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World of Warcraft turned ten years old this fall. Players that subscribed to the MMORPG for the entire decade just received a very special gift from Blizzard Entertainment.
The gift is a statue of an orc riding a wolf. It's a small version of the statue outside of Blizzard's headquarters in California.
"The orc statue is a constant presence in our life at Blizzard Entertainment," reads the plaque on the bottom of the statue. "It's where we meet to talk, to eat, to celebrate. As we celebrate ten years of World of Warcraft, we present this token of appreciation to you, stalwart adventurer. Thank you for being a constant presence in our lives as we adventure together."
To be eligible for the gift, you need to have created your WoW account within 60 days of the game's launch in North America and Europe and maintained your subscription ever since then. If you meet the gift's requirements, you should have received an email. Blizzard's support site says the gift's been shipped to North American and Oceanic players. Their counterparts in Europe will have to wait until later in the month, though.
Blizzard didn't mention how many players qualified for the gift. It's an impressive feat. I'd imagine most players who have been around since vanilla WoW have quit and resubscribed numerous times. There's usually a long lull in new content before an expansion pack arrives. During that period, many players cancel their subscriptions. The folks who have subscribed for 10 years straight somehow managed to keep themselves amused during those quiet months. Or they're just consistently lazy about cancelling.
These loyal players paid a whole lot in subscriptions over the years, too. The exact cost per player is impossible to work out because the fee varies based on whether you're buying the subscription one, three, or six months at a time. If they paid the subscription on a month-to-month basis, it would cost around $1800 for ten years (not counting expansion packs). They would've saved $240 by purchasing them in six-month chunks, though.
Still, I'd imagine that this group of die-hards is still pretty substantial. World of Warcraft still has around 10 million subscribers even after a decade on the market. The MMO's managed to retain players like no other game. That success is probably why they're reluctant to make the game free-to-play.
Blizzard also marked the 10th anniversary for WoW with a special in-game event. Over the holiday season, players could journey into a level 100 version of Molten Core along with a special PvP battleground. That celebration ended earlier this week.