WOW expansion revealed

All sorts of exciting stuff.

Blizzard has revealed the first details of The Burning Crusade, the new expansion pack for blockbuster MMORPG World of Warcraft.

It's set in the world of Outland - once an orc planet going under the name of Draenor, and now home to ultimate badass Illidan. It's time to put his 10,000 year reign of terror to an end, and it's up to you to do it.

Since Illidan is such a toughie, it's probably a good thing that they've raised the level cap to 70. There are lots of incentives to make attaining that goal worthwhile, including the fact that 70s get to ride a flying mount. Only in Outland, however.

Unfortunately Illidan has closed all the portals to Outland, so you'll have to go through the Dark Portal, which will be opened via a server-wide quest. There are eight new high level dungeons to explore, including the Hellfire Citadel, the lowest of the Outland dungeons, and Forest Troll dwelling Zul'Aman.

Then there's Medivh's old castle, the Kharazan Tower, and Lady Vashj, where you face off with the evil sea witch herself. Tempest Keep is a max level dungeon with five man instances and one raid level instance, and Auchindoun is both a dungeon and a player city for levels 65-70.

Finally there's the Black Temple, where you'll face off with Illidan himself. You'll need to have made it to level 70 first, natch.

You don't even have to be level 60 to start off your Outland adventure, however - Blizzard wants players to get going as soon as possible.

Burning Crusade also lets you explore the Caverns of Time - a new series of instanced dungeons that let you travel through time to be a part of important moments Warcraft's history. Just some of the instances planned include Thrall's escape from Durnholde Keep, the opening of the Dark Portal, the battle of Mount Hyjall, and the battle of Hellfire Peninsula.

The expansion will feature two new playable races - the Blood Elves, fighting for the Horde, and an Alliance race of which no details have yet been revealed.

The Blood Elves live in Quel'Thalas, a town to the North of the Eastern Plaguelands zone. They have an ability called Arcane Torrent, which can silence all those in the vicinity of the caster for two seconds and put paid to any spellcasting. Blood Elves can also use a channeled spell called a mana tap which restores Mana or Rage from the targetted enemy.

There's also a new profession - jewel crafting, which enables you to produce all manner of rings, bracelets and necklaces like you're some kind of fantastical Elizabeth Duke. Plus you can make special jewels that fit into sockets on your weapons and armour.

So there you have it - what a lot of of new and exciting stuff to look forward to. For screenshots and trailers, head on over to the official Burning Crusade website.

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