The Case of the Missing Mist.

The only other person in line at our local Wal Mart for the midnight launch.

 

About a month and a half ago, I headed over to our local GameStop and plunked down $25.00 to preorder the latest World of Warcraft expansion, Mists of Pandaria. I was really jazzed and looking forward to every aspect of the game. From the midnight launch, which this same GS location hosted during the last expansion, to giving the silly pet battles a shot, I was looking forward to the whole experience. After seeing a couple of things online about which local GameStops were hosting a midnight launch (the nearest to Vero Beach was over 50 miles away), I noticed our local store was not listed so I gave them a call. My fears were realized when, on the day of the launch, I found out that they weren’t holding a midnight opening, but I could pick up my game at 10:00am on Tuesday morning.

10:00 am??!!?? Tuesday morning??!!??

What????

The reason I preordered the dern thing was so that I could pick it up at midnight and be ready to play when the servers went live…..duh!! The gears began to turn and I started to form a plan. I’d go to GameStop, get my deposit back, and we’d go to the local Wal-Mart and pick up my collector’s edition when the clock struck midnight. Say what you want about Wal-Mart but, at least, they’re reliable in getting product out. So, that’s what I did.

On a side note and to their credit, I have to say that GameStop didn’t give me a hassle about getting my pre-order deposit back, at all. The girl even seemed a bit sad that they weren’t having a midnight launch….or that could have been because the store just lost a sale, I’m not sure.

Anyway, we headed over to the local Wal Mart at about 11:00pm and shot straight back to the electronics department…..to find it roped off for floor waxing. Not another soul was there, save for the guy who wanted to buy a cell phone….at 11:00pm. I figured that was a bit odd, but was glad that we’d be the first in line, should anyone else show up. We confirmed that, yes, they were indeed still putting the game out at midnight and the guy in charge (I’m assuming he was in charge due to his walking around while the other guys were waxing the floor) even offered to show us what he was putting out. He kept describing it as a ‘small box’ and a book….which had me suspicious. The collector’s editions are always a larger, heavier, box and, from what he was describing, it sounded as if he only had the standard version. Sure enough, he went back and brought out a standard box version and a strategy guide (the book), telling us that was all that had shipped.

They had no collector’s editions.

After a few sighs, we decided to just come home and I’d get the “deluxe” digital download. It came with a mount, an in-game pet, a banner for Diablo 3 and something for Starcraft, which I don’t remember since I don’t play it anyway. I’d be missing out on the mousepad, the book of game art, the behind the scenes of the making of the game DVD, and the game soundtrack.

On a positive note, it was $20.00 cheaper.

I guess that I could have just waited for the next morning and went to Best Buy (they looked to have plenty of CEs, but no midnight opening) but we were excited to log in, as the game went “live”, and get to playing. So, impulse buying at it’s finest, I opted for the deluxe edition….the best thing being, there was nothing to download (it was all in the previous patch) and I was still ready for launch.

The moral of the story being, always double check to make sure your preorder store is going to have a midnight launch…..or, skip the physical copy and go the digital route….or, something else….take your pick.

Having played a day in Pandaria, here are a few initial thoughts:

  • This was the smoothest expansion launch I’ve ever experienced for World of Warcraft. Not a server crash in sight and no lag to speak of.  In fact, you didn’t even have to log off when the game went live (as was required in the past), I guess they just flipped and switch, or something, because at 3:am EST (the game went ‘live’ at midnight PST) a quest popped up for all the 85s to get the ball rolling.
  • I still love the ‘cartoony’ grapics and would be a bit disappointed if they ever decided on a more ‘realistic’ style.
  • On the topic of graphics, the Pandarian style gear looks way cooler than the Cataclysm style mess.
  • There is a lot to do, but not to the point that it makes you feel overwhelmed. A recurring theme in the land of Pandaria is “take your time”. A lot of the NPCs say this and I’m not sure if it’s meant for the character or the players looking to rush through content to be “first” (and, then, cry for the next year that they’re ‘bored’).
  • One the big ‘things’ in this expansion is the (literal) farming sub game. I’m hearing a lot of positive things about this and can’t wait to get to that point. Very “Harvest Moon”, from what I’m being told….not “Farmville”…thank God.
  • Pet Battles. Are. Addicting. That is all. Also, you can do them on any character….the quests for them carry over to all your toons.

I’m only a day into the new expansion and I can, honestly, say that my expectations weren’t just met….but exceeded…..even if I didn’t get my mousepad =)

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