This has been a rather unique year for Activision Blizzard and their smash hit World of Warcraft. Weve seen guilds rise to fame and crash into the sea of non-existence only to rise again like a phoenix. Weve seen one of the biggest content patches ever and an expansion that takes all of the experience the game has brought in and utilize it to create one of the best MMOG expansions in the history of the genre.
Looking back weve had a lot happen throughout the year. As this year comes to a close and a new one rolls in lets take a look at what has happened throughout the year. So lets reminisce as the major headlines of the past year.
First Quarter January, February, March
Patch 2.3.2 started the year out with a few bug fixes as people were still chewing through the content from patch 2.3.0 The Gods of ZulAman released in the previous year. Lower experience requirements still had many players making alts to help their guilds or just for fun.
In February Blizzard won an injunction against Peons4Hire which marked a resounding blow against the scourge that is gold spammers. Outside of this, February was a very quiet month just like January. The majority of the conversation was about patch 2.4.0 which was going to bring about a whirlwind of change.
That whirlwind hit in March when patch 2.4.0 The Fury of the Sunwell came out and brought about two new instances, an entire island of daily quests, tons of changes to battlegrounds and characters, and marked the end of World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade. There was no more content set to hit the servers until the next expansions launch. This left players burning through it only to find a roof where they had too few players, too little experience, or just no will power to advance further.
Second & Third Quarter April through September
After patch 2.4.0 hit there was nothing much left for players to do and not a lot of WoW news going around. BlizzCon was announced for October and the World Wide Invitational came and introduced Diablo III (a non Warcraft related product) to the Blizzard fanbase. Towards July Blizzard also sealed their merger with Activision bringing about Activision Blizzard as a reality.
The popular guild Death and Taxes closed its doors in May only to reform later on the Horde side and continue to get world and continent firsts on new content. This was only the start to a lot of guilds breaking up to stagnation, lack of new content, and stalled progress. The pay to enter arenas were nothing of any major interest except to those who wanted to try gear they didnt have to time to get or those serious about the arenas.
Fourth Quarter October, November, December
The fourth quarter marked a trying time for many WoW players just like the fourth quarter of 2006. The expansion date was set and motivation to make any kind of progress was at a halt. Many guilds didnt weather this period but many others were able to stay together until the launch. Other online games had temporarily snagged a good deal of players who were testing the waters elsewhere (but many of them still returned).
BlizzCon came about in October and didnt bring a whole lot new to the table. Explanations were given to why Blizzard is doing some of the things it is doing, a few new features were announced, but overall the majority of the interest was in the power of Blizzards massive fanbase. Thousands flooded into California just to attend an event about three franchises.
Patch 3.0 came and stirred things up for awhile before the launch. Raid instances were easier, new talents made players more powerful, experience was nerfed, and there was a lot to play around with while the new expansion was getting ready to hit on November 13th. The game once again shined with vibrance as players came back from other games and guilds began strengthening again to deal with the content.
So that leaves us to where were at now. Going into the new year with tons of content (for most players) still waiting to be chewed through while a big content patch is surely in the works. If every year continues to show more and more polished content with greater stability and more nifty events then Blizzard may never be moved from their reigning spot high above other MMOGs.
One last note, it was recently announced that there are now over 11.5 million subscribers playing World of Warcraft. What better way to end the 2008 for Activision Blizzard than produce even more record breaking numbers. What records do you think Blizzard will break next year? Join our community forums and give us your opinion!
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