One shopping centre counted more than 1,000 gamers eager to get their hands on the next installment of the role-playing computer game. Leaders of the American producer Blizzard were on hand to sign autographs for fans.
The company says "World of Warcraft" has more than 10 million players worldwide. The comic book-style graphics create a fantasy world where players pit their powers against one another as dwarves, orcs, warriors, priests and magicians.
Media expert Jörg Müller-Lietzkow, from the University of Paderborn, told news agency DDP that games like "World of Warcraft" are changing the media world. Television stations are struggling to keep up with the allure of online games because they are interactive, he said.
Online roll playing games have positive sides, Müller-Lietzkow said, because they require complex problem solving and bring people into contact with individuals they wouldn't meet in daily life, encouraging virtual communication skills.
But people can also lose themselves in a virtual world, he said, encouraging parents to cultivate media competence in their children by regulating time spent online.