World of Warcraft Updates: 12 Million Members, Cataclysm, and Archaeology

 

 

There are some exciting new World of Warcraft developments just on the horizon.

Despite the worldwide economic meltdown and jobless recession recovery, folks still need to raid. Blizzard announced recently that they have not only maintained their World of Warcraft subscriber base, but it has increased to 12 million world wide players! The press release is available here.

Cataclysm, the anticipated expansion to World of Warcraft, now has a street date of December 7, 2010. Besides transforming Azeroth in fundamental ways, it adds the new playable races: Goblins and Worgen. Other features include level 85 cap, class and race changes, new zones, new raids, and the new secondary profession of archaeology. All new features are listed here.

In the upcoming Cataclysm expansion to World of Warcraft, players will be able to train in the secondary profession of archaeology. As I argue in my essay in forthcoming collection The Postnational Fantasy, World of Warcraft has cosmopolitan potential, because players are actively encouraged to explore Azeroth and engage its NPC characters cooperatively in addition to antagonistically. I suggest that a cosmopolitan ethos could be further encouraged by adding a language or translation profession so that PVP characters from opposite factions could facilitate cooperation between raiding groups for special dungeons that would require this kind of cooperative play. Now it seems that Blizzard has begun laying the groundwork for a system that I had not considered: archaeology. Learning about other cultures through the past can be positive, but it could equally be negative due to cultural imperialism and orientalism. Furthermore, it appears as if this new profession in World of Warcraft is geared for “treasure hunting.” When the expansion comes out in December, I will explore this new feature and report back. Read more about Blizzard’s implementation of archaeology in WoW here.