Blizzard's goal: Annual WOW expansions

Developer-publisher's "goal" is to add onto its massively popular MMORPG each year; Burning Crusade still set for holiday ship.

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With World of Warcraft's subscriber base nearing 7 million, it's little wonder that its first expansion is generating no small amount of interest. However, that interest has turned to doubt, following recent reports that the game has only entered alpha testing.

But while the game's developer and publisher, Blizzard Entertainment, would only say that the game was undergoing "internal testing," it did today reiterate that its "goal is to ship the expansion pack by the end of the year."

If the Burning Crusade does make it to stores by New Year's Eve, it may spark a new holiday tradition. Following reports in the European press, Blizzard confirmed to GameSpot that it is aiming to release new World of Warcraft add-ons annually. "Our ideal scenario would be to release new expansions every year, and that's what we're aiming for," a rep said.

While confident, Blizzard was also cautious about an annual expansion scheme. "Given the nature of game development cycles, we may not always be able to hit our target release goals," the rep continued. "Regardless, our priority will always be on ensuring that our products meet our expectations and those of our players, and we won't release a product until we feel it's ready."

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