The Burning Crusade Preview

The Blood Elves may be descended from the High Elves, but they have fallen from grace and now ally themselves with the Horde. The Blood Eves’ thirst for magic saw them embrace demonic powers, thus leaving them shunned by their brethren.

As a Blood Elf you can choose between Paladin, Hunter, Rogue, Priest, Mage and Warlock classes. Despite their leaning towards the dark powers, the Blood Elves still look sleek, slender and beautiful, although they are still quite sinister and deadly.

As you can see from the class lists above, it’s now possible for a Horde faction player to choose the class of Paladin, while the Alliance loyal Draenei can likewise choose the path of the Shaman. Obviously there’s a convoluted explanation for this, but I’ll leave it up to you to read the background literature on the WoW website if you’re curious.

Obviously the Draenei and Blood Elves will need to make it as far as Level 60 before venturing into Outland, so Blizzard has created “bridging quests” for the new races, thus allowing them to progress through the levels once they have left their homelands.

Blizzard has upped the ante in the PvP stakes too, with Arena based battles. You’ll have the opportunity to partake in player skirmishes in an arena environment, with a ladder type raking system, adding a new competitive element to the game.

Going back to the subject of jewelcrafting; this new profession will open up a whole new area era of special items. Once trained in jewelcrafting you can create trinkets which can imbue you with a modest bonus, but the real beauty of jewelcrafting is the ability to create gems. Placing a gem into a socketed item will imbue that item with bonus powers.

Obviously socketed items are fairly rare, as will be the raw materials needed to create the gems. That said, Burning Crusade will also allow other professions, such as blacksmiths and leatherworkers, to learn new skills that enable them to manufacture socketed items – looking for some socketed leather armour? Try finding a leatherworker and asking him nicely to make one for you. Once again, Blizzard has reinforced the fact that WoW is as much about alliances and team work as it is about bashing in the skulls of monsters.

Once a gem is inserted into a socket, it’s pretty much there for good as there’s no way to remove it. However, you can replace a socketed gem with a new one, but that does mean discarding the original gem in the process. As mentioned earlier, the Draenei’s affinity with crystals make them ideal candidates for jewelcrafting.

I’m not what you’d call an obsessive WoW player, but I am, nonetheless very excited about Burning Crusade. The impending release of Blizzard’s expansion may even force me into fighting my way up to Level 60 in readiness. One thing’s for sure though, with 6.5 million players out there, there’s no way that Burning Crusade can fail.

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