World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade Updated Hands-On - The Two New Races

We try out brand-new blood elf and draenei characters in the beta version of one of this year's most highly anticipated games.

In case you hadn't heard, the online role-playing game World of Warcraft from developer Blizzard Entertainment and publisher Vivendi Games is one of the most popular games on the market on any platform. Hopefully, later this year, the studio will release The Burning Crusade, the expansion pack for the game that will add plenty of high-level content for veterans as well as two new playable fantasy races to build new characters with. We took the opportunity to get in depth with the two new races: the fanatical blood elves of the monstrous Horde faction and the mystical draenei characters of the noble Alliance.

Both races should have content available for them that will let them advance to approximately level 20 or so. Players of either race will probably want to join the general populace to show off their new inherent abilities, as well as to tip the scales in competitive player-versus-player battles, since each of the new races belongs to an opposing faction and each race can play as a character class that wasn't available to its faction previously. The draenei may play as shaman--a class focused on using nature-based powers to heal allies, damage enemies, and summon spirit totems that radiate various magical effects in the area. The blood elves, on the other hand, may play as everyone's favorite warriors-who-can-heal, paladins (although according to the game's story, this is only possible through a twisted and evil scheme that involves imprisoning and siphoning power from a holy spirit).

The draenei and blood elves will bring all classes to all factions in The Burning Crusade.

The draenei are tall, mostly pale-skinned humanoids with hooves for feet and haunches for legs and resemble satyrs of Greek mythology. After you create a new character of either race, you'll be treated to the same kind of narrated in-game cinematic sequence that opens the new life of any other World of Warcraft character. According to the narration, the draenei originate from the Outlands (the challenging, otherworldly new land added in the expansion pack), but, inspired by tales of the alliance's heroism, they have come to Azeroth to enlist help for their war against the Burning Legion.

The draenei's spaceship, the Exodar, explodes in the skies above Northern Kalimdor (the realm of the night elves), and the pieces fall to earth on the previously uncharted Azuremyst Isle, off the west coast of the Eastern Kingdoms. Parts of the ship and the remains of numerous escape pods are strewn all over the island, along with irradiated crystals that (presumably) powered the vessel but are now wreaking havoc on the local nature and wildlife. The largest surviving piece of the ship fell on the western edge of Azuremyst Isle, forming the mostly subterranean draenei city, which retains the name of the ship, The Exodar.

The Exodar is almost certainly the largest city in Azeroth, and even as a Tauren-sized draenei, the scale of it can feel quite overwhelming the first time you visit. The city boasts all of the usual districts, along with two banks and two auction houses--which will hopefully cut down on lag in those locations should the new city become a popular place for players to hang out. The Exodar is a city that feels like a combination of the dwarves' Ironforge and the undead's Undercity--the whole city is enclosed within one giant structure (the ship's hull) and has a lot of wide-open spaces that are a little disconcerting at this point but will no doubt feel quite different when populated with players.

The noble draenei once lived in a crystal-powered spaceship. No, seriously.

In one area of the city, you'll find a crystal mine, which ties in nicely with one of the draenei's passive racial abilities (and a new profession for the Burning Crusade expansion), jewelcrafting. The draenei have a +5 racial bonus to jewelcrafting, as well as a +10 resistance to shadow-based magic, such as that used by priest characters. In addition, the race has two other abilities, "gift of the Naruu," a free healing spell that costs no magic power ("mana"), and "inspiring presence," a passive ability that grants a 1 percent bonus to hit for party members within 30 yards.

Since the crash was very recent, there are still many injured and unaccounted-for draenei. Your early quests, perhaps unsurprisingly, task you with killing lowly beasts (including some great-looking moths--a brand-new beast model, not just a new skin like many of the new beasts) and retrieving items from them that can be used to help the wounded. The draenei use crystals for all kinds of purposes, it would seem, and in a couple of early quests you'll be using them to cure survivors that you find scattered around the Ammen Vale starting area, as well as to purify a lake that has one of the spaceship's giant irradiated crystals polluting it.

New Neighbors, New Lore

Other early quests in Ammen Vale involve killing creatures that have been mutated and/or turned aggressive by the radiation. These include "mutated lashers" (the large flowers that walk around) and the all-new "volatile mutants," which look like aborted alien fetuses crawling around on the ground. The damage to nature in the area is so bad that even the earth elementals have gone bad, and one of the last quests before leaving the safety of the Vale tasks you with killing a number of "restless spirits of the earth" as they battle against air, water, and fire elementals.

Both factions will have brand-new starting areas with content from levels 1 through 20.

When you leave Ammen Vale to explore the rest of the Azuremyst Isle, crossing a small river in the process where you'll notice an all-new visual effect for schools of fish, you'll find that the scenery doesn't change much. What does change, though, is that the wildlife here has been unaffected by the radiation at the crash site for the most part. In addition to regular versions of the mutated stuff you were fighting earlier, you'll find stags, deer, and even a new critter scampering about the place: a skunk. There are a handful of different settlements and outposts on the isle, none of which have a permanent feel about them.

The draenei outposts have been erected around ship remains, while the other alliance races have arrived on the island by water and started clearing an area known as Odesyus' Landing. The goblins' Venture Co. has also landed on one corner of the island and is in the process of setting up camp there. The scenery and wildlife is most reminiscent of that in Darkshore, where the Night Elves start. There are striders and nightstalker cats, and the grass and trees all have a dark color palette. Based on what we've seen thus far, it seems that--with the exception of The Exodar--there will be very little reason for you to stay on the isle beyond level 12 or so--you may wish to gain some levels then jump to the main continents to join the rest of the Alliance.

The blood elves, on the other hand, seem to have plenty of low-level content scattered and radiating outward from their starting home town. According to the game's story, the blood elves (which first appeared in the Frozen Throne expansion pack for Blizzard's Warcraft III) were originally the noble high elves until the traitorous human prince Arthas, who went on to help lead the evil undead faction known as The Scourge, cut them off from their supply of magical power. Driven mad with rage, the high elves renamed themselves blood elves and swore they would gain revenge on the parties that robbed them of their innocence.

While the blood elves may have been cut off from the original source of their sorcery, you wouldn't know it from their ornate, gilded starting town or from their ostentatious capital of Silvermoon. They begin their lives in a town that's brightly lit and open to the sun and the eerie glows of the ethereal creatures that dwell in their lands, such as the flying mana wyrms and moving tree saplings, as well as the oddly autonomous broomsticks that swish past you every so often, sweeping up dust along the way.

The blood elves are here to chew gum and drain your mana. And they're all out of gum.

The blood elves are perhaps intended to be the easier of the two races to start out with, since the faction's town seems to offer numerous starter quests within spitting distance of each other. This may not come as a surprise for a Horde race that will likely become extremely popular, partially since the Horde has not had any attractive female characters (there, we said it), and partially due to the blood elves powerful innate abilities. In addition to possessing +5 bonus to magic resistance and +15 to the enchanting trade skill, all blood elf characters possess the "mana tap" ability, which siphons off a portion of its target's magical powers, and "arcane torrent," which silences any nearby enemies for two seconds standing in a very short range. Both of these abilities will probably prove extremely useful in competitive player-versus-player combat against enemy characters using spells with noninstantaneous casting times. The silencing ability of arcane torrent will probably make blood elf paladins, the race's only real front line fighter class, deadly if they can get within range of enemy magic-users.

Both races seem like they'll offer players new experiences, though we imagine the blood elves will be far more fearsome right off the bat in competitive play. We'll have more details on competition, high-level zones, and the two races as the ongoing Burning Crusade beta continues. The expansion itself is, according to Blizzard, scheduled for release later this year. Check back with GameSpot for more updates.

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128 comments
RavenSoS
RavenSoS

I played Guild Wars: Factions with a buddy of mine for about 2 days and quit. I honestly did not like that game at all. Once you went out into the world you could only interact/see people who were in your party. It made the world feel so empty.... lifeless. We just picked up World of Warcraft this past Friday and I'm hooked on it. I can't stop playing. I can't wait for this expansion to come out. New races, new spells and abilities, new areas, a whole new continent.... this is actually one of the best expansions I've seen for a computer game. Perhaps not as massive a jump as the standalone expansions of Guild Wars, but definitely better than the expansions I've seen for most strategy games.

Irithes
Irithes

Not getting it. Its release around the same time as Vanguard: Saga of Heroes, which seems like it will be much better. Player housing in the world? Emphasis of adventuring rather than grinding? Guild boats? It's going to shove WoW aside for players like me. And the idea of Blood Elves on the Horde is awful. Now the Horde will have a bunch of immature 11 year olds who want to be blood elf paladins, or want to be white-skinned elf hunters like Legolas. Not to say that the Horde doesn't have its fair share of immature players, but it has considerably less than the Alliance.

shackmanzach
shackmanzach

Stop complaining about kids who sit in front of their computers all day long playing Wow, its their own life that they are wasting P.S. Who is going ot be Dranei? Seriously, the game is screwed up now...

AlphaLeviathan
AlphaLeviathan

To the WoW bashers... Just because I'm online playing at 3 am doesn't mean I have no life -- your best assumption isn't always true. I work nights for a living, 9pm to 9am. I have 3 nights a week that i'm off, and well; there's really not a whole hell of a lot of things to do throughout the night. But, even still I can't play more than a couple hours; it just gets old. But I agree, there are some pretty pathetic kids that literally live on WoW.

noirsake
noirsake

WoW BC is going to take over peoples social life as the orginal. 60-70 is going to take as long as 1-60. Im looking forward to making My NE DRUID grind over and over!!

TiNkLeRpt
TiNkLeRpt

this expansion ITS NOT worth it! I guess that blizzard without the ppl that gonne to Guild Wars, dont do anything good.

Edvin76
Edvin76

I played WoW until level two. Why? Because of that idiot wolves standing in the forest in every 10 square meters doing nothing. How stupid is that. What are those wolves or (goblins or any other dumb monster) doing there standing and doing nothing, waiting for butcher and reappear 2 minutes later???? This game is a dumb sh*t.

--michael--
--michael--

great game but i think GW is taking over WoW

Zevy
Zevy

Great article! ;) Looking forward to this expansion pack.

Ultima08
Ultima08

Re: Hydromat The raid size in the expansion's end-game dungeons has been lowered to 25 in case you have not already heard.

HydroMat
HydroMat

i admit i used to play wow alot, however this expansion is just more of the same bland rubbish and i wonder how people stay addcited to this game anymore. its Dull, the leveling process is a complete waste of time (albeit a money spinner for blizz) since once you've reached the level cap you can either raid.. (thanks to the everquest knobbers) or sit in front of the ironforge auction house pretending your not a sad drain on human society. do yourselves a favour and play another MMO until bliz finally see the error of thier ways and come out with something that doesnt require 40 other closet serial killers to play with.. / add item flamesuit

yarow12
yarow12

What R U 2 talk'n about? And what's an imah?

DaMooseOfDaApoc
DaMooseOfDaApoc

Wow. Thats ironic, south park ussually stirs the ****, but in csatrad`s case, it actually helped him. ....Thats awesome. ...I dont play WoW. Because of that very reason. In fact, im a lot more productive now that i havent played video games a much as I used to.

csatrad
csatrad

Bloody hell I just watched trough that southpark episode. Where LucasAW and other told parts. And I watched trough several time. And I realized, I like saw myself. It trully changed my perspective of the game and gaming. Thanks Guys I think you saved my life.

Ineor
Ineor

this expansion is gonna kick ass!

truassasin
truassasin

Looks pretty cool, cant wait for it to be released =D

yarow12
yarow12

Hold Up! Ther's another beta for WoW?! Yes this is my second chance to play a beta for WoW! So how U sign up for it?

cyborg100000
cyborg100000

I love WoW, i love games. But i hate it that i have to pay for WoW, BC and keep subscribed to it. All in all this'll equal £80 for first month. Ask yourself....is it worth the money?

LucasAW
LucasAW

"Im just gona stop playing.." "When Hitler rose to power there were a lot of people that just stopped playing.. do you know who those guy's were? The French. Are you French Clide?" "No" "Vou les vu couche avec moi Clide?" "Allright I'll do it!!" (You need to watch the new South Park episode to understand the connection to World of Warcraft) :P

csatrad
csatrad

I think that a full epic paladin (usually human) in the hands of a skilled player is unbeatable no matter what class from the horde side try to take it down. I remember when the very presence of such paladins scared away the toughest hord chars too. (or they just didnt wanted to wast hours of battle to see how he buble jump away XD). Heres a joke. - How many rogues needed to kill a paladin? - ??? - 2. One that takes it down, and one in Ironforge Inn. So this well balanced so far the wastness of horde. Beacuse hordes are usually much more than alliance players on most servers, they get good items more often and more easilly. And if they get paladin class. Then alliance paladins gonna be still powerfull, but on alliance side you raise level more harder beacuse horde rule get items more harder (low alliance number and horde rule), and they eventually going to be have many full epic paladins. More then alliance. With more powerfull racial abilites. And so alliance will be owerhelmed in numbers and there will be not enough full paladin on alliance side to counter that. :( Sadlly I dont think that blizz going to listen to our cries.

NewAmerica2121
NewAmerica2121

Ok, what's sad is that a lot of people come to this story to bash WoW. If you don't like the game, why did you click the article? Also, stop talking about real life on a site devoted to video games, I don't care about real life on here, I worry about that elsewhere. Burning Crucade looks awesome and I don't care what other people say.

sireltonjohn
sireltonjohn

How can you kill that which has no life?

XeroComplex
XeroComplex

Wow, im happy I only play Guild Wars. It doesn't suck up my life and it gives me something to do when im bored. My god is this how all WoW peeps are? From my perspective, WoW is a less balanced elongated version of GW that costs so much more. Ive tried WoW and its not amazing, just good.

dragon_tora
dragon_tora

"Hopefully, later this year, the studio will release The Burning Crusade" Now that's a scary thing to read. I just can't help myself but comment to those who are the voices of Anti-WoW. You talk about having a life and how sad it is for the hardcore players believing their social life exists within the game they play for countless hours. How sad is it that you're taking time out of your life to tell us this? Instead of telling us to un-install WoW from our computers, why don't you unplug your computers and continue on with your life? Unless your social life exists on MySpace. We (the die hards of WoW) are not wasting our lives. We are spending every second of it the way we damn well please. The next time you feel the need to hate on something, try hating something a little less popular. You'll get flamed less. As they say on G4, "You've just been fed."

marcus4hire
marcus4hire

I play WoW too but I also take time for that thing referred to ingame as 'RL'. csatrad: Please Bro, seek some help. I don't wanna know how old you are and your mom brings you food while you play. SHEESH. And cheating in school is fine for now but how about when it comes t o applying that education? For example, you might try attending those grammar and composition classes a little more often. RL does not necassarily revolve around 'discos', 'gonna drunk', or 'smoke'. It revovles around.....well....life!! However, it is a free world (for the most part) and you are entitled to 'live' it in whatever way you feel is best. Good luck in the future.

phlynhy
phlynhy

csatrad-god I hope that comment was a joke

peeweeshift
peeweeshift

WoW this looks up to be shaping up pretty well

csatrad
csatrad

This is not about a game but I have to protect my dignity. First I didnt said I play more then 24 hours a "day". The day word doesnt even exist in my comment. I just didnt said "in a row" after *sigh*. I do work. But I have to work 3 days for a gamecard that last 2 months! School is easy to cheat at exams :P. Im learn at university. Eating? When my mom see Im in the game she brings food to me and I eat quickly while Im on a griff or stuff. (right click movement.) And you know what. I meet with a pala in game and we do quest together, then I had to go out to the bathroom for a "big" reason :) and told him to go ahead dont wait me. When I returned he was there guarding my char. I just know him 1 hour! Why he did it? Beacuse he felt something. Something good! He fight for me. Not for my char. (there is many char like me) but for the user of that char, for ME. And it feels good to play this game, buy it and have your time of Your life. Sleep? I did not sleep. My record is 73 hours without sleep. And I meet with a gnome rogue in game who told she was playin 37 hors in a row, and when one of our teamm8 leveled up, she asked "What was that?" (she was 60 for a long time i guess). Social life huh? I wont gonna drunk myself or smoke or jump around a disco to have "social" life :P.

game06
game06

1-2 hours of gamplay is enough. i mean how can someone stare at a monitor for so long. lol wow is fun but when i bought it, i only played like 3 hours max. rest is school stuff and house work. >.>

gameman_4
gameman_4

just a smart asses comment.... dont now where you come from but a day has 24 hours so playing 15-30 is kinda hard :S you sayd you played it 15-30 hours a day (il make that 15-24)....... ever heard of getting some sleep, going to work(how else will u pay for it?) , a social life..... getting laid... i also play wow but i have a life, i sleep, i go to school to work on my future ( well playing wow is more fun than school but schools more important)

rogerseagle
rogerseagle

i dont know why im writing this, but i just like to support Noak3's comments. csatrad.. im starting to wonder if you have ever taken into consideration about what you typed down there.. it seems to me that people are hiding their identity in a stupid game where there are big boundaries between the horde and alliance. who are you fighting for? and why? 15-30 hours of game play per day will definitely affect your social life. i suggest people to stop playing or AT LEAST reduce the time spent on playing. GUYS! YOU HAVE TO CONTROL YOUR LIFE AS LONG AS IT'S YOURS! NOT RELY ON A GAME WHICH GIVES YOU SHORT-TERM PLEASURE!

csatrad
csatrad

I dissagre Noak3. In today's world you are able to contact more people in wow than real life. In those game that support it you can talk and recognize friends voice too. And visualization reached and past real life's wonders. Your brain see not your eye and if you are in a world like this you are like in the Matrix :D. Emotions and real feelings can be distributed like in real life. And you can judge who is friend in game and whose you charge and fight for reasons (and not do so if you know someone else uses that char in real life!!), thats a social life for starting. Actually know them? The bloody game gives us the chance to show how we trully wanna be look and act like, in life you cant know anyone even yourself cuz rules and stuff T_T. You can chose where do you wanna live your life. In virtual world or the real one. It makes no different. 7 hours? HAH dont get me laugh, I play like 15-30 hours XD P.S.: If you cant feel the joy that game gives you than I feel sorry, you should stop playin.

gameman_4
gameman_4

blood elves with a short range silence....... darn im going to die... alliance human warlock 44 :( so far nuke+shadow bolt style.........

Noak3
Noak3

urgh... so many people are addicting to World of Warcraft, I don't see what's fun about it... besides, it sucks up your life.. I heard early in like page 2 or something about how people want attractive female avatars in the game, and then someone else said something about playing guild wars for attractive avatars.. GET A LIFE, PEOPLE! If you want attractive woman, go look in real life!! I like video games a lot, but it's not healthy if you play for more than like 7 hours a day!! Your skin gets pale, you have no social life.. and don't say you have a social life inside the game, because that is not even a pretend excuse. There is no comparison between real life people and online people. Real life people, you get to see them, hear their voices, actually KNOW them. In-game, you just see them typing. guys - it's not gonna hurt you. Stop playing. Get a real life. Uninstall WoW from your computer, and cancel your subscription. Don't be a WoW zombie. You ruin your life, and you have to pay for it. It's just sad.

hafaholo
hafaholo

FOR THE ALLIENCE!!! THE EXPANSION IS GOING TO ROCK!!!! DWARF PALLY LVL 60 DWARF HUNTER LVL 60 DWARF MAGE LVL 58 DWARF ROUGE LVL 60

Martyr
Martyr

is the sword of a thousand truths included? :) only available to those with no life.........

awarriorofgamin
awarriorofgamin

hyousetsu your so right the horde rapes the alliance hopefully itll be a good expansion though

maltesefalcon42
maltesefalcon42

Um, Hyousetsu, Blizzard announced the Blood Elves as a new playable race way before introducing the Draenei. GS has had several WOW:BC previews going into detail about the Blood Elves. This article covers the Draenei more because that's what people have had less info about. It's not Horde-bashing.

ruttness
ruttness

YES! WoW ROCKS! THIS IS GONNA BE SO FREAKIN TIGHT

Schwartz55
Schwartz55

I can not wait till this game comes out .

Hyousetsu
Hyousetsu

Wow this article IS SO ONE FREAKING SIDED They spent like eight paragraphs talking about the Draenei and their starting area and three on Blood Elves. Then they have to go and bash the horde and stuff. This article is f***ing retarded. Screw you justin and andrew.

truender
truender

i really shouldnt buy this game. honestly, it is seriously addictive ive been playing like mad for a few months ad i havent acheived much of anything, the game is beautifull, the concept is great. the gameplay does not get old. but it takes up way too much time, it is seriously bad for your life. and the people who play the game take it so seriously, i cant imagine what they are really like in real life because i play too muh as it is. and i can honestly feel my ambition to do other things sink as i play, it would take a casual player a long time of casual play to get to lvl 60..let alone 70. more often like in my case you end up evolving into a moderate player because for one, you feel that if you dont play that much you are wasting your money, and two everyone around you in the game is leveling so much faster..and it makes you feel like a loser in the game. which sucks, because in reality they have no life at all, they probably consider the people the play with online their good friends. i realized all this after A.) reading this thread, and B.) getting kicked out of my guild for not leveling fast enough. the people i played with were mostly adults and highschool students. both are ages where you should be doing something productive to better your life. i wake up, and i say well i should just play now before work, and i wont play when i get home, and when i get home thats all i end up doing. it isnt healthy i love video games and i think they are way better than watching television, because at least your interacting somehow, i think they can be healhy in moderation, but the truth is most people dont play this game in moderation, when you play a game for more than 3 hours a day, (more often 6) thats a lot of time spent sitting in a chair, disconected from everything around you, chatting with people who also do the same thing on a regular basis. dont buy this game if you have a life, it wont be worth your money and time said from experience

Tom1243
Tom1243

BEs sound very overpowered. I hate silence!! lol. I cant wait for the exp though. Bring it on!

wanderer818
wanderer818

man the new race racials seem grossly overpowered... also, watch as 1000000000 draenei shamans are made the day it comes out, and 12 yr old LOTR fanboys make a blonde BE hunter that looks like Legolas. i applaud the first fanboy to snag the name "Legolas", and i shake my head in frustration at the ones who make "Legolass", "Legolis", etc.

Bornite
Bornite

Will be seeing many BE paladins and Draenei shaman.

shadyelf
shadyelf

For many parents (like mine) the actual price is not a problem. The real problem is me getting addicted to a game in which around 40 % of its players are addicted (heard that statistic somewhere on the news) and giving up my real life for a virtual life. I might probably get it.......once I get a better computer (my graphics card is ****, I don't game on the PC and I don't wanna upgrade)