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WoW Classic: WotLK had 12 million players back then
With Wrath of the Lich King, a new expansion came to WoW Classic - and the most popular, as many players still think. They explain that the reason for the success of WotLK actually lies in very simple systems.

This is what's going on in WotLK right now:

On September 27th, Wrath of the Light King was released with a number of new features for WotLK.
Only a few hours after the release, the first players reached the new level 80, but in some cases only through ancient exploits.
There is a huge discussion about elite players who only want the best players for the simplest content. The majority of the fans think: just play and don't sweat so much.
On October 7th the first 3 big raids for WotLK appeared. But they didn't last long: the first guilds sawed through all the raids just an hour after the release.

That's how popular WotLK was back then: If you look back 14 years, at the release of the original Wrath of the Lich King, the enthusiasm for WoW was just as great as it is today - if not more.

Millions of players watched WotLK for the original release. Blizzard was still issuing official player numbers at the time. Worldwide, World of Warcraft peaked in October 2010 with over 12 million active players (via CNET).

That was shortly before the release of Cataclysm in December 2010 and is the last known high for World of Warcraft. Back then, Icecrown Citadel and Ruby Sanctum were the big endgame raids. Since then, the wotlk gold numbers went back down until Blizzard stopped publishing player counts in 2015. Now there are only estimates.

The popularity of WotLK can still be seen today. Already at the release there were enormous queues in WotLK Classic, some of which lasted so long that players could simply sleep in between. The first ship to the new continent was packed.

This excites the players: In a thread on reddit, the fans are now talking about exactly why Wrath of the Lich King was and is actually one of the most popular expansions, if not the most popular.

The reason is that you can easily achieve anything, but you are not completely underchallenged. AlpacaWoolDeclared on reddit.

The user can see that Cataclysm has become too difficult for some players and why they love WotLK. The point with the compulsory tasks in particular is also well received in the community.

Within a few hours, the thread garnered over 3,500 upvotes and over 1,100 comments. There the players praise that WotLK is simply more accessible. Once you reach level 80, you don't need any additional requirements like a campaign. You can just get started

It says: “You can just hop into an activity of your choice, enjoy the grind and watch the numbers grow as you pump out. It's like a drug.” Many would agree that WotLK was the best time they've ever had in gaming. Others even discover they're having more fun than they've had since they were kids.

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