|November 24, 2005|
|Gen Con So Cal 2005: Blizzard’s World of Warcraft|
So you're running what is one of the world's most popular massively multiplayer franchise, sitting on millions of dollars and untold legions of fanatic subscribers. What do you do after that sort of success? Go to Disneyland?
Well, yes, sort of.
Blizzard Entertainment was on hand at Gen Con So Cal in Anaheim, sharing booth space with Upper Deck Entertainment, who is producing the World of WarCraft card game early next year. The massively multiplayer online fantasy game blockbuster World of WarCraft was, of course, the featured attraction at their side of Upper Deck's booth.
Kristen DeMeza, Assistant Community Manager for World of WarCraft was kind enough to let me spirit her away from the busyness of the booth for a few minutes, to tell me about the new expansion under development for World of WarCraft, entitled "The Burning Crusade". The launch date falls under the category "it will be done when it's done"; also uncertain is whether the expansion will be made available as a retail expansion or an online distributable. DeMaza's lips were sealed about many details, but there are a few tidbits to pass along.
The Horde will be the lucky recipients of a new race, the blood elves, while the Alliance will have a new and undisclosed race backing their side. The level cap for all races and classes will be bumped up to 70. An entire new realm, a "new dimension," as DeMeza described it, known as the Outland will be revealed when the expansion goes live. In the Outland, players will face down the ominously named Illidan Stormrage, a night elf transformed into a demon, with a major chip on his shoulder. In the Outland, players will have the ability to take flight, with the assistance of helpfully flight-capable beasts.
Also new and interesting will be the ability to travel through time (into key experiences and moments from the worlds of WarCraft, I, II, and III, which players will have the ability to interact with and affect), when exploring the forbidding and mystical Karazhan Tower.
However, WoW players will have too much on their hands to wonder when the new expansion will be arriving, because the game patch version 1.9, known by the more sexy name as "The Gates of Ahn'Qiraj" (gesundheit). As of today, the patch has gone live for testing on public realms, and can likely be expected to turn up in December. In the patch, a new 20 and 40-player raid dungeon are slated to become available as the most major of the additions, along with a number of game play improvements. When the patch is made available, a major community event will unfurl the patch; "this will be one of our biggest events yet," DeMeza states. A massive world crisis will envelope players, requiring all sides to cooperate or at least co-exist to handle it, and through succeeding, to reveal the dungeons for exploration.
World of WarCraft players, sharpen your swords. It looks like you just might be getting in some field experience before "The Burning Crusade"
Written by Paul Philleo
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