World of Warcraft is almost 14 years old. The massively multiplayer online game’s seventh expansion, Battle for Azeroth, launched on August 14. The PC game has been around a long time. You might think that it must be nearing its end. You may even feel temped to join the choirs singing “WoW is dead.” But World of Warcraft is far from dead. Blizzard Entertainment announced today that Battle for Azeroth sold over 3.4 million copies worldwide on its first day, breaking the record for a World of Warcraft expansion.
Blizzard stopped reporting subscription numbers for World of Warcraft in 2015. Since then, we don’t get many metrics to help us figure out how World of Warcraft is doing, but Battle for Azeroth’s record-breaking debut shows us that the MMO is doing just fine (at least when a new expansion debuts).
World of Warcraft looked like it could be trouble in 2015, when subscription numbers were falling as players were stuck in one of the game’s least popular expansions, Warlords of Draenor. But Blizzard turned things around with the sixth expansion, Legion, which gave players more end-game content. The goodwill from Legion is carrying over to Battle for Azeroth.
More content is coming quickly to Battle for Azeroth that will keep players engaged and could drive more sales. The first raid, Uldir, launches on September 4. Raids are the ultimate end-game experience, pitting large teams of players against challenging bosses and rewarding them with powerful gear. The first player-vs.-player season and Mythic+ dungeons also become available on that date.
At a less specific time in “the coming weeks,” players will get to experience Battle for Azeroth’s new Warfront mode. The 20 player cooperative experience will incorporate some elements from Warcraft’s real-time strategy game past.