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Midnight launch event: Burning Crusade, Southern style


(Picture left on a table at the mall by an unknown, presumably disgruntled Alliance rogue at the North Raleigh BC midnight sale event.)

At about 11:30 p.m., I headed out to EB Games at my local mall in Raleigh, North Carolina, with an understanding and tolerant warlock friend, to pick up my Burning Crusade preorder. It was 75 degrees out today, so I took a quiet moment to gloat over people like Mike and Barb who had to brave the ice and snow to get their copies. Since I live in a fairly suburban part of town, we figured that there wouldn't be a lot of geeky folk out getting their preorders in the middle of the night. How wrong we were.

There was at least 100 people waiting for Burning Crusade. My friend held my place in line while I went snapping pictures of the crowd.

Unfortunately, no one came in costume, so we didn't get any half-naked Blood Elves hanging around the mall.

Some of the people, like Jeff here, had been at the mall since 9:30. Jeff came prepared with a folding chair and a tolerant girlfriend.

I talked to a group of students from North Carolina State University who are part of the guild Relentless on Malorne Horde. They had arrived early because, as Charles (third from left) said, "We have a lot of playing to do tonight." Alex suggested that they should raid Ironforge with level one blood elves, but this idea was nixed in favor of staying up leveling. "We're not skipping class, but we're playing all night," Charles said.

EB Games called us one at a time before midnight so we could pay for our preorders. To keep us entertained in line, they handed out a World of Warcraft trivia quiz, which contained the following questions (I am not making these up):

19. How many classes are there?

20. Name the 9 different classes.

Eventually, the clock struck midnight and everyone filed in to pick up their copies of BC. It took the whole line about half an hour to get through, but the gamers didn't seem impatient -- after all, a long night installing and playing BC awaited them.

Some Azerothians seemed more pessimistic than others. As my friend was waiting for me to leave the store, he ran into a large man who proclaimed, "Everyone's going to smoke so much pot tonight! All these people are going to go home, and the servers will be down, and they're going to be bored and anxious, and they're going to smoke a ton of pot!"

I managed to totally miss this exchange, and walked out of EB Games with Burning Crusade in my hands and a big (non-pot-induced) smile on my face. "Geeeeeek," said my friend. I pointed out that having the Collector's Edition delivered to him tomorrow actually made him a little bit more of a geek than I was. I happily rode home, installed the expansion, passed through the Dark Portal and started on the long road to 70.

(Thanks to Jeff Marshall for driving and photography services.)

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