BLIZZARD ENTERTAINMENT® ANNOUNCES WORLD OF WARCRAFT® RELEASE PLANS FOR EUROPE
European launch plans unveiled for highly anticipated massively multiplayer online game
22 November, 2004 - Paris, France: Blizzard Entertainment® today announced the launch plans in Europe for World of Warcraft®, its highly anticipated massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG). Blizzard also confirmed that the game will release in Europe in early 2005. Pre-orders for World of Warcraft will be available at retail on November 26, 2004.
Leading up to the release, the current closed beta will be followed by a final beta test when thousands of additional players, including those who have pre-ordered the game, will be able to adventure in Blizzard's epic world. Further details regarding the Final Beta Test, currently scheduled for December 2004, will be announced in the weeks ahead.
"We're extremely proud of World of Warcraft, and in particular, its accessibility to players of all abilities, from hardcore to casual gamers," said Mike Morhaime, president and co-founder of Blizzard Entertainment. "We are confident that the commitment we're making with regard to local European servers and support staff will create an unprecedented gaming experience for the thousands of gamers who will come to experience and enjoy World of Warcraft."
European Product Packaging and Pricing
World of Warcraft will be available in Europe for Windows® 98/ME/2000/XP and Macintosh® at a suggested retail price of £29.99, and will include a free one-month subscription to the game. The game and packaging will be fully localised in English, French and German; a localised box and manual will be available for Spanish and Italian players. For the initial shipment, the standard edition of World of Warcraft will be available in all of the aforementioned languages in two unique box covers representing the major factions of the world - Alliance and Horde. Both boxes include the full version of the game on four CD-ROM disks.
The special collector's edition of World of Warcraft will also be available at launch, in limited quantities, for a suggested retail price of £44.99. The game, box and manual will be available in English, French and German; the box and manual will also be localised into Spanish and Italian. The special collector's edition will include the World of Warcraft game on both CD-ROM and DVD, a free one-month subscription, a World of Warcraft behind-the-scenes DVD in English, an exclusive in-game pet, a cloth map of the game world, a soundtrack CD, an Art of the World of Warcraft coffee table book, and a commemorative game manual signed by the development team.
After the initial free one-month subscription ends, players of World of Warcraft will be able to continue playing under one of three different subscription plans. The month-to-month subscription plan will cost £8.99* per month, the three-month plan will cost £8.39 per month, and the six-month plan will cost £7.69 per month.
Local Support in Europe
World of Warcraft is supported in Europe by the local Blizzard team. The European Blizzard Entertainment team, made up of more than 10 nationalities, is responsible for all aspects of game and platform operation, including localised offline customer support, community management, and in-game support through French, German and English speaking game masters. In addition, the local web, marketing and communications teams provide support and tools for the community, trade and press. World of Warcraft is the first non-licensed MMORPG in Europe to have the support of a dedicated local team.
Following the huge worldwide demand for World of Warcraft evidenced in recent Beta Tests, Blizzard will establish regional servers specific to each geographical location to increase performance and support for World of Warcraft worldwide. European players will therefore initially play on any of the European servers in English, French or German. Retaining players on their own geographical servers at release will ensure the stability of the technical infrastructure installed in each territory, and will allow for the best possible customer support for players in their local language at the local time.
The regionally specific servers will start with the North American launch. Blizzard is therefore strongly advising European players not to buy the North American version of the game, as access to North American servers will be limited to residents of North America, Australia and New Zealand. Alternatively, players are recommended to pre-order the European version of the game to guarantee a box copy on the day of launch-as well as guaranteed access to the European Final Beta Test.
For those European gamers still wishing to play with their American friends on the North American servers, and vice versa, Blizzard will provide a means to make this possible after the European launch.
About World of Warcraft
In World of Warcraft, players assume the roles of legendary heroes and interact with thousands of other players online as they explore and adventure across a vast world. Whether journeying together or questing on their own, players will engage in heroic battles, develop friendships, forge alliances, and compete with enemies for power and glory. The game features customizable character classes with thousands of weapons, spells, and abilities. With an innovative, easy-to-use interface, an action-packed combat system, and thousands of quests that build an immersive storyline, World of Warcraft is an MMORPG that will appeal to both veteran and casual players alike.
About the Warcraft Universe
Since its debut in 1994, the #1-selling Warcraft® series has won industry acclaim and has shattered sales records worldwide with over 14 million copies sold**. In 1995, Blizzard followed the well-received Warcraft: Orcs and HumansTM with the highly acclaimed Warcraft II: Tides of DarknessTM, considered by many critics to be one of the best games ever made. In 2002, Blizzard expanded the boundaries of the Warcraft universe with the third chapter of its legendary saga, Warcraft III: Reign of ChaosTM, which garnered numerous Game of the Year awards. With the release of World of Warcraft, Blizzard now extends its epic storyline into the MMORPG realm, expanding the genre with a massively multiplayer gaming experience of unparalleled quality.
About Blizzard Entertainment
Best known for blockbuster hits including the Warcraft series, StarCraft®, and the Diablo® series, Blizzard Entertainment (www.blizzard.com), a division of Vivendi Universal Games, is a premier developer and publisher of entertainment software renowned for creating many of the industry's most critically acclaimed games. Blizzard's track record includes eight #1-selling games and multiple Game of the Year awards. The company's free Internet gaming service Battle.net® reigns as the largest in the world, with millions of active users.
*All prices quoted included VAT.
** Based on EDI sell-through, internal company estimates, and reports from key retail accounts around the world.
For further information please contact:
Cat Channon (Specialist press)
Tel: 01189 209100
Kat Osman (Lifestyle press)
Tel: 020 7633 0633
Lisa Richards (Online press)
Tel: 020 7633 0633