world of warcraft
A visitor walks past a placard of World Of Warcraft at their exhibition stand at Gamescom in Cologne - File imageREUTERS

Blizzard Entertainment announced its plans to release a new patch for Warcraft 3 on 15 March, four years after its last update – 1.26a – was rolled out in 2011. The announcement comes just a few days after Diablo 2 was patched for the first time in five years, highlighting Blizzard's plans to revive its classic games.

Robert Bridenbecker, vice president of Technology Strategy and Planning at Blizzard Entertainment and head of Blizzard's classic games group, announced the 1.27 update in a YouTube video aimed at Warcraft's active community in China.

"Over the past few months, you may have noticed we have introduced a new battle platform," Bridenbecker said. "It's introduced features like matchmaking [and] the ability to communicate with your friends on a level that is unparalleled to anything we have done with Warcraft III in the market before. And on top of that, we're proud to announce that on March 15, the next patch for Warcraft 3 will be available in the market, simultaneously with the rest of the globe."

Although Bridenbecker has not revealed details about the new patch for the 2002 game, he does hint that there are more updates in the works, noting that this is merely the developer's "first stop" on this "journey".

The Diablo 2 patch – version 1.14a – was rolled out on 11 March to make the game more compatible with newer operating systems – an issue that will likely be addressed in the new Warcraft 3 patch as well.

With the June 10 release of the Warcraft movie and the release of World of Warcraft: Legion – the sixth expansion – Blizzard's recent revival strategies could lure new, interested gamers into the WoW fold.

In 2015, the company formed its classic games division after it put out a call for engineers to help bring Diablo 2, Warcraft 3 and the original Starcraft up to date. The company also revealed that World of Warcraft hit a 10-year low of 5.5 million subscribers in November 2015, leading the developer to stop sharing its subscription numbers for its online MMO game.

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