A Cataclysm in the Making

21 Nov

Since RL commitments took on of our WoW instance group out last summer for a bit, the rest of us have been spending time in Middle Earth.  Now that those RL commitments have slackened, our fifth is anxious to return to WoW, timed conveniently to coincide with the launch of the Cataclysm expansion.

The break has been good to restore interest in the game and I’ve literally not logged in for almost five months.  A few weeks ago I thought I’d better at least get patched up with the mega pre-Cata patch only to find I didn’t have enough hard drive space to download the entire patch.

Well, I’ve been putting off upgrading my ancient drives for some time now, so it was a convenient excuse to do some upgrades and clean installs.  More on that in a subsequent post.  Suffice it to say, new drive and OS installed and I was on my way this weekend to doing a fresh install of WoW.

Overall the installation went well.  While I was on getting the fresh download of the client, I thought I’d take advantage of the Cataclysm pre-order digital download to avoid the inevitable launch day madness.

It seemed simple enough:

Order, Log, Win! Wait, what was the first one again?

I like the idea of having the expansion pre-installed and ready to go.  What foresight, what efficiency.

Then I attempted to actually purchase the upgrade.

Irvine, we have a problem.

Several more tries yielded the same thing.  A quick Google search indicated I’m not the only one in the universe having similar troubles.  Aside from some dubious witch doctor like suggestions involving the sacrifice of small animals or the veneration of false idols, most suggested “contact customer support.”

Contact them I did.  I was reasonably surprised to get a timely confirmation of my ticket and a quick and happy (and not terribly helpful) follow up email.


Thank you for emailing Blizzard Entertainment. My name is **** and I will be the Customer Services Representative handling this issue for you. Please reply directly to this email so that I may continue to assist you should you have any further questions or need any more information.

The Cataclysm Pre-sale is a digital download sale that allows players to Pre-order Cataclysm now, and be ready to play as soon as the game is officially released. By upgrading now, you can download all the game data before hand and be ready to go on launch night.

That being said, we are experiencing unusually high volumes of players purchasing the online pre-order for The Cataclysm which is, regrettably, causing issues with the site as far as being able to upgrade. Be advised that we are currently working to resolve this issue and we thank you for your patience regarding this matter.

More information can be found on our Cataclysm Pre-sale website: From there you can Pre-order Cataclysm and recieve special discounts on upgrading your World of Warcraft accounts. Once you have upgraded to Cataclysm, and logged in and out of the game client, the pre-download stage will begin, and you will be on your way to playing World of Warcraft: Cataclysm!

I tried again Sunday afternoon to no avail.  I’ve got to say, I’ve been a little underwhelmed with the whole experience so far.  First the whole “email is your login” issue, then the RealID(tm) kerfuffle and now this.  Not that Blizzard has been entirely flawless in its back office implementation in the past, but this one seems like it would have been a bit more predictable.  And, the longer it goes on, the worse the problem becomes as more people will be taxing the closer we get to launch.

No real option but to wait for a fix and/or grapple with a retailer as a last ditch (I hope not).  Anyone else had similar problems or is it simply the magnetic steel plate in my head causing the transaction to bork out?


Posted by on November 21, 2010 in World of Warcraft


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8 responses to “A Cataclysm in the Making

  1. Billy

    November 21, 2010 at 5:20 pm

    I had the same error come up. They told me it the same thing. I ended up retyping my Credit card number in and not using the pull down menu. Then it worked flawless for me.

  2. Wilhelm2451

    November 22, 2010 at 1:48 pm

    Blizzard, forever plagued by fans rushing forward to hand them money in numbers they never seem to be quite ready to handle.

    I got in early and ordered the digital upgrade… early enough that it went through without issue. I must have beat the stooges-like rush through the door to give Blizz some more money.

    I do wonder what this digital download upgrade will do to box sales if Blizz is being overwhelmed by orders. Of course, for Blizz, digital sales are hugely profitable. Cost of goods sold is zero, infrastructure seems to be the same crap they’ve always had, so the net profit has to be pretty big on each sale. I am sure that will ease the pain of annoyed retailers.

    • p@tsh@t

      November 22, 2010 at 2:11 pm

      Indeed. Even the WoW store was borked. It failed trying to buy an authenticator for the wife…

      Ecommerce for the lose.

  3. yunk

    November 24, 2010 at 7:49 am

    huh weird. I bought the upgrade and authenticator monday night. Those come through as on my credit card.

    Then hilariously I tried to actually start my subscription up again and couldn’t, since my bank flags new charges from “” on it as fraud and it won’t go through. (the rep told me there is so much fraud they have to stop them and make sure it’s you first). After trying to figure out why my card wasn’t working when it worked just a minute ago, I get a call with a computer voice asking me to confirm purchases. I ended up going to bed after struggling for a half hour to get it set up and in the morning i call the bank and find out I did clear it up, but it wasn’t reflected on my bank website. So now it’s still downloading 12 hour later. (my bank site seems to suck the rep said “yeah the site doesn’t let you back in right away though you can use the card in meatspace”. well she didn’t say “meatspace”

    The thing is, if my bank did that to me, I bet there are other banks doing it, and they are all going to get probably over 100K people returning trying to purchase a subscription and going to get errors on the form wondering what is wrong.

  4. p@tsh@t

    November 24, 2010 at 11:22 am

    Still no go. Tried a couple different cards, a couple different browsers just in case.

    @yunk, I had a card that I thought was hacked (turns out it wasn’t, my bad) and thereafter nearly every single charge elicited a computer-originated anti-fraud call to confirm charges.

    Random episodic charges from internet retailers didn’t seem to trigger it, but apparently whenever I bought gas or groceries *gasp* from the same retailers that I always do (several times a week) within my zip code no less I would arrive home to a phone message asking to confirm charges. Clearly that grocery store that I’ve been going to several times a week for the last several years is up to something….

    I finally said, look. Just stop it. I’ll log on and check charges and let you know if there is suspicious activity…

    I’m going to resort to the 800 number and see if I can get it sorted.

  5. Michelle

    December 6, 2010 at 10:29 pm

    we’re having the same issue… unfortunately, has also issued charges for the three times we attempted to upgrade, but when we check our billing history, it says pending. So I am not sure what’s going on here… are they going to charge us for these three upgrades to one account, or are the charges going to be reversed?

    • p@tsh@t

      December 7, 2010 at 9:52 am

      Never did solve the issue. I spent Saturday morning on the phone with customer service and finally got them to force it through.

      I’ve heard similar stories about multiple charges too. The odd thing in my case was that there was no history of failed attempts which seemed odd to the CSR I spoke with.

      No doubt they’ll take care of it promptly but I’d say call customer service and hang on there waiting. They sounded crushed on the weekend.


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