Burning Crusade Classic Launch Night on Hydraxian Waterlords - EU

After all the hype, how did it go?

I'd actually already parked my hunter near the Dark Portal the day before and spent the hours leading up to the actual portal opening event (11pm in my time zone) messing around on alts instead. Old Azeroth was starting to look eerily deserted by that time - it's not that I saw no other players at all, but such sightings were rare compared to the usual population density, and in Ironforge and Stormwind in particular I half expected to see tumbleweeds roll by, based on how empty they felt.

Ten minutes before launch time I logged over on my hunter and immediately got a group invite. I mentioned that I'd made plans for a dungeon levelling group with some guildies, but most of them weren't actually going to be on for the launch event due to the late hour, so I'd just thrown my hat into the ring with a bunch of others that were going to be online on the night and an officer had sorted a number of us into a dungeon group together. Aside from me, the group consisted of one of our raid tanks, a casual mage, and two holy paladins from the raid team, one of whom was going to pretend to dps for the rest of the evening.

The area around the portal was crowded, but not as much as I'd expected, especially when thinking back to the AQ gate opening event. However, according to the chatter on Discord, lower-level players were being ported out of the zone similar to what I'd experienced on Pyrewood Village before, and some sort of layering appeared to have been applied already, as other guildies reported that "their" Dark Portal approach was almost empty.

With Hydraxian Waterlords being an RP-PvE server, there was peace between Horde and Alliance, except for that one guy who always ends up flagging himself in situations like this and then gets ganked by an undead rogue while everyone else just watches. We were still chatting away on voice when the crowd suddenly started moving and disappearing into the portal, even though there were still three minutes to go according to the server clock. I followed almost instinctively and a brief loading screen later found myself amidst a flood of players happily surging down the Stair of Destiny. You could tell where things like the first quest giver and flight master were as they inevitably had a giant ball of players around them, which then quickly drained away towards Honor Hold.

At the Alliance base in Hellfire, I couldn't help but continue comparing the crowd to a body of water in my head as players "splashed" away into all directions on arrival. All I know is that it felt very purposeful for the most part, with little meandering about and staring in awe. In the keep, Commander Danath Trollbane had a hard time making sure to greet everyone by name as per his usual habit.

My group soon moved on to the entrance to Hellfire Ramparts, and that place was very busy as well, as clearly a lot of people had decided to follow the commonly given advice to avoid the worst crowds and maximise reputation gains by focusing on instance running at the beginning. Being massively overgeared for the content, we had no troubles at all, though it was fun to talk about our odd mix of memories related to the dungeons. My favourite was when we moved on to Blood Furnace and one of the pallies asked if this was the one "with the giant eyeball" and I confirmed that it had a beholder-style boss but wasn't sure whether that was what she meant. When we got to Broggok, she then exclaimed "Yes, it's the Willy boss!" with such delight that it made me laugh. There was also a great moment when the mage died to a mine, was resed, and then immediately got blown up again.

In total we did five dungeons that night: Ramparts twice, Blood Furnace twice, and we also undertook a trip to Slave Pens for fun and to see how we would hold up there as level 60s, considering that the last boss, Quagmirran, is level 65. As it turns out, our Naxx gear allowed us to kick arse with relative ease even while underlevelled. This was all good fun, but didn't even get any of us to level 61. I'd previously wondered whether I'd be able to power-level myself all the way to 70 during the few days that I've taken off work for the occasion, but after the first night the answer to that was a clear no.

Admittedly running dungeons and doing nothing else is not the best way to level quickly in this iteration of WoW, but that wasn't our main goal anyway. Quests are much better for that it seems, and I did hear from a few people that did opt for questing that while it was busy, it wasn't as overcrowded as most people had feared, probably because so many of us were running dungeons instead.

In terms of performance I'm also happy to say that our server at least had no issues with lag or anything - I'm not even sure if there was a queue. Some guildies initially reported that their layer was supposedly "broken" as they were unable to go through the portal even when players on other layers were already doing so, but that was easily circumvented by grouping up with guildies and shuttling to a different layer. The only technical hitch I experienced up close was that at one point when some of my group mates hit their hearthstone to return to Honor Hold, they got an error message that the transport had to be aborted because the instance was full (?!) but they tried again right afterwards and then it worked.

Now, I have a few more days off work that I'm planning to put to good use by binging on more BC dungeoneering, even if I'm not going to make it to 70. There is a lot to do! I already must have run Ramparts a dozen times or so, including at least once on all of my level 60 alts. More than anything else I guess I'll have to be careful not to burn myself out though, because as exciting as this launch has been, in terms of activities it's been a lot more limited and repetitive than starting at level 1 in orginal Classic was two years ago.


  1. Thanks for this report, Shintar!

    Since I was out leveling in a deserted Stranglethorn Vale and Hillsbrad, I missed the entirety of the launch night. I could read the guild chat, and let's just say the FOMO (fear of missing out) was strong that night.

    I don't know how many layers you had on launch night, but on Myzrael-US it was at least 3 layers deep (it also was 3 layers deep last night), but I saw some people complain it went 5 layers deep for a while on launch night.

    1. How can you actually tell how many layers there are? I seem to remember it being stated on the server selection screen at some point but that's not the case anymore as far as I can tell.

    2. It could be part of Nova World Buffs addon, but on my mini-map it shows what the layer is.

    3. I confirmed that it is Nova World Buffs doing that. And here I thought that I wouldn't need it any more with the Heart and Head buffs not being so critical.

    4. Yeah, I asked a guildie who has it installed how many layers we had today and it said zero... no wonder things have been so crowded!