Since its launch in the fall of 2004, Blizzard Entertainment's World of Warcraft has shattered expectations at every turn.
Prior to its release, no American massively multiplayer online game (MMO) had ever reached what was then seen as the magical million subscribers level--even major hits like EverQuest and Ultima Online. Yet almost before anyone could blink, WoW, as it's known, had surpassed 4 million paying users and now has more than 10 million worldwide, and at $15 a month for most users, it may well be bringing in more than $1 billion a year.
Then, prior to the January 2007 release of World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade, no one had ever heard of the kind of nationwide midnight madness lines associated with iPhone and Xbox launches for a game expansion. Sure enough, however, people lined up at game stores everywhere for hours for the right to be among the very first to buy Burning Crusade, and the update went on to sell millions of copies.
And now, with the second major WoW expansion, The Wrath of the Lich King, in beta testing, Blizzard is getting ready to prove yet again that when it comes to American MMOs, it is the undisputed gold standard.
"It's just beautiful," said longtime WoW player and Lich King beta player Katrina Glerum. "The game really feels epic in a way that The Burning Crusade didn't....Burning Crusade felt like an extension of the (original) game. This really feels epic, and that you're part of something grand." … Read more