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Justin Carter, Contributing Editor

March 25, 2024

1 Min Read
Thrall and Anduin in Blizzard's World of Warcraft: The War Within.
Image via Blizzard Entertainment.

At a Glance

  • Blizzard's flagship MMO still has some life in it as its next expansion (and 20th anniversary) are set to hit later in 2024.

World of Warcraft has reportedly reached 7.25 million active players, almost two years after its recent expansion, Dragonflight.

Windows Central noted the MMO saw bigger numbers with the release of WoW Classic (8.27 million) and World of Warcraft: Cataclysm (12 million). What makes this interesting is how the game has kept steady (and grown) since Dragonflight's late 2022 launch.

As spotted by BellularGaming, Blizzard shared a chart on player growth at this weekend's PAX East. Typically, the MMO gains players days (or weeks) before an expansion releases, and it declines over time.

That isn't the case with Dragonflight. Windows Central acknowledged it's had a positive reception and is further boosted by Classic versions of WoW and its in-game "Season of Discovery."

Dragonflight's reception was a sharp contrast to its predecessor, Shadowlands. At PAX East, Blizzard admitted the 2020 adventure "failed to meet player expectations."

WoW's current momentum is also bolstered by its upcoming adventure, The War Within. It's set to release later this year, presumably around the time of World of Warcraft's 20th birthday in November.

War Within is also meant to kick off a trilogy of expansions that Blizzard hopes to release annually through 2026. Last year, it revealed all three were basically being developed simultaneously, helped by support studio Proletariat and giving its assistant directors more authority than before.

"We’re building these foundations, and it’s already working," said EP Holly Longdale at the time. "The team worked incredibly hard, and it’s paying off."

About the Author(s)

Justin Carter

Contributing Editor, GameDeveloper.com

A Kansas City, MO native, Justin Carter has written for numerous sites including IGN, Polygon, and SyFy Wire. In addition to Game Developer, his writing can be found at io9 over on Gizmodo. Don't ask him about how much gum he's had, because the answer will be more than he's willing to admit.

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