Last night I went to the midnight NYC release of the new WoW expansion, Wrath of the Lich King. By the time I arrived at 9:30pm, hundreds of players were herded into a blocked-off section of 44th street, anxiously awaiting the midnight hour to not only buy our games but get them signed by the CEO of Blizzard Entertainment and a number of artists and developers.
The first 200 people to arrive won free headsets, and periodically throughout the evening employees would throw out t-shirts, posters, or figurines. A dance contest and trivia contest awarded gift certificates, and Best Buy’s huge monitors showed cinematics and Q&As with the developers. I wish I had photos, but it was quite dark out and there were entirely too many people.
I could’ve easily done without the hired, shamelessly porny blood elf girls, who I felt increasingly sorry for as the night wore on and the temperature dropped. (Despite the fact that half of WoW’s player base is female, Blizzard continues to market the game as if their only customers were drooly 13-year-old boys. I will relish the day when I no longer have to look at a splash screen featuring a girl whose head is bigger than her waist.) I was also a bit miffed that the free swag was clearly left over from previous events (my figurine says Blizzcon 2008 Preview…hmph), and they didn’t show anything on the big monitors that was new. I know I’ve seen those opening cinematics at least a dozen times, thanks to numerous re-installs. Where’s the preview for Starcraft 2, guys?
But I did pick up a free t-shirt and get my stuff signed, so who can complain? To those of you on the fence: here’s the opening cinematic for Lich King.
See you in Northrend.