World of Warcraft is an institution. After 12 years, Blizzard's seminal MMO is still running, and although player counts have fallen since its 2010 peak, there were still 5.5 million active accounts last September. Germany has always been a key market for the company, consistently ranking among the top five countries, and to celebrate the game's sixth expansion, Legion, Blizzard has given players a treat. In the heart of Cologne, Germany, home to the annual Gamescom convention, the developer has transformed the 14th century festival hall Gürzenich into a WoW locale.
At the venue's launch event on Wednesday, fans were invited to wander around a recreation of "The Fel Hammer," a starting zone in the new expansion. Inside, they were treated to heavy metal renditions of WoW music, face painting, photo booths, and WoW-themed food and drink (including Alliance and Horde cocktails, of course). Cosplayers were everywhere, and there was even a quest giver with an exclamation point above their head, who directed attendees to another "NPC" with a question mark who gave out free prizes. As well as being great PR for Blizzard, it's a nice way to give something back to the fans that pay the bills.