The last of the major keynotes from game publishers at this week’s Gamescom gaming conference in Cologne, Germany, was from Blizzard, who came to the show with mostly lukewarm announcements to leave some good reveals for the Blizzcon season. event in November. But the company couldn’t hold back at least one of its major announcements, possibly because investors got a bad deal World of Warcraft news earlier this week.
Blizzard’s second-quarter financial report on Tuesday included a tally of 5.6 million World of Warcraft subscribers, a number that, according to this handy MMO Champion chart, hasn’t been this low since the end of 2005 (and it’s a pretty steep plunge from the previous quarter’s 7.1 million subscribers). At the time, the game’s subscriber numbers were just beginning their astronomical climb. As such, Blizzard took the opportunity of Gamescom to try to revive interest by dedicating a full presentation to the game’s sixth expansion, World of Warcraft: Legion.
The expansion announcement didn’t include any major game-changing announcements, but piled on the expected more-for-your-quest stuff: a new class (the Demon Hunter), a new level cap (110, if you count), a new continent to run around and fight (the Broken Isles), a new kind of weapon (the specialization-specific artifacts, which can be permanently forged with desired attributes), new dungeons, and new raids. Players can also now group into mission-loaded regions called Class Orders, though Blizzard didn’t specify exactly how these class-grouped parts of the game would feel different from what’s gone before.
No release date has been announced, but Blizzard invited players to log into their Battle.net accounts and sign up for it LegionBlizzard’s beta test, which the company indicated would launch by the end of 2015. By comparison, the rest of Blizzard’s Gamescom news has been pretty tame. For example, instead of describing card battles HearthstoneIn its next major expansion, the company instead unveiled a new “reveal” option, which allows players to look at opposing cards and trigger certain actions.