Burning Crusade Launch: First Impressions
We are officially into the 5th day of the Burning Crusade. Thousands of players have come flocking back into Azeroth just to abandon it immediately after and head to the outlands. People flocked stores to get an early copy of the game at midnight on the 16th and then took the next couple of days to level as quickly as possible. So with all this madness, what went well with the launch and what could have gone better?
All the new features have been talked about already and there are no real surprises for anyone. So, instead of discussing what’s new, we are going to look at “how” the game launched.
The launch night festivities went well on all accounts from North America and led to many all night gaming sessions. I know that here in the frozen north where is was -40 degrees, even the cold could keep people away from standing in line for hours to get the game first. One person in line had been waiting since 1pm, in temperatures that were at a daytime high of -20. When asked why, he said he had to be first in his guild to get in. He also commented on how stupid it was to be freezing his backside off for a game and that he would NEVER do it again, unless of course Blizzard released another expansion.
|Copies in the Stores|
Despite early concerns that there were not going to be enough copies available for launch to meet demands, there are still copies at most stores. The one exception to this is the Collectors Edition that many people wanted that sold out as quickly as they put them on the shelves. For those lucky enough to get a copy, it came with some beautiful extras and was well worth the extra money. For those that weren’t lucky enough to get one, unfortunately Blizzard is not producing any more (similar to the first Collectors Edition) and the only way to get one is paying a premium on ebay.
Server loads started of ok, as many players either had not gotten their copy of the game yet or were waiting on patches to download. Tuesday night was rather uneventful on many servers and while there were not enough players on to cause issues.
Wednesday night though was a different story on many servers. By this time many more people had picked up and installed their copy and were ready to play. Queues on many servers exceeded 800 people in line and many players had to wait a considerable length of time to get in. The servers handling the outlands were so congested that constant random restarts was the norm for the night. The only way most players could experience the Burning Crusade was to make a bee-line for the nearest instance and play in there, since they are different servers. Thursday and Friday night continued to see max server loads and long wait queues with no end in sight as more and more players find the time to check out the Outlands for the first time.
As anticipated, most of the quest related MOBs are farmed to the MAX! Many times a simple “kill 10 x” quest turns into a 30 minute fight to pick up every 250th spawn, as players from both factions swarm the areas. Add in the frustration of a PvP server and I can’t imagine how people level at all right now.
Many players are skipping the first zone entirely just to beat the rush and find some free space. While this worked the first day or two, too many players are now in the next zone. My guess is 2 weeks should give enough time to space people out and get some breathing room. Then again, players will then start leveling their secondary characters, so maybe a month or 2.
|The Race to 70|
On many servers the race to 70 has already been completed, with stories of 28 hour mega gaming sessions surfacing. On my main server (Dragonblight) the first level 70 Horde Player was Blackrhino who hit it sometime Thursday night and was already seen flaunting his new flying mount Friday morning.
All of this puts the long held rumor that it would take as long to get to 70 from 60 as from 1 to 60 in the first place. The
Over all the release worked well for most players. Sure there was some disappointed people who missed a Collectors Edition, or had to wait to get in, or suffered through a few server reboots, however in general it went far smoother than most players thought. I know that our guild joked about not seeing each other for at least 2 weeks after launch and that wasn’t the case at all. Neither was it the case that everything broke on opening day or even a few days after. Things slowed down, true, but nothing really broke.
So far I would have to say that launch of the Burning Crusade has been a big success. It hasn’t been perfect, but it has been better than many expansion pack launches from other MMOs in the past.
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