Believe it or not, World of Warcraft is shaping up for its 10th anniversary in just a few months, and while the ol’ girl’s not as popular as she used to be, Blizzard‘s got a few nifty things planned for the celebrations.
First up, there’s free stuff! Everybody who logs in during the anniversary event in November will be given a Molten Corgi minipet, because Blizzard understands that everybody needs a “wee waddling ball of fire”.
On a similar note, the development team’s busily creating a 40-player raid finder version of Molten Core, so Level 90 characters can “relive the experience of hunting down Ragnaros and his minions”, picking up a new achievement (and mount!) in the process.
And while we’re getting nostalgic, a deathmatch-style Battleground is planned to recreate the tug-of-war PVP saga at Tarren Mill and Southshore.
…but we’re not sure how many people will be taking part in the festivities, as a whopping 800,000 players logged out of World of Warcraft during the April-June quarter, and didn’t log back in.
As of June 30th, the game has 6.8 million paying subscribers, down from the 7.6 million we were told about from March, itself a notable drop from 8.3m just over a year ago.
The game’s novelty has also worn off a little in Eastern territories, after an initial rush on debut, while Blizzard acknowledges that the drop in numbers is seasonal, and happens every year to some extent. The studio doesn’t seem too concerned – it’s a similar decline in numbers to what we saw second-quarter of 2012 before the launch of Mists of Pandaria.
With Warlords of Draenor hitting PC and Mac before the end of the year (release date to be announced next week!), fans are expected to start returning to Azeroth – the new expansion set has already seen 1.5 million pre-orders.