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Ask Joystiq: Hot Topic and Warcraft

Kevin Kelly

Yesterday we received a letter from Ryan, a perplexed Hot Topic shopper and Warcraft addict-to-be. He writes:

"Hello. I was at the mall yesterday. I happened into Hot Topic while looking
for an awesome Halloween costume and came across a $1.99 14-day
DVD of World of Warcraft. I thought, What the hell. Everyone else is addicted, why not me? So for 2 bucks I picked it up. I haven't installed it yet but, what I wanted to know was if you have seen these and if I only get it for the 14 days and then have to go buy a $20 box copy, or if I get the 14 day trial and then just have to sign up for an account? There seems to be a bunch of back and forth on this on the message boards. I tried to search your site but didn't find mention of it ... (I wish Weblogs inc. would upgrade their search engine). Anyway, thought it was interesting also that Hot Topic was selling WoW, it not being a game store and all. It begs the question, how long before my local 7-11 sells MMORPGs over the counter."

Check out what we discovered after the jump.

For those of you who don't know, Hot Topic is a chain of clothing stores that cater to the goth, the emo, and the punk in everyone. We visited one after receiving Ryan's letter and found his precious $1.99 DVD trial edition of WoW. What was really surprising though was the sheer amount of other WoW merchandise on sale. It was a veritable treasure trove of goodies filling two whole racks in the store.

They had pins galore for all of the different character classes. Is it just us, or do buttons and pins seem to be making a comeback these days? Cyndi Lauper would be so happy.

Even the hoodie craze hasn't missed the World of Warcraft. Decorate one of these with all of your favorite buttons, and play "don't get your ass kicked" at school.

Our favorite though were the "?" and "!" quest indicator hats. Most of the world won't know what in the hell they mean, but those people who come up to you and say "Hey, I have 48 Murloc scales to turn in, are you the one I talk to?" will always hold a special place in your heart.

We almost bought this shirt but then realized we'd just look like one of the 46,284,952 wannabes out there since Pirates of the Caribbean came out. We bought a very emo "Game Over" wristband instead.

There's also a lot more merchandise where that came from over at the Hot Topic website, including the "Dance" t-shirt at the top of this post. We're really surprised that they don't have night elf thongs or dwarf boxer briefs. Maybe those will be forthcoming.

Okay, we really went off on a tangent from the main topic here, sorry about that. Anyhow, right by the front register was a display chock full of WoW Trial Edition discs all for $1.99, so that part of the story is most definitely true. Note that $1.99 is just the suggested retail price. Let's be honest, Blizzard should really be giving these things away; they're useless after two weeks. C'mon, even a crack dealer will give you the first hit for free, then he knows you're suckered in as a repeat buyer ... er, subscriber.

Inside was the promised DVD, and an extremely concise (and much easier to digest) ten page version of the WoW game manual.

Inside on the last page of the manual were the words that will make Ryan (and others out there) very sad. Yes, you will have to buy a full retail version of WoW to experience the full game. The $1.99 DVD version seems to be identical to the version available on Blizzard's website (except that one is only a ten day trial version). We couldn't find any extras on the disc except a .pdf version of the manual, which can probably be downloaded from the same site.

So basically Ryan, yes -- you will have to buy a full retail version of World of Warcraft to keep playing the game and get rid of the trial limitations (no auction house, no trading, etc). Hopefully you aren't too disappointed, seeing as how it only set you back a cool two bucks. Buy three more and you'll have a set of themed coasters ready to protect your wooden furniture from drink rings.

What would you like to Ask Joystiq?

[Thanks, Ryan ... or should you be thanking us? Anyhow, there's some thanks involved here somewhere, so thanks!]

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