No Crusade at Fry’s

I was at Fry’s the other day looking for, among other things, a copy of The Burning Crusade expansion for World of Warcraft for my daughter’s account.  She decided she likes blood elves during the 10 day trial of the expansion.

In the past Fry’s has had stacks of the expansion on the shelves, including collector’s editions.

But there was not a copy of The Burning Crusade to be found.

This is an unusual state of affairs at Fry’s.  The shelves still have several old EverQuest and EverQuest II expansions despite the fact that later cumulative expansions are next to them on the shelf.  Fry’s is the only place I know where you can still find a copy of Total Annihilation: Kingdoms on the shelf.  I was frankly surprised not to find a copy or two of Tabula Rasa.  They have a lot of shelf space and an aversion to throwing anything away.

But no Burning Crusade.

Which strikes me as a bit odd.  You cannot use Wrath of the Lich King unless you have Burning Crusade already.  You can get BC as part of a World of Warcraft Battle Chest, but if you have the original box (which is still on the shelf) your options are somewhat limited.  I ended up just upgrading her account via the account management page, since the iMac she plays on already has both expansions installed. (If your account has one of both of the expansions you cannot play on a machine that lacks them.)

Now, I did not go out and scour local electronics stores to see if anybody else was stocking Burning Crusade.  But, as I pointed out, Fry’s does not pull anything off their shelves unless somebody gives them a refund, so I suspect that I would find the same situation at other major chains.

I cannot decide if this is a serious blunder or a very shrewd move on the part of Blizzard.

It seems awkward, not being able to just buy the first expansion off the shelf since you must have it for the second one.  On the other hand, more cash probably goes into Blizzard’s pocket if people upgrade via the account management page, and if you’re buying the expansion but don’t want the Warchest version, you probably already have an account.

Part of me suspects that Blizzard isn’t quite sure what to do with a game with more than their usual single expansion.

12 thoughts on “No Crusade at Fry’s

  1. Rohan

    I suspect that when Wrath came out, Blizzard switched to only printing 2 SKUs: the Battlechest and the Wrath box. I think that we’re just seeing the last leftovers of the previous SKUs disappearing from shelves now. The basic box is taking longer to disappear because a lot of new players buy the Battle Chest instead.

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  2. *vlad*

    The average shelf space given to PC games is tiny compared to all the space taken up by console games in my local games shops.

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  3. Melissa

    Maybe they are purposely not putting out the battlechest or BC alone so that people will have more incentive to buy a new battlechest with all 3 pieces?

    I think you can just download BC now from Blizz’s site tho.

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  4. Wilhelm2451 Post author

    @Vlad – That is one of the things I like about Fry’s, they give as much shelf space to Windows gaming as they give to any two consoles.

    @Melissa – They had the WoW+BC battle chest out, just no BC by itself. I suspect we won’t see a WoW+BC+WotLK battle chest until we know the name of the next expansion. And yes, as I said above, we bought BC through the Account Management page in the end.

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  5. manasi

    hmmmm being a former WoW guy for a while it seems as if they want their pound of flesh for the prior update as well as the current update… seems rather idiotic to me not to mention quite costly.

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  6. Jalann

    Can’t you just purchase the upgrade through Blizzards site and download it? If you can, I would suggest doing it on a Tuesday when the servers are down.

    Also you purchase it this way, you can try copying your game directory onto her computer. You can have multiple directories. As long as the account is registered she should get the content when she logs in.

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  7. Wilhelm2451 Post author

    @Jalann – I hate to use the “learn to read” response, but I said both in a post and in a comment that we ended up purchasing BC through the Account Management page. I don’t want to discourage comments, but they do tend to be more on point when you’ve read the post.

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  8. Genda

    By coincidence, I was at Fry’s here in Austin at lunch today. They had a ton of it on the shelves. Having a retail background myself, I just chalked it up to traditional Fry’s poor inventory management for lower-dollar items.

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  9. Wilhelm2451 Post author

    That’s just it. They used to have a freakin’ metric ton of Burning Crusade boxes sitting around in the Sunnyvale store, including two pallets of collector’s edition boxes. Now there isn’t a copy to be seen there. Did they ship them all to Texas?

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  10. Llew

    Meh. Why bother with the overhead of making boxes and discs for old expansions? Just put a link into the installers for subequent expansions that lets you one-click buy previous expansions. Fewer dead trees, less plastic out there filling landfills. All good.

    I suspect they’ll go the EQ2 route with the next expansion and just start bundling the previous expansions into the basic WoW box. So there will always be 2 boxes on shelves — WoW vanilla + Old expansions box, and Latest Goodies Expansion box.

    As for where the unsold old ones were…. who knows? Supply chain mysteries….

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  11. Armagon

    Awesome timing that I happen to read this right now :P
    Was at some retail store (in the building where there used to be a Wal-Mart before) and I also noticed that they had ~10 WotLK, 3-4 classic, no Battle Chests and no TBC boxes. And that’s in Europe. I also recall my local games shop and another electronics store have Battle Chests and WotLK en masse, but hardly any classic/TBC boxes.

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