Blizzard dates Burning Crusade

The expansion pack will be released in the US and Europe on January 16; subscriber base for WOW reaches 7.5 million worldwide.

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Ordinarily, Blizzard Entertainment sticks to a strict release date of "when it's done" for all of its titles. It appears the company's World of Warcraft expansion pack, The Burning Crusade, is getting awfully close to done, as Blizzard today announced a January 16 release date in the US and Europe for the add-on. It will also be available "in a similar time frame" in Korea and Singapore. Dates for mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau will follow shortly after, with announcements being made "in the near future." The Australian and New Zealand release date for The Burning Crusade will be on January 17.

The massively multiplayer online role-playing game add-on had previously been scheduled for a pre-Christmas release, but developer Blizzard Entertainment recently announced that it would be putting the schedule back to extend beta-testing and give the game its "finishing touches."

Some of the extras available for Burning Crusade include being able to advance character levels from the previous maximum of 60 to 70, two new playable races (the Blood Elves and the Draenei), a new profession (jewelcrafting), new weapons and armour, as well as "many enhancements to player-versus-player action."

A special collector's edition of the expansion will also be available, including a coffee-table book of The Art of Burning Crusade, an exclusive game pet, a behind-the-scenes DVD, an official soundtrack CD, a trading-card starter deck, and exclusive cards. [UPDATE] Blizzard has updated the ingredients of its collector's edition, and it's good news for WOW goodie collectors. The CE will actually include two trading-card starter decks, and three exclusive cards.

Blizzard Entertainment also announced a new milestone reached in the virtual world of WOW today--it now has 7.5 million players worldwide.

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