Monday 22 January 2007
Tuesday, January 16, 12 am Eastern Standard Time: The world stalls for a moment, then gives a little shudder as the lucky few run through the sickly-green, glistening portal, leaving behind the masses who could only stare enviously after them, then quickly mouse over the clock on the mini-map, to see how many more hours it would be before they could purchase their copy of The Burning Crusade.
World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade is the first expansion to the phenom of massively multi-player online role playing games, World of Warcraft. Publisher Blizzard Entertainment, after more than a year of hype and delays and carefully leaked teasers, released the expansion at staggered intervals across the world starting at 12 am EST, January 16. Players have reached level 69 (TBC raised the level cap from 60 to 70) in less than five days, playing for 26 hours straight and longer. Apparently sleeping, eating, talking and using the bathroom are all secondary to grinding out the levels.
So clearly, some folks are fanatic. But for the rest of the world, did TBC live up to the throbbing anticipation? Or was the build up so intense that players could only wander the Outlands in a fog of anti-climax?
Simply put, it's fantastic. TBC not only lived up to every expectation, it surpassed them. Despite fears of server instability and other technical issues, Blizzard did an amazing job keeping the worlds rock solid; lag was a major issue during peak times but rarely did the servers go boom.
The new lands in TBC are gorgeous and beautifully executed, with creatures and monsters galore, as well as the WoW standards: boars, buzzards, nagas and slimes. We were struck by how immediately we discovered we were no longer king of the level hill. No longer secure in our elite gear, proud level 60 players who rocked the old game quailed and ran whenever the screaming-eagle like shriek of the Fel Reaver was heard. Congrats to Blizzard on those Fel Reavers - not even the devilsaurs could strike that much fear into so many hearts, so quickly. Whoever thought of putting not one, but many, elite, death-head level monsters in the newbie area should be given an award - and then hit really hard.