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Blizzard dates Lich King

World of Warcraft expansion hitting on November 13 for Europe, US; collector's edition detailed.


After repeatedly insisting that the next expansion for World of Warcraft was going to be with gamers by the end of 2008, Blizzard today announced the street date for the next expansion pack for the 10-million-player massively multiplayer online game.

Gamers in Europe and the US will be getting the expansion on November 13--along with those in Mexico, Argentina, Chile and Russia--while those in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand will have to wait a day longer, as they get it on the November 14. Four days later, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Thailand come online--after which point only mainland China will be without Wrath of the Lich King. Blizzard promises to release news on that most populous of regions "at a later date."

The dating of the second World of Warcraft expansion pack has been a hot topic since the first, The Burning Crusade, hit stores in January 2007. Blizzard confirmed to GameSpot in August 2006 that annual expansions were on the cards, and despite confirming plans for Wrath of the Lich King in general terms at Blizzcon in 2007, it wasn't until May 2008 that the date was narrowed down to the second half of this year by Vivendi. This coincided with the news that Blizzard was raking in $100 million per month, almost entirely due to World of Warcraft.

Activision Blizzard's first set of joint financials in August then promised the game would be here in the final three months of 2008, though rumours still persisted that the expansion wouldn't reach eager gamers until early 2009.

As well as confirming the November 13 release for Wrath of the Lich King, Blizzard also released details of the collector's edition package, for those who want to pony up the extra cash. Included in the " limited Collector's Edition package" will be the game, a 208-page art book " featuring never-before-seen images from the game," a behind-the-scenes DVD, soundtrack CD, mouse pad, and two starter decks for World of Warcraft trading card game March of the Legion. No pricing information for any of the editions has been released.

Blizzard will be hoping that the game's nigh-on 11 million subscribers will help to break its own impressive sales records. The Burning Crusade shifted 2.4 million copies in the US and Europe during its first 24 hours on sale, after a slew of midnight launch events across the globe.

Wrath of the Lich King raises the level cap to 80--up from 70 in The Burning Crusade and 60 originally--and introduces the game's first hero class, the Death Knight, as well as inscription, the game's second new profession. The expansion also opens up the northern continent of Northrend for exploration. For more on Wrath of the Lich King, check out our recent gameplay marathon, preview of the dungeons you're likely to encounter, and all the rest of our previous coverage.

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