Wrath of the Lich King

, the latest expansion of the World of Warcraft MMORPG came out at midnight, sparking costume contests and parties to rival the release of a Harry Potter novel.

Blizzard Entertainment outlets took pre-orders for the game over the past several months so that stores could have enough of the expansion packs, which are going to be in high demand. The last expansion, the Burning Crusade, sold 3.5 million copies in the first month of its release in 2007.

In London, the Guardian reported that over 2,500 people queued up outside the HMV Group on Oxford Street to wait for their copies of the hot game. The game went on sale in North America, Europe, Russia, Chile, Mexico and Argentina November 13. Australia and the island nations in Southeast Asia will get their chance November 14, and Korea, Taiwan, Macau and Hong Kong will be able to pick up the expansion November 18.

"Wrath of the Lich King contains some of the best content we've created for World of Warcraft," said Mike Hormaine, CEO of Blizzard.

(See the trailer here.)

World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King sends players to the cold, forbidding continent of Northrend, where the malevolent Lich King Arthas Menethil seeks to bring an end to life on Azeroth. Players will fight Arthas' undead army and unravel the mysteries of Northrend as they quest through new zones and dungeons, acquire potent new skills and abilities, engage in epic open-world player-vs.-player warfare with siege vehicles and destructible buildings, wield the runic power of World of Warcraft's first Hero class -- the death knight -- and much more.

The Wrath of the Lich King expansion requires the original World of Warcraft game, available for a suggested retail price of $19.99, along with World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade, which sells for $29.99. These two products are combined in the World of Warcraft Battle Chest, available for $39.99.

World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King
has received a Teen rating from the ESRB. The soundtrack will also be available for download from Itunes this month.

Learn more from the game designers in videos at the Blizzard site.