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Next World of Warcraft expansion set for December 7

Blizzard announces December 7 for the official launch of Cataclysm, the next World of Warcraft expansion.

Blizzard Entertainment sent word across the wires and its European press site this morning that Cataclysm, the next expansion of its World of Warcraft franchise, will hit stores and its own digital download service on December 7. Cataclysm will be the third expansion for the long-running role-playing game, and highlights of the new content include a redone and expanded version of the original game world, two new playable races, and a character level limit raised from 80 to 85.

Blizzard announces World of Warcraft: Cataclysm will ship on December 7.
Blizzard announces World of Warcraft: Cataclysm will ship on December 7. Blizzard Entertainment

If you're wondering just how long the 11.5-million-member-strong World of Warcraft will last, we turn to 1999's Everquest. One of the first mainstream online role-playing games, Everquest enjoyed roughly 430,000 members at its peak, and it's about to see the release of its 17th expansion (House of Thule). That's roughly one expansion for every 25,000 users of the original game.

At that same rate, we anticipate the World of Warcraft, which debuted in November 2004, will see at least 460 expansions. Given Blizzard's current average of one expansion every 25 months, you can expect your ancestors descendants will still be playing WoW in the year 2960. Talk about a grind.