2014 is the year of big anniversaries. This summer, Nintendo celebrated its 125th birthday. In December, the PlayStation brand turns 20, and to mark the occasion Sony’s taking over The Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas for the first-ever “PlayStation Experience.” Even today is special since it’s the one-year anniversary of the Xbox One.
But that’s not all. There’s another important birthday this year, too, and it’s happening right now. This weekend, World of Warcraft turns ten years old, and while Blizzard’s not throwing a party (after all, they do that every year) they’re certainly ready to celebrate. Last week, Blizzard released World of Warcraft’s fifth expansion, Warlords of Draenor, as well as a documentary called Looking for Group that both reflects on the MMORPG’s decade-long reign and casts an eye towards the game’s future.
And they’re not finished there. From now and until January 6, 2015, World of Warcraft will host “anniversary-themed in-game content” designed for new players and grizzled veterans alike. Anyone who logs into the game during the anniversary period will receive a Molten Corgi pet, free of charge. Additionally, some of the game’s older content has been updated for modern times, allowing players to relive old memories or experience some of the game’s classics for the first time – with a twist.
Most notably, one of World of Warcraft’s original two 40-player raids, “Molten Core,” is getting refurbished for the event. The new version, “Maximum Molten Core,” will appear in the Raid-Finder for all 100-level players. Players who brave the deeps and successfully defeat the Fire Lord Ragnaros will be rewarded with both a Core Hound mount and “Warlords of Draenor Raid Finder–quality helm.”
In addition, Blizzard’s opening an eighty-player “team deathmatch-style” PvP Battleground called “Tarren Mill vs. Southshore,” which is designed to evoke the “endless tug-of-war of early WoW PvP.” Unlike those early days, however, Tarren Mill vs. Southshore guarantees a winning side; victors will gain the titles of either Tarren Mill Terror or Southsore Slayer, depending on their affiliation. The battleground is available in two versions: one for characters at levels between 90 and 99, and another for characters at level 100.
Even after ten years, World of Warcraft is still going strong. Despite some hiccups around Warlord of Draenor’s launch, World of Warcraft’s paying subscriber count is the highest it’s been in years. With this new anniversary content, Blizzard’s making a blatant appeal to older players’ nostalgia, and it’ll be interesting to see if the updated raid and old-fashioned PvP gameplay can reel in some lapsed users.
Or maybe they’ll just want the corgi. Face it, that thing’s adorable.