According to a press release from Blizzard, the launch of Warlords of Draenor – the fifth expansion for World of Warcraft – has seen subscriber numbers jump sharply to over 10 million for the first time in several years.
Within the first 24 hours of the game’s launch, Blizzard said the expansion had sold a not-unimpressive 3.3 million copies. Blizzard had previously stated that they didn’t expect player numbers to increase, after the last several years showed a steady decline. Clearly, they were wrong.
The surge in players hasn’t come without consequences, however, with the launch of Warlords of Draenor resulting in an impassible wall of login queues and connectivity issues for many players. World of Warcraft Executive Producer J. Allen Brack responded by crediting all active accounts in North American, Europe, and Oceania with five days added subscription time to their accounts – provided that you had an active subscription as of Friday, November 14. In the meantime, the developer has extended server capacity and released a number of updates to combat the problems.
Brack also continued to thank players for their patience, understanding and dedication to World of Warcraft in the face of these issues, and promised that Blizzard will continue working around the clock to improve the waiting times for players. The full text of the post can be found on the Blizzard forums.
Given the sort of massive playerbase found in every Blizzard title – but doubly so for World of Warcraft – it’s not entirely surprising that there were server issues from the outset. And it’s hardly a problem unique to World of Warcraft in the MMO space. However, following similar issues when Diablo 3 originally launched, not to mention issues with past WoW expansions, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Blizzard might have been a little more prepared this time.
Still, credited time and the constant updates on the progress of server and login improvement shows that Blizzard is still sitting at the top of the MMO throne for a reason, and they’re willing to continue to struggle to give players everything they could hope to get out of their play experience.
Warlords of Draenor adds a new version of the world of Draenor to the game. Draenor was previously featured in The Burning Crusade expansion, but here it’s been completely redesigned thanks to a plot involving time-travel shenanigans. Garrosh Hellscream has escaped through the Dark Portal following his defeat at the end of the previous expansion, and has decided to turn the old Orc clans into a fighting force called The Iron Horde. With a name like that, it was perhaps to be expected that they’d promptly decide to invade Azeroth.
The latest expansion raises the level cap to 100, adds the aforementioned pre-sundering continent of Draenor, the new Garrison feature (essentially player housing), and plenty of new dungeons and raids. There has also been a litany of mechanical and balance changes, some of which you can read about here.
Dale is currently breastplate-deep in Warlords of Draenor. It’s going to be quite a while before any kind of verdict is ready – it’s a big expansion, after all – but he did come up for air long enough to say that he’s enjoying it. And then something which sounded like “RwlRwlRwlRwl”, whatever that means. In the meantime, you can check out our preview of Warlords from earlier this year, back when the game was still in Beta.