US feels Wrath of Lich King launch

Second World of Warcraft expansion goes on sale nationwide, reportedly overloading GameStop's credit card network.

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Christmas came early for World of Warcraft fans tonight, with the second expansion for the game, Wrath of the Lich King, launching worldwide. In North America, GameStop held midnight "Lunar Game Fests" at some 3,500 locations nationwide to release the game at 12:01 a.m. In San Francisco, the retailer held a street fair at its Powell Street location, where around 600 people--and only about a dozen cosplayers--gathered.

With the evening's weather being atypically mild, GameStop employees and a retinue of temps entertained Lich King purchasers complete with goblets of energy drinks and Northrend-blue cotton candy. While some attendees received orc features from face-painting stations, others had photo ops with a pointy-eared spokesmodel on a mock Frozen Throne. Perplexingly, a disco-dancing competition was also held, offering the sight of tattooed WOW-lovers boogeying to the Bee Gees as a heavyset spectator with Hello Kitty face paint looked on sternly.

Poole and Aquino, out of Avatar.

Revelry aside, the night was about the next installment in the World of Warcraft saga, which will add a new realm, raise the level cap to 80, and devour millions of hours in its first week. "I got here at 4 o'clock," said Jeff Poole, 37, who had already taken the next five days off to literally take his dwarf priest to the next level. "My boss is totally cool, he's aware of what's going on."

Waiting in the line with those who had paid for the game before midnight, Poole was already salivating over the next 120 hours. "I'm a big quester, I love questing, and I heard the expansion really upped the storyline," he said, appearing giddy yet restrained at the same time. "I'm an awful PvP player, and I avoid it whenever I can."

Apparently Rainn Wilson likes Sanrio and WOW.

Poole's companion, 30-year-old Catherine Aquino, takes the complete opposite tack with her geared-out undead mage. For about 20 hours a week, she's a player-versus-player machine. "That's all I do," she said, laughing. "I gank people like Jeff. I'm like the guy on South Park. I don't care about the big raids, and I hate questing, so I'm dreading getting to 80. But I want to get to 80 so I can actually gank people. That's my only motivation."

Having the benefit of an acquaintance in line, Aquino was able to jump into the front third of the prepaid line by around 10 o'clock. Lucky for her. As the clock stroked midnight through each of the continental US's four time zones, reports began to spread that GameStop's DSL-based credit-card system had collapsed. Fan site WOW Insider was riddled with reports that employees were forced to use 1970s-era analog credit-card slide machines when scanners became unresponsive in many states, including Wisconsin, Illinois, Maryland, Ohio, Louisiana, New Hampshire, Nevada, and North Carolina. Even the Caribbean colony of Puerto Rico reported issues.

"Don't blame me, I voted for Kodos."

The San Francisco launch had its own unique problem. An unknown neighbor, apparently miffed that his or her Union Square residence was being disturbed by the thumping bass from the WOW pants-on dance-off, called the police around 11 p.m. to file a noise complaint about the GameStop revels. Luckily, nothing could dampen the enthusiasm of the fans on hand, which ranged in age from septuagenarian to preteen (curfew violations nonwithstanding).

The United States wasn't the only place to get in on the launch-party action; the UK saw a gathering of thousands of eager Warcraft players in London as well as hundreds of midnight openings up and down the country. Head over to London Calling, the GameSpot UK blog for full coverage and photos of the main event on Oxford Street, hosted by Blizzard's chief operating officer Paul Sams.

Discussion

63 comments
dg3215
dg3215

omg I play wow but all those people pictured give me a bad name and make me want to quit

maxmax1234
maxmax1234

How can you be so into a game. I mean i like Gears of war and Halo, but i dont walk around like that or let it interfere with my social life.

sammoth
sammoth

Pics say it all. Nerdcraft ftl.

JujuMagic
JujuMagic

hahahaha reports of credit card company going down are true. i work at gamespot, i was the guy using the 1970's era slide machine. stupid credit cards. not a fun night. having to call for verification of every single card. stupid card thing came back up about 20 mins before launch. but we were done by then.

Marcelloz
Marcelloz

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

Merl57
Merl57

boo noise complaints

MariusSE
MariusSE

First reaction: I have to kill these people! I may have played a bit too much Fallout 3..

XanderZane
XanderZane

I have play WoW is months. I haven't even finished the first expansion yet. lol!! I'm either going to take 6 months of or start playing it faithfully again starting next year. I got hooked on all those great game console games and have never looked back. I did enjoy WoW though, but now I need to find a new guild since most of my friends have given up and quit.

dkpunk
dkpunk

Exactly starbead. WoW is like WAR's retarded little brother. Hit the cap on WoW a few times and got bored. WAR on the other hand is amazing.

TheC0m1ssar
TheC0m1ssar

WoW has been a great success for Blizzard, especially more so since they've never gone into the MMO market prior to it. Blizzard will continue to be a driving force for the PC market, now and in the future as well. Here's to hoping for a World of Starcraft (or Universe, however you want to put it). ;)

gamefreak9
gamefreak9

Uh Turkeysoup doesnt seem to understand the purpose of starcraft 2 coming in three cds? you see as they have previously said starcraft 2 will be the first game excluding wow to have more than one expansion, in other words, each cd will new content to the game not just the campaign... And im sure that if that they are actually going to release it in three packages that the first will have as much gameplay time as reign of chaos or starcraft, excluding expansions of course

Pete5506
Pete5506

Wow alot of people lined up for this game

Turkeysoup1
Turkeysoup1

Blizzard "had" a gamer mentality but they have since lost it. Breaking SC2 into 3 parts is not so they could focus on one race at a time. That reasoning is a slap to gamers everywhere. It is so they could make more money. Why can they not just do 20-30 missions per race and put it in one package instead of 3? It's completely do-able. They just want to make as much money as they can, which from a business standpoint is good. However from a gamer mentality that is bad. They should just delay the game and release it all in one package. Making quality games is good, but there is no legitimate reason they have to break up SC2 into 3 parts to make it a quality game. WoW started out good but the community and endless raiding for gear killed it for me. You could arguably say that Starcraft is bigger than Warcraft worldwide. FoxExecutive Posted Nov 13, 2008 11:37 am PT Well this is just a sign of prosperity to come for Blizzard. In addition to this story, I would guess there may be parties such as this for the new Diablo III and Starcraft 2 games. They might not be as big but I know many, including myself, are eagerly awaiting the arrival of these two games. This is the great thing about Blizzard. They have a gamer's mentality. Although their products take quite awhile to reach the market, they more often than not make quality games that people can enjoy for long periods of time. I know people who still have Warcraft III and Diablo II LAN parties. I definitely think there is something to be said about Blizzard and that is many other companies should follow in their footsteps of quality and not quantity.

KingOfCrunks
KingOfCrunks

My reading teacher loves War of Warcraft. Im not much of a fan but, I wanted to read something that gave it its hype. :D

Viral-venom13
Viral-venom13

Its really amazing how games can get a gathering started LOL, this is why the Gaming Industry rules when it comes 2 overall entertainment! Many may not like it or understand it but that's the reason why they'll turn away from it, either ways, they dunno what they're missing out on!

SDMF_TrueBlue
SDMF_TrueBlue

Hey Hitomo- check your grammar. It's terrible! Insults are rendered useless at the perils of poor grammar, because it's hard to insult someone when what you're saying makes no sense.

xmg0
xmg0

lol that sounds really awesome

starbead
starbead

"Are they ever goin back to the old WoW, the RTS . " Sure they will. Warcraft IV will bridge teh gap between WoW and WoW 2. That said, I've gone to Warhammer and haven't looked back. WoW relies on the psychology of addiction to keep people hooked. WAR relies on gameplay to hook you. For me, there is no competition.

justin01
justin01

lol wha? people still actually play this game? they need to drop WoW and hurry up with SC2 and D3.

FoxExecutive
FoxExecutive

Well this is just a sign of prosperity to come for Blizzard. In addition to this story, I would guess there may be parties such as this for the new Diablo III and Starcraft 2 games. They might not be as big but I know many, including myself, are eagerly awaiting the arrival of these two games. This is the great thing about Blizzard. They have a gamer's mentality. Although their products take quite awhile to reach the market, they more often than not make quality games that people can enjoy for long periods of time. I know people who still have Warcraft III and Diablo II LAN parties. I definitely think there is something to be said about Blizzard and that is many other companies should follow in their footsteps of quality and not quantity.

MaKaV3Li666
MaKaV3Li666

Are they ever goin back to the old WoW, the RTS .

Ghost_702
Ghost_702

Looked like everyone hadsome good times there, and they should. Crazy about Gamestop's credit card system lol.

SDMF_TrueBlue
SDMF_TrueBlue

@Killingspree303 Blizzard hopefully does make Warcraft 4, but they will by no means stop with WoW. That would amount to corporate and financial suicide.

bigd575
bigd575

I used to play it but took up to much of my time. Good game though.

LinconSixEcho
LinconSixEcho

In this day and age, I say let people have fun. It's not hurting anyone or seemingly trampling on anyone's believe. I'm not a WOW player but endorse fun because life is too short not too.

96windsor
96windsor

@hitomo l-i-f-e not "live" spell-"check yourself :P"

hitomo
hitomo

"...with goblets of energy drinks and Northrend-blue cotton candy." wow ... get a live, I mean a real live ... you know its getting serious if the game with the lowest hardware-requirements on the market is played by the most people on the market (in the world) ... its not a "game" like we know, love and are used to ... its a permanent replacment for everything real-live is worth living for ... a replacement for lazy-people to be precise ... lazy people or loosers wich are people who are afraid of themself ... a realm for people who have already isolated there minds from there physical representation ... I mean you dont need to know whats played if you watch someone living in his own crap and excrements looking into a screen all day long, moving only the mouse and the keyboard and actually being proud of it ... its just sad and alarming ... check yourself :p greetz

BloodMist
BloodMist

Yeeeeah, i'm not really one for those midnight madness type of things.I just ordered my Collector's Edition online instead and it will be here sometime today.I've been runnin around though, checkin out the Death Knights, and they are a sight to behold.They are glorious.Needless to say the first thing i'm doing after i get the expansion is creating a DK.

MarvyMarv
MarvyMarv

WoW is a great game if you can manage other things in your life to play it. Nothing can destroy your life unless you allow it too. I have a healthy life full of friends family and activities. If you find yourself playing too much just stop and take a break even though there is no pause button you can always catch up in WoW just remember that its only a game and you can always pick up and play. I myself have not played WoW in weeks after the Hallow's End event but Ill try and see if I can pickup a copy of the expansion after work.

PlasmaBeam44
PlasmaBeam44

I find it hilarious how people DON'T want to play a good game saying they're afraid they'll get sucked in. Well I say suck me in, if I'm going to have a fantastic time playing a fantastic game then I'm all for it. That's why I play WoW.

BigDawgSteve420
BigDawgSteve420

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

PSdual_wielder
PSdual_wielder

I kinda want to get into WoW, but I won't for obvious reasons.

Leostatic
Leostatic

ratm247 ...you almost provoked a slight pang of nostalgia for the good ol' days of PvP. Mind Control off a cliff was my warrior's fate many a time...in fact, that's a good analogy for what happens to WoW players in general. That tug to continue to play is still there but time away from the game has increased my willpower and like the demise of mind control (why'd they get rid of that?) I will resist the temptation and continue my non-WoW life. LoL alright, enough of my walls of text...if ya bought the expansion, enjoy it. If not, enjoy your freedom from the WoW addiction machine. ps: I always did despise pvp shadow-priests...:P

Strangethings
Strangethings

We had a mass exodus from the Gamestop I was at when people realized they couldn't use credit/debit cards and had to make mad dashes to the nearest ATM. I was just happy I had gone in earlier yesterday afternoon to pay the remainder.

Flame_Blade88
Flame_Blade88

One guy in my department took 3 days off from work to play this...

batman_is_me
batman_is_me

Jeez people, just because the game is popular doesn't make it comparable to drugs. Just learn to stop playing. I play the game for about an hour a day and I think that's perfectly healthy(but I will admit that the freaks shown above scare me)

Leostatic
Leostatic

Shawn45 I wasn't completely serious in my comment, though the overall sentiment is sincere. I don't begrudge you or anyone enjoyment from whatever leisure activity one engages in. I am however, pointing out the difference between 'leisure' and addiction. Blizzard's quite ingenious account and game structure encourages a huge investment of time and money, from any gamer who wants to actually reap the rewards of top-tier gear. High level instances don't take an hour or two a day...as you well know. As for the price of the expansion, I'm aware 40 =/= 60...but how many expansions have they released at that price? On top of that, the original game price and the monthly account fee, do the math. That's one hell of an expensive endeavor for a single game. Again, just my two cents...and for those that enjoy it still, good for you and have fun. Just realize there are other outlets that are cheaper, less life-consuming, and yes, more fun than this. :)

ratm247
ratm247

leostatic, they have changed the game. they listened to all the whiny noobs who complain instead of learning to play, and took all challenge out of it. i sometimes miss mind controlling people off of things or into things, or mind flaying someone as they run for their life, but wow is too different than when it started and some key elements i liked are gone. like world pvp.

Shawn45
Shawn45

Leostatic I play WoW because it's fun. I do agree that it is an addiction if you let it become one. I know this because I was addicted to the game at one point in time. Now though, I only play it when I want to, and I can control my playtime. Reading this just now, your hopes of WoW dying off aren't going to come true in some time. Also, the expansions aren't full priced. $40 =/= $60.

Leostatic
Leostatic

My feeling is the quicker WoW dies, the better off society in general will be. I'm a reformed WoW player and have stayed 'clean' for a whole year now...so to those who are continuing their downward spiral of addiction, there is hope! The sooner you realize the $15 a month is going to a game that never really changes regardless of consumer-duping, full-priced 'expansions', and is little better than on on-line social network, the better we'll all be...just my two/three cents. :D

spoonthemoose
spoonthemoose

we must purge the unclean, for this is the Will of the God Emperor. The Emperor protects.

deadlybrutal
deadlybrutal

Wow what a bunch of old losers, dear god i have never seen such pathetic people put their health and real life to the side to play some 5 year old kid game.....How sad i bet the dudes in the article still live with their mommy and daddy and dont even care

PhysicsLCP
PhysicsLCP

" Killingspree303 Posted Nov 13, 2008 5:55 am PT This will probably be the last World of Warcraft Expansion pack. It's both good and bad. The bad thing is that it's the last expansion pack. The good thing is that Blizzard might make a Warcraft 4 game, to continue the Warcraft series." oye? you better believe that Blizzard will keep making installments, 10 levels a piece. Why wouldn't they? Look at their sales in ONE day for this pack. Last one. hahaha. Why make a new WoW when money is literally growing on trees for them already?

Sins-of-Mosin
Sins-of-Mosin

My buddy went to the local Gamestop last night and they were not taking any credit/debit payments. Thankfully there was a ATM about 50ft away. Besides that, no excitement.

PayneKiller
PayneKiller

the worst thing about the crack dealers from Blizzard is that although their work is primarily done they still charge $15 a month and sell expansions like its new games. And just like dealers they always give you that little taste(10 day trial) so you can get addicted then start paying up. I'm glad I beat my addiction thru Counter Strike: Source counseling and WOW has taught me never to pay for online games again. Sure the game may be fun and addictive but Blizzard just shows they don't care with their premium prices, they must be swimming in cash now.