Blizzard Entertainment announced today that World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade, the highly anticipated expansion to the world’s leading subscription-based massively multiplayer online role-playing game, World of Warcraft, will be in stores on January 16th in North America and Europe. The expansion will be available in a similar time frame in Korea, Australia, New Zealand, and Singapore as well, and availability for mainland China and the regions of Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau will be announced in the near future. In addition, Blizzard today announced that the subscriber base for World of Warcraft has reached a new milestone, with 7.5 million players worldwide.

In World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade, players will be able to advance their characters up to level 70, unlocking a world of power and possibilities along the way. Additional features coming in The Burning Crusade include two new playable races (the Blood Elves and the Draenei), flying mounts, new talents and abilities for all character classes, the new jewelcrafting profession, new magical weapons and armor, and many enhancements to player-vs.-player action. The expansion will also lead veteran players through the fabled Dark Portal and into Outland, former homeworld of the Orcs and site of a series of cataclysmic events that helped shape the history of the Warcraft(R) universe. In this shattered world, players will encounter new challenges and dangers in the form of new outdoor zones, quests, dungeons, never-before-seen monsters, and much more. Over the course of their new adventures in The Burning Crusade, players will grow in experience and power as they uncover the rich lore and mysteries of Outland and do battle with the demonic forces of The Burning Legion.

World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade will be available at retail stores nationwide for Windows(R) 2000/XP and Macintosh(R) formats at a suggested retail price of $39.99. A special Collector’s Edition of the expansion will also be available, at a suggested retail price of $69.99. This limited-edition package will include the expansion on both CD-ROM and DVD, the Art of the Burning Crusade coffee table book, an exclusive in-game pet, a behind-the-scenes DVD, a World of Warcraft Trading Card Game starter deck and exclusive cards, a map of Outland mouse pad, and the official soundtrack CD. The World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade expansion requires the original World of Warcraft game, which is now selling for a suggested retail price of $19.99. World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade has received a Teen rating from the ESRB.

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