After reading our preview of the 'Upcoming MMORPG's to challenge WoW' Blizzard decided to invite us to a rather swanky hotel in Covent Garden, to get our hands on its upcoming expansion to World of Warcraft – 'The Burning Crusade'. We duly obliged and trundled off to London where we found out all about the new game zones, the two new races, the new dungeon system as well as lots of other interesting things. We're nice people and rather than keep all of the juicy information to ourselves we decided to share it with you. Read on to find out all about World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade…
The New Races
Burning Crusade will introduce two new races for both the Alliance and the Horde (the two opposing sides for those who aren't familiar with WoW). Those are the Draenei - an alien race who have crash landed on Azeroth, and the Blood Elves – a former band of High Elves who were cast out for using demonic energies. The question of introducing the new races was one of the toughest problems Blizzard has faced, a problem which the company hopes it has overcome through deep and intricate lore. An even more difficult task faces me now as I try to sum up the back-stories of these two races into a reasonable paragraph sized offering.
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I'll start with the Draenei, primarily because they are big and scary looking. This alien race has just crash landed in their spaceship on Azeroth as a result of sabotage from the Horde races. Obviously unhappy about their ships ungracious fall from the sky, the Draenai ally themselves with the Alliance in a bid to get back at the horrible Orcs and the Blood Elves. If you start life as a Draenei you'll be big and ugly but have an affinity to the light, so it's not all bad.
The Draenei start life next to a portion of their crashed ship, with the initial quests revolving around helping other stranded Draenei that have crash landed just like you. The Draenei's affinity with light serves them in a multitude of ways; firstly they have shadow resistance, as well as a special healing ability called the Gift of the Naaru (which goes up relative with your characters level). They are also naturally disposed to jewelcrafting, read more about that later, and so anybody who likes to tinker with gems should certainly consider them for character selection.
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The Blood Elves look a lot sexier than the Draenei, despite being part of the Horde. As with most things sexy, a rather large dollop of sinister comes with it and the Blood Elves are certainly that. Caring only about their own personal power and their ability to do magic, the Blood Elf history descends from a breakaway from the High Elves, due to demon worship. It all gets very complicated but needless to say Blizzard has provided enough lore to keep fans interested, and for those who aren't interested in the story then the Blood Elves at least provide a new challenge.
When I got my hands on the game the biggest question mark that stood out was the explanation for the Draenei's having space age technology, yet use weapons like axes and shields made of wood. When quizzed about this potential discrepancy Frank Pearce, Vice President of Blizzard, assured me an explanation would be provided - however, whether that explanation will be believable... Well, I'll believe it when I see it.