The Burning Crusade Preview

Unsurprisingly, Blizzard is well aware of the frustration that these high-level players feel and has come up with the solution – The Burning Crusade. I first got my paws on The Burning Crusade back in May, when I flew out to Los Angeles for E3. But last week Blizzard invited me along to a hotel in London to see how its WoW expansion pack was shaping up. Burning Crusade has definitely moved on since I saw it a few months ago, and hopefully Blizzard will be able to hit its pre-Christmas release date in December. But what should you expect from this first expansion to, quite possibly, the most widely revered Massively Multiplayer Online game out there (cue hate emails from Eve Online players)?

First and foremost, The Burning Crusade allows WoW players to smash through that Level 60 ceiling, pushing the upper echelon to Level 70. Of course clawing up those extra ten levels isn’t going to be easy, but then I guess that’s the whole point. There will be new spells and abilities to learn above Level 60 – Mages for example, will have the chance to achieve invisibility. To facilitate your elevation to the heady heights of Level 70, you’ll have to take a trip though the Dark Portal and explore an all new continent called Outland.

Outland is stacked full of new dungeons aimed squarely at the Level 60 and above player. Obviously you’ll have a take a few friends along with you if you want to survive these new dens of iniquity, but you won’t have to round up 39 other players to form a raiding party like before. Blizzard was keen to point out that it has reduced the maximum number of players for Raid dungeons to 25, to facilitate smoother progression. The problem with the 40 player limit, was that guilds recruiting for raids were constantly doing just that, recruiting. With the lower limit, Blizzard is hoping that it won’t take quite so long to get an angry rabble together in order to complete a raid.

There are seven regions within the continent of Outland. As you step out of the Dark Portal you’ll find yourself in Hellfire Peninsular – home of Hellfire Citadel. Hellfire Citadel is the first dungeon of Outland and has three wings with monsters ranging from Level 60 through to 70, along with a fourth Raid wing. The other regions – Netherstorm, Blade’s Edge Mountains, Zangarmarsh, Terokkar Forest, Shadowmoon Valley and Nagrand – also contain dungeons to explore, apart from the latter. It’s also worth noting that you’ll need a flying mount to access some of the Outland territories.

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