Universal City (CA) - On an insanely cold night, at least by Southern California standards, thousands of World of Warcraft fans waited to buy the Burning Crusade expansion pack. Several EB Games stores in the area opened at midnight January 16th to sell the game and we were there at one of the biggest stores at the Universal Citywalk in Los Angeles. Even though it was cold, fans - some waiting almost 18 hours - traded stories and even danced for some cool prizes.
Michelle from Van Nuys was the first person in line and had been waiting since 6:30 AM Monday morning. At a few years older than the 20-somethings in the crowd, she didn't seem to fit the profile of your average World of Warcraft player. However, Michelle has been playing World of Warcraft since the beginning and has beta-tested many Blizzard games. "My hats off to Blizzard for making such a game. The animation and lore is amazing," said Michelle.
Just behind Michelle, were a group of players from the Cenarion Circle server. They had also been waiting for several hours and were even passing the time by playing World of Warcraft on their laptops in line. One guy told us he was taking a week off from work and wanted to be one of the first to level 70. He added, "I've got five full bank slots of elixers and potions. I'm not sleeping for three days."
In a testament to how popular World of Warcraft has become, one of the security guards told us that he plays World of Warcraft. "I have a level 60 mage," said the guard. He even won a few trading cards by quickly answering trivia questions about professions and dungeons.
The line stretched around the Hard Rock Café all the way to the Quicksilver store. At the stroke of midnight, EB Games employees used a bullhorn to announce that the store was now open for business. Groups of 10 to 15 fans were let in to buy the game and then have them signed by Blizzard World of Warcraft developers.
Not all the fans will be installing the expansion as soon as they get home. Demonstrating some sanity, Michelle told us, "I'm going to bed after this. Afterall, I've waiting in line all day."