The Burning Crusade holds a special place in many old gamer’s hearts. It was the first MMO I ever felt comfortable in, so when given the opportunity to return to the blasted world of Outlands, I jumped.
The Burning Crusade was the first expansion released for World of Warcraft, all the way back in 2007. It brought with it a threatening new world to explore, glorious flying mounts, a number of fresh PVP options, and two new playable races; the Blood Elves and Dranei.
When it first came out, I had already put a fair few hours into the original World of Warcraft, although I never really embraced the co-operative aspect of the game. While other players were joining guilds and making friends – some of which now span well over a decade – I was skulking through The Barrens all by myself, just my trusty axe by my side.
Some would say that I was playing the game wrong, but I was actually having a ball. The World of Warcraft was wide and full of excitement. At the time, I was perfectly content to explore and slowly increase my level through questing.
After The Burning Crusade was released, all that changed. Friends invited me to tag along to a few of their guild’s raids and, despite my initial nerves at being identified as a “noob”, I tentatively agreed. The promise of rare loot, and taking part in gloriously grand boss fights, was too much for me to pass up.
During this period of World of Warcraft I experienced some of what are now my most cherished memories of the game. The banter these guild members had amongst themselves was hilarious to witness, and after a while I was accepted into their ranks.
I was affectionately referred to as The Rory Calhoun – a Simpsons reference that implied I was venturing above my station. It was completely true, and while I’m not sure they know, I immensely enjoyed my time playing with them.
The Burning Crusade is now part of WoW Classic
In 2019, Blizzard released World of Warcraft Classic, giving players the ability to start the game in its original version from scratch. With any game the size of World of Warcraft a bit of bloat is inevitable, and some members of the community voiced their wish to return to a simpler time. It should be noted that this feature comes at no extra cost for subscribers.
During a press conference I attended with Brian Birmingham and Holly Longdale of Blizzard Entertainment, I got to listen to various members of this community ask questions about this expansion.
It is undeniably a bit of an interesting situation; at what point does Classic stop being Classic, and coalesce into, simply World of Warcraft?
I asked the panel if they felt that this second The Burning Crusade release was focused on serving current players or an attempt to attract past players back into the fold. The answer I got surprised me in the most adorable way possible. Longdale stated that the update was being done because the active community had asked for it, but that the associated reasons were far-reaching.
Some players want to continue their Classic experience by reliving the first expansion in the way they first experienced it. So basically, nostalgia. However, there are now WoW families that play the game together while bonding. These families now have children that never got to experience the game like their parents did.
World of Warcraft Classic allows these families to share that experience in the way it originally was, while mum and dad were falling in love. Which, if you are anything like me, will elicit a massive, unironic “awww”.
Has anything changed?
Judging by my brief time running through the war-torn world of Outlands, I would have to say no. The game runs a little smoother, the graphics might be a tad more polished, but if you are looking for an authentic experience, then The Burning Crusade is exactly that.
If you hear that and wonder ‘then what’s the point’, you aren’t alone. The concept of World of Warcraft Classic is more closely related to marketing than anything else. It’s a way of making something that never really went away appear new again.
But hell, if that helps even just a few more people experience the joys that The Burning Crusade has to offer, then it’s worth it. Speaking of which, I wonder if the name TheRoryCalhoun is available on the new designated server… BRB.
World of Warcraft Classic: The Burning Crusade is out June 1 on PC and Mac.