Anaheim (CA) – We knew people were going to line up for the next World of Warcraft expansion, but we didn’t think it was going to be this early. On Tuesday November 11th, we headed over to the Anaheim Fry’s Electronics and saw several people already in line. In fact, these folks are pros at this sort of thing and were also one of the first people in line for the initial launch of World of Warcraft and the Burning Crusade expansion pack.
Fry’s will open its doors at 12:01 AM Thursday to sell the $39.99 WoW: Wrath of the Lich King expansion. The store will also have the collector’s edition, which contains maps, music and art, for considerably much more money. Blizzard employees will also be on hand to autograph all the copies.
The first guy in line, John Fitch from Westminster, told me that he started waiting at 9 AM which is almost a full 40 hours before the 12:01 AM Thursday launch. An obvious WoW addict, he proudly wore his “level 5” green linen shirt and was busy carving out signs. We arrived at approximately 7PM and saw Fitch’s friends, family and more than a dozen fellow WoW players sitting with him.
Being first in line has its responsibilities and Fry’s management has designated Fitch as the defacto leader of this well-behaved mob. Coming out every half hour, the manager would chat with Fitch and even handed him two fire extinguishers as a precaution. The manager later told us that at previous launches people would set up grills in the parking lot.
While chatting with everyone in line, customers walking into the store would constantly ask why everyone was waiting. “I’m very surprised that this many people don’t know,” Fitch told me. Sick of constantly being pestered with questions, he carved out a Hello Kitty sign and now tells everyone that he’s waiting for the Hello Kitty massively multiplayer game. Funny thing is, most people actually believe him.
But one customer wasn’t so easily fooled. Wearing a Boeing employee ID badge, a gentlemen in his late 40s walked by, looked at the sign, looked at the people and said, “Yeah right.. probably World of Warcrack.” He later exited the store, triumphantly holding up the Call of Duty game.