'World of Warcraft' passes 10m subscribers, 'StarCraft II' expansion in 2013

World of Warcraft, fresh from the recent Mists of Pandaria expansion, has recovered from a mid-year dip to rise past 10 million subscribers once again, while publisher Activision-Blizzard anticipates StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm in the first half of 2013.

WoW, which peaked in October 2010 at 12 million subscribers, had been experiencing a steady decrease, culminating in a mid-2012 drop to 9.1 million.

However, with its Chinese-themed Pandarian expansion released in September, enough players checked in to take the long-running MMO's tally back into double figures.

Electronic Arts mounted an assault on WoW's supremacy in December 2011 with the licensed appeal of Star Wars: The Old Republic, developed by the BioWare studio of Mass Effect and Dragon Age fame.

Though the competitor's player base reached an impressive 1.7 million by February 2012, it had dwindled to less than 1 million in July and will become free-to-play as of November 15.

Speaking during the same November 7 investors' call in which the World of Warcraft numbers were divulged, Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime signaled that strategy game StarCraft II would be receiving its first expansion, Heart of the Swarm, during the first half of 2013, though he would not be drawn on a more specific timescale.

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