Blizzard Announces Release Date for Next ‘World of Warcraft’ Expansion

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Your wait is almost over, World of Warcraft fans. Today Blizzard announced that its new expansion, Mists of Pandaria, will be released on September 25.

The game will be available in stores and for online download at the price of $39.99, with pre-orders for the game being taken now on Blizzard’s website. Truly obsessive WoW players can spring for the Digital Deluxe version ($59.99) or the physical Collector’s Edition ($79.99).

What does shelling out an extra $20 for the Digital Deluxe version get you? A special in-game pet and flying mount, plus special banners and portraits for Diablo III and StarCraft 2. The Collector’s Edition includes a behind-the-scenes DVD, book of artwork, game soundtrack and mouse pad.

World of Warcraft is still the most popular massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) on the market but its numbers have recently dropped, from a high of 12 million subscribers in 2010 to 10.2 million subscribers as of May. World of Warcraft‘s last expansion, Cataclysm, was released in December of 2010.

Mists of Pandaria will introduce a new playable race, the Pandaren, which, if you hadn’t guessed by now, are basically intelligent pandas. Players will also be able to pick a new class (Monk) and level up to 90.

There will also be a new pet battle system, which allows you to pit your animal companion against other pets in Pokemon-style showdowns, letting them gain experience in the process. You’ll also be able to capture pets in the wilderness.

With EA’s Star Wars MMORPG, The Old Republic, losing subscribers by the hundreds of thousands, now might be the time for World of Warcraft to get some of its mojo back.

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