'Legion' Expansion Comes to 'World of Warcraft' even as Subscribers Dip

‘Legion’ Expansion Comes to ‘World of Warcraft’ even as Subscribers Dip

World of Warcraft subscriber numbers are down to less than 6 million — the lowest they’ve been in some time — but Blizzard is likely hoping to lure some fans back with the newly announced Legion add-on.


Revealed with a trailer and details-packed presentation at 2015’s Gamescom fan convention in Germany, Legion picks after the events of 2014’s Warlords of Draenor expansion. Blizzard first shared a brief cinematic trailer in which the evil orc sorcerer Gul’dan seems to resurrect the major WoW antagonist Illidan Stormrage, long thought to be dead. He looks pretty pleased about it too, as you can see up top.

Blizzard also revealed some of the details and enhancements featured in Legion, with a separate trailer. The add-on boosts WoW‘s level cap, from 100 to 110. It also introduces a new character class, Demon Hunter, and a new region of the world to visit, The Broken Isles. Those and other new features are revealed in another trailer, separate from the cinematic:

The news is especially noteworthy coming on the heels of WoW‘s subscriber dip. A financial report released by the studio this week carried the news that the game stands at 5.6 million current subscribers, a low in terms of WoW recent years. It was an especially surprising dip down from May’s reported 7.1 million subscriber count.

Legion‘s announcement less than a year after Warlords of Draenor‘s release falls in line with Blizzard’s previously stated plan to shorten the wait between WoW expansion packs. The upcoming add-on doesn’t have a release date yet, but the beta is supposed to begin later this year.

Now six add-ons deep and more than 11 years out from its original launch, World of Warcraft‘s dipping subscriber count could speak to more dramatic changes on the horizon. Shortening the time between expansions might keep a certain base of fans invested, but massively multiplayer games like WoW have evolved a great deal in the past decade. Blizzard no doubt has a plan in place for life after WoW, but Legion guarantees at least another year or two of life for the aging MMO.

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