Updated Thu, Feb 21, 2008 by Xerin
Information on pre-ordering and location an expansion come launch day.
The Burning Crusade is one impressive expansion with all sorts of amazing and new features. It expands the already famous World of Warcraft, a game with over eight million subscribers worldwide and two million alone in North America. What happens when you combine a highly anticipated (and nearly required) expansion with a highly successful game? Chaos.
I feel confident that isn’t a scenario like you see with major consoles (Playstation 3 anyone). There isn’t going to be nearly as much hype, long lines, or insanity but there is going to shortages and delays. The expansion isn’t some kind of major piece of technological machinery, it is software. It’s much easier to distribute and create copies. That doesn’t mean it’s going to be in stock or available everywhere.
If you haven’t pre-ordered yet, online or off, then you may find yourself running short on options. eBay is in no way, shape, or form a good method of obtaining the expansion due to not only the scams and outrageous price the expansion is going to run. With that said, you do have a few options that will lead to victory in obtaining the expansion.
Video game retailers like EB Games have a policy in which they don’t release copies of games on or around their launch day without a pre-order. I don’t really understand the semantics, but basically they generally only get in just enough copies to fill all of their pre-orders when it comes to something as massive as WoW’s expansion. So unless you have a pre-order you most then likely will not be finding a copy at any video game retailer. You have until the day before launch in order to pre-order (with most of the retailers) and after that it comes down to luck and just waiting until they have a copy in stock to sale you.
EB Games will be holding a midnight opening sale at various stores where you can pick up your pre-order at the stroke of midnight (and participate in various WoW related games and contests). I’m not 100% sure, but some of these stores may have walk-in copies available (but you’ll need a pre-order to get a copy for sure) so you may want to call and see what arrangements they’ll have going. The full list is available here (including phone numbers).
If video game retailers aren’t something that is available to you (if they are all sold out for instance), then try some non-video game retailers like Best Buy and Compusa. These stores will most then likely have copies sitting on their shelves for a day or so after the launch. Don’t count on it though; they will not be receiving as many copies as your major retailers and will be prime targets for many WoW users.
Online retailers are in a different ballpark. Online stores (trustworthy ones) will be receiving a large stock of games and at a discounted price. For instance, the expansion is only $40 usd at Amazon with free (super slow) shipping. Online stores are a good place to go if you aren’t in a hurry, just place your order and wait.
For instance, Amazon promises to try their best to get the expansion out the door on the 15th so that you get it as soon as possible (16th if you paid for overnight shipping). Although, with understanding how the mail works and the sheer demand you may not see your copy for several days after launch. If you need it day one then you’ll have to have a pre-order at a game retailer.
If it’s the 16th and you haven’t got a copy and you can’t find a retailer with one then you have one solid chance at getting the game. Superstores like Wal-Mart do not accept pre-orders and will have a large stock on opening day in their dwindling computer software isle. My local Wal-Mart even has banners up around their store announcing the launch and confirming they will have it in stock. Wal-Mart type stores will be your absolute best bet for walking in and getting a copy, but do realize that you’ll have to do some footwork and find a few out of the way (as these places will get rushed on Tuesday for copies).
If you haven’t pre-ordered and you can’t find a copy anywhere, don’t worry! There will be others in your same situation and you don’t need to be in Outland on day one. Trust me on this, I’ve been to Outland it’s absolutely amazing. It’s not get into a street brawl over the last copy amazing though. The journey to level seventy is a lengthy one and it doesn’t matter if you start opening day or a few days after. You’ll be able to catch up to your friends who will probably be hamstringed by the lag and sever outages.
Blizzard has a pretty good history when it comes to adding stuff to their game. The servers are going to lag (heck, even the servers right now are lagging pretty badly at random) and there will be outages and extremely long queues. Blizzard is doing everything in their power to make things as smooth as possible but when you have over eight million subscribers it can be very difficult.
So, in summary, if you haven’t pre-ordered then hurry up and get it done. There is still some time at most retailers to pre-order and in a scenario like this you can’t argue the ethics of pre-ordering. There are just too many people wanting a copy of the game. If you don’t pre-order, order online, or have a store near you that is carrying it opening day then don’t worry. Just sit back, relax, and rest up a few days before you can obtain a copy. Outland will wait on you to pick yours up.