Visions of N’Zoth boosted World of Warcraft subs, but it’s lost tons since WoW Classic’s 2019 peak

According to SuperData's latest revenue report

    
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Visions of N’Zoth boosted World of Warcraft subs, but it’s lost tons since WoW Classic’s 2019 peak

SuperData’s January 2020 games industry revenue rankings are up, with only mild shakeups since December 2019. On the PC side, Red Dead Redemption 2 dropped from the list, as did Call of Duty Modern Warfare, allowing the entry of Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot and the uptick by one place of both World of Warcraft (West only, again) and CSGO. Halo is also gone again, as Dota 2 and World of Tanks return to cap off the top 10.

On the console side, FIFA and Call of Duty continue to duke it out for supremacy, and Fortnite’s dropped another spot; SuperData specifically calls out the “gradual decline” for Fortnite and weakening revenue of Apex Legends in contrast with PUBG, where PC spending was up 512% month-over-month. Pokemon Go has fallen from the top list on the mobile side, but Roblox apparently had a really good month.

Of most interest to MMORPG players, the analytics firm also sheds some new light on how World of Warcraft is doing, especially since Blizzard stopped releasing sub numbers and the recent earnings call made multiple explicit claims from Bobby Kotick and other Activision-Blizzard reps about how the addition of WoW Classic “doubled the size of the active World of Warcraft community in the second half of 2019.” Kotick did not, as we noted at the time, claim that Classic had actually held those numbers through the end of the year. And now we know it definitely didn’t – and that he knew that as he talked it up anyway during the call. Here’s SuperData’s statement:

“The new World of Warcraft update Visions of N’Zoth successfully turned around declining user numbers. Subscriber numbers grew 17% from December to January (not including China). However, they were still down substantially (64%) from August 2019, the month World of Warcraft Classic was released.”

If we’re reading that right, WoW’s sub base spiked way up in August, then plummeted over the course of the fall, then perked back up a bit in January – but Blizzard still lost the majority of subs it had picked up with Classic over the quarter.

It sounds bad, but before you run off to dunk on Blizz in the comments, let us point out that SuperData’s display of WoW as separate East and West divisions (unlike nearly all of the other games in the rankings) has been ambiguous for the last few years, apparently because the firm lacks access to some or all of WoW’s China’s data. We note this because J. Allen Brack said specifically during the conference call that Eastern WoW player engagement with Classic had been particularly strong; therefore, we think it’s possible China may not be reflected in SuperData’s figures. (The eternal problem with reporting on an opaque for-profit analysis firm, unfortunately.)

Either way, it’ll make for interesting discussion on whether you thought you wanted it, but you didn’t.

Take a peek at everything from SuperData in 2019:

Source: SuperData

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Anton Mochalin

In July WoW West was #7, now also #7. Dota 2 was #8, now #10. World of Tanks was #6, just above WoW, now #8, just below WoW. Fortnite was #5, hasn’t made it to top 10 this time. So WoW is actually doing quite fine compared to many other games… doing fine for more than 16 years in a row.

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Mikka Hansen

You think you do, but 64% (so far) dont

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Nathan Aldana

surprisding nobody, most of the people wanting Classic didnt stay.

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Loopy

Statement like that is conjecture at best.

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Nathan Aldana

I mean. so is the people further down the topic utterly convinced classic is ascendant and nobody is playing retail

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Loopy

Absolutely. I don’t really understand why people want either Retail or Classic to fail. People are too preoccupied with proving others wrong in my opinion.

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Anthony Clark

I wanted it. And I’m still here. I stayed, and I still love it.

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Koshelkin

That was to be expected. People put away their rose-tinted nostalgia classes and moved on.

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Hurbster

I think with WoW classic the main problem is there is only raiding to do at top level. So the more casual players are leaving. Leaving altoholics and raiders. I’m sure that the idea is for everyone to go to retail at that point.

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Bannex

This site loves to report wow sub declines.

The readers love to claim that there is some sort of competition between live and classic.

Wow is doing fine. Classic has only added to wow’s profitability. Wow will continue to do what it’s been doing for years.

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Hurbster

Getting worse ?

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margol23

Well said ! Wow is doing fine, still the most profitable and succesful mmo on the market. When shadowlands hit subs will skyrocket.

At the moment WoW is the last mmo I would worry about. Especially when some of the “top 5” mmorpgs are not doing well

Techno Wizard
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Techno Wizard

WoW Classic is WoW BFA’s biggest rival. Ironic. And that trend looks set to continue with Shadowlands.

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Anthony Clark

I’m still in Classic, love it, have no plans of leaving.

Stormwind and Ironforge are still packed with tons of people whenever I pass through. Those towns are packed.

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Mallus

The game is all about Mythic dungeons & raids and the casual players/Pvper’s have been neglected, it’s starting to show.

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Bannex

Starting to show? This game has been wildly successful for 16 years. If anything is starting to show its the desperation behind the tired claims that the game is dying.

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Bannex

2007 = 13 years

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Mallus

Reading’s hard: Subscriber numbers grew 17% from December to January (not including China). However, they were still down substantially (64%) from August 2019, the month World of Warcraft Classic was released

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Utakata

So what do we do now Blizzard? BfA was an anti-climatic flop from Legion. Classic didn’t have the stickiness you where hoping for. Sch’Noz with it’s griefer gear was only able to gain a marginal player attention. Shadowlands has little to show for it outside of the cosmetics and the pretty. Warcraft III Reforged was Re’fudged. You needlessly fired a crap ton of staff last year that you’re not seeing the returns on. And you are still bleeding players…

…you know, the good graces that have kept you guys comfortable inside that hubris is being eroded away one by one. At some point something is going to give. Then those who predicted your doom for tenure of WoW may end up being right after all. Do you guys really want that to happen? /le sigh

carthoris
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carthoris

Can you explain what the griefer gear is? I haven’t played since the first month of BfA and although I’ve been kinda following it, enough to not want to come back, this is new to me

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Utakata

Corruption gear. Or to be more accurate, high iLevel gear you get after 8.3 that comes with a new stat called: Corruption. And it starts to do nasty things to you the higher it’s stacked. Here’s are the examples:

1) Grasping Tendrils (1 Corruption) — Taking damage has a chance to reduce your movement speed by 5 sec. The magnitude of the snare increases with further Corruption.

2) Eye of Corruption (20 Corruption) — Your spells and abilities have a chance to summon an Eye of Corruption for 8 sec. The Eye inflicts increasing Shadow damage to you every 2 sec while you remain in range.

3) Grand Delusions (40 Corruption) — Taking damage has a chance to summon a Thing from Beyond, which pursues you for 8 sec. Its speed increases with further Corruption.

4) Cascading Disaster (60 Corruption) — If you are struck by the Thing from Beyond, you will be immediately afflicted by Grasping Tendrils and Eye of Corruption.

5) Inevitable Doom (80+ Corruption) — All damage taken is magnified and healing received is reduced, increasing with further Corruption.

Source: https://www.icy-veins.com/wow/corrupted-items-guide-in-patch-8-3-vision-of-n-zoth

…as you can see, these effects are set at very low threshold as to when they take place. And the average drops with Corruption, it’s between 15 and 35. And what you get and the chance to get are entirely RNG. A friend of mine had an item that drop for her with 65 Corruption on it, for an example.

But in the end, if you are wearing and if you haven’t jumped through all the grind hoops to get the minimal of 15 resistance against it or to cleanse each item, your character becomes a liability to you and your party, to put it mildly. To which the effects tend to kick in the more difficult the content you are doing. Hence, the apt term of “griefer gear”. /bleh

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Ashfyn Ninegold

You’re not the only one who thinks corruption gear is absolute trash. Mike Bell over at BellularGaming weighs in:

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Utakata

While that covers the many issues with mini/maxers to which this system was supposedly designed for, lol…it does not cover the issues for “dedicated” players such as myself who just simply want to get by. So in addition to what Mr. Bell was saying, I can’t help feel Blizz’s other unstated goal is: “You want to have welfare epics scrubs? Then fine! But there has to be consequences for wearing it.” Which is, high level items you can’t wear because it will kill you outright, unless you the player puts a hardcore level effort into containing or eliminating the gear’s potent effects before wearing it. And the low threshold of those effects taking place, is demonstrative of that raid or die mentality that has existed since Vanilla. But instead, has evolved into all other aspects of the game. /bleh

carthoris
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carthoris

Gotcha, thanks. I thought you meant gear people use to grief other players not gear that griefs you. I remember reading a little about it and thinking it looked great on paper but would probably just further divide players between “raids/m+ constantly with full active guild” and “worthless pleb”. Sounds like they really bungled the implementation at any rate.

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Oleg Chebeneev

Naysayers being predicting its doom for 14 years now. And WoW is still alive and kicking, staying the most popular sub based MMO with millions of players. So, I guess, Blizzard is doing something right.

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Utakata

Troll away all you like, as I’ve already counted the 14 years knowing of high probability you would show up to spew out your counter-nonsense. The warning here, if you care to have listened , is that they’re blowing through all their merits as I’ve outlined. That’s not something they’ve really done until more recently.

And sure they could survive through all this, the way EA seems to have survived through all their years of shenanigans…but the WoW may not be the same quality of game that many of us have come to recognize. That’s something you can’t dismiss on a whim or a disingenuous apologetic. /shrug

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Bannex

But he’s not wrong

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Utakata

But I am not wrong either. So pick your poison I guess.

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Oleg Chebeneev

What merits? They are seeking for ways to entertain players like they always did. Some ideas worked, some didnt. And they listen to their players.

Also “WoW may not be the same quality of game that many of us have come to recognize” is the same old “grass was greener” bullshit argument. Quality of modern WoW is miles better than vanilla. The only thing where vanilla shined was sense of community.
And Ive played vanilla probably more than anyone on MOP

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Loopy

In my opinion, retail WoW is a superior video game overall than what vanilla was or Classic is. However, i believe that vanilla/classic are superior MMORPGs.

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Oleg Chebeneev

Fair enough. Vanilla undoubtly felt more like traditional MMO. But MMOs in general changed alot now. Many of them turn into “service” type games instead of “community” type games. Meaning MMOs try to appeal to everyone and offer averything for every taste. With short doses of entertainment. Many modern MMOs are like that, Lost Ark being good example.

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Utakata

That’s your personal opinion though. Others would very much beg to differ. So at best their opinions are no better than yours, lol.

…as to answer your question, the merits I already outlined in the OP. Which also included your position on Classic. So at least, we’re arguing about the same thing.

As for anything else, I’ll let you think whatever you want to think about it and move on. I have better things to do. So thanks for your time.