldn't it be fair to say that the Blood Elves, I mean the WoW players, would be a little pissed about it? Say then that all those players decided to regain some of their precious characters and gear back by buying new accounts from Chinese gold farmers, violating Blizzard's policies and getting their accounts banned in the process.
In the end, what else would be there for the World of Warcraft players to do than to join the bad guys in an effort to regain that which has been taken away from them? Addiction knows no bounds of morality or common sense.

Seriously though, a lot of the lore in the expansion seems to be tied much more closely to the events that occurred in Warcraft III, or the Third War if you will. After the final battle in which the trusted-old tree-hugging wisps saved Azeroth from the Burning Legion, the legion was banished through the Dark Portal. Fast forward to present day and they are once again looking for ways to put their fiendish plans into motion. This is where the Outland comes in.

The scattered wastes of Outland are all that remain of Draenor, the once beautiful homeworld of the orcs. 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, the gateways' clashing energies resulted in a catastrophic explosion that ultimately ripped the world of Draenor apart.

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 cursed gateways.

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