The Great Tauren Shaman stands atop Spirit Bluff, casting into the wind the precious essence of Dragonkin cruelly pulled from the dying beast. As a sparkling mist dances upon the breeze around the peaks of Thunder Bluff the Shaman enters the time of telling. A time where the future can be pulled from the Caverns of Time. His words fill the tent with hope.

"The time draws near Children of the Earthmother. A time when the dark portal will open and that which was imprisoned will once again touch upon the lands of Azeroth. The Mighty Horde will be once again be called upon to defend its lands.”

It has to be said that World of Warcraft is not merely a game but a world phenomenon. With over 8 million registered players it has really been the coming of age for online gaming. The expansion pack for such a game has to be huge and World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade promises to be just that.

“Hear well my brethren, I foretell a time when the Draenei - the spawn of Demons will walk hand in hand with the plague that is the Alliance. Not satisfied with sharing a table with the filthy Gnomes they now consort with Demons!

Take heart, the Earth Mother has come to our aid and through her benevolent wisdom has enlightened a race of elves. Not the pale, flighty elves of the wood but true, strong Blood Elves who have allied with the Horde”

This is the first true expansion pack for World of Warcraft. There has been extra content added to the game since release, however this will be the first full retail release of entirely new content. One of the biggest additions will be the inclusion of 2 new races. The Blood Elves for the Horde and the Draenei for the Alliance. These races will also seek to resolve one of the biggest ongoing arguments amongst the fan base, over which faction had the greater advantage. Drenai will allow Shamans into the Alliance camp while the Horde will be able to play Blood Elf paladin.

"The Great Shaman pauses and takes in a long, tired breath. Telling was taking a great toll on the Silvered Tauren. Children, be warned the Portal will soon open and we will once again be challenged and be joined to the outlands. It is a time for heroic deeds."

The expansion pack will introduce players to the Outlands - a whole new continent. Accessed through the dark portal, players will be challenged by a whole new set of quests and dungeons to explore. If players felt the original land of Azeroth were huge, the Outlands will represent an equally big challenge to explore. From our time playing the Beta we were blown away by the vastness of some of the new territories and the extent of the detail that was on offer.

“My Children, in the telling, I foresee a time when new wonders will be granted to the mighty horde. A time of new crafts, new mystical wonders and a time when our brethren will at last be able to advance and become the true race of Azeroth.”

Players will now be able to level their characters up to 70 (the current level cap is 60). In doing so the current talent trees have been extended to incorporate new talent options (already available in a recent patch) and new spells.

Other features include: -

Flying Mounts – Allows the character to freely fly within the new areas of the game and some areas only being able to be accessed with a flying mount.

New Crafting Recipes and skills including Gem Crafting (adding gem slots to items to improve their abilities)

New PVP Arena

New Items – New Armour and Weapon Set

New Quests and Instances – A lot more 5, 10 man quests with 25 man quests being the maximum

Our experiences in the Outlands have been fantastic and we are convinced that anyone owning the original game must buy the expansion. It adds another 100% more content to the gaming experience. World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade is scheduled for release here in New Zealand this Wednesday.

[i]“It is time my Children. Time for the Horde to crush the filth that is the alliance and cleanse the lands once and for all!”