CGW:World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade

CGW:World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade

World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade
Computer Gaming World, December, 2005 by Jeff Green

Exclusive first look at the wow expansion

Ok, So You’re Level 60 Now.You’ve been level 60 for a while, in fact. You’ve created a few alts, messed around with PVP, maxed out your fishing, and maybe even sworn off the game (a few times). But if you’re like most World of WarCraft junkies—and there are millions now—you still think about it. You still want more. And nobody knows this better, or wants to help you more, than Blizzard.

And indeed, friends, help is on the way. On October 28 at BlizzCon, its first-ever fan convention, Blizzard is formally announcing World of WarCraft: The Burning Crusade, the first official expansion to its insanely addictive massively multiplayer game. So get your junk food ready and kiss your loved ones good-bye…again. Because after visiting Blizzard in mid-September and sneaking a peek at everything the game designers have in store for the show, we’re here to tell you: You are going to be very busy.

If the original World of WarCraft successfully transferred Blizzard’s strategy-game fantasy world to an MMO setting, it is with The Burning Crusade that Blizzard is finally picking up the huge plot threads left dangling since WarCraft III: The Frozen Throne, revealing the fates of, and letting players get up close with, many of the franchise’s biggest heroes and villains.

For players, this translates into a massive amount of new content in both the original game world of Azeroth and a brand-new one, Outland, formerly the orc planet of Draenor, now the burned-out, torn-apart, multizoned refuge of the game’s ?ad guy, Illidan—the ugly mook you’re looking at on this page. Illidan’s been wreaking havoc in Azeroth for over 10,000 years, and it is your ultimate job in The Burning Crusade to travel to Outland and bring him to justice.

But that’s just the beginning. Blizzard is also adding two new playable races, one new profession, a slew of new high-level dungeons and raid zones, a new level cap of 70, and much, much more. We’ve got details on all of this in the pages ahead, so go ahead, dive in and see how the next few hundred hours of your life are going to be spent.

Meet the Blood Elves

Blizzard is introducing two new player races in The Burning Crusade, one each for the Alliance and Horde. Despite all our whining and begging, Blizzard would only tell us about the one being announced at BlizzCon: the blood elves for the Horde. (Rumor has it that the originally planned Alliance race had to be changed, which is why Blizzard isn’t revealing it yet.) Astute players may have seen this one coming for a while. Blizzard planted a few NPC blood elves around Azeroth already—one each in the Stonetalon Mountains and Ratchet, among other places—and their story even occupies a few paragraphs in the original WOW manual.

So who are the blood elves, and why would you want to be one? In the voluminous WarCraft lore, blood elves are the troubled remaining descendents of the magic-obsessed highborne elves, who were banished from their original home in Kalimdor because of that magic obsession by the uptight night elves some 9,000 years before the events of the original WarCraft. The highborne elves founded a new kingdom, called Quel’Thalas, in the northernmost part of Lordaeron—the currently unmarked area in WOW located north of the Eastern Plaguelands.

The high elves remained in Quel’Thalas, still obsessed with magic but friendly with the Alliance, all the way through to the events of WarCraft III: The Frozen Throne, when nearly the entire land and roughly 90 percent of the population were decimated by the rampaging, loony Arthas, former good guy, and the undead Scourge. Also destroyed was the Sunwell, the source of all their magical energy—and that’s when things get really ugly. (And feel free to consult the games, manuals, novels, and Wikipedia for more, kids, because we’re just skimming the surface here.)

“This is Legolas as if he went down a pretty heavy path,” says VP of creative development and arcane-lore meister Chris Metzen. “This is not an evil race, but a people that have been through a massive cultural trauma. They’ve had their asses soundly kicked by Arthas, most of their land has been razed, and now, without the Sunwell to provide them with magical energy, they’re like crack addicts—they can barely get up in the morning.”

Out of desperation to sate their addiction, the high elves’ leader, Prince Kael’thas (who you will meet in a high-level dungeon), makes a deal with the devil—Illidan—to draw magic from demonic sources instead. And it is with this act that their former buddies, the Alliance, want nothing more to do with the high elves, who, meanwhile, have renamed themselves the blood elves in honor of their fallen people. With nowhere else to turn and desperate for magic, the blood elves choose to join up with the Horde.

Don’t Hate Us Because We’re Beautiful

That’s all well and good, but perhaps we haven’t answered your question yet. Why would you want to be a blood elf? Well, for one thing, in contrast to the rest of the Horde, they’re actually not ugly, and the zones they inhabit are bright and colorful. “One quirk—I won’t say problem—about the Horde,” says lead designer Jeffrey Kaplan, “is that they are not attractive, and their lands tend to be harsh. So we wanted to give players a more appealing, beautiful race that also fits thematically with the Horde.”

In keeping with their magical bent, blood elf players will be able to be mages, warlocks, or priests, along with the obligatory warrior class and either hunters or rogues—Blizzard hasn’t decided yet. (No new classes are being introduced in this expansion. “We feel the existing classes have so much room to go,” says Kaplan, “and we promise that they will be fleshed out, with new mechanics for all of them.”)

All blood elves, regardless of class, will begin at level 1 with a special racial ability called Mana Tap. You can use Mana Tap on creatures to recharge your mana (or energy or rage, depending on your class), and then unleash it in a secondary racial ability called Arcane Torrent, which will silence all enemies around you for two seconds, interrupting any spellcasting, and give your mana, rage, or energy a boost.

And what of the blood elf mounts? Wouldn’t you like to know...and so would Blizzard, but the designers haven’t quit arguing amongst themselves yet. “We’ve debated everything from _unicorns to nether sea horses—but nothing’s nailed down yet,” says Kaplan.

Home sweet home?

The blood elves’ starting area is Sunstrider Isle, and though the Scourge has destroyed most of their land, this is still a vital, healthy area—as you can see from the screens. “We wanted a look that was the opposite of the night elf look,” says Metzen. “Where the night elves live in eternal twilight, we wanted the high elves, at their best, to live in a place of eternal spring and vibrancy. Arthas has destroyed most of it, but some of it still lives on.” Blizzard also wanted a different architectural vibe for the blood elves’ land. “The night elves have a somewhat Nordic and Japanese architecture,” says Metzen. “We wanted something more classical and magical this time.”

At this point, Quel’Thalas is set to be composed of roughly three to five zones, including Eversong Forest, the starting zone (and also the location of the blood elf capital, Silvermoon City); the Ghostlands, which border the Eastern Plaguelands to the south; and the Sunwell Plateau, which won’t be part of the initial expansion but will be part of a live update down the line. Blizzard is also adding a high-level instanced area, Zul’Aman, home of the forest trolls, as incentive for players to take their old characters up into this new land (see the section on dungeons on the next page).

One key goal for Blizzard was to make sure that, for this new Horde race, there was enough variety in the zones to keep things interesting. “We wanted to mix things up more this time,” says Rob Pardo, VP of game design. “We learned from Kalimdor that there was just too much of the same thing—too much desert, too much bleakness.”

One particularly distinctive feature of this area will be what Metzen jokingly calls the “Road o’ Death,” the trail that Arthas’ army marched through in WarCraft III, which completely bisects the land all the way through, including Silvermoon City. “It’s a constant reminder to the blood elves,” says Metzen, “of just how much s*** these guys have gone through.”

The New Dungeons

Only wimps stay in the public areas. WOW’s real action (and the best loot) is found in the game’s gigantic, tough instanced dungeons. For The Burning Crusade, Blizzard currently has eight new high-level dungeon areas planned—six of them in Outland and one in the new blood elf area of Quel’Thalas. (The eighth, the Caverns of Time, is a series of dungeons that will continue to be expanded in further live updates—see page 70 for details.) Here’s a breakdown of the rest:

Karazhan Tower

Located in the bleak Deadwind Pass in southern Azeroth, this used to be Medivh’s castle, but it has been lying in ruins since the original World of WarCraft. Now it will be opened up, and inside, players will find a massive, 15-story max-level dungeon, which will host a 20-man raid and feature all sorts of spectral and magical creatures and scripted boss encounters. Rumor has it you may also encounter Khadgar, Medivh’s former apprentice, who now fights the good fight against the Burning Legion.


Zul’Aman is the home of the forest trolls bordering the blood elf region of Quel’Thalas. Blizzard has said this dungeon will likely feature another 20-man raid, with a public area that spills out into Quel’Thalas’ Ghostlands and Eversong Forest zones. The targeted player level hasn’t been determined yet.

Hellfire Citadel

All we know about this one is that it’s the “easiest” dungeon in Outland, is located in the starting zone, Hellfire Peninsula, and targets players between levels 57 and 63.

Lady Vashj

Not really much of a lady anymore, to be blunt, Lady Vashj is a former highborne elf who is now the leader of the evil sea creatures known as the naga. WarCraft nerds familiar with the manuals and novels know that many highborne elves were transformed into naga when the Well of Eternity was destroyed some 10,000 years before the events in WOW. Lady Vashj is now one of Illidan’s lieutenants, and players between levels 62 and 66 will get to encounter the sea witch in person in her Outland dungeon.


Blizzard is trying something new with Auchindoun, an area located in Outland’s Bone Wastes zone and intended for players between levels 65 and 70: It will actually be both a dungeon and a player city. According to lead designer Jeffrey Kaplan, depending on how players raise or lower their reputations with different NPC groups in the area, the city will be either friendly—giving you another base to buy and sell or letting you work on trade skills—or hostile, in which case you’ll find yourself battling high-level elite mobs.

Tempest Keep

Located off the tip of Netherstorm in Outland, this will be a max-level dungeon that includes roughly three five-man wings and one raid-level wing, which is the keep itself. In the keep, you can expect to encounter Kael’Thas, another former highborne elf (like Lady Vashj) who is now the leader of the blood elves and another one of Illidan’s lieutenants in Outland.

Black Temple

This is it, kids: your final destination, home of Illidan, The Burning Crusade’s big, bad ?ss. This former night elf is responsible for all sorts of chaos in the WarCraft universe and has been in need of an ass kicking for over 10,000 years. You’ll need to be level 70 for said ass kicking—and even then you must prepare for the fight of your life.

Next Stop: Outland

The Burning Crusade’s biggest chunk—the place where Blizzard is letting its imagination run wild, the playground where high-level characters will lose themselves all over again—is Outland, the remains of what used to be the planet Draenor, the former orc homeland, now blown apart and floating freely in the “Twisting Nether.”

How will players get to Outland from Azeroth? Exactly the way it’s always been done: through the Dark Portal—that otherworldly gateway that Medivh opened up way back prior to the original WarCraft and that has been the source of all the trouble (and all our fun) in Azeroth ever since. The Dark Portal has been visible but closed to players in World of WarCraft, a dormant tourist attraction out in the Blasted Lands zone, but Blizzard plans to open it—or, rather, let players open it via a server-wide ?est—in a live update leading up to the expansion. (The quest details are still in flux, but expect something like a server-wide search for pages of Medivh’s _old spellbook....)

The reason we would want to open the Dark Portal again and go back to that hellish world is at the heart of The Burning Crusade. In the planned live update, super good guy Khadgar, hero of previous games who was presumed lost or dead behind the Dark Portal in Draenor, returns to Azeroth to warn the planet’s many inhabitants that the threat of the Burning Legion—a vast army of otherworldly demons and other creatures—is still strong.

“The Burning Crusade,” says Metzen, “is the Burning Legion’s ongoing war to snuff out all life in the universe, to put it mildly.” Khadgar explains to the varied races of Azeroth that though they may have withstood the Burning Legion twice, the bad guys are still marching across the universe, burning planets and crushing everyone in their path—and that mortal heroes (like you) must join the fight.

Outland is a portal world, a nexus to all the other worlds, so this is where we must go to start hunting the Burning Legion. But when we do, we’ll just happen to run into longtime bad guy, Illidan, who has taken refuge here from the Burning Legion, sealing all the portals in the process. We’ll get the chance to settle our bill with Illidan in the game’s final, toughest dungeon.

Through the Dark Portal

Outland is a medium-sized, multizone world targeted at players from around level 54 all the way up to the new cap of 70 (see sidebar on page 71). “We didn’t want you to have to be level 60 already to enter,” says Jeffrey Kaplan, “because we want players—even your newer blood elf characters—to be able to go there as soon as possible. At the same time, there is going to be tons and tons of endgame content to keep you happy for a long time.”

When you first go through the Dark Portal, you’ll arrive on Hellfire Peninsula, site of many battles in the WarCraft II expansion, still littered with old orc and human bases. Other zones include the lush Zangor Marsh, the spooky Blaze Edge mountains (shown here), the chewed-out Bone Wastes, and the surreal Netherstorm on the continent’s outer fringes. Things will get even crazier once you open portals into other worlds—three zones are already planned for the expansion, with seven total that Blizzard knows about.

“One of the things we’re most excited about,” says Metzen, “is the chance to create environments unlike anything you’ve seen in previous games. We really want to ramp it up for the players now. We’re saying, ‘Hey, you’ve graduated, you’re over level 60 now, so let’s get crazy with some really alien worlds and creatures.’ Even better, this is something that’s infinitely expandable for us in updates and expansions down the line. There can always be more portal worlds.”

While all of the WOW races will have strong motivating incentives to go to Outland—those of the Alliance to kick Burning Legion arse, the orcs to see how their culture began on their home planet, the blood elves to tap into that groovy demonic magic—the designers are delighted to also point out that the relative “truce” between them all (well, except on PVP servers) will have no place on Outland.

“It’s like the Wild West out there,” says Metzen. “It’s far from home. There are Horde and Alliance leaders stuck out in Outland going nuts, like Robert Duvall in Apocalypse Now.”

“In WarCraft III,” says Kaplan, “we brought all the races together. We’ve learned in WOW, though, that the more everybody hates each other, the better.”

You hear that, everyone? No CareBears in Outland. Blizzard has made it official.

The Caverns of Time: WarCraft’s Greatest Hits

One of the most exciting components of The Burning Crusade is a new series of instanced dungeons in Tanaris (intended for players between levels 60 and 70) known collectively as the Caverns of Time. In WarCraft lore, the Caverns of Time are a natural labyrinth, with portals leading to different eras in Azeroth’s past, protected by ancient bronze dragonflights. “The story line woven through [the Caverns of Time component],” says VP of Creative Development Chris Metzen, “is that there are forces in the world trying to screw with the timeline and affect critical moments of the past.” It will be the players’ job (regardless of faction) to go through these portals and into Azeroth’s past to make sure these critical moments in the WarCraft continuity happen exactly as they were meant to happen.

What this means for players is they will have an entertaining opportunity to relive events from the WarCraft strategy games (as well as key moments from the manuals and novels) within a WOW setting. For Blizzard, it means an infinitely expandable set of dungeons limited only by the designers’ imagination.

The following are some of the instances planned for the shipping expansion:

Thrall’s Escape From Durnholde Keep

This keep in the Hillsbrad Foothills, now controlled by the Syndicate, is where, years ago, a human officer named Aedelas Blackmoore captured and raised an orc baby he called Thrall. Blackmoore planned to use the orc for his own nefarious purposes, but Thrall escaped and over time rose to become leader of the orcs. In this instanced quest, you’ll go back 10 years to help Thrall escape Durnholde Keep and begin his march toward destiny.

The Opening of the Dark Portal

What is now the Blasted Lands used to be called the Black Morass, and it is on this spot many years ago that Medivh, a powerful mage, fatefully opened the Dark Portal that brought the orcs swarming into Azeroth from their homeworld of Draenor. In this instance, you will go back to this crucial pre-WarCraft event and actually defend Medivh as he opens the portal. Why would you want to do this? Just think, if that portal were never opened, there would be no WarCraft games at all!

The Battle of Mount Hyjal

In the final level of WarCraft III, the orcs, humans, and night elves stop bickering and band together to defend the World Tree, source of the world’s magic, and put a stop to the demon lord Archimonde and the Burning Legion once and for all. It’s an epic battle, and now it will be re-created as a huge raid event in the Caverns of Time. (“The kids wanted something epic,” says lead designer Jeffrey Kaplan. “We’re giving them something epic.”)

Battle on Hellfire Peninsula

This one is still in the planning stages and is definitely subject to change, but the idea behind this instance is to stage a big PVP battleground on the Hellfire Peninsula similar to the circumstances here 30 years ago in the WarCraft II expansion, when orcs and humans were battling it out before Draenor blew itself apart and became the floating planetoid now known as Outland.

Meet the Qiraji

We have bad news for you: There are bugs in the upcoming 1.9 patch. Giant bugs. Giant killer bugs that have been trapped and lying dormant behind a wall for thousands of years and will now be set free. Scheduled for release sometime in November, the 1.9 patch will introduce the insectlike qiraji to World of WarCraft in two big instanced zones, one in the form of a smaller, more casual outdoor 20-man raid, the other a 40-man endgame dungeon raid.

Players who have ventured down to the southwestern part of Silithus in Kalimdor may have already seen the gigantic Scarab Wall, which was closed thousands of years ago by the Titans to seal off the qiraji and their city kingdom, Ahn’Qiraj. The Titans feared the qiraji (who are linked to the nerubian spider civilization up north) because of their worship of dark powers and old gods—never a good thing.

Just how fast the gates of the Scarab Wall open so that you can begin kicking qiraji butt, however, is going to depend on you and the other folks on your server.

“This is something we’ve never done before,” says lead designer Jeffrey Kaplan. “To open the gates, there will be server-wide quests. Everyone on the server will need to band together to get these quests done and open the gates.”

Blizzard doesn’t want this to just be a “max-level” event for ?ayers. According to the current plan, NPC emissaries will begin showing up in Horde and Alliance cities, requiring vast amounts of resources to start a war against the awakening qiraji. So players of all levels can contribute iron, for example, to help the war effort. “There will be an epic component that will require a raid,” says Kaplan, “but to get to that point, you’ll need buy-in from the entire server.” Once the gates are opened, they’re open for good, and the reward will be the two instanced zones.

Of course, not all servers will open the gates at the same time—and Blizzard likes it this way. “It should be a neat competition between servers,” says Kaplan. Just how long it will take for the first server to open the gates is unclear. “We’re not sure,” admits Kaplan. “For the best server to go insane, spending 24 hours a day on it, they might get it open in two to three weeks.” And don’t worry, by the way, if your server sucks. “If you’re on a slacker server,” said Kaplan, “it won’t take you four years to open the gates—we promise. We’re making sure there are mechanisms to help the slower servers along.”

Life Beyond Level 60

We hear the plaintive cries of the ?rds—who will reach the new level 70 cap sometime between showers—already. However, Blizzard insists the level cap was determined after all the new content was in, and that anything higher would have been artificial.

“We didn’t want to get into a situation where we raised the level cap by 30, but you’re standing on Hellfire Peninsula for two weeks killing felboars just to get to the next zone,” says lead designer Jeffrey Kaplan. “We didn’t want to drag it out artificially—players are going to feel that. We think part of the success of WOW is the fact that you can really feel your progression. We didn’t want any glaring time sinks, and we didn’t want to water down the gameplay.”

Or as VP of creative development Chris Metzen puts it: “It’s about focusing in on what’s cool, dialing it in, and building 10 kick-ass levels for players to reach.”

Blizzard is also being sensitive about supplying enough new content for players once they do hit level 70. “One of the things we weren’t happy about with the shipping version of WOW was having enough endgame content,” says producer Rob Pardo. “This time, we really want to make sure there are lots of endgame dungeons and raids, lots of choices for the players to still make. It’s not just about leveling to 70, but what you do at level 70.”

Want an example? How about the ability for level 70 players to get a flying mount? (You’ll be able to fly only in Outland, which is being built with player flight in mind—the original world would break with flying mounts.)

“At the end of the day,” says Pardo, “we know what good content feels like. If you look at our previous expansions (like StarCraft: Brood War), [you’ll find that] people have never felt like we’ve underdelivered, and I don’t think this will be the first time.”

We hear the plaintive cries of the ?rds—who will reach the new level 70 cap sometime between showers—already. However, Blizzard insists the level cap was determined after all the new content was in, and that anything higher would have been artificial.

“We didn’t want to get into a situation where we raised the level cap by 30, but you’re standing on Hellfire Peninsula for two weeks killing felboars just to get to the next zone,” says lead designer Jeffrey Kaplan. “We didn’t want to drag it out artificially—players are going to feel that. We think part of the success of WOW is the fact that you can really feel your progression. We didn’t want any glaring time sinks, and we didn’t want to water down the gameplay.”

Or as VP of creative development Chris Metzen puts it: “It’s about focusing in on what’s cool, dialing it in, and building 10 kick-ass levels for players to reach.”


呵呵,好多可以意译的地名都是根据自己的理解翻的,相当的仓促。比如Tempest Keep,怕和暴风要塞混淆,用“暴风雨”有些拗口,就翻成风雨了。Netherstorm是分成Nether和storm翻的,前者有阴间、冥府的意思,干错就给翻成了阴风……