World of Warcraft: Burning Crusade Launch

burning-crusade-release-party

WoW are you guys nuts!

Many of you know that my other undercover job is at a local gaming store. As my luck would have it, I was scheduled to work the WoW: Burning Crusade launch last night at midnight. But, that means that all of our readers will get an inside look into the biggest midnight launch since Halo 2. Here is one sales associate/OCMS journalist’s take on one damn crazy evening…

My store alone reserved 170 copies of Burning Crusade, and around another 15 copies of the heavenly collector’s edition. Of those 170 people, at least 100 showed up and another 50 came to try their luck with the remaining copies. We opened our doors at 9:30 to the WoW public and then waited until midnight before being able to sell the game. What happened between 9:30pm and 1am was complete and utter chaos…

A few nice people came at 9:30, paid off their WoW reservations, and then hung out drinking soda, eating chips, and bs-ing with the staff and each other. A local illustrator named Rob Carlos (www.colorsmith.com) was also there at 9:00, graciously drawing pictures of people’s characters for free (check out what he accomplished for our customers!). A steady trickle of customers continued to arrive, and I was busy handing out numbers (place in line/raffle), taking names, and helping people pay off their reserves.

At 9:45pm we did our first raffle, with prizes going up in value from WoW boxes, t-shirts, and giftcards to clings and standees. This is where our first fight began… customers who left the store and were not present for their raffle prize did not get their prize, and we drew another number. Some people came back and started yelling about the WoW swag being rightfully theirs although they weren’t present to claim their prize. That argument went over really well…

I felt dumb standing there with several WoW fans who were bored and staring at me… just waiting for me to do something to entertain them. I had a request to get on the table and do my character’s dance, but when I said I didn’t have a character I think I lost respect from everyone there.

One customer wanted to claim the “coming soon” poster that had a picture of WoW on it, but since it is current merchandising we couldn’t give it away. She said she was going to protest and started screaming about how we just burn the posters anyway. I asked her if, because it was Martin Luther King day, she could riot peacefully by staging a sit-in, and she complied. For the next two hours all I could hear was some person on the floor shouting things at other customers and myself. How weird do you people get?

Several more raffles ensued, and finally around 11pm we had our first huge rush. Mind you, there were already around 75 people in the store. Through the confusion, many customers did not think to come up to the counter and get a number, although my co-workers and I were continuously shouting for everyone walking in the door to come up to the counter. Some customers called and begged for us to let them pay their copy off over the phone… not possible. A few huffy people threatened to come down and choke us until we screamed “UNCLE!!!” and handed over the game. A nice retort was that there were several local policeman who are avid WoW fans that were present at that time.

One raffle prize didn’t fly: no one wanted a free copy of the Flight Simulator X demo. NO ONE. People denied the prize and after several annoucements we concluded that we couldn’t pay people enough to take the stupid demo disc, even if it was useful as a great coaster. Poor Flight Sims.

11:45pm finally came around and it was time for people to start lining up. Luckily the servers were up at 12:01am eastern time, so everyone who got their copy was able to play it last night, thus offering more incentive for people to show up last night. Also, in Washington the predicted snow storm gave many teenagers the hope that school would be cancelled the next day, and later that night the National Weather Service’s prediction came true. Those lucky bastards! Anyway, the line for WoW wrapped around the store like an angry anaconda, leaving some unlucky late-comers standing outside.

Page 1 of 212