Classic Launch Night on Pyrewood Village - EU

As mentioned previously, in Europe the Classic launch was scheduled for the not particularly convenient time of midnight / 11pm (the latter if you were in the UK like I am). As it was a holiday here, I had the day off anyway and found it increasingly hard to focus the closer the launch came.

Half an hour before the whole thing was supposed to go live, the first reports of queues started to come in: Apparently people were already clogging up the pipes on some servers just to get to the character selection/creation screen.

Wanting to avoid getting caught up in something like this on our own server, my friends Nemi, Ollie and I decided to already log in as well (there was no queue on Pyrewood Village yet) and passed the time by creating additional level one characters to make sure we wouldn't get kicked for inactivity.

Then the final seconds ticked down, the "Enter World" button lit up... and everything froze. "This is where we crash the server," I commented on Discord, but actually the servers did hold up alright to begin with. There was a noticeable pause of about half a minute on the initial loading screen, as the system clearly laboured under the pressure of thousands of people wanting to log in at the exact same second, but eventually the intro cinematic started.

And I had to laugh, seeing the huge, teeming mass of tauren. My husband came over to look at what was causing such hilarity. That said, the crowds dispersed relatively quickly, and to me at least it felt nothing like my main point of comparison, the re-launch of the Nostalrius PvE server (which is a good thing by the way).

"Woot" seemed on point.
Sure, it was busy and not exactly easy to find mobs, but I guess it helps that the tauren starter area is so large and open - as long as you always kept ambling across the next hill, you'd find a mob to tag sooner or later.

Relatively speaking, I'm also pretty sure that it was actually the quietest of starting zones, as tauren are the least popular Horde race from what I remember. (Or was it trolls? But they share a starter zone with the orcs in any case.) Nonetheless, it wasn't a good night to be a plainstrider or mountain lion.

While there was a little bit of lag initially, this went away remarkably quickly, and after that everything seemed to go quite smoothly - until I was suddenly kicked back to the character selection screen with this message:

I got back in almost instantly and then proceeded to play just fine for a while, but my friend Nemi, who had also rolled a tauren but immediately hit the road to Durotar in order to maximise her reputation gain with the orcs, got kicked out even sooner and was unable to log back in for hours. At a later point I was eventually kicked out long-term as well.

Checking sources like Twitch and the forums, this seemed to be a problem uniquely affecting the EU servers - on US everyone was just complaining about queues, and while we had some of that as well, it was weird to have the game completely breaking down on one side of the pond but not the other. It certainly didn't help the ancient prejudice of EU players being considered less important than US ones.

Even though it was going on silly o'clock, we persisted with our attempts to log in again and eventually Blizzard must have fixed whatever was going wrong. The "world server down" message seemed a bit misleading as the problem never actually seemed to affect the entire "world" of the server. Best I could tell, based on the fact that both of my DCs happened when I was crossing from one sub-zone into another, there seems to be some sort of instancing going on in the background that went haywire.

I think in total the problem persisted intermittently for about three hours, during which everyone affected was super grumpy and complaining bitterly... just to instantly forget about it all again the moment they were finally able to log back in.

I stayed up until gone 4am (yes, I admit it - I binged, especially as I had taken the next day off work specifically for this purpose) and managed to reach level ten on my tauren shaman in that time.

Population control seemed to be working fine, at least in Mulgore on my server. As I said: it felt busy, but not too busy. As soon as people got off Red Cloud Mesa they spread so far and wide that no quests were really problematic anymore.

The only quest that felt like a bottleneck early on was the one to kill quillboars in Brambleblade Ravine. The narrow, tight corridors forced everyone there into way too small a space, and where I previously mostly remembered that area as being quite deadly to new players, my experience this time around was that the quillboar didn't stand a chance against the onslaught of tauren forces.

Particularly interesting was the quest to kill the named chieftain, who was spawn-camped to hell and back. Unlike what I've heard from other servers, many of the early Pyrewood players weren't inclined to form an orderly line or even to group up, the latter of which I found very odd.

While standing in the crowd I asked about grouping up in /say but received no response. Eventually I just started manually targeting every single character around me and attempting to invite them. Some were already in groups but a surprising number were not, which meant that I quickly assembled a full five-man, which managed to nab a kill soon enough.

That still left the problem of the generic quillboar killing quest though. Two people left as soon as the chief died and a third quickly walked away even though he didn't leave the party, but me and the one remaining other guy seemed to share a quiet sense of frustration as we ran in circles over and over again, failing to tag anything.

Eventually we found a slightly out of the way precipice, which I think people were avoiding intentionally as it had three or four mobs on a fast respawn right next to each other, but with the two of us together we were able to take them on and killed them as many times as needed to get our quest done.

At one point my questing buddy also suddenly opened a trade and simply handed me a white shield that was better than the one I was using at the time. Feeling like I should reciprocate, I found a pair of grey boots in my bag that was slightly better than his and traded him those in turn. Simple gestures.

As I already mentioned, once people dispersed across the plains, things got a lot better, though I was also reminded of how incredibly annoying those early Mulgore quests are in terms of bag space. Not only do you get half a dozen quests to collect different animal parts, sometimes they are different parts of the same animal, so of course you feel that you should have them all in your log at the same time to benefit from synergies, but the end result is simply that you have no bag space for anything not quest-related and I ended up jogging in and out of Bloodhoof Village to vendor things every handful of mob kills for a while.

When a small green pouch dropped from a Flatland Prowler later in the evening, I actually gasped out loud and took a screenshot. This immediately made so much of a difference that I decided I needed to fill all my bag slots nau.

Fortunately this was handily facilitated by a friendly tauren tailor that had been advertising in general chat that they were happy to craft linen bags for the small fee of one silver as long as the customer also provided their own linen. So I sought them out and filled out my remaining bag slots, while also supporting local business. It immediately felt sooo much better.

Oh, and speaking of chat, as someone who usually turns off or ignores general chat in most MMOs, I was pleasantly surprised by how civil it was all night. There was some banter ("Is this Barrens chat?" "No, it's just a tribute") but everyone remained relaxed and in a good mood.

And that was my launch day/night experience - I've since had a whole day of even more play behind me, but that will have to be a story for another day.


  1. Launch has been fun. So far people have generally been nice and polite about the singleton quest mobs.

    It's also been fun buffing people (I'm playing a priest). It's a nice bit of being social and folks tend to actually say thank you. I even had one person offer to give me a bag! I declined as that toon is a tailor, but I really liked that spirit at this point in the game.

    1. Yeah, there's definitely a pioneer's spirit in the air right now: We're all poor, so let's help each other out as much as we can.

      Also love the drive-by buffs, though I always feel a little bad on my shammy that I have nothing to give in return!