Dec. 7, 2010 at 12:17 PM ET
If you're wondering why so many of your co-workers are out sick today, don't blame the flu season...blame the "Cataclysm."
The "World of Warcraft" online gaming "Cataclysm" that is.
"Cataclysm" is the third expansion pack for "World of Warcraft" — the hugely popular online role-playing game which now boasts 12 million subscribers.
This expansion brings big changes to the virtual world that is "World of Warcraft" — changes that actually got under way a couple weeks back when Blizzard (the game's publisher) released a patch in which a giant evil dragon known as Deathwing the Destroyer tore asunder the world and altered the landscape as it had been known (hence the title "Cataclysm").
As of midnight last night, the rest of the changes went into effect, with players being given two new races to play — the wolf-like Worgen and a green-skinned Goblins — among other things.
So what happens when 12 million people try to log in and play a game that's just experienced a major overhaul?
Players began reporting major issues with Blizzard's Battle.net web site yesterday which prevented some people from being able to buy the game.
Meanwhile, WoW Insider reported that Europe's "World of Warcraft" servers went down almost immediately after the expansion launched in that region, leaving manyplayers unable to log into the game for a while.
But according to PC World, once the launch hit in North America (at midnight Pacific Time last night) things actually seemed to go fairly smoothly.
Sure, players have been pummeling the game's community forums with a host of connection issues, frustrations and kinks, but Blizzard has extended its support hours to help deal with flummoxed "WoW" players new and old.
If you're among those wondering whether now is a good time to jump on this whole "WoW" bandwagon or if you're a former "WoW" player wondering if "Cataclsym" makes it worth picking up the habit again (they don't call it "Warcrack" for nuthin'), the folks over at Kotaku have put together this very helpful guide called "Everything You Need To Know About World of Warcraft: Cataclysm." Be sure to check it out.
Meanwhile, if you happen to be among those people who haven't been able to get "Cataclysm" up and running properly, are stuck at work desperately waiting until you can get home to get your "WoW" fix or are simply hoping someone is going to fork over the cash and gift you the expansion this holiday...here's some "WoW" goodness to amuse you while you wait.
What happens when Jason Statham finds out that "Cataclysm" is sold out? "It's sold out sir, even to movie stars."
Meanwhile, newscasters have been feverishly reporting on the virtual apocalypse...
When things aren't quite working right in "WoW," here's an ode to the patches that fix them...
To get into the mood for both the holidays and the "Cataclysm," sing along to this ditty called "Holly Jolly Expansion:"
Meanwhile, check out the world's first "World of Warcraft" lip synch set to the song "We Didn't Start the Fire" by Billy Joel. Because nothing says "WoW" like Billy Joel.
And now a commercial break from our sponsors at "Dragon Be Gone:"