See, now, if I owned a game company...
I'd make sure that the folks who sent in money for pre-orders actually got copies of the product before anyone else. I wouldn't sell it at conventions first. I wouldn't send it to distributors first. Reviewers, sure. But pre-orders would be right after that. After all, unless I've got a completely unreal cash flow for a small publisher, they're paying for at least part of the printing costs out of those pre-order dollars.
Not so Troll Lord Games!
I was-- quite literally-- the first person to pre-order a copy of Castle Zagyg 2: The Upper Works. For those not in the know, that is Gary Gygax's for-publication version of his (in)famous dungeon that set the standard for the entire RPG world and has been promised for 30 years or so. TLG took my money back in May.
They sold very briskly at Gen Con, I hear. That was 16 days ago.
They started "the first batch" of mailings for the pre-orders 8 days ago. I'm sorry, but I could walk from Arkansas to New Jersey in that time. People have reported getting them. But not me.
I will be reviewing it. This whole blog is about Greyhawk, and this is the defining Greyhawk product. But TLG is not winning any points by dicking around folks who put up their money for pre-orders. I don't ask for any particularly special treatment, but I don't think it's unreasonable to expect that the people who shell out money for pre-orders should actually expect to see the fucking module at least early in the release process. Not more than two weeks after the premier, and counting. This is not the way to handle customer service and manage expectations (I won't go into the outright lies about dates that have been put out by staff on the TLG message boards).
Rest assured I will not be pre-ordering #3 in the series. If I can't make it to whatever convention it will be sold at before anyone else can get it, I will get someone to buy it for me. A few extra dollars in postage will be preferable to the now 2 weeks + that I've waited. Hell, at this rate, I might just wait to buy one used off of eBay. It might actually come quicker.
Troll Lord Games, you can foot the printing bill yourself next time.