The Daily Grind: Does WoW’s dramatic sub dip worry you?

    
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So World of Warcraft lost three million subs in the wake of Warlords of Draenor, bringing it back down to right about where it was before it began the Draenor ramp up — not quite to its published low point after Mists of Pandaria, but damn close. I suppose it’s not a surprise; Blizzard’s languorous content pace since the expansion hasn’t restored much faith that the studio learned anything from the drought that drove MoP so low just a year ago. But it’s not a pretty graph after the big spike up for Draenor. It’s the steepest, fastest decline for the game ever.

One of my amusing guildies summed it up like this:

Gather round, my disciples, for I have seen THE FUTURE! 2040: Hearthstone, Blizzard’s flagship MMO, has finally integrated the “World of Warcraft” as an amusing retro mini-game you can play between matches. And lo, the rivers shall run purple with the discarded gear of the unbelievers, and the wails of the hardcore raiders shall be swallowed by the sound of a billion decks being shuffled.

Hyperbole, I know, but who isn’t at least thinking this? WoW’s still the biggest subscription MMORPG in town, yes. It’s not hurting for money. But it bothers me that Blizzard doesn’t seem to care much about such a massive game or the genre anymore and that it’s driving off not just expansion tourists now but hardcore loyalists who don’t want to pay a sub to play Garrisons Online: With Selfies But Not Flight after all. The implications for the genre always worry me. How about you — does WoW’s dramatic sub dip worry you?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!
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DrowNoble
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DrowNoble

Union Jack I’ll give credit where it’s due that WoD was a step in the right direction after the previous two lackluster expansions.  If Blizzard can improve upon this for the next one, they may be able to find their sweet spot and stop the bleeding.

Of course, I still firmly believe they need to go F2P to survive in the growing freebie mmo market.

DrowNoble
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DrowNoble

niwaar The issue that myself, and possibly many others have, is that despite all this revenue we are getting less and less bang for our buck.

With “only” 7 million subs, that’s still a lot of cash coming in.  Yet content has been declining in both quality and frequency.  Vanilla ended with patch 1.12 so approx every 3 months a major patch hit.  TBC had only 4 major patches, with the 1st one essentially being Burning Crusade As-It-Should-Of-Been at launch.  Since it’s been 3 major patches in the entire expansion cycle, leading to content droughts lasting many months.

I’ll compare this to Rift, not to say that it’s a “better” game, but to illustrate content releases.

It came out March 2011, since then they produced two expansions.  The first of which was THREE TIMES bigger than the original game.  To date they’ve had 11 major patches in original game, 8 in the first expansion and 2 to date in the second expansion.  That’s 21 major patches in 4 years, compared to 15 in WoW’s same timeframe.  All with less revenue and a smaller dev team.

xagarelic
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xagarelic

Why should I be worried? Of course it’s the biggest/fastest rise and dip in several months, but WOW has millions of players which means millions mind to sate with the game, can they do that? I don’t think so, the biggest rise and dip is actually an opportunity to blizzard in order to find the ‘real number’ of their subscribers when it has stablilize a bit, all those ‘promises’ on expansion announcement, just accept them as marketing strategy (the reason why I never preordered something).
On a rather negative note, I think if it’s still profitable WOW will continue, if it’s still profitable with cut-off story WOW will still continue. Well, it’s still go on with PVP gutted because it’s profitable, but if it’s not profitable anymore of course they will shut it down or change the business model, or maybe even merged with hearthstone like those QQ posts =))
I’m just taking their advice “take everything moderately, even World of Warcraft” IMO WOW is still a good MMO with both side of extremes in the community (I won’t blame both extremes), I’m just gonna continue with what I’m still doing until now, buy the xpac when it’s (heavily) discounted, dive for a few months, quit, return for the new update if it’s still interesting, and so on

niwaar
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niwaar

I take umbrage of the statement “that the studio learned anything from the drought that drove MoP so low just a year ago.” The continual decline of WoW’s subscriber base is not solely based on their perpetual content drought. Sure they seem to be having longer and longer content droughts. Six month (or more) content droughts are common place in WoW. They simply did a better job of ensuring that there were kept busy in early expansions by having multiple levels and types of content.

Take for example the 11 month Raid Content Drought between the opening of Black Temple/Mt Hyjal and the opening of Sunwell. During this time instead of receiving another 25man Raid we were handed a second 10man raid instead. Yes I still look at this as a content drought. But we had one of the best experiences in small group raiding with Zul’Aman’s addition to the game. Having multiple levels of different content was a key ideal in the TBC era of World of Warcraft and it worked. There were issues with this system, but it kept the game fresh and interesting through the overly long 25 man content drought. You could argue that the time between Black Temple’s unlock and Zul’Aman’s addition was FAR FAR too long of a content drought in and of itself.
Take a look at the 10 month Raid Content Drought that began Cataclysm. We received a reworked versions of ZG and ZA during this time to hold our attention before Firelands was released. I am also tossing in the 11 month drought that was the time between ICC and Cataclysm’s launch but they gave us a 1 off 25 man raid boss in the form of Ruby Sanctum in between. While RS is a full blown raid encounter it is in the vein of Onyxia and Magtheridon and I look at it as a different style of content separate from the larger raids.

I think my point is clear. That these content droughts have happened in the past with regard to raids, but at least they saw fit to try and give us some type of differing content to tide us over. One of the 3 reasons I left WoW was not solely the time between content, but the fact that since the addition of ZA/ZG there has been a complete lack of varying content added. (The other two reasons were the lack of the quality and interest of the content and the homogenization/simplification of the classes, systems and game as a whole.)

Don’t get me wrong, Blizzard’s complete inability to plan out content patch cycles with a decent interval is a huge reason the game is faltering. But in my opinion its because they don’t adequately understand that modern mmo players do not just want raids raids and raids. Sure some of the content I highlighted were raids designed for smaller groups (instead of designed for more and paired/watered down). Some of the content I highlighted were one off large group activities such as Ruby Sanctum, Ony and Magtheridon. Some was dungeon content. But we can add Pet Battles, New/Updated Seasonal Events (when was the last time they updated any event besides DMF?), and new questing hubs like Sunwell, Timeless and Firelands to the mix. These types of content have been always been added with the large raid content. Hell, it seems most of this type of content has been forgotten in time by the devs. Other games in the genre have embraced an expanded content slate aimed at different portions of their community. While Blizzard has slowly made WoW about Raiding, Raiding and more Raiding. If you aren’t Raiding you are in the dwindling PvP population or you are simply logging in to play “Garrison”.

Union Jack
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Union Jack

I’m glad and hope the decline continues to drop subs daily, all that bli$$ard have done for many years is milk their player base. They will no doubt create another mediocre expansion and many will fall for the same old trick and waste money and move on. They will carry on doing this every time people buy their expansions, there is little or no point from their prospective of bothering to make Wow 2 or another like it as they just keep flicking the switch and money drops into their company… Wow will always have a hard core of mugs, er sorry players I mean just like EQI and other games because it suits some people or many are scared of change so until people realise they getting their butt kicked all the time they will stay put.

The only thing i ever liked about wow is it introduced the masses to MMO’s even though the communities have gone down the pan unlike in the early days. Lot less people group now and solo rather than sharing they are greedy, this is due to the way the loot system has changed over the decade.

dorn2
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dorn2

It excites me.  I don’t want to see WoW “fail” or anything.  On the flip side though if it dropped down to about 4 million subs that would be great.  That would free up a lot of pro-sub players for other MMO’s to flourish.

JudgeDavid101
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JudgeDavid101

WoW has lasted the course. With WoD garrisons feeling like a maintenance mode while the dev’s pour love into HS, HotS, D3 & SC2 I’m picking up a feeling that WoW players who I converse with in the in-game channels and on forums are looking forward to the next expansion and already considering WoD as ‘yesterdays expac’

wjowski
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wjowski

Estranged blast tyrant CrowingOne 
Better than paying to alpha test someone’s shitty crowdsourced pet project.

wjowski
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wjowski

JonBuck 
…You seem to give enough of a damn to post a comment with an allegedly witty gif.

Necromonger
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Necromonger

its been in milking stage for a long time now.

Blizzard should make a new mmo and just stop milking their playerbase….

Its easy to say wow has 7 million subs left but what like to know is how many of those are asian players who play almost for free and dont pay for expansions ?

I played wow nonstop for 5 years since vanila, and woaw what a ride is was but it also became more of the same instead of new inovative mechanics to keep this mmo fresh and engaging.

PvP has been neglected and its funny that WSG / AB / AV are still the best battlegrounds ever created :)

still the best fantasy themepark on the market,i just hope Blizzard is going to do this succes story all over with a diffrent mmo :)