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Burning Crusade is here!

Looking back, I've purchased approximately 11 expansion packs for various MMOs since 1999. I was so excited about some of them that I stood in line at 9:00am. Others I didn't bother to buy for months.

Of them all, only two were actually any good: the Ruins of Kunark and the Scars of Velious (the first two Everquest expansions in 1999-2000). Every other xpac since has ranged from disappointingly underwhelming (Shrouded Isles, Chains of Promathia) to outright disastrous (Trials of Atlantis, Luclin/Planes of Power).

Of them all, Burning Crusade is the best.

At least, the first 30 hours of play have been. I've never seen an expansion so dramatically stunning right out of the gate. The Outlands isn't just a few new zones - it's practically a new game. It's so huge and radically different that it can be overwhelming and scary at first.

But never fear: once the initial shock wears off the manifest quality of the new content shines through. There's more new art in the first two Outland zones alone than in three EQ or FFXI expansions combined. The new instances (of which there are over 20!) are brilliantly balanced - fast, unique, and challenging enough to require attentive play without forcing group compositions. The new loot does indeed invalidate everything that came before, but in doing so it promises to reform the end-game into something we can all enjoy (rather than a 40-man zergfest in which 85% of the population can only participate vicariously by watching videos or linking loot that they will never see first hand). It's revolution as expansion.

And the servers didn't even crash. Wtf? Go Blizz!

Unless Burning Crusade's quality drops off dramatically at some point, I think it's safe to predict that this will go down as one of the all-time great MMO expansions. It'll be the kind that we wistfully reminisce about eight years from now when the fifth WoW expansion utterly destroys the game (a'la Trials of Atlantis).

On that dark day I will no doubt pound my Terminator-esque steel-tendoned fist on my hover-desk and write a furious monologue on the Watchers hypersite (now in 3D!) recommending we all move to Battlequest Wafflewar, which is totally better than WoW ever was anyway, ZOMG!

Ok, I can't stand being offline any longer. See you all in Outlands.

You'll pay for this Heeee-mannnn!!
24 Jan 2007 by carwin

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