GET READY FOR TBC
Get ready for new content!
The hotly-anticipated Burning Crusade Classic will launch in just a few months, allowing the players of World of Warcraft Classic to continue their nostalgic journey through the celebrated MMORPG’s version history. The original Burning Crusade was groundbreaking, adding the world of Outland, two more playable races, ten dungeons, and many other PvE and PvP pursuits. While some lucky few can already access the retro expansion through the closed beta, most of the player base will have to wait until the yet-unannounced release date. Nevertheless, there are some things you can do to prepare for the launch even now.
Decide Where to Go
Before considering anything else, though, you should decide whether and how to interact with the expansion. To accommodate those of their fans who prefer the vanilla experience, Blizzard is going to fork Classic as part of the pre-expansion patch. While all existing realms are going to move on to the new frontier, other servers are going to be set up for the Classic Era, with available content peaking out at Naxxramas.
All player characters will be copied to both clients, saving all of their leveling, reputations, quest progress, and gear at the time of the update. When you log in with one of your heroes for the first time, you will be able to choose whether to play on in the Burning Crusade or to switch to the character’s Classic version. You may also unlock both characters for a fee at any time, though any changes since the patch will not carry over.
You may also choose to start playing the expansion as a new character. The fresh start option can be appealing for many reasons, starting with the ability to enter the fray as a blood elf or a Draenei. In addition to their distinctive aesthetics, starting locations, and storylines, picking one of those races would also allow you to play a previously faction-exclusive class: a blood elf paladin for the Horde or a Draenei shaman for the Alliance. Also, the class balance is different, with druids and hunters catching up to the previously dominant warriors. Profession balance is affected as well, with the addition of Jewelcrafting and the expanded usefulness of Mining.
If you do start anew, you will be able to pay for an official boost to raise your character to level 58 and give them a head start on their journey to the new level cap of 70. However, there are several restrictions on this service other than the price:
- It may only be used once per player account;
- It may not be used with the two new races;
- It may not be used for Classic Era characters.
While it may be handy for catching up quickly with your friends, this option isn’t as good as preparing on your own or with professional coaching. For one thing, there are many other factors besides your level that would affect your experience in the added content.
The major advantage of this expansion from a leveling perspective is that people already know how to get through it fast based on the original release. While Blizzard has confirmed that it is going to deviate from the “No Changes” philosophy used for most of Classic, the changes are unlikely to be major. Assuming you hit the ground running with a high-level character and want to invade the Black Temple as soon as it becomes available, there are several decisions you may wish to make in advance:
- Your class, specialization, professions, and builds. As already mentioned, the balance will not be the same as in vanilla, so what worked for you there may no longer be as viable. If so, it may be wise to start tweaking your build to fit the expansion. Fortunately, there is already a wealth of information out there for any build you would prefer. That extends to secondary characters – it may be a good idea to level up a crafting alt before the expansion to support your main hero;
- Whether to ally with the Aldor or the Scryers. The two factions of Shattrath City are mutually exclusive and offer different rewards to those who gain a high enough reputation with them. Most notably, the Aldor offers a pre-raid best-in-slot melee weapon, the Vindicator’s Brand. Their rivals’ trinket, Scryer’s Bloodgem, is fantastic for spellcasters. Those and other rewards should be considered when planning your build;
- General leveling method. Here there are two main options: you can play through the game normally, completing quests, exploring zones and only occasionally taking on more challenging content, or you can go all-in on dungeons, assaulting the Hellfire Ramparts and later instances to speed up your advancement. The former approach is more balanced and accessible and will bring you more loot on balance. However, if you have a reliable dungeon-oriented group and are primarily interested in experience and gear, the latter method will bring you up faster;
- When and how to attune for raids. Raids like Serpentshrine Crown and The Eye have far more complex attunement requirements than their predecessors, with the latter even calling for a timed boss kills inside a Heroic Dungeon among other prerequisites. You should research this process in advance if you plan to do raids, or you may be badly delayed.
Whether you make a plan or prefer to wing it, it would be a good idea to stock up on valuable resources before entering the Outland. Some of them may allow you to unlock special rewards quicker, while others would give you a head start in the crafting economy. Then there is the race to purchase the latest goods, such as the flying mounts, which are helpful for getting around and critical for attunements. For reference, the normal flying mount will cost you 900 gold with training, while the faster epic version will take 5200. With that in mind, 7000 gold would be a good target to aim for.
Farming gold from various PvE sources ahead of the launch would definitely help you advance. However, there are more efficient ways of raising money, based on the fact that certain items are going to go up in market price once the expansion comes out:
- Crafting materials acquired by mining, such as gems or Mithril or Thorium Ores, will be used in Jewelcrafting, helping produce potent jewelry and level up the new profession;
- Golden Sansam has few uses now, but this herb is an ingredient in many elixirs made by Outland Alchemy;
- Leathercrafting will go up in importance due to the Drums of Battle. Although the requirements for the best version of this item will be higher than in the original, this change should only make leathers and hides more valuable as they will let crafters raise their profession level more quickly to that point;
- Crafting materials for consumables should generally go up in value as they will be more necessary for the initial leveling climb.
You can harvest those materials or buy them cheap in order to sell them to other players after launch – or use them yourself without paying as much.
Another important point is that the maximum holding capacity for Marks of Honor used to purchase PvP gear will go up from 20 to 100 per Battleground. By stacking up to the current limit at each Battleground, you can set up for accelerated gearing in the early part of the expansion. You will also need to use Honor Points that will only be added after the expansion, but you will be able to earn it alongside more Marks of Honor and thus get better gear faster.
On the subject of gear, many items will also be rebalanced in the update. Some of them will be nerfed or simply outshined by newer alternatives. Others, however, will be just as important as they are now, or even gain greater utility. Here are some of the items you may wish to prepare for any character:
- Legendary Weapons: while some of them may be slightly weakened, they will remain insanely powerful, and Atiesh will help you access Karazhan;
- Elixir of Demonslaying: its name speaks for itself, and there will be numerous demons in the upcoming raids, especially Sunwell Plateau;
- Mark of the Champion: the trinket offers major attack power bonuses against demons and undead – another common enemy type in high-end content;
- Best-in-slot Naxxramas gear for your class: practically necessary for the dungeon farming approach to leveling;
- Living Action and Free Action Potions: those anti-stun consumables would no longer be dispelled, making them even more formidable in PvE and non-Arena PvP;
- Invisibility and Lesser Invisibility Potions, Gnomish Cloaking Device: none of those items will get nerfed, and invisibility lends itself to many uses in combat.
There are also more specialized items to consider depending on your class. Here are just some prominent examples:
- Mana Potions, Demonic and Dark Runes for spellcasting classes: mana is always going to be at a premium in high-end content;
- Scarab Brooch for healers: the damage reduction buff becomes a lot more practical after tanks hit level 63 and become ineligible for world buffs, freeing up effect slots;
- Badge of the Swarmguard for physical damage classes: potentially the single strongest melee and ranged damage booster for the early parts of the expansion;
- Mind Quickening Gem for mages: the addition of the spell haste stat turns this Blackwing Lair trinket into a major DPS booster;
- The Black Book for warlocks: a must-have, as it empowers their pets and would greatly simplify their early leveling experience;
- Devilsaur Tooth for hunters: follows a similar logic, giving attack power boosts to pets after critical hits;
- Argent Defender for paladins: the Argent Dawn’s optional reward has excellent synergy with the Protection spec’s abilities, making early challenges trivial.
Many of those items depend on raids, dungeons, or leveling up faction reputations. If you want to focus on preparing for the update, one way would be to find a group that could help you grind the relevant content. Any or all of those objects, as well as other high-end class trinkets, would give you a major advantage going into expansion territory.
Ultimately, the best way to prepare for the expansion depends on your preferences and goals. There is nothing wrong with starting afresh and leveling at your own pace. However, if you want to confront Illidan or reach the peak of PvP more quickly or simply don’t wish to waste any time before release, the above suggestions could be a good starting point. Even if you decide to go with a new character, they could still benefit from transferred items and materials. The launch date for the expansion may be sooner than you think, so if you wish to get ready, you should not delay.