Awhile back I wrote this out. It seemed like a good thing to write, and with the movie coming a lot bears repeating.
You see one of the biggest problems that Blizzard will be facing when they hand out millions of free copies of the game and a month of game time with the movie ticket, is that these are people that primarily have only had exposure to Warcraft with what they just saw in the theaters. And quite frankly you are setting yourself up for a PR marketing nightmare.
Lets take a look at what will happen across many households. Ok, hey we went to see this Warcraft movie. It looked great, great story, tons of action, oh and we got a free copy of the game too with a month of game time. Lets give it a try. If we don’t like it we can just uninstall it.
So they drop the disc into their PC, opps. Let’s think on that a second. There will probably not be a disc, instead a web site link to Battlenet and a game key code. Ok, so our hypothetical family is going to the Battlenet site, which I hope has a grand welcome message or something to make these new players feel like this is going to be a great thing, they enter all of the information and start their download. And will sit and wait, and wait, depending on their internet connection, and hopefully they do not have restrictions on how much data they use in a month. This would be the perfect opportunity to have the PDF file of the game manual available to them, so that while the download is happening they can be at least reading something about the game and the experience they are about to have. So after a time the game is finally ready to play, and they are faced with all of the initial things I wrote about, choosing a server, Faction, Class, Race, and whether or not to take a max level 100. Because if they do not, the game is going to look nothing like the movie they just saw.
You have a bit over 2 months Blizzard to get things in order. That means the initial experience people will have, quests that will take too much time because there are not enough things to kill due to thousands of new players, the information that is available that many veterans know where to look, but new players will not. So many things my head is spinning trying to think of them.
What did occur to me that might help. Create 4 new servers, just as you did during Wrath with Borean Tundra, close it off to transfers, make it for new players that have gotten the game from the free promotion. Set a level cap of say 60, or even 40. Allow people to figure out the game and what they want to play, then give them a free transfer to a live realm when their month is up and they have the choice of continuing or not. Dropping thousands of people onto existing realms with no clue is going to cause problems. Everyone has a breaking point where they just cannot offer help to new people because they feel like it is never ending.
So I hope you have given this some thought, and are not expecting a miracle. Because it looks to me like it will be a bumpy ride.