World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade
The pinnacle of a 14 year legacy of games, Blizzard Entertainment's World of Warcraft is certainly one of the most popular and addicting games they've released yet. World of Warcraft, or WoW for short, happens to be this writer's favorite game. WoW was released in November 2004, just in time to commemorate ten years of Blizzard Entertainment games.
Anyone who knows, well, anyone under the age of 80, stands a pretty good shot of hearing about this game. I mean, with over 10 million subscribers worldwide, chances are pretty good you might know a guy who knows a guy who has a level 85 warlock or rogue. ;)
First thing's first -- You have GOT to buy the expansion set. Thankfully, in true Blizzard form, you can buy World of Warcraft and World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade in a battle chest format just like they packaged Starcraft and Warcraft III. In order to play World of Warcraft you only have to have the initial software package, however in order to experience the content in Outlands, as well as the starting zones for the new races, and to achieve the maximum character level you must install The Burning Crusade.
The Burning Crusade introduced to it's players two new races and an entire new world. Vibrant regions were added to the game, and the maximum character level was raised from 60 to 70. The previous storylines expand as these new playable locations are explored, taking players on a journey as deep and vast as anything previously played.
For the veteran World of Warcraft player, the release of the Burning Crusade meant a rejuvination of their interest in playing the game. The release also saw record sales for Blizzard Entertainment, as well as players whose accounts had been allowed to lapse returning to the game.
New players have more options now than were previously available, primarily in the new races and the removal of class exclusivity. For the first time since the game was released, players are not restricted to playing either Alliance or Horde just to play their favored class. The Burning Crusade made the shaman class available to the Alliance with the introduction of the Draenei, and the Horde received the honor of the Blood Elf race's premier, and their special class - the paladin.
A hilarious World of Warcraft Video
Pros and Cons
As with any game, WoW is not without it's benefits and flaws. However, for the first-time player a little head's up is helpful, so here you will find the big things to be aware of:
- World of Warcraft is incredibly easy to play. The user interface is very newbie-friendly and there are hundreds of tips, hints and resources online to get the help you need as you're beginning play.
- The graphics in this game are nothing short of awesome. Character items, buildings, scenery, everything you will see in the game is smooth and crisp. This does, of course, rely heavily on the quality of your computer's graphics card.
- The subscription fee is cheap. One month of service is $14.99, and the subscription may be paid via game card, debit or credit card. Discounts are available for bulk time purchases.
- Once the core software is installed, you never need the discs to play. Just sit down at your computer, and get to it!
- Because there are over 9 million subscribers, the game is very socially oriented. You will almost never be alone, depending on what time of day you play.
It pains me to say this, but even my favorite game has it's flaws.
- While the basic user interface is good, game play is enhanced tenfold by the use of additional programs called add-ons. The reason this is a con is with each add-on you install, the initial load time of your game may go up a bit, and the time between loading screens raises slightly as well. For those players who have upward of 20 add-ons they use on a regular basis, this means load times of up to 30 seconds.
- Because this is an online game, you will meet your fair share of jerks, harassing individuals and straight out bad people. Thankfully, there is a system for reporting individuals who make your play time less enjoyable.
- World of Warcraft has the possibility of becoming just as dangerous an addiction as any other pastime. There have been failed marriages, jobs lost and friendships torn apart because of this game. My advice to all players, new and old, is to take a break every once in a while. I don't just mean five minutes. I mean, take a weekend off. Black Temple won't clear itself, I know, but your sanity, real life and relationships are more important than 'sweet epixxx.'