During last week’s Activision-Blizzard investor call, Blizzard executives dodged hard on one analyst’s question about WoW Classic retention – no great surprise there, really, from a company that’s spent the last few years obfuscating World of Warcraft’s subscription numbers and retention on the whole. But the answer the company did give got me thinking anyway: The exec pivoted to talking about how important it was to view Classic in the context of driving players and revenue in an off year for WoW – that is, in a year between Retail expansions.
This was clearly a prepared talking point, which suggests to me that Blizzard is already at work on its 2021 prospects for WoW specifically. That’s got me speculating: Maybe that throwaway BlizzCon joke about skipping a Burning Crusade WoW Classic server and going straight to a Wrath one wasn’t so throwaway after all – maybe Blizzard’s already planning that for the next “off year.” Or maybe the reason Shadowlands is a little on the thin side content-wise is that the studio is planning to double its expansion output in the coming years, with Shadowlands at the vanguard. After all, if The Elder Scrolls Online can put out an expansion and three DLC per year, surely Blizzard can.
What do you think – what’s Blizzard planning? Should World of Warcraft switch to annual expansions?