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Role Playing (Games) The Almighty Buck

World of Warcraft Shatters Sales Records 526

Mightydos writes " An interesting article was posted on today... They say World of Warcraft® has sold through more than 600,000* units to customers in North America, Australia, and New Zealand. The fastest-growing massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) has also shattered all previous concurrency records in North America, achieving over 200,000 simultaneous players during the holiday period. "
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World of Warcraft Shatters Sales Records

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  • I'll make it 600,001!

    (Do you think that's enough incentive?)
  • Why is this news? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anubis333 ( 103791 )
    It outsold and shattered all records in a rather new game genre..?
    • by jspectre ( 102549 )
      mmorg's are new? did you just land on our planet here? i've been on muds for 13 years or so.
    • It outsold and shattered all records in a rather new game genre..?

      Because this means that it beat Everquest (and all subsequent clones), which is a fucking HUGE success.

    • by albn ( 835144 )
      I am pretty surprised at this article with the other online games that have an insane following like Final Fantasy, Everquest or StarCraft, one would think those or other games would have sold more.

      Also, the data is obscure because I do not know as compares to what: Games in general, in a certain amount ot time, etc.

      Oh well, congrats to Blizzard.
      • Compared to other MMORPG's in concurrent users. So while it does then probably beat Everquest in that category it is no match in numbers to the Final Fantasy games (40 million units, FF7 alone sold 9 million) and Starcraft (3.5 million units).

        The statistics are in no way comparable though, with MMORPG's being subscription services and everything.

        • Thank you for the information. "Final Fantasy games (40 million units, FF7 alone sold 9 million) and Starcraft (3.5 million units)." That makes sense because I have never seen such frenzy and obsessions on some of these games. In fact, I think many would remember EverQuest being called "EverCrack" because some people would spend days at a time on it... then again, I also remember spending days at a time on MUD clients doing RPG's :D
    • Re:Why is this news? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Lurgen ( 563428 ) on Monday January 10, 2005 @08:20PM (#11316200) Journal
      This isn't a new genre - Everquest, Ultima Online, Diablo (no servers, but still MMORPG), There, Star Wars Galaxies, EQ2, and many more have been here first. If you want to get technical, I was playing MMORPGs well over 10 years ago in the form of MUDs.

      EQ was considered revolutionary at the time, with piles of Slashdot articles talking about the addictive nature of the game, the scale of the world, the ugly UI yet immersive gameplay... this is nothing new.

      As an interesting thing to note, Blizzard doesn't need to make stuff like this up just now. You can't get a hold of World of Warcraft in the stores for love nor money in many cities, and it's plain to see they're struggling under the load of players. More people jumped into this game than anybody anticipated, and Blizzard are usually pretty good at figuring out this sort of stuff. My guess is they're as shocked as we all are. I'm even thinking Blizzard deliberately controlled the release of copies of the game so the player load arrived gradually instead of all at once.
  • Zerg rush. (Score:2, Informative)

    by 1019 ( 262204 )
    "...has also shattered all previous concurrency records in North America, achieving over 200,000 simultaneous players during the holiday period..."

    All of them hacking and slashing mindlessly their way through Diab^H^H^H^H World of Warcraft.
  • Shattered records (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bynary ( 827120 ) on Monday January 10, 2005 @06:03PM (#11314767) Homepage
    I just love it when these new "records" are shattered. Saying that a new game sold more than an old game is like saying "The world now has more people in that ever. This shatters the all-time record set yesterday."
    • Much like "more people voted for Bush than any other president in history!"

      They don't bother to mention that the #2 vote-getter in history was the person he was running against. When more people play/vote on he whole the number of people playing/voting for any one item goes up. Who would have thought!

    • Re:Shattered records (Score:4, Informative)

      by kwerle ( 39371 ) <> on Monday January 10, 2005 @06:23PM (#11315020) Homepage Journal
      Worth noting that EQ2 was released just a few weeks before. An established brand that already did MMO, and that it was the most popular one for some time. So, yes, it is worth noting.
      • Was EQ2 a world wide release, or limited like WoW too? The numbers for WoW should rise a lot when they release it in Europe and Korea (or is it allready released in Korea?)
  • Step 1: Develop solid game idea and use the namesake to start a franchise
    Step 2: Bring online to introduce monthly fee
    Step 3: Profit

    Yes, I know I am supposed to have a "???" in there...

    • Doesn't sound jaded to me... it just sounds like a good business plan (needs some fleshing out).
    • You Forgot the crucial step: Have a track record of developing excellent games and supporting them forever.
      Seriously, there are a lot of people who would buy any game from Blizzard without even having heard anything about it before (including me), because they know they will get an almost perfect gaming experience.
      I bet there are a lot of people among the 600.000 that have never before payed a monthly fee for any game (including me, as soon as it's released in Germany).
  • One of my pet peeves (Score:3, Interesting)

    by antifoidulus ( 807088 ) on Monday January 10, 2005 @06:04PM (#11314791) Homepage Journal
    when people use a * without qualifying what the * means, now I am going to go crazy trying to figure it out!
  • by American AC in Paris ( 230456 ) * on Monday January 10, 2005 @06:04PM (#11314792) Homepage
    600,000* units! Wow!

    That could be 600,000,600,000,600,000,600,000,600,000,600,000 units--or even more! Simply astounding!

    (Of course, it could also be no units sold...)

  • Mac and PC (Score:2, Insightful)

    Hopefully the hybrid PC/Mac CD helped things along and other developers take note.
  • Anyone know (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Timesprout ( 579035 ) on Monday January 10, 2005 @06:05PM (#11314797)
    How this compares to the sales or HL2 or Doom3?
    • Re:Anyone know (Score:5, Informative)

      by bay43270 ( 267213 ) on Monday January 10, 2005 @06:14PM (#11314910) Homepage
      How this compares to the sales or HL2 or Doom3?

      A quick google search shows that Halo 2 sold 2.38 million units in its first 24 hours []
    • Halo 2 sold over 2M copies its first day, and as of 12/3/04 had already sold over 5M copies.

      GTA: Vice City holds the sales record for console games at around 13M copies.

      The original Half-life sold over 10M copies... I'm betting a huge amount of that was driven by Counterstrike.

      It's unknown, I think, exactly how many copies of HL2 have been sold, but Valve said over 2M copies JUST over Steam, not counting boxs in stores. I'd say that means conservatively 4M+ copies now, if not more, especially given the r
    • Re:Anyone know (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Traa ( 158207 ) * on Monday January 10, 2005 @06:36PM (#11315178) Homepage Journal
      Don't know how it compares to the sales of HL2 of Doom3. But here is my quicky take on how the game stacks up against said FPS's.

      + Finished the singleplayer in ~1 week
      + Neat graphics (I create 3D graphics hardware..'neat' is only barely a compliment)
      + The only game of the 3 that was scary. Really scary. In a paranoid kind of way.
      + 20 hours of gameplay for $49.95
      - Can't imaging ever touching this game again now that I am done.
      - No interesting multiplayer.
      - Unbelievable resource hog.

      + Finished the single player in ~3 weeks
      + Awesome graphics 'abilities'
      + Really neat physics
      + Decent AI
      + 60 hours gameplay for $49.95
      - Hardly any interesting multiplayer yet.
      - Gameplay wasn't refreshing enough to keep me promoting it beyond 'technologically advanced engine'.

      + Started playing from day 1. Have not stopped.
      ++ Though technologically not as advanced, the graphics in WoW are by far the best of the 3 games. 3 words: content, content, content. After two months I still find new areas where I just stop and look around for a while with my mouth hanging open. That good.
      +++ 200+ hours gameplay for $49.95 + ~$14/month.
      - Real Life (tm) takes a hit. Seriously, if you can't afford getting addicted, you should just not get this game yet.

      • HL2 took me 3 weeks to finish but that was roughly 20 hours in total. DOOM 3 was the same. Also, the graphicsl in DOOM 3 are much more astonishing, HL2 has that dated look. The lighting is messed up in areas, etc. (For example, look at DOOM 3's light, and then look at HL2's. There are areas that remain completely dark in HL2.) The AI for HL2 has been picked apart alot, so I will only say that it is pretty bad. Hold a paint can and be invincible and invisible to the enemies.
  • by Teese ( 89081 ) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `lezeeb'> on Monday January 10, 2005 @06:06PM (#11314811)
    All 10 of us helped shatter the record! If this isn't proof enough of why games should be simultaneously released for mac and pc's users then I don't know what is.

    (yes this is a joke, don't worry about it. All mac users, I know there are more than 10 of you out there. and PC users, I know that the pitiful amount of macusers in the game didn't make much of a difference in sales numbers)
    • by SpiffyMarc ( 590301 ) on Monday January 10, 2005 @06:21PM (#11315000)
      I'll toss my hat in the ring. I decided early on, before I knew much about World of Warcraft, that it would be the MMORPG that I played, if I played any, because Blizzard was doing a hybrid Mac/PC version with release for both on the same day.

      As a Mac user, I am a member of a vocal minority, and I felt like it's my duty to reward companies who take this kind of a proactive stance for my platform of choice. :-)
    • Lots of people I know who are hard core unix junkies have OSX machines now. And warcraft3/world of warcraft is one of the most popular games on OSX.

      BTW, I had to use my Mac to play WoW before the first patch. When the CPU fix in Patch 1, the mac ran without crashs.

      I'm rather pissed they didnt release the ATI 800 gfx cards for the g4s, its twice as fast as a 9800.

    • by Bombcar ( 16057 )
      Actually, the Mac users can make a big difference. If one group of people has one mac user, then they're likely to pick the game they all can play, in this case, WoW.
  • WoW is brilliant (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hsmith ( 818216 ) on Monday January 10, 2005 @06:08PM (#11314838)
    not only do they get 600,000 people buying the game, they have a constant revenue stream coming in every month of what $15/user?

    that works out to be a lot of cash over a year, brilliant!
    • by Swamii ( 594522 ) on Monday January 10, 2005 @06:19PM (#11314969) Homepage
      600,000 users * $15 per user * 12 months = 108,000,000

      say it with me, more than <pinky at corner of mouth> ONE HUNDRED MILLION DOLLARS

      • I would say a solid $75M per year, plenty of cash to expand their team to create what Diablo 3? Starcraft 3? Warcraft 4? WoW 2? ..or something completely original..

        I don't care what it is, I'm a huge Blizzard fanboy and proud of it! As long as they stay true to their formula for making games fun and polishing them to a radiant sheen, they'll continue to get my money.

        IMHO Blizzard is to PC gaming what Bungie was to mac gaming (before the MS/Halo transition)
        • Blizzard is to the PC AND Mac gaming communities what Bungie was. The ever talented folks at Blizzard always release dual platform games on the first release.
          • Very true, but I've always considered Blizzard to be a PC game developer who was very supportive of the mac and Bungie as a mac developer who was very supportive of the PC.. ..but yes, I agree with your point.
        • They want me to pay $15 a month and on top of that, shell out $50 bucks just to get the game???

          If they want my money on a regular basis like that, they better give me the game for free and a few days of free gaming before I even start considering it. Is there any game company that do this? I.e free game plus a few free days before signing up? I think they could make a lot more money that way.
    • by Seumas ( 6865 )
      has also shattered all previous concurrency records in North America, achieving over 200,000 simultaneous players during the holiday period. "

      200,000 simultaneous players sounds like a lot, until you remember that it's split up over 88 servers. 2,500 players per server is not a record. Wake me up when you have a game that manages to have all 200,000 concurrent players participating in the same exact instance of the same exact universe.

      Also, remember that most of those 600,000 people will not stick with t
  • by asoap ( 740625 ) on Monday January 10, 2005 @06:08PM (#11314845)
    600,000 * $15 a month = $9,000,000 a month in monthly services charges. With that much money, there should be no reason that I repeatedly run into server problems, such as lag, or having the server kick me for no reason.

    I know that this doesn't garuntee you a perfect gaming experience. But common... For the amount of money they are making, I shouldn't be running into simple problems, such as my character drowning while I'm out of the water, because the server decides to take a nap.

    • $9 million doesn't translate into instnatly fixing server problems. Rolling out enough new hardware to handle everybody is something that takes a bit of time, since in the real world we don't have an army of Gnomes to handle it. :)
    • and yet, you still pay every month.
    • How about this for a reason, 200,000 cocurrent users.
    • No, that is 600,000 units $50 + 1 month of free play.

      The conversion rate from the free month to the paid subscription is never 100%. 30-50% is a more reasonable expectation.

    • I'll be interested to see how this plays out over the next few months. On one hand, it does seem like quite a rip-off. But on the other hand, I understand that business is business and that's no execs are going to be devoting serious man-hours to maintaining a free online service when people have already paid their money.

      $15 feels a little steep to me, but I would have gladly paid $5 or $10 per month for Bliz to maintain BNet for Diablo 2, rather than let the prepubescent dupers and spammers turn it into

    • by llefler ( 184847 ) on Monday January 10, 2005 @06:43PM (#11315252)
      Everytime I mention bugs or lag, I get told that they don't exist. This is from the fanbois of course, you get no response from Blizzard. The bugs must not exist.

      Having played since launch, I've had the pleasure of experiencing all the problems. Fortunately, I picked one of the servers added a couple days after launch, so despite having a high population, I haven't seen a queue since November. Even so, bugs that require you to log out before you can stand up and needing to travel through IF from time to time has got me wondering if I shouldn't just stop playing for a few months. I moved my subscription back to monthly, and I think if at least some of the smaller (but extremely annoying, like mining) bugs aren't fixed, I'll just unsubscribe for a while. I have plenty of work I can do around the house to keep busy...
  • Shattered lives (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MasterJeff ( 846170 ) on Monday January 10, 2005 @06:09PM (#11314854)
    Drugs of the future here today. Many people can moderate themselves but it is sad how many lives get destroyed by MMORPG's.
  • As for some anecdotal evidence towards this, I went out to buy WoW this weekend it was sold out at a number of places. Of course, anecdotal evidence doesn't mean squat, but it was annoying nonetheless.
  • by krbvroc1 ( 725200 ) on Monday January 10, 2005 @06:14PM (#11314916)
    Hundreds of thousands of WOW Widows have filed for divorce.

    In other news, eHarmony is offering a new 'replace my mate' match service; online gamesplayers are banned from signing up for the service.
  • A friendly reminder. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Sheetrock ( 152993 ) on Monday January 10, 2005 @06:14PM (#11314917) Homepage Journal
    Have we forgotten already? [] Money talks, you know.
  • Impressive! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Telastyn ( 206146 )
    Not the sales numbers [though they are certainly nice] or the concurrency numbers [though they are certainly a good explination for the reported server instability] but put the two together... If 1/3 of your reported playerbase is actually playing rather than doing anything else in the world, that's a pretty good sign that it's a good/addictive game.
  • US-derived MMOGs are really quite niche. The largest MMOG company in the world, Shanda [], regularly gets ~1m concurrent players for some of its games... and it hosts several []. Shanda's MMOGs currently peak at around ~1.4m concurrent each, with around ~900K average.

    Disclaimer: I used to work for Zona [], an MMOG middleware company that was purchased by Shanda. You want to scale over a million concurrent players comfortably with no server dropout and speedy player updates, you're gonna need something like Terazona []
  • It'd be interesting to see how many units they would've sold had there been copies on store shelves to buy. Over Xmas holidays, I went out with my sister to pick up a copy to feed her addiction and none of the stores in town carried it. The clerks we talked to said that they'd been out of stock since the beginning of December. This is not an entirely isolated incident - I've read about many similar situations in various onlin forums.

    I could understand the game selling out hours after a shipment coming i
    • They have indicated that they are delaying restocking stores till they have ensured that the next batch of sales can be handled by the server.

      Understandably, people W/O the game are upset. And those of us with it are happy.

      Sorry, I'd rather a smaller player base than having to deal with the lag fest I've seen with other games which cashed in on their greed rather than worry about customer service.
  • Pissed off users (Score:3, Insightful)

    by schmobag ( 804002 ) on Monday January 10, 2005 @06:24PM (#11315039)
    Despite the success, not all is well in the WoW. Some of those 600,000 users are pretty pissed about some employees inappropriately using their influence in-game [].
  • 200,000 concurrent users. That really sets the bar high for potential competitors. I wonder what the cost of infrastructure is? What kind of admin setup do they have? How many systems are providing this resource?

    Will all new mmorpg networks need similarly-scaled backends? If so, that puts the genre safely in the hands of large corporations. sigh.
  • by NeedleSurfer ( 768029 ) on Monday January 10, 2005 @06:26PM (#11315051)
    I've been playin the game constantly recently, I'm hooked, totaly but there are several flaws that will make me stop playing soon, I feel it.

    1-Each and every map has a quest serie that goes a little something like this: get a lady ingredient for a pie, find a guys tools, ((kill x monsters of this type, bring x items of this type) x 6), kill the Bosses (3), go in far away land to retrieve item or give item to someone -- repeat

    2-Although common to uncommon mineral (I can't speak for other ressources yet) is fair and balanced considering the amount needed to construct items as your profession evolve, the uncommon to rare ratio is ultimately ridiculous. It took me 3 days to get 6 silver ore which were needed by countless recipes of which the effect is totaly disproportionnal of the work you put in finding the ressources for its construction.

    3-The profession and skills and talent system is extremely unrewarding, it take so much time to get 1% bonus in two-hand weapon damage, very ridiculous, by the time you can build a bomb that does x damage it barely removes a hint on the health bar of the creature it targets and so on...

    All in all what makes this game exquisite isnt the gameplay in itself, the single move battle system and capacity to walk trough others are perfect example of that, but the sheer pleasure that you have in discovering the lands and realizing missions with others, plus the game is very well designed as far as encouraging people to be nice and helpfull to one another and just that is worth a lot in my opinion. It won't keep me paying for more than 1-2 maybe 3 month though, so I don't believe the game longevity will be that impressive.
  • Best... skinner box... ever
  • by Dark Paladin ( 116525 ) * <> on Monday January 10, 2005 @06:31PM (#11315122) Homepage
    I have a copy of WoW, and it's probably the first MMRPG that I've played that I've enjoyed. I tried Ultima when it came out, Anarchy later, and some others - but WoW has me.


    1. Attention to detail. Ever played a game and thought "You know, this would be better if I could do X"? Well, here it is. X is 99% of the time right in WoW. Chat - easy. Macros - simple. Able to compare what you have with what you want to buy - just hover the mouse over the item.

    2. Mac/PC compatible. I know, I know - Mac's only include 4% of the "new computers sold" base or some such. But I know several Unix geeks who got Macs just so they could play some games on them (as opposed to Linux, which is even less native ports than for the Mac). So after the kids are in bed, I can sit in the living room with my Powerbook and play the same game my friends are playing in my living room.

    3. Performance: you don't need a brand spanking new computer to play. It helps, of course, but I know a guy with a 867 Mhz Powerbook who plays without missing anything.

    4. Ease for newbies and oldies alike: Even on PvP servers, you can be a newbie and be fine. Do you lose money for dying? No. Experience? No. Just inconvience (and maybe a little equipment damage, but that's easily repaired). Once Blizzard has the true battle areas in place to stage "wars", there will be a place for those who want to kill other people to head off to.

    If you're an oldie, there's lots to do as well. Elite dungeons that you share with your direct friends, not everybody and their brother (so you don't have to worry about waiting forever for some particular monster to respawn - your group and your group alone will get the chance to get him in your custom dungeon).

    Most of the time the game is as hard as you want it to be. I usually challenge creatures 2-3 levels above me, where it's "hard but fair". I like that it's pretty fair. If I fail, it's because I wasn't watching what I was doing, not because some arbitrary bit got flipped that said it was my day to die.

    Is it perfect? No - I do wish they'd let clerics wear leather (especially as their attacks are underpowered, which is why I switched to a Hunter), and the respawn is almost too fast (there's been a few times I'd died because I was fighting a monster, got it down to 99% dead, then a new monster spawn right on top of me and killed me before I could run off - would be nice to have a 10 second countdown before they started attacking), but otherwise, it's close enough to perfect to make it the only MMRPG that I'll play.

    Now, if you'll excuse me, I need go hunt some wolves so I can learn to make Lean Wolf Steaks....
  • Guild Wars (Score:2, Informative)

    by twoes00 ( 839980 )
    I gave WoW a try during its final open beta and liked it just enough... However, once the Guild Wars world preview event came along, I was instantly hooked! I played the GW E3 Event and enjoyed it, but the WPE really displayed the game's potential. Not only is it free of monthly charges, but it takes away the whole "grinding" concept of MMORPGs. Its quite difficult to describe it, but it seems like the most (dare I say) innovating games of the year.
  • ... elves and humans got a Gnome or Dwarf-tossing ability at lvl30... so many times I saw a cute gnome and wanted to select it and do a /toss or maybe even a /pat on the head... alas

    I keed, I keed (lectrick, lvl29 elven hunter in zul'jin)
  • Um asterisk? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by kaedemichi255 ( 834073 ) on Monday January 10, 2005 @06:40PM (#11315222)
    Um what's the asterisk for? If you're gonna post an article and simply copy + paste the article text into your submission, at the very least re-read it and make sure it makes sense. I wish I could mod an entire submission DOWN...
  • And 599,999 of 'em are on my server YELLING FOR DIRECTIONS or asking for a "loan".
  • EQII vs Wow (Score:3, Interesting)

    by shaka999 ( 335100 ) on Monday January 10, 2005 @06:57PM (#11315423)
    I bought EQII first. After quickly getting bored I managed to find a copy of Wow (no small task).

    Wow pretty much creams EQII in every way. The only people I've heard differ are hard-core EQ players. Many people do like the EQII graphics better but personally i like the more cartoonish Wow look.
  • by keath_milligan ( 521186 ) on Monday January 10, 2005 @07:32PM (#11315765) Homepage
    In addition to sales and concurrency records, Blizzard is also shattering several long-held MMORPG industry myths - including a few of SOE's favorite sacred cows:

    Myth #1 - an MMORPG must include numerous "time sinks"; long periods of unrewarding time spent with little or no character progression.

    In the series of interviews recently posted where Raph Koster conspicuously omits any mention of WoW, you can almost hear his exasperated sighs as he laments the lack of opportunity to socialize in newer games because the action is so fast. If you want to chat, log into a chat system. Most of the rest of us would like to spend our limited gaming hours killing things and having fun, not waiting for shuttles or running around endlessly looking for things to fight.

    Myth #2 - character death in an MMORPG must be a harsh, demoralizing experience.

    Go read some of the discussions on this in SOE's forums. It's pretty amazing to think that a software company can entertain a serious discussion regarding intentionally "punishing" their users/players.

    Myth #3 - MMOG design must be driven by a philosophy that is inherently different than conventional games [insert lots of grandiose game theory and virtual world talk here].

    Bullshit. I'm sure Raph Koster is a brilliant guy and he has a lot of interesting ideas, but at some point you need to pull your head out of the clouds and remember that above all else, a game has to be fun to play.

    Myth #4 - any new MMORPG must feature a complex, impossible-to-balance skill-based (non) "class" system.

    Again, bullshit. WoW's simple, single-track class system is easy to understand and is well-balanced for both PVE and PVP (the usual nerf-calling notwithstanding).

    Myth #5 - the fantasy MMORPG market is "saturated".

    This seems to be the industry's favorite crutch - the notion that everyone who will ever play an MMOG is already playing one and that the "long, hard grind" model (EQ, DAoC, SWG, etc.) is the only kind of game those players want. Again, bullshit. WoW is cracking the market wide open and bringing a flood of new players who have never before touched an MMOG. To be fair here though, I think this one is at least partially true, the market *is* saturated when it comes to EQ-style treadmills.

    Where other MMOs have seen subscription numbers flat-line after release (SWG, DAoC) or decline (AC), expect to see WoW break new records in the future. This isn't just because of the legions of D2 players migrating over or the Warcraft name - those things help, but they're not the whole story. With WoW, their first and only entry into the market, Blizzards "gets' what the others don't: a successful game is not about lofty "game theory" or grand visions, it's simply about having fun.

    The writing is on the wall: fun is in, the grind is out.
  • by bugnuts ( 94678 ) on Monday January 10, 2005 @08:13PM (#11316140) Journal
    Anyone that played from the beginning knows damn well there aren't that many concurrent players, unless you count those:
    Waiting in the queue to login
    Disconnected and unable to logout
    Stuck doing a search in the auction house
    Stuck waiting the insane time to extract an item from your mail
    Running around a continent with no mobs or gryphons

    Yes, I'm being overly-sarcastic, but there is a real hint of truth. In all fairness, Blizzard has solved the bulk of the problems they had at launch... and they even extended subscriptions three days and a fourth later for the downtime. I just happen to be on a "lemon" server that was undergoing horrid lag and restarts for weeks. I would've changed servers if I didn't run a guild with nearly 200 unique accounts in it!

    WoW doesn't do a whole lot new for MMORPGs, but it has taken many elements from different games and done them right. Huge number of quests that have lots of fun NPC interaction, mobs to grind if you like, cool items (almost as good as AC), immersive graphics with an attention to detail, great sound, a great intro movie, large world, seamless movement between most zones, nice crafting system comparable to horizons, decent pvp (can't block other players, though -- you walk right through), etc.

    A couple of new things are the fog of war, gryphons (kind of new, as they show the "real" server as you fly -- you can see fights and monsters, and not just a picture of you moving), and an extensible user interface (missing a desired function? you can program it yourself in a "real" language).

    In conclusion, WoW had a rocky start. It wasn't as bad as some games (AO and SWG were pretty horrid) and it wasn't as good as some (AC and CoH were great). It was kind of crappy, in fact. But they quickly announced that billing wouldn't even start because of the downtime, and they kicked ass on fixing the biggest issues on a live system with 200,000 whiny folks complaining about it. And then there was me, not whining of course. :-)

"I prefer the blunted cudgels of the followers of the Serpent God." -- Sean Doran the Younger