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Midnight launch event: Chicago Edition

Mike Schramm

While Barb was freezing at the Pyramid Mall in upstate NY, I was freezing at the Fullerton Gamestop in Chicago. My copy of the Burning Crusade is currently winging its way to me via the fine folks at Fedex, but for you, dear readers, I went out in the snow and cold to see what there was to see at the Midwest launch of the Burning Crusade.

This... is my story.

First, an apology. My camera skills aren't as high as Barb's (she's at 300), so my pictures are blurry. But they're blurry with excitement!

I was amazed at how many people were at the store. We knew this was going to be big, but there are stores like this all over the City of Chicago. Either I went to a popular one, or this is going to be really big.

Outside, the manager tells freezing customers that they only have enough copies for preorders, if that. He also told me they didn't know when more would show up, but later I overheard that they'll be getting more tomorrow morning.

Inside, that's what they got. In all its glory.

Five minutes before midnight, the customers with preorders are all lined up, and employees chatted them up while those waiting talked about whether they were going to reroll or not. I heard a few people saying they would reroll for sure, but the majority said they were going to stick with what they got, and head up to 70.

You'll have to pardon the blurry picture on this, but trust me, it's worth it. Behind the counter, under the monitor they use to check people out, the Gamestop employees had posted a Penny Arcade comic. This one, to be exact. Funny.

At midnight, the ringing began. This is the first collector's edition sold! Well, at this Gamestop. They had six copies, and I noticed that at least one employee was one of the few people who purchased them.

The crowd at large. Again, I was surprised at the turnout.

And so the selling began. At first, there were many...

Then, not so many.

Then even fewer...

And eventually, they were down to the last two. All the preorders had been sold, however, so they were left with a store full of maybe 15 people, with no way to choose who the last two went to!

I should mention that the news did show up (sorry about the lighting). A cameraguy came from a news service to shoot footage and take some short interviews of players. I listened in to the standard stuff (WoW sure is popular, this expansion pack will be big), but I cringed when the word addiction snuck into the conversation. Oh well.

So, how to deal with the last two copies? After the Gamestop employees considered making everyone need roll, asking for DKP, or just seeing who played Horde and who played Alliance (the copies should go to Hordies, of course), they decided...

... to hand out tickets. Two lucky winners were chosen, and two people went home happy. The rest were turned away-- a few of them mentioned they'd be back tomorrow morning (when the UPS truck was supposed to show with more copies), and one group shouted out their plans tonight: they're all going to watch their friend play.

Time of sellout: 12:45 AM. Hope you got yours!

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