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World of Warcraft expansions coming on 'a faster cadence,' next already in the works

Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

Blizzard Entertainment plans to release expansions to World of Warcraft more frequently than it has in the past, co-founder and president Mike Morhaime told Polygon, and is already developing an unannounced add-on for the online game.

In an interview, Morhaime said expansions like the recently unveiled Warlords of Draenor are important to keeping players engaged (and subscribed).

"It's going to be on us and our development team to continually look at ways to evolve the game and keep it relevant," Morhaime said, "and look for new ways of maintaining engagement within the game. We view expansions as a huge opportunity to do that.

"We recognize that we need to release them on a faster cadence than we have in the past. So we're investing in the team and our resources to enable us to do that."

World of Warcraft's subscriber base dipped to 7.6 million in September, Activision announced in a recent earnings statement. The MMORPG had more than 10 million subscribers last year, bolstered by the release of the expansion Mists of Pandaria.

Morhaime said Blizzard has reconsidered the way the World of Warcraft development team is organized and structured, and what amount of resources are available to it in order to succeed.

"We also have to start looking further down the road and planning further out," he said. "We've already started working on the expansion after this one [Warlords of Draenor]. We've never done that in the past. We've been doing one expansion at a time, sort of a very linear content creation model, and we've looked at ways that we can parallelize that. So that while we're working on this expansion we're looking at the new one."

In May, Blizzard confirmed it was going back to the drawing board on its next-generation MMO, codenamed Titan. The decision resulted in some resources shifting from Titan to other projects, including the World of Warcraft team.

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