Update, 6:39pm, 8/26/2019: Blizzard appears to be adding more servers every few hours which should hopefully cut down on queue times. Though some players are still reporting having to wait three-plus hours to get in. Personally it took me about 1.5 hours to get onto my server. We'll update as this develops.
Original story: "You think you do but you don't," is what Blizzard president J. Allen Brack famously said years ago when a player expressed interest in playing World of Warcraft as it existed back when it first launched. Though he told me that famous quote was, at the time, poorly worded, it's what I'm laughing at now as I try to log into World of Warcraft Classic, which just went live.
I am in a queue of 8,500 players—and that's on the low end of some of the other servers I've tried logging into. Though the status message onscreen says it'll only take 70 minutes for me to get in and finally play, I highly doubt that'll be the case. Not only is it erratically changing that estimate every minute or so (jumping from 30 minutes to an eye-watering 100 minutes), that estimate also presumes that players who do finally get in will leave soon to make space for those still waiting.
I doubt that'll be the case.
It's hilarious that a remake of a game from 2004 is drawing this much attention, though. Right now on Twitch, 1.1 million viewers are watching their favorite streamers, many of whom are stuck in equally long queues. Sitting at the top of that pile is Asmongold, a notorious WoW streamer who usually has a third of the viewers that he has right now.
There's no telling how many people are trying to play WoW Classic at this moment, but my guess is that the number is staggering—far more than what would typically show up for an expansion launch. Blizzard has said that over 2 million people made characters ahead of the launch.
Nearly every PVP server has a 10,000-plus queue to get in. The good news is that one or two normal and roleplaying servers don't have any queues at all—but this is WoW Classic and open-world PVP is half of the fun.
I'm willing to bet that once I finally do get in, things won't be that much better. Watching the Twitch streams, the severe congestion of players is making it nearly impossible to complete quests that involve killing monsters (spoiler alert: that's all of them) and I bet even with all the fancy new server tech Blizzard has developed in the past decade, there's bound to be some massive hiccups eventually.
Still, it's exciting to see the enormous interest in World of Warcraft Classic. I didn't start playing until years after it launched, and it's fun to live a repeat of the hype.
Once I'm in, I'll be investigating whether or not Brack was right—that is, whether or not I actually wanted this or just have rose-tinted glasses. We'll keep this story updated on the servers as the night continues.