World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade

One Draenei , one Blood Elf, one massive preview

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Will: "In Warcraft III, the Burning Legion's Undead Scourge essentially burnt a fiery straight line through the entire Blood Elf kingdom, and this Dead Scar remains clearly visible on the landscape of both the pleasant Eversong woods and the more dangerous land to the south. It's best avoided if you're lacking in XP as it's jam-packed with nefariousness - but there's a rotten Dwarven spy and some lying students who need to be turned into warthogs nearby if you're not tough enough. Needless to say, this death-irradiated scar pulls the whole Blood Elf theme of contrasts into even sharper resolution. It runs all the way into Silvermoon City like an evil magical runway strip, bisecting it into the ruined chunk and the more habitable areas. Pretty it ain't, but it gives the Blood Elf zones an ambience like no other."

Log: "For a peace-loving race who often slip into hippyish cliché ('Help those weaker than yourself!' - it's 'cuddle o'clock!'), the Draenei aren't averse to a touch of unquestioning slaughter. For instance, the Owlkins who've mutated seem to get on quite well with their non-mutated brothers. They live together peacefully - until you pop up like a pure-blooded fascist and kill everything that glows red. To be fair, the unmutated ones don't react that badly to you butchering what were, until very recently, their friends and family. Perhaps they're stupid. I suppose you can't expect too much from the union of an owl and a bear. I wonder which one was the mum and the dad?"



Will: "Man, Silvermoon city kicks Darnassus' arse in so many ways I can't even count them. I don't even know why I liked being a Night Elf. Something The Burning Crusade has definitely brought is a tremendous sense of vertical scale, with towering minarets, beautiful statues, trickling fountains and a general sense of 'Woo!' There's a touring party of Horde leaders wandering around if you spot them, along with a chap with a portal that links to the UnderCity if you've reached level ten. And get this: two auction houses and two inns! If being evil gets you crazy excess like that, then colour me bad."


Log: "The Exodar is the Draenei capital city, constructed from the largest shard of crashlanded spaceship. The impact of the crash drove the fragment underground, so what you see on the surface is just a fraction of the city, and it's a winding trek down to the good stuff. Not only is it visually stunning, there are some sweet touches too. Take the Vault of Lights, where a group of Draenei tourists are shuffling around the holographic museum, looking at members of the Burning Legion (but in translucent pink, so they don't scare people away)."

LEVELS 10-20


Will: "The starting areas for Blood Elves and Draenei alike cover two map screens - one for levels one through ten and the other for the drive up to 20. As a Blood Elf up to level ten, you only really seen faint signs of the Undead Scourge that's been snarling up Blood Elf central - but when you get to the Ghostlands, a lack of pulse in your neighbours has become the norm. The Forsaken (the 'good' playable undead who've broken away from their Scourge roots) are also present in NPC form, while some meanies of epic proportions are hanging around under the sullen canopy of the forest. Also present nearby is Zul'Aman - Aztec-themed home to the Forest Trolls and 20-man raid zone, which is perhaps a little hardcore for an adolescent Blood Elf huntress right now. Fit as I am."

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