Currently listening to: Arthas, My Son by Russell Brower and whatever else it says on my Last.fm plugin.
Wrath is finally here and I've finally caught up on my sleep, which is the problem when you go to midnight launches in a major city several hours away. I actually stayed in London after finding a very cheap hotel via fellow journo and so headed down on the last off-peak afternoon train in order to get checked in before hitting Regent's Street.
The picture above is of Bill from WorldofWar.net, myself in the middle (finally a good photo of me; ultraviolet must become me) and Natalie from Upper Deck enjoying the Absolut Icebar where Blizzard hosted their pre-launch press drinks get-together on Wednesday night. We only got forty minutes in the bar itself but it was a cool experience - pun intended - and damn was it cold, even with the thermal ponchos.
Yes this week has all been about World of Warcraft. At the drinks event I managed to catch up with Ben, Jonnie, Alex and some other folks as well as meeting Blizzard's COO Paul Sams and enjoying lovely little canapes and cocktails. Alex and I wandered over to the HMV on Oxford Street about 10pm and snuck in via the back entrance while he explained there was not one but THREE queues of people trying to get into the store. Being a journo on the VIP list has its perks as we flashed our press IDs and within minutes were in the nearly empty store.
The store had been taken over by the Lich King, there was a massive countdown clock, an ice sculpture and more Collector's Editions than I've ever seen in my life. Apparently around three thousand people showed up at the store to get their copies and soak up the atmosphere and there were folks queuing from 6am that morning. You've gotta love the commitment.
So I had a wander around, took loads of photos, caught up with Max, Rhianna, Dia and all the other Gigaknights I haven't seen in too long, as well as collaring young Tom (poor sod had been working the event on top of his normal day at UD). Unfortunately a minor accident involving me and a trolley kind of marred the evening - at least I get to cross off 'knocked self out in flagship HMV store on launch night' from my to-do list - and I'm still sore from the bruises.
The actual launch itself felt a little anti-climatic although it was fun seeing all the people dressed up. I didn't get to take home a Collector's Edition (although I fondled quite a few) as my copy was waiting for me the following day, which meant I missed the postman and didn't get it until Friday morning.
Even having played the beta, I was amazed at how fresh the game suddenly feels. I never really did any questing so while the zones aren't new, the experience of levelling Serisa is refreshing. She even dinged this afternoon while Uta and I were pugging Utgarde Keep, so all is well in the world. I'm reviewing the game next week so this weekend will see me playing hard I think, but I'm going to try and let the experience take its time, none of this rushing to 80 for me.
Although plenty of people have started hitting 80, complete with realm achievements (and envious taunts from those who didn't make it); Uta gets his own piece of the pie as he was Daggerspine's first person to max out .... fishing!
Did I mention how much I love Frosty the baby frostwrym, he's so cute?
Anyway the servers, which have been dodgy all day, seem to be settling down so I'm going back to Northrend for a bit.