Dare to enter ‘The Burning Crusade’

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By Chris Wolf

Play as a Paladin, one of many choices in “The Burning Crusade.” (Courtesy of Games Press)

By Chris Wolf

On dark street corners nationwide on a late Tuesday night, thousands of addicts piled into mobs, clamoring and begging for just a taste of what was to come. They had been waiting months, even years for this day, and they would not leave without getting their fix. This is what happens when heroin gets an expansion.

“World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade,” Blizzard Entertainment’s first expansion, offers a plethora of new content, including two new playable races along with a brand new continent, Outland, for players to explore.

The new zones are a sight to behold. As I first approached the Dark Portal, a door that allows you to enter Outland, there were armies from Azeroth, battling demons escaping from Outland. It was epic. As I fought myself through the mobs and hopped through the Dark Portal, the mayhem multiplied tenfold. Demon armies consisting of gigantic Pit Lords and Infernals constantly assault the Alliance and Horde encampments.

Blizzard has made it obvious that it wants to make “World of Warcraft” more accessible to the average gamer, so it has made leveling from 60-70 less of a grind fest, and an overall pleasant experience when compared to the questing from 1-60.

There’s a lot more quests offered in the Outlands, which makes for a laid back experience while leveling. Instead of having to grind out half a level because you ran out of quests, the zones in the Outlands constantly keep you on your toes, making sure that you don’t have to kill the same monster over and over to level. There’s always a constant amount of fear in the first area you enter in Outland, Hellfire Peninsula, because of a gigantic mechanical demon robot (yes, there IS such a thing) that roams the area looking for anyone to catch off guard and consequently smoosh. The items you receive from completing quests are unbelievable; I quickly replaced most of my characters’ endgame gear by the time I hit 62, gear that took me over a year to acquire.

Blizzard deserves kudos points for the relatively smooth launch. I experienced virtually zero lag, which, when you look at the scope of things, is a major accomplishment. Along with myself, hundreds of thousands of other people rushed home from their local game store to play at the same time.

If you’ve played up to level 58 (the lowest possible level you can be at to enter the Dark Portal, which takes you to the new zone, Outland) or are absolutely dying to create a Blood Elf or Draenei, “The Burning Crusade” should be on your “must buy” list. If you don’t meet those two requirements or plan on reaching level 58 anytime soon, there is really no need to buy this yet.

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