UK Burning Crusade launch draws thousands

Midnight debut of Blizzard's popular MMORPG attracts huge numbers; news of next Starcraft adds to buzz.

Around 3,000 fans queued outside HMV's Oxford Street store in London, all waiting for the chance to grab the highly anticipated expansion pack for MMORPG World of Warcraft. The gamers filled the store, as well as making a line that continued outside and around the block.

The expansion pack, The Burning Crusade, will add two new playable races, a new continent, and raises the level cap to 70. There were launch events around the globe, including the one in London, where designer Jon LeCraft signed copies of the game.

Many had come in costume for the event, some of which had taken days to make. Cosplayers were given preferential treatment in the line for the Collector's Edition of the game, and they also received a Murloc pet called Gurky. One couple came dressed up as a warlock and a succubus minion--David Groves, 26, who works for Sky TV, said, "It's not something that happens every day, so we thought we'd dress up and come along." His girlfriend, Lellini Santanas, a 19-year-old student, added, "And it's good to have an excuse to wear a corset!"

First in the queue was Ray Li, 22, a student, who had been waiting since 5:40 a.m. When asked if he was going to go straight home and play the game once he'd managed to bag a copy, he laughed and said, "No, I'm so tired. I'm going to go home and get some sleep first." Beside him in the queue was Elliot Stewart, 19, also a student, who was surprised to find that he wasn't first himself when he arrived at 2 p.m. He said, "Well, I could have been here at 6 a.m., but you know, we were playing Warcraft."

Jamie Beckingham, 16, took the day off school to make sure he picked up a copy. He said, "I've had the game on preorder since January. January 2005, that is!"

Also near the front of the queue was Monique Hogg, a 19-year-old who works in a comedy store. She had been waiting since 3 p.m., but would be unable to play the game as soon as she got home. "My friend deleted my character!" She said, "He did it because he was angry at me for playing so much. So I'm going to go home and update it, but I won't be able to play until I can get it restored." She added that she knew lots of other women who played the game. "I used to play on a US server--there are a lot of stay-at-home moms there who play, but there aren't so many women on the British servers."

Blizzard's vice president of business development, Itzik Ben Bassat, gave a short speech as the event in-store began. He said, "This is the first time we've done a Blizzard launch in Europe, and we were a little concerned [about it]. It's a great, pleasant surprise to see so many people with us to celebrate the launch of Burning Crusade."

He added that other Blizzard franchises would not be overlooked in the future. "We'd like to say to our fans of Diablo and Starcraft that we haven't forgotten we have these franchises. We cannot wait to be here in a few years, or however long it will be. It won't be a decade, and we'll be celebrating the launch of [the next] Starcraft together." Since Starcraft went on sale in 1998, some took Bassat's comments as meaning a new Starcraft and/or Diablo would be out by 2008. Others interpreted his words as meaning new Diablo and Starcraft titles are less than 10 years away.

Designer Jon LeCraft added about the huge number of people who turned up, "It's a little overwhelming to be honest, but it's really good."

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Discussion

200 comments
Da_Lukester
Da_Lukester

I bet starcraft MMORPG comes "Universe of Starcraft" lol

bestinmars
bestinmars

let me guess... this game will be on top again, blizzard knows what players want...

smfes
smfes

a bunch of super nerds

The_Weekend
The_Weekend

Starcraft does have tons of potential here, it's the most unlooked upon among the 3 main series, yet still has a great following!

xspawn69
xspawn69

It would make no sense for Blizzard to make another MMORPG right now while World of Warcraft is doing so well. They would be competing against themselves. It's much more likely that they are going to make Starcraft as a RTS

xspawn69
xspawn69

When asked about StarCraft: Ghost, Sams said that it was on indefinite hold, but that Blizzard wasn't averse to exploring further console development in the future. "We've been up to MS and they've been at our office talking about Vista and 360," Sams said, "and we're certainly excited about some of the tools they have to offer in the console world as well as with Vista and DirectX 10. However, with our own online gaming service, we're going to pick and choose what we want to use; we're going to protect Battle.net and make sure Battle.net ranks supreme." From ign.com for those wondering about Starcraft Ghost

Dmitheon
Dmitheon

The Starcraft and Diablo comments are the exact same thing Blizzard has been saying for years. I would love for them to work on them again, but I honestly don't expect them to do anything that may cannibalize their WoW business. Translations: maybe a Starcraft 2 since it's RTS, but I don't foresee any more Diablo games as they are just WoW with a different back-story and the lack of a monthly subscription. I have to say though I wouldn't mind at all seeing the Diablo world spilling into Azeroth.

gertish
gertish

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

nappan
nappan

Honestly, DIablo has been cloned so many times it's not worth mentioning (no fault of Blizzard's), but nothing has captured that elusive feel of starcraft, even excellent games like Warhammer. I guess what I'm saying is "Starcraft... unf".

Arrow_of_Hearts
Arrow_of_Hearts

The Diablo and starcraft comment sounds interesting, but can they even make it good, I don't want them to spin everything off into a lame WoW style mmorpg.

thepyrethatburn
thepyrethatburn

*Shrug* Said nothing substantive. As has already been said, the minds behind Diablo (See Hellgate: London) and Starcraft have already split. They could indeed make a Starcraft MMO but, given the nature of MMOs, it would be lacking the characters that we got to know in Starcraft. (No, a cameo by Raynor begging you to kill ten rats... I mean, Zerglings to save the base doesn't really count.)

icemancell
icemancell

w00t GOOOO STARCRAFT!!! the game that started my addiction!!! give us what we been cravin for years!!! shoulda dropped that doomed starcraft ghost ages ago.

CCRich
CCRich

Has it occurred to anyone that if Blizzard does release a "World of Starcraft" they may very well lose a lot of their monthy-paying WOW base. How many people play multiple pay-per-month MMORPG's? I'd guess a small minority. Now, if they offered some kind of discounted all-in-one monthly plan for both games. . . And has anyone considered "World of Diablo"? Anyway, my guess would be a new Starcraft RTS and a Neverwinter Nights style upgrade to Diablo. At least, that's what I'd like to see. Oh, and there better be a damn cow level.

Kempatsu_basic
Kempatsu_basic

no one at blizzard can make starcraft or diablo - all the real minds left. screw Warcraft btw.

Dace67
Dace67

It wouldn't have surprised me if he said something along the lines of "We'd like to say to our fans of Diablo and Starcraft that we haven't forgotten we have these franchises. We cannot wait to release MMOs for these series as well"

CleptoPots
CleptoPots

All I care about are new SC and Diablo.... but I guess the good people from the design teams all left... so... will it really be SC or Diablo?

mrt103090
mrt103090

"We'd like to say to our fans of Diablo and Starcraft that we haven't forgotten we have these franchises. " yeah what about metal arms?

chrisdojo
chrisdojo

thousands that are WAY to willing to pay $40 for an expansion. i'll get it @ $20 in a year...

Alcotamaysees
Alcotamaysees

That would be nice if they could make another diablo.

weapon_x57
weapon_x57

I predict World of Starcraft or something along those lines. Blizzard is now the market leader in MMORPG I doubt they are going to give it up so yeah I would not put it past them to put Diablo and Starcraft online.

PacoL250
PacoL250

DontEatCream: Agreed and when you count the expansions, there have been 6 Warcraft games with Burning Crusade set to be the 7th. There have also been 3 Diablo games if you count the expansions as well (4 if you count the 3rd-party "expansion" for Diablo; Hellfire I think it was called) With Starcraft, there have been only 2. Looking at that way, that makes it even more pressing that it's about time for another Starcraft RTS. YukoAsho: Perhaps after that, then I'll take your $10 and see you $10,000 in regards to a World of Starcraft. ;-)

PacoL250
PacoL250

DontEatCream: Agreed and when you count the expansions, there have been 6 Warcraft games with Burning Crusade set to be the 7th. There have also been 3 Diablo games if you count the expansions as well (4 if you count the 3rd-party "expansion" for Diablo; Hellfire I think it was called) With Starcraft, there have been only 2. Looking at that way, that makes it even more pressing that it's about time for another Starcraft RTS. YukoAsho: Perhaps after that, then I'll take your $10 and see you $10,000 in regards to a World of Starcraft. ;-)

sacatash
sacatash

All I want is Startcraft. The game has charm and the characters have charm! Give me Zerg, Protoss and Human conflict and plot twists and not MMORPG. Please finish the trilogy and not left us hanging on what happens next

darkdaej
darkdaej

FilthyYamBag c'mon starcraft, i need a new one! seriously crushing tanks, laser weapons, and giant bug creatures just seem more fun. btw isn't starcraft ghost cancelled. Starcraft: Ghost was "indefitely postponed" But a while ago there were rumours of a new starcraft rts because of job openings on the blizzard website... I'm expecting StarCraft II, honestly.

FilthyYamBag
FilthyYamBag

c'mon starcraft, i need a new one! seriously crushing tanks, laser weapons, and giant bug creatures just seem more fun. btw isn't starcraft ghost cancelled.

YukoAsho
YukoAsho

$10 says they have World of Starcraft waiting for when WoW finally dies.

djsaskdja
djsaskdja

Blizzard I will love you again when you make Starcraft 2 or actually finish Starcraft: Ghost. Until then this is all a bunch of rambling.

bertesk
bertesk

'sad, soo sad. too many nerds for my liking...' Agreed

comthitnuong
comthitnuong

alright now that this is done hopefully we may get some games like starcraft 2..even though they will probably make another type of wow

TryMe01
TryMe01

sad, soo sad. too many nerds for my liking...

K0DE
K0DE

I had a preconceived idea of what WoW players looked like and Becky, Rachel and Sarah at around the 4 min mark in the video just destroyed that.

GeneralGeorge
GeneralGeorge

Come on... WarCraft started going down ever since The Frozen Throne. If Blizzard keeps this up, I hope they go Bankrupt. I believe they have forgotten about Starcraft and Diablo. What they said about SC and D is just too keep us from complaining. Just like when they said they were going to make StarCraft: ghost several years ago. Blizzard has let me down.

DontEatCream
DontEatCream

Ok, not counting expansion packs and cancelled titles, there has been 4 Warcrafts, 2 Diablos, but only 1 Starcraft. Huh, Blizzard should get on it right away.

gatsbythepig
gatsbythepig

WoW, just like the other story today, is constant and everywhere.

gamist
gamist

Give us StarCraft 2 or even Ghost for Pete Sakes!!!

Mardil
Mardil

STARCRAFT TWO OMG OMG OMG OMG

jaredgood1
jaredgood1

Enjoyed WOW for quite some time, but honestly hated most of the end-game stuff. It might be blasphemy, but I think WOW would be just about perfect if it was a single player game.

Merl57
Merl57

lol guildwars will never get this kind of reception..We can still dream!

Helios1856
Helios1856

Not in to these games....so therefore i cant comment on...

warjunkyd85
warjunkyd85

Tried don't like it, WoW is great game but not for me, I like my FPS games.