Warcraft expansion hits stores

by Paul Jay, CBC News Online

The long-awaited World of Warcraft expansion, dubbed The Burning Crusade, officially went on sale on Tuesday, and as expected, there were long lines everywhere.

The massive multiplayer online game, set in a 3D swords-and-sorcery fantasy setting, has been hugely popular since it launched in 2004. Blizzard Entertainment, which runs the game, said it has more than eight million subscribers.

As with most role-playing games, the secret to Warcraft is the potential for characters to increase their abilities, get new and more powerful items and explore new worlds, which makes the experience highly addictive for some people. For those who've never played an online RPG, think of Dungeons and Dragons. Now take away the dice and the ceaseless arguing between players and dungeon master over rule interpretations. So it's fun. And addictive.

Amusingly, the BBC posts a number of comments about the game from hard-core gamers, not all of whom are in love with Blizzard's world. As someone calling themselves Thomas Bird writes, Warcraft is "[p]ointless twaddle. Go play Elder Scrolls: Oblivion or something, maybe even go outside! The only thing this game has going for it is that it's addictive. It never gives you a conclusion so you never stop playing."