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Hordes queue for Burning Crusade

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Thousands of World of Warcraft fans queued into the night to get their hands on the long-awaited expansion of the popular online game. In the UK, more than two thousand gamers packed a London branch of HMV eager to purchase the extension, known as The Burning Crusade.

Many of the fans, some dressed as their favourite characters, had queued outside since the early afternoon.

Gamers also packed stores in Sweden, Germany, France and North America.

Limited edition

Although the extension was officially released on 16 January some UK retailers have been selling the game for the previous two days.

However, the fans queuing over night were keen to net more than just the basic extension.

Being one of the first in line gave fans a chance to meet the games designers and bag a copy of the collector's edition of the game which includes art work, a making-of DVD as well as other limited edition items.

Brad Carter of Southend, Essex queued with his wife and three children to get hold of the limited edition set.

"What an amazing evening," he told the BBC News website. Yes, it was cold standing in the queue - but we only arrived at 8pm, not the 16 hours some people are mentioning."

"Best of all we all got our collector's editions."

Players who attended the events in fancy dress were rewarded with in-game gifts such as pets.

But not all gamers are happy that they have to pay for the extension.

Ross Mckay from Edinburgh wrote: "I think it's a bit outrageous that Blizzard are charging for this add-on. They boast about having 8 million users worldwide what they don't mention is how much money they are making from subscription costs."

Paul Knox from Dublin agreed.

"I myself have been playing for about 2 years and have been paying £8.99 per month for the pleasure. Now that's quite a bit of money to splash out. Now Blizzard are expecting us to splash out even more."

New worlds

World of Warcraft is set in the fantasy world of Azeroth and players spend their time turning their initially weak warriors, warlocks, rogues and others into more powerful characters by killing monsters and looting them for items or money.

Players pay a monthly fee to subscribe in addition to the cost of buying the CD of the game. The Burning Crusade extension costs £29.99 (45 euros).

The addition introduces two new races to Azeroth, a new continent as well as a host of new areas to explore and creatures to fight. It also gives very high level players the chance to become even more powerful and take on even mightier foes.

In preparation for the expansion, Blizzard released a significant update which changed many aspects of the game world for players even if they do not buy the expansion.

The Burning Crusade was initially due to go on sale in late 2006.

However, Blizzard delayed the launch saying it needed more time to refine the expansion. Many players were invited to be part of the testing team that played the expansion and spotted bugs in the early code.

The expansion will be available in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, and Thailand on 17 January.

I don't play this game, but figured I'd post this for others who play it. Click on the link to read some of the comments by other people.

I am putting myself to the fullest possible use, which is all I think that any conscious entity can ever hope to do.

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I never really understood MMORPG's. Theres always cheaters and basically if you aren't one of the first to ever sign up, you'll never be any good because you'll probably end up as some poor soul that gets raped by someone that has a leveled up character and has nothing better to do than ransack your n00b ass. I use to play Utopia on swerve games, and that was the extent of my getting into stuff like that.

Personally I only like playing online games with people I know.


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