Blizzard Entertainment might as well have titled the second World of Warcraft expansion "The Once and Future Lich King." After being briefly bumped off by Sega's Empire: Total War and THQ's Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II, the add-on retook the number-one slot on the top 10 US best-seller list for the week of March 22-29 (aka GDC Week).
Though the list's organizers, the NPD Group, do not give out hard weekly sales numbers, the return means that Lich King--already the fastest-selling PC game of all time--will be continue to add greatly to Blizzard's near-$100 million of monthly revenue. That haul is also being boosted by sales of the still-popular combo pack World of Warcraft: Battle Chest (fourth) and the a la carte World of Warcraft (eighth).
Empire: Total War, the solidly received latest installment in Creative Assembly's historical real-time strategy series, had to make do with the week's second-place slot, just above The Sims 2: Double Deluxe. Electronic Arts' Sims series wasn't quite as omnipresent as usual, with only The Sims 2: Apartment Life expansion pack taking ninth place. EA also scored with Spore, which landed in sixth.
As for the rest of the chart, Activision's Mystery Case Files: Return to Ravenhearst discovered the secret of seventh place, with Ubisoft's Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway taking 10th, apparently due to some severe discounting. Developed by Gearbox Software, the critically praised World War II shooter had an average US price of just $13 a pop, thanks to sluggish sales.
Week of March 22 - 29, 2009*
TITLE - PUBLISHER - AVERAGE PRICE
1) World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King - Activision Blizzard - $33
2) Empire: Total War - Sega - $33
3) The Sims 2 Double Deluxe - Electronic Arts - $20
4) World of Warcraft: Battle Chest - Activision Blizzard - $33
5) Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II - THQ - $47
6) Spore - Electronic Arts - $47
7) Mystery Case Files: Return to Ravenhearst - Activision Blizzard - $19
8) World of Warcraft - Activision Blizzard - $20
9) The Sims 2 Apartment Life - Electronic Arts - $20
10) Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway - Ubisoft - $13
* The above chart reflects the NPD Group's sales data drawn from a cross-sampling of retailers nationwide. Therefore, it does not include game sales through nontraditional channels such as digital distribution.