Tuesday Blizzard announced that Hour of Twilight, the third update for World of Warcraft's Cataclysm expansion pack, has finally gone live. The mega-patch (v4.3) provides players with a "ton" of new content including Dragon Soul, an epic 10- and 25-person raid encounter, and three new 5-person dungeons.
"World of Warcraft Patch 4.3: Hour of Twilight has arrived, and with it, Deathwing’s reign of terror will finally come to an end," the company reports. "Featuring a new raid, unexplored dungeons, a legendary rogue quest line, the latest raid tier armor sets, major story developments, the Transmogrification and Void Storage features, and much more, Hour of Twilight has something for everyone."
The entire list of additions, changes and fixes can be found here -- it's too long and detailed to be pasted on this page. Still, here's a brief list:
- - Raid Finder: Players can quickly and easily form a raid for a specifically tuned version of the Dragon Soul raid; works much like the Dungeon Finder feature
- - Dragon Soul: The most epic 10- and 25-person raid encounter Blizzard has ever designed
- - Transmogrification: Customize the appearance of your weapons and armor
- - Three new 5-person dungeons: Continue the storyline of Thrall and Deathwing as players embark on all-new adventures in End Time, Well of Eternity, and Hour of Twilight
- - Void Storage: Players of all levels can now open up 80 slots of long-term storage space
- - Fangs of the Father: Legendary rogue quest line
- - The all-new Darkmoon Faire: Darkmoon Faire has been completely redesigned and offers all-new games and rewards for players to experience
"In patch 4.3, Thrall and the noble Aspects will call upon the Horde and the Alliance to help them retrieve the artifact--no longer in existence--from the distant past," reads the update's description. "Those brave enough to face the challenge will embark on a perilous journey from Azeroth's apocalyptic End Time to the Dragon Soul's point of origin during the catastrophic War of the Ancients. If the heroes succeed, an even more harrowing battle awaits them in the present."
During the last earnings call, Blizzard said that player numbers dropped from 11.1 million to 10.3 million in the third quarter of 2011. To combat the falling numbers, the company plans to make bigger efforts to keep the subscriber base high by offering larger updates -- as seen with the release of Hour of Twilight -- between expansion packs. The company also just launched its latest ad campaign featuring kung fu legend Chuck Norris (probably to reflect the Pandarian race in the next expansion pack).
And while the World of Warcraft numbers continue to drop, a worthy adversary looms in the mist, ready to strike next month: EA's Star Wars: The Old Republic. But Activision Blizzard chief executive Bobby Kotick doesn't seem too worried, and even indirectly claims that the rival publisher won't turn a profit thanks to license holder George Lucas.
"Lucas is going to be the principal beneficiary of the success of Star Wars," Kotick told Reuters, dismissing speculation that The Old Republic will steal WoW subscribers. "We’ve been in business with Lucas for a long time, and the economics will always accrue to the benefit of Lucas, so I don’t really understand how the economics work for Electronic Arts."
Previously EA said that the upcoming MMOG will become profitable if it reaches 500,000 subscribers. "If you look at the history of the people investing in an MMO and achieving success, it's a small number," Kotick added.