Blizzard today announced that WoW has topped 12 million subscribers, following the Wrath of the Lich King expansion launch in mainland China just over a month ago and in anticipation of the third expansion, Cataclysm, coming this holiday worldwide.

For a time, it seemed as though World of Warcraft's subscriber base was well on its way to 20 million -- somewhere in the ballpark of Australia's total population. Then, in December 2008, the game reached 11.5 million subscribers, and six months later, the number hadn't changed. It appeared the world's most popular subscription-based MMO had reached its cap.

When Cataclysm is released on December 7, World of Warcraft will have passed its sixth year in operation. And with 12 million-plus paid subscriptions? Wow.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.