World of Warcraft may not be the gargantuan online gaming force that it was a decade ago, but Blizzard’s MMORPG still has quite the loyal following. The game’s latest expansion, World of Warcraft: Legion, launched at the end of August, and it drew a record number of players.
“World of Warcraft‘s launch-week player concurrency climbed to its highest point since the 2010 launch of the Cataclysm expansion,” Blizzard announced, “as champions from around the world united to strike a mighty first blow against the fel invaders.”
The expansion also managed to match launch day sales figures with Cataclysm, a record for the series. Within the first 24 hours, Legion sold more than 3.3 million copies.
It remains to be seen, however, if the game’s massive launch and sizable player base will contribute to a rise in subscriptions. By this time last year, the game had 5.5 million paying subscribers and Blizzard made the decision to no longer report these numbers at all. By comparison, when Cataclysm launched in 2010, the game had 12 million subscribers.
Lately, Blizzard has still seen considerable success with its Warcraft franchise through other projects. Hearthstone has more than 50 million players and continues to generate revenue, and this summer’s Warcraft film, though far from a critical darling, was a smash hit overseas. The film earned nearly $150 million in its first four days in China, balancing out its lukewarm performance in the United States.
World of Warcraft: Legion is now available for the PC and Mac, and marks the return of Burning Crusade baddie Illidan Stormrage. It also introduces new Artifact weapons, the new Demon Hunter — a dual blade-wielding class — and increases the game’s level cap to 110. New players can boost one of their characters to level 100 instantly, as well.
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