You speak as if copying WoW is a bad thing?
There are like 7 MILLION WoW players. If they can harness, oh, say 1/2 of 1% of that audience, they will double their sales straight out of the gate. To ignore what is a very reachable goal with 4e would be flat-out stupid.
D&D has always been derivative, but WotC has come to realize that this generation's fantasy fans have been defined by video games such as WoW rather than the literature of Tolkein and Pratchett and even D&D itself. They are adjusting the game at all levels to appeal to this new group of gamers raised on Final Fantasy and Warcraft and Harry Potter and the new LotR movies because that's how D&D has always done things...and they will only benefit from it.
I talked to a contact, good term as any really, who's a bit of a #1 pick in server architecture and when we came across that specific part of discussing MMO's he mentioned that the 9
Million is actually Active Characters, not individual paying accounts. Given that there are ~200 server partitions, or realms, which each host 8 characters odds are good there aren't actually more then 400,000 actual accounts.
As in all things only Blizz knows for sure. There is a lot to be said for being at least perceived as the All Dominating Lord of Online Gaming, nothing like strength of brand after all.
Or maybe he's blowing smoke. =]
From what I know I expect not, but why believe me? ^^
And that's a good analysis. This isn't the Tolkien Generation any more. The Warhammer MMO is being haunted by a constant stink about the almost total absence of women from it's fantasy setting. Games Workshop's kowtowed slightly with the Adeptas Soritas and the odd jungle fighter, but so far there's a single important female NPC between 40K and Fantasy so I suppose they're a little behind as well.
Psion: I am. I sat, I read, I was underwhelmed. Nothing said GET THIS, most just said "meh, no wonder we're in the 1/2 off bin."