Expansion I: The Burning Crusade
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The expansion is called "The Burning Crusade", referring to the continuing mission of the Burning Legion to conquer the multiverse. It is the first of what may be annual content expansions for the World of Warcraft universe. The expansion will be rolled out on existing servers, so players who don't buy the expansion will still share a world with those who do. Some of the changes will affect all users, others will be limited to players with the expansion. System requirements are similar to the main game (1G RAM, 64M video card, 1.0GHz or faster processor); note, however, that as this includes substantial additional content, the overall disk space requirement increased dramatically (~8G total). The content is rated "Teen" by the ESRB. The expansion was released on 16 January 2007 to North America and Europe. Followed shortly by New Zealand, Australia, Korea, and Singapore, with mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau shortly thereafter. The suggested retail price is US$39.99. A Collector's Edition was also announced, suggested retail price US$69.99, but this edition sold out at preorder vendors.
The standard package includes the game on CD media. The Collector's Edition includes the game (on CD and DVD media), the soundtrack CD, a Behind-the-Scenes DVD, The Art of World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade hardcover book, two WoW Trading Card Game starter packs with exclusive cards, a mouse pad with a map of Outland, and (possibly most important) a special in-game pet (the Netherwhelp, a baby Nether Drake).
Future instances will have a feature allowing groups to run instances at an elevated difficulty level for improved drops. As an example, running a L60-62 instance at Heroic ("Hard Mode") difficulty will upgrade the mobs and drops to the equivalent of a L70 instance. Initially, this capability will only be available for some of the Outland dungeons, but may be added to existing content in the future.
The expansion introduces new mounts, including ones which are capable of flight. At this time, aerial combat is not yet planned, but there will be some quest locations which are only reachable by air. Flying mounts require at least Expert Riding (225) skill and L70. Alliance and Horde teams will each get their own mounts for purchase (armored gryphons and armored wyverns), with other flavors of mount available by quest or reputation. One of the previewed mounts was the Nether Drake, a (relatively) small dragonling. These mounts will be usable in Azeroth, but will not be able to fly; they will still run at elite mount speeds (100% bonus over normal running speed).
Note that Druids gain a Flight Form which, while slower, will allow them to access the flight-accessible locations.
There are two new player races added in the expansion, the draenei and the blood elves. The expansion is required to create characters of these races, but everyone will be able to interact or group with them.
|Faction||Alliance/Exodar||Horde/Silvermoon City - Note that the Blood Elves start Friendly with Undercity and Neutral with the rest of the Horde|
|Starting Zone||Ammen Vale, Azuremyst Isle, Kalimdor||Sunstrider Isle, Eversong Woods, Quel'Thalas|
|Classes and Starting Stats||
|Mounts||Elekk (long-eared war elephant)
||Hawkstrider (killer flamingo)
No new classes were added for this expansion. However, the character level cap will be raised from 60 to 70. New spells and talents are available, including a new Flight Form for druids! Players who do not purchase the expansion will be limited to L60. Talent Calculators may be found here.
One recent interview suggested that players without the expansion would still be able to gain L70. This was refuted by a Blizzard representative, Nethaera, in the general forums: The statement in the article is in error. Players will in fact still need to purchase the expansion in order to level to 70. (Nethaera, 31. Re: Non-Expansion Buyers can level to 70, 09/26/2006 07:52:36 PM UTC)
Many of the professions are getting tuned in the expansion (some details may be found on the official site). Grand Master Trainers have taken up residence in Outland, mostly at Honor Hold (Alliance) or Thrallmar (Horde) in the Hellfire Peninsula. Grand Master trainers can train to Master skill level, allowing progress to a maximum skill level of 375. Master skill requires a minimum of L50.
Jewelcrafting is a brand new production skill. With the jewelcrafting trainers located in Outland or the new starting zones, only those who purchase the expansion will be able to learn this new skill. In addition, the recipes for socketed items (items with slots to hold jewelcrafted gems) are all above L300 and produce gear requiring L61 or higher. However, many of the lower-level items produced by jewelcrafters will doubtless find their way onto the AH.
Master Alchemists will gain a form of specialization. Alchemists may choose to become Transmutation, Potion, or Elixir Masters. As with other specialization, the decision is irrevocable once made. It is necessary to abandon and retake Alchemy to change specializations. Each specialty has the chance to produce multiple products from a single action - for instance, a Potion Master has a chance to produce 2 potions from a single set of ingredients. The doubling effect is limited to higher-level recipes.
Alchemists also have the ability to research unknown formulae. In the game, this is implemented as a (very low) random chance to learn a new formula whenever using the Alchemy skill.
Alchemists are also the only source of certain reagents - Primal Might, Earthstorm Diamonds, and Skyfire Diamonds require advanced alchemical skill (365 Alchemy) to produce.
Blacksmiths gained new L300+ recipes. In addition, each specialty gained a Bind on Pickup crafted item which they will be able to upgrade over time.
Willhellm on Hellfire posted the following to the beta forums:
The latest patch has also almost almost eliminated the blacksmith specialties, as all of the BoE weapns and armors have lost their specialty requirement. Now every Blacksmith can learn and craft every plan except for the BoP plans. The only thing that your blacksmith specialty determines is which BoP items you can learn, make and equip, as they now require that specialty to be equipped as well and learned. Because of this change, you do not lose any plans when you change specialties except for the BoP plans, which you can relearn if you return to that specialty.
Enchanters gained additional recipes, including high-level enchants requiring Runed Fel Iron, Eternium, and Adamantite Rods to cast.
Engineers also get more of the same. They are able to craft Toolboxes, which are containers that can hold engineering materials. Also new are the ability to make arrows as well as bullets; colored smoke flares, allowing the engineer to mark areas for raids or other purposes; and a Remote Mail Terminal (a temporary mail box with a 5 min life).
Leatherworkers don't get any major new changes, but they do get a number of new craftable armor sets. It remains to be seen whether these add sufficient meat to keep leatherworking viable. As with Blacksmiths, they will gain Bind on Pickup specialty armor sets.
Tailors gain specialization: Spellfire (fire/arcane), Shadoweave (frost/shadow), and Mooncloth (healing/mana regen) branches will each have new recipes, primarily a Bind on Pickup armor set. Like other specializations, you can only choose one path at a time. The specialization quests are all given out in Shattrath City in the Outlands. New cloth types are added with the higher level recipes, including Netherweave (used to also make Imbued Netherweave and Soulcloth; Imbued Netherweave is used to make Primal Mooncloth and Spellcloth). Obviously, this leads to bigger bags for all disciplines as well as some good cloth armor choices.
Skinning is basically unchanged in the expansion. Herbalists and miners gain the ability to "skin" certain kinds of mobs (mostly in Outland) to get raw materials off the defeated creatures. In addition, certain herbs give buffs or have other effects for the harvesting herbalist (somewhat like the herbs in Felwood).
No major changes seem to be set for the secondary skills. As with the others, skills can be raised to 375 via trainers in Outland. A new rare vanity pet has been added to reward uber-fishers.
Blizzard's Drysc posted: ...all current realms will run expansion content and the only thing restricting players from that content will be if they do not own the expansion. Those that buy the expansion will be able to access the new areas, such as Outland, the Draenei and Bloodelf starting zones, and places in the current landmass such as Karazhan and The Caverns of Time among other features only available through those new zones.
Two new starting zones were added to accomodate the new races. These zones are a part of Azeroth but will be limited to players who purchased the expansion.
The main zone addition is the continent of Outland, every bit as complex as Azeroth itself, about half the size of one of the existing continents. Outland will be reached through the Dark Portal from the Blasted Lands (Eastern Kingdoms). An interactive map may be found on the Blizzard site. Outland will include its own set of creatures, as well as hundreds of new quests and challenges. Most dungeons in Outland will follow the "wing" pattern used by Scarlet Monastery, with 5- or 10-character instances of increasing level requirements and 25-character raids. Also introduced in the expansion will be neutral instances which are also cities (similar in concept to Stromgarde or Stratholme) whose behavior will change based on reputation with the host faction. Also, cities marked "(Faction)" are neutral cities which may be captured by either faction. Outland's zones include:
New content was added to Azeroth. The expansion is required to access this content as well (at least in the form of keys or attunement that cannot be obtained without the expansion).
A number of API changes will be made. A summary can be found on the WoW Forums. One of the changes that has raiders nervous is the post from Blizzard's Tyren stating: Essentially, we don't want UI mods to make combat-sensitive decisions for players and as such, we've made some changes that block functionality that we feel is counter to the spirit of these philosophies. As such, AddOns and macros can't make decisions on who to target or what spells to cast... AddOns and macros will still be able to cast spells (with user interaction of course), they just won't be able to use logic to intelligently pick spells or targets.
For mod developers, the current version number is "20003".
|A special thank you goes out to all those who are actively posted on the Beta Forums and to our roving reporters in the field.|
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