The Daily Grind: Will WoW Classic end up topping retail World of Warcraft?

    
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Sweet home doing nothing.

There’s a lot of Big Talk going on these days about how WoW Classic will perform and what it will do to both Blizzard and the MMO community. Some are predicting greatness, while others a brief infatuation and fall from glory. Yet what I think is the most interesting question of all is what WoW Classic will do to its primary competition: retail World of Warcraft.

There used to be a joke that “the only WoW killer would be WoW itself” — and now I wonder if that might actually become true. Does Classic have a chance of topping (and toppling) WoW from its perch? Will Classic be able to sustain what will undoubtedly be strong opening month numbers? Will players desert retail WoW, remain loyal, or split their time? Ultimately, how will it shake up and what will this mean for the two MMORPGs that Blizzard will be running under its roof?

What do you foresee? Will Classic be THE World of Warcraft, or will it enjoy a brief time in the spotlight before retail WoW comes back with Patch 8.2.5 and an expansion announcement at BlizzCon? Are too may WoW players simply invested in their regular characters to make the full-time switch? Call it out in the comments today so that you can crow about your accuracy in the months to come!

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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Richard de Leon III

I hope not, I prefer the live game QoL changes. On the assumption classic does so well the live game literally stops development, thats when ill quit wow in its entirety and move on to another casual friendly mmo. I still remember classic’s (minority) elitist community attitude and how it was difficult to do certain content unless you had 12 hour playtimes and be decked out in close to top end gear to be even considered on the dungeon team let alone the raid content.

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Sarah Cushaway

Probably not. However, I do think once the dust settles, it will be a lot more STABLE than retail– retail is pretty volatile because of content being very, very hit or miss the past several expansions. I mean, BFA and WOD especially, followed by CATA and even MOP (my least favorite, frankly) and Legion are all range from fricken horrible to “meh, it’s ok I guess”.

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Arnold Hendrick

Denice Cook is precisely correct. WoW Classic won’t “cost” Actiblizz any subscriptions. Existing subscribers get a new server option at no extra cost, while marketing gets a new “hook” when fishing for more subscribers.

A year ago I returned to Wow after 13 years of playing other MMORPGs. I was astounded by the game’s “me me me” adolescent culture. The community seemed consumed with rapid advancement, including constant trade-chat offers for top-level gear “carries” in exchange for money (WoW supposedly requires it be in-game money, but it’s unclear how well they can monitor that).

Therefore, I imagine that the existing community will attempt to develop max-level Classic characters ASAP. Their unhelpful, competitive snobbery will almost surely set the tone for any new subscribers who appear. As a result, I would not expect a long-lasting subscriber boost. Significantly expanding the customer base requires expanding the community to new types of players. However, it will relieve the pressure for a new expansion to maintain existing subscribers – for a few months.

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Denice J. Cook

They only have subs to gain from this; one sub fee covers both classic and live, after all. Classic will draw a lot of the old players back, while live players can always return to today’s WoW if they don’t like the nostalgia rush.

hurbster
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hurbster

I’m fairly sure Actiblizz are relying on it doing so.

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Michael18

As someone who hasn’t set foot in retail WoW since 2013, has played on a vanilla pserver on and off over the past years, and has been hoping for official classic servers for quite some time, I don’t think Classic will overtake the retail version, not even close.

But that has never been the point and is irrelevant for its success. All that is needed is a modest stable pop of people who enjoy the more laid-back style of an older game that does no longer receive new content in short intervals.

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Witches

I don’t think WOW Classic would have happened if Blizz thought there was any chance of it topping main WOW, if it does it won’t really be good news, it’ll mean they are not doing as well as we think they are.

Since it’s 2019 i’ll bet against it beating main WOW and if it does i’ll later claim i always knew it would.

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Anton Mochalin

WoW Classic will be a niche MMO for enthusiasts, a good one, but not even close to “retail” version by player population numbers. I’d bet it’ll have 1/10 of “retail” playerbase which is actually still very very good.

MurderHobo
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MurderHobo

I agree, but I’m not certain enough to make such a bold claim.

I have five people blowing up my phone over this game. None of them have played an MMO outside of WoW, and they all quit at the end of Wrath. If that’s going on across the country then Blizzard is going to have at least a blowout first quarter in 2020.

They’re not in a financial position to just treat that money as a side gig. A smart company, after taking the beating Blizzard has this year, should grab this thing as if it were their only remaining lifeline.

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Anton Mochalin

If that’s going on across the country then Blizzard is going to have at least a blowout first quarter in 2020

It will definitely be a better quarter than now, but I wouldn’t say it will be “blowout”. Yes on the height of the hype even Bless Online had some playerbase and I don’t think WoW Classic players will be disappointed but I also don’t think the majority of them will stay. They will play for 1-2 months and then say “well we had a good time but there are so many other games out there” and move on. But some of them will stay and as I said it will end up being a huge niche game.

xpsync
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xpsync

That was funny to read “will be a niche MMO” the biggest, largest, most popular mmorpg of our time a niche mmo, yea i agree it was just funny to read and resonates what we said and felt about EQ2 at the time, will be niche mmorpg for enthusiasts.

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Robert Mann

I’m more interested in seeing just how heated the debate gets when people start asking for things that aren’t in classic WoW that they are used to…

Then again, I have no horse in this race, if we can even call it that since the horse would be more like an Ettin and have no competition.

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Ironwu

World of Warcraft Classic will be my game going forward. Not another minute spent in retail WoW. Not another dime spent in the cash shop for mounts, tokens, whatever. No more retail expansions purchased with later regrets.

Even though retail WoW funnels players from multiple servers into single instances, making the game always seem well populated, I don’t think the reduction of players in retail WoW will go unnoticed by the suits and developers.

I fully expect to see additional servers with BC and WotLK paths, hopefully with server transfers available for vanilla players that want to progress.

Certainly retail WoW will continue on, probably pretty much the same as it is today and I am more than happy to see the retail community stay there.