Blizzard announced today that 11.5 million players currently subscribe to the World of Warcraft MMORPG. Ouch.
That's quite a lot of people when you think about it, all sitting behind computer monitors and flat screens, all inhaling bodily fumes mixed with the smell of stale chips, fizzed-out soda and three-day-old underwear. Of course, that's a stereotypical view of the MMORPG player seen by those who don't understand the true feeling of conquering mobs and level grinding. But by enlisting the likes of Ozzy Osbourne or inspiring a hit webisode now picked up by Microsoft, Blizzard Entertainment's World of Warcraft has become a monstrous boss of a game, taking down former champions Everquest, Lord of the Rings Online, Dark Age of Camelot, Lineage II, Vanguard: Saga of Heroes and more in one fell swoop.
According to Blizzard, World of Warcraft surpassed 11.5 million subscribers after the release of the game's second expansion, Wrath of the Lich King. Apparently, more than 2.8 million copies were sold in the first 24 hours of its availability, and have now sold over 4 million copies in the initial first month. “Not only is Wrath of the Lich King still doing well, the base World of Warcraft game and the World of Warcraft Battle Chest are performing better than last year,” said Bob McKenzie, senior vice president of merchandising at GameStop. “That type of traction is very impressive for a game that is going into its fifth holiday season and speaks to the enthusiastic player base Blizzard Entertainment products have.”
Of course, Blizzard was also quick to define where the subscription numbers actually came from, revealing that the figures include Internet Game Room players who have accessed the game over the last thirty days. The subscription base also includes gamers who have paid a subscription fee or have an active prepaid card to play World of Warcraft, as well as those who have purchased the game and are within their free month of access. But whether the figures are embellished or not, the fact of the matter is that World of Warcraft is the #1 MMORPG to date, racking in mounds and mounds of cash for all employees enlisted at Blizzard--in a matter of speaking, Blizzard is the ultimate gold farmer.
To keep up with consumer demand, Blizzard is currently hiring for numerous positions. Interested individuals should head here and check out what the company offers; not only is Blizzard looking for talented people to "help keep pace with continued growth of World of Warcraft," loads of other jobs are listed as well. For Diablo 3, Blizzard seeks a Software Engineer, Senior Software Engineer, Senior Game Designer, and a Senior 3D Environment Artist. For StarCraft II, a senior Game Designer and an Associate 3D Artist is needed. In all, over 50 jobs are available, spanning from Irvine, California to Austin, Texas.
Interestingly enough, Blizzard also offers positions for an "unannounced Next-Gen MMO," looking to fill 11 positions including Lead 3D Character Artist, Concept Artist, Software Engineer, Server engineer and more. Fans and critics alike have speculated on what the unannounced title could be, suggesting a resurrection of the StarCraft: Ghost project, a World of Warcraft successor, or perhaps a sequel for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.
But until Blizzard finally reveals the mystery game, the company will undoubtedly see numbers rise in regards to World of Warcraft. “We’re pleased to welcome the new and returning players who have helped World of Warcraft reach these new milestones, and we appreciate the enthusiasm and support that the game’s global community has continued to show,” said Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment. “We look forward to providing all of them with an excellent entertainment experience for a long time to come.”
With its current momentum, will anything be able to topple World of Warcraft? Eventually. Just look at the original EverQuest and how players flocked to its virtual terrain, and worshiped every textured centimeter until something bigger and better came along. That too will happen with World of Warcraft one day, but as recent subscription numbers show, that won't be anytime soon--and it could very well be another Blizzard MMO.