Being a fan of World of Warcraft(Iím sure Iím in the minority here), I was pretty excited when Jakub asked me to take a look at the Burning Crusade. This is the kind of thing that makes you happy that youíre a game industry journalist. Though I rarely write about the games themselves any more, I do enjoy playing them. So, after I downloaded the beta client, I set to work checking out the new areas.
I had to dig out my first character, the one that I created while reviewing WoW for FiringSquad the first time. I went through the character copy process and fired up the Burning Crusade for the first time. For the purpose of my work in the Burning Crusade Iíll be playing as my 60th level warlock who is mostly epic raid equipped. Letís get to the killing!
First off, the entry to the new areas of the game is through the Dark Portal in the Blasted Lands. Now, instead of having the whole area infested with demons, there's a base camp for the Alliance and Horde. Of course, the other side of that gate is where all the new content lays waiting. Once you go through that gate, the new adventure begins.
60 and Beyond
So, one of the biggest deals for players is that when the expansion hits the shelves, characters will be able to level up to 70. Arguably a great portion of WoW players, or even the majority have been stuck at level 60 for some time, and are chomping at the bit to get out of that level. Of course, with a higher level come new talents. However, most of the new talents have already been released to the general public, so there isn't much to say about them that people haven't already discovered. There have been changes to several trees, notably rogues no longer have Cloak of Shadows as a level 41 Subtlety talent, but a level 66 trainable skill. Other minor adjustments are visible in various other classes.
Of course, with the new chase on to hit 70, you'll want to have the best possible build to do so. Though itís impossible to test all possibilities, indications are that the trees and builds that worked to get characters to level 60 are still effective for the remaining ten levels. PvP builds are of course serviceable, but not optimal for leveling, especially in tougher instances.
Killing monsters is a genuine concern in the expansion because the mobs do have quite a few more hot points than people are used to. You don't usually run into mobs that are level 60+ while just running around in the base game. To that end, you'll want to make sure you have a strategy for the higher level kills. Fortunately, the items that drop in Outland tend to have a great deal of stamina to increase character health as well.
As always, the fastest leveling is achieved by stacking quests together to achieve objectives in roughly the same area and turn the quests in. The Burning Crusade has fairly abundant quests of the familiar variety, and should keep most diligent questers from having to spend too much time on mere grinding.
Other than just the basic information that you've purchased an expansion named the Burning Crusade, you'll notice that the entire game world is in the middle of a war. If you head down to the Blasted Lands and go to the Dark Portal, you'll see why. On the other side of the gate you're welcomed by a demonic assault that's being held off by a force of Alliance and Horde. As soon as you step out of that gate, you're ushered over to a travel node for a flight to the base behind the lines. This is where you'll do your initial questing.