WoW loses another 1.1 million subs.

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#1 Edited by RedRoach (1191 posts) -

And the behemoth finally drops below 10 million, coming in at 9.1 million active subscribers. I know a lot of people are just going to jump on the "All MMO's are dying" train but there's more to this than just MMO's aren't popular anymore.

Cataclysm was a bad expansion. First of all, the most basic content was very difficult in the beginning which lead to a ton of people quitting. But more importantly there's not a lot to do. Cataclysm consistently had a lack of content. They focused too much on revamping the 1-60 quest zones and didn't put a lot of work into new things to do in the end game. If you didn't want to make a new character there just wasn't much to do.

It's gotten much worse in the past few months though. There hasn't been any new content since late November when patch 4.3 released. All of the hardcore raiders are done the the latest raid instances and PVP'ers have every piece of gear they can get. This dead period with nothing to do has been going on for a really, really long time now. Without any content there's no reason to keep playing.

I suspect MoP will bring back a ton of subs though. The new expansion is the largest ever, it's amazing how much new stuff there is to do. You have the basic stuff, 16 new raid bosses which is what most people care about, as well as challenge mode dungeons, new heroics, a full on Harvest Moon side game, a full on Pokemon side game, a new race and class, a bunch more stuff that will keep people around better than Cataclysm did, which really only had Raids.

EDIT: I just looked at a chart showing subscription rates. WoW has been slowly declining since the start of 2011, which is soon after Cataclysm Launched. Q2 of 2012 has a this massive 1.1 million drop of, further showing that this dead period really is what lead to so many people cancelling subs.

#2 Posted by Rorie (2857 posts) -

Yeah, as a tank who mostly pugged, the Cata dungeons were ridiculously unfun for me. Even the normals felt harder than the Wrath heroics, and expecting people to actually CC and stuff was beyond the pale for most pug players. I did enjoy the revamped content, though.

I doubt I'll resub for pandas. I'd rather F2P SW:TOR than pay 15/month for more WoW.

Staff
#3 Posted by Irvandus (2876 posts) -

The rate that they roll out content is also unacceptable and I've felt this way since Wrath. Man does time in between expansions just bite. What where they thinking announcing that they weren't going to do anything until the release of Mists.

#4 Posted by ZeForgotten (10397 posts) -

I wonder what happens when Mists of Pandaria actually comes out (and everyone and their mothers aren't just getting beta invites) 

#5 Posted by Marcelloz (118 posts) -

What is your source?

#6 Posted by RedRoach (1191 posts) -

@Rorie said:

Yeah, as a tank who mostly pugged, the Cata dungeons were ridiculously unfun for me. Even the normals felt harder than the Wrath heroics, and expecting people to actually CC and stuff was beyond the pale for most pug players. I did enjoy the revamped content, though.

I doubt I'll resub for pandas. I'd rather F2P SW:TOR than pay 15/month for more WoW.

Yeah, the first month was pretty brutal. but Blizz quickly went back to the Wrath way of easier 5-mans in the first patch. And after playing the MoP beta I can say that it's much easier than Cata was.

#7 Posted by OllyOxenFree (4970 posts) -

lol MMOs.

#8 Posted by RedRoach (1191 posts) -

@Marcelloz: forgot about that, here it is. Activision announced it on it's still ongoing investors call.

#9 Edited by Irvandus (2876 posts) -

@RedRoach: Which in turn alienated the few people that liked the super hard stuff. They're in a sucky position where their audience is so large and varied that no matter what they do they're screwing themselves over.

On a side not, it's hysterical that Skylanders beat out Diablo.

#10 Posted by DrDarkStryfe (1106 posts) -

A good chunk of them will come back for Mists, it is just the cycle. That said, a game that came out in 2004 still has over nine million people paying to play it. That is incredible.

#11 Posted by believer258 (11785 posts) -

World of Warcraft is a monster that will have to die on its own; subs will probably keep dropping. Though, whether this game will actually be laid to rest or not anytime in the next few years is doubtful. I doubt it will even be laid to rest by the end of this decade. Shoot, I would be impressed but not surprised if it was still kicking around in 2030.

#12 Posted by Irvandus (2876 posts) -

@believer258: With Everquest still kicking around and assuming the servers don't get turned down I can easily see it still going.

#13 Posted by CaLe (3954 posts) -

It's because I quit that the whole of Azeroth just seemed dead and everyone else felt lonely without me being there. I'm sure this is the reason.

Online
#14 Posted by RedRoach (1191 posts) -

@Irvandus: The people who want super hard content is surprisingly small. The hardcore raiding community who go for 25 man Heroics (the hardest content) makes up for 1% of the total WoW community. The hard raids are still there in MoP. But it's good to have the easier content in 5-mans that everyone can get into.

#15 Posted by TaliciaDragonsong (8698 posts) -

There's no content. Nothing, nada.
They've left it dead in the water and I'm disappointed subs didn't go any lower because they're still making money sleeping!
 
Sure Pandaland might be cool again, but WoW is bleeding dry and the only thing that can keep it alive is very very frequent updates and such because there's basically nothing to do.
There's people who have done everything the game has to offer by now, that's just silly in a MMO.
 
Oh and I must say I dislike the way you phrase your sentences.
You thought Cataclysm was a bad expansion, its not fact.

#16 Posted by Irvandus (2876 posts) -

@RedRoach: Didn't know that, still you have people that don't actually do that content that think it should be extremely difficult. I'm not one of them but I knew people that used to play that had that stance. Their major issue though is the pure lack of content after an expansion launches. The updates don't need to be insanely frequent but how about 5 months in between throughout the entire expansion instead of just 3 updates and then more than a year of nothing but balance changes and small stuff.

#17 Posted by FateOfNever (1829 posts) -

The problem with no content for about a year is that people complained a lot about them having content in that year or so lead up to the next expansion. Naxx and Sunwell weren't ran much at all because they launched and then before most people even cleared the content the next expansion was out and there was no reason to even touch Naxx or Sunwell anymore. Now, part of that problem comes from the absurd inflation of numbers on gear between expansions, but, it's also not profitable for them to spend X amount of time building content that most people won't even run, or, won't get whatever the "standard life of content" is out of it. It's why in Wrath Icecrown was the only end game content for a(lmost?) a full year.

9.1 million subscribers is still a fucking lot though. I'll be curious to see how numbers spike with Mists of Pandaria though and then how they fall back down (how fast and to what number.)

#18 Posted by Irvandus (2876 posts) -

@FateOfNever: It doesn't have to be raids, maybe some new 5 mans, just something. Its ridiculous to pay 15 dollars a month and not get new content for over a year. Mine as well quit and wait for the expansion, would be cheaper and you honestly wouldn't miss out on a thing. Other than guild mates and stuff like that of course but hell it's the internet, not hard to stay in contact with people.

#19 Posted by RE_Player1 (7558 posts) -

Well I just subbed after being gone for a year due to the upcoming expansion. I bet many others will hop back on in September.

#20 Posted by ShadowConqueror (3050 posts) -

I'm sure there will be a resurgence when MoP comes out.

#21 Posted by HH (609 posts) -
#22 Posted by DiscoGobbo (35 posts) -

I honestly quite enjoyed the higher initial difficulty of Cataclysm's 5 mans, but obviously in non-pug situations. I think the problem is that Blizzard backed themselves into a corner in Wrath by letting the player base become accustomed to going into heroic 5 mans almost right after hitting the cap. There was the expectation of that just being what you did once you finished leveling, and normal mode 80 (and later 85) dungeons were almost vestigial content. The initial Cataclysm heroics felt heroic, they were a challenge and required you to gear up a bit in the previous tier of content. You know, how these games are supposed to work, or at least, used to. There's supposed to be a sense of progression.

I realize this stance is as antiquated as normal mode dungeons, but I'm still excited for Mists. The dungeon challenge modes seem to be right up my alley and Blizzard seems to have learned their lesson in regards to giving players something to do besides raid.

And, frankly, I'd rather pay 15/month for WoW than a F2P TOR.

#23 Posted by Kidavenger (3530 posts) -

@RedRoach said:

It's gotten much worse in the past few months though. There hasn't been any new content since late November when patch 4.3 released.

The same thing happened at the end of BC and WotLK; Icecrown Citidael opened up a full year before Cataclysm released.

I quit long before Cataclysm came out but I did come back for it for all of a week, it was the first expansion that just felt like 100% more of the same crap with nothing new or exciting, I really doubt I'll ever get back into WoW even if it was free.

#24 Posted by stinky (1544 posts) -

i remember when cataclysm was bad because it was so easy.

#25 Posted by FateOfNever (1829 posts) -

@Irvandus: Except that unless the 5 mans are an increase in difficulty over the raids and offer better gear than the raids, they won't get ran. It's like with Ruby Sanctum, that raid saw virtually no activity because the gear wasn't better than Icecrown and it was so short that it was consumed in just a couple of weeks. 5-man dungeons don't do anything for the population that's already cleared all the raid content and are done with it/have it on farm. It also detracts the developers from making actual meaningful content. 5-man dungeons that serve no gear or progression purpose aren't meaningful to the general population, so why spend hundreds of man hours making a couple of 5-mans that no one will be interested in? How is that conductive to them? They honestly make more money just letting people get bored and drop their subscription until the next expansion comes around.

#26 Edited by Irvandus (2876 posts) -

@Kidavenger said:

@RedRoach said:

It's gotten much worse in the past few months though. There hasn't been any new content since late November when patch 4.3 released.

The same thing happened at the end of BC and WotLK; Icecrown Citidael opened up a full year before Cataclysm released.

I quit long before Cataclysm came out but I did come back for it for all of a week, it was the first expansion that just felt like 100% more of the same crap with nothing new or exciting, I really doubt I'll ever get back into WoW even if it was free.

But they released that dragon thing as hold over content. Their was also some grindy stuff, I think. Not sure that was a long time ago. The difference this time is that their is no hold over content.

@FateOfNever: I see your point and honestly I have no clue how much it costs them to throw some content of any kind out. I guess it would have to be a full on raid and not a small one like ruby sanctum or 5 mans. They honestly should just plan more post launch content before. Then their is the issue of people that don't do it because the next expansions coming it. It's a really terrible situation and I don't know what the solution is.

#27 Posted by Clonedzero (4200 posts) -

my brothers still pretty hardcore into WoW. he keeps saying he wont play the panda expansion cus its stupid looking, but theres no way he doesnt play it lol

#28 Posted by PenguinDust (12491 posts) -

Nothing lasts forever. So, when are we guessing for the F2P transition? I say fall 2013.

#29 Posted by DrDarkStryfe (1106 posts) -

Blizzard will not even entertain the thought of a Free to Play model for WoW until their next MMO launches.

#30 Edited by Marcelloz (118 posts) -

Well, a lot will come back after the summer olympics and when they finally beat D3 on Inferno. But before that happens, they will lose a lot more in Q3 I'm afraid and win a lot back in Q4 when the panda's appear.

#31 Posted by Dixavd (1343 posts) -

I don't play WoW (and never have) but I do follow lots of people who talk about it and see quite a lot of discussions around it. And I am quite surprised how peoples opinions of Cataclysm has changed dramatically now. I remember when the most vocal people were the ones being annoyed everytime they "nerfed" something. And yet the discussions I see now are of people saying it was/is too difficult. I wonder if the massive amounts of people who were happy with the difficulty are ok with it now that Blizzard has stopped doing massive changes to the difficulty of the game (and are simply not going into discussions about it, they have become the silent group who are just happy playing the game and not looking up threads to talk about what they don't like aout it). Or if Blizzard has actually lost the ball and they have either let the difficulty inconsistancies get worse or that those groups of people who hated it every tie the game was made easier now actually aren't enjoying the tougher difficulty (maybe the expansion has finally lost its "new" feeling for them and the difficulty is no longer a novelty).

Or maybe the group that wanted it to be harder simply left when they saw Blizzard wasn't listening, and now Blizzard hasn't gone far enough for those that stayed and hoped they would continue to make it easier.

Watching this as an outsider has been quite interesting.

#32 Posted by FateOfNever (1829 posts) -

@Irvandus said:

@FateOfNever: I see your point and honestly I have no clue how much it costs them to throw some content of any kind out. I guess it would have to be a full on raid and not a small one like ruby sanctum or 5 mans. They honestly should just plan more post launch content before. Then their is the issue of people that don't do it because the next expansions coming it. It's a really terrible situation and I don't know what the solution is.

Yeah, it's a really tough, practically "no win" situation for Blizzard to be in. I mean, they're still rolling in the money at 9.1 million subscribers, but, it's not easy either, the calls they have to make. I think that's why they went out of their way in Mists to try and introduce more things that aren't so dependent upon them creating content and it's something that I think EVE made the right call on. It's good enough to have content that the developer puts out, but the rate at which players consume that content is ravenous compared to how fast it can be made. Which is where player made or player ran content goes a long way. Whether or not any of it that's being implemented in WoW will actually work, no idea, but I imagine that's their intent behind it.

#33 Posted by AlexW00d (6234 posts) -

For an 8 year old game, 9 million subs is still pretty decent tbf.

#34 Posted by Snail (8594 posts) -

@RedRoach said:

The new expansion is the largest ever, it's amazing how much new stuff there is to do. You have the basic stuff, 16 new raid bosses which is what most people care about, as well as challenge mode dungeons, new heroics, a full on Harvest Moon side game, a full on Pokemon side game...

Wait, what? I can imagine how a Harvest Moon kind of gameplay could get incorporated into WoW as a minigame I guess, but Pokémon? What?

What?

#35 Posted by DrDarkStryfe (1106 posts) -

@Snail: Pet Battles, and it is pretty involved.

#36 Posted by Sayishere (1840 posts) -

As a swtor player, I actually quit and went back to wow, and t be honest you forget how polished wow was and is. There's more content in the game due to how old it is, and things like the achievement system help to give things to do. But I do agree, there comes diminishing returns, especially if you don't roll alts. I play quite casually these days so it doesn't bother me, but this expansion looks downright amazing at this point.

#37 Posted by jakob187 (21663 posts) -

They put out content. The content just sucked. I sat and watched people blow through those dungeons and raids like they were cake.

They turned WoW into exactly what we all knew it would become: the lowest common denominator of MMOs. I quit playing Cataclysm two weeks in because it was boring as shit.

I don't understand all this stuff about it being "hard" though. Every single thing I watched people run here at the store seemed like cakewalks and handouts, and every person that I know who has played through the endgame of it has said "that shit is too easy".

#38 Edited by BabyChooChoo (4386 posts) -

I'll come back for MoP since it looks really fun, but I'm not sure how long I'll stick around. Blizzard takes their sweet ass time with content releases assuming they release anything at all which they haven't done in almost a year. LFR almost made raiding tolerable for people like me, but it quickly became a fucking nightmare considering every fucking person will roll for every fucking thing they can even if they don't need it.

The one thing I actually found enjoyment in, collecting transmog gear, now makes me want to rip out my hair. I honestly, truly found it fun for a while, but the grinding involved just wore down my spirits. I mean wtf, why not just take all the old dungeons and raids no one does anymore and bump up the drop rates to 100%, removes the gold drops, and make all the items worthless so no one can farm them over and over. Or better yet, why not just add a vendor who sells a bunch of old gear and remove all the stats from the items or something. Anything will fucking do for me at this point. I spent 2-3 fucking months trying to get Despair to drop from the shitty Romulo and Julianne event in the shitty opera house in shitty Karazhan. It was fun the first 2 attempts. After that, I was just mad the entire time. Mad at myself for wasting time and mad after the fact because the motherfucker still didn't drop.

See? I was really into something as simple and dumb as transmogging, but Blizzard found a way to fuck that up.

...what were we talking about again?

Online
#39 Posted by Renahzor (991 posts) -

@Irvandus: I think the main point is there is always a lull in content now between last content patch and new expansion because they learned the lesson from TBC and Wrath. The content they release within 6-10 months of a new expansion will never get run in a fashion that anyone will be happy with. Naxxramas saw so little participation they've re-instated it in Wrath as a new raid because almost no one saw it in original format. Sunwell was similar, it was difficult enough that only the top guilds went through to finish of their 8 piece sets.

With Raid finder perhaps they'll be able to run that stuff up a little closer to the next expansion, but you really have to ask if anyone cares at all. Blizzard knows they'll get a huge sub bump when the new expack launches, the cost of developing, itemizing, and launching a new raid zone is probably more than they lost in sub fees for a few months toward the end of the content cycle. Players know whatever they earn right now is meaningless, weather its new or not, because the expansion obsoletes and resets everything, so why bother?

#40 Posted by Gaff (1711 posts) -

Not to dump on this supposed funeral of WoW, but... There's still 9 MILLION subscribers left for a game that's almost 8 years old now. 9 Million. That pay their subscription. Every month.

@PenguinDust said:

Nothing lasts forever. So, when are we guessing for the F2P transition? I say fall 2013.

Ok, 2525 might be exaggerating, but I'm going to say 2016.

#41 Posted by Snail (8594 posts) -

@DrDarkStryfe: But you can only have one pet right? As opposed to a party of oh say, six.

#42 Posted by Irvandus (2876 posts) -

@Snail said:

@DrDarkStryfe: But you can only have one pet right? As opposed to a party of oh say, six.

You have a party of 3

#43 Posted by doosmacleod (187 posts) -

How many people actually play, though? I know a lot of people (including myself) keep their subscription in case there's a resurgence in old friends coming back (something that I wish I could do for Anarchy Online, but I find it far, far, far less likely in that case. Frown emoticon.) How many of that 9 million remaining are people who are just waiting for old friends or new content?

Because, holy shit, November 29, 2011.

Online
#44 Posted by Renahzor (991 posts) -

@jakob187: Heroic Dragon Soul/Firelands/BWD/BoT may not be as hard as say.... Original pre-patch Vaelztraz(BWL), Twin Emperors, Viscidus, Pre-nerf Gruul, Mu'ru, Heroic LK, Yogg +4, etc, but its plenty damn hard for most groups to accomplish.Most of us will never see the really hard implementations of a raid anyhow, they gradually come down in difficulty after the first kills. Plus I think Heroic 10m Omnitron was incredibly difficult at launch, and heroic Halfus required some goofy raid stacking to make it easy enough for most people. Many of the fights are on par with some of the hardest put in game, at least within the window they're meant to be hard, though yogg +4 while relevant probably still stands as the hardest ever.

The 5 man Cata heroics were a lot harder than Wrath heroics because people forgot how to actually use their classes, since wrath 5 mans were so easy and cata 5 man heroics needed CC etc.

#45 Posted by phil87z (20 posts) -

I quit before the first major content patch of Cata. All in all Cata was a huge appointment. I feel heavily into the MMO lifestyle during Wrath, and in my opinion that was their best expansion. I dinged to 85 and really questioned what I was about to get myself into. The thought of grinding heroics, and then raiding just seemed like such a chore. I made some big time life changes right around the time I quit WoW, so maybe it was a lack of time but I must say that the expansion felt rushed and lacking in any real substance. I'm really curious to see how MoP does, a lot of my friends have said they will never go back, but any time Blizzard releases a game people always flock back.

If WoW is going to continue on for years I really think some sort of free to play model will be introduced. But that's just my opinion.

#46 Posted by phrali (646 posts) -

they still have close to ten million subs. Thats bigger than many countries in the world. Just saying

#47 Posted by ajamafalous (11957 posts) -
@Irvandus said:

On a side not, it's hysterical that Skylanders beat out Diablo.

If I'm reading that correctly that's just at retail.
#48 Posted by doosmacleod (187 posts) -

@phil87z:

I think the problem with Cataclysm was that a majority of the retained fanbase (which was most of the MMORPG community in and of itself) was ready for a post-Wrath World of Warcraft. And while that was provided, to an extent, most of Blizzard's attention went to pre-Wrath World of Warcraft. The changes they made to the levelling system questing/dungeons/etc was expansive and quite phenomenal, but the endgame, and what could be considered their most vocal supporters, had to receive less attention.

Was this a mistake on Blizzard's part? I kind of doubt it. If the goal is to make a game with a persistent world, maintaining the early 2000s-era MMORPG levelling philosophy -- which involves INSANE grinding -- will ultimately fail. The changes they made to the lower-level stuff were absolutely necessary, and I guess they had to sacrifice their endgame crowd, in the chance that, at some point down the road, some friends might get together and go "Hey man! Remember WoW? Want to play it again for old times' sake?"

(However! I think there is an awful, dreadful flaw in making every content patch render the previous patches more and more irrelevant. That was always my concern with WoW development philosophies)

Online
#49 Posted by DrDarkStryfe (1106 posts) -

They bundled in the figures when they talked about Skylanders being the number one title this year so far.

#50 Posted by GS_Dan (1403 posts) -

I found it surprising to learn that the only MMO to have had a constant rise in active players is EVE. It's nowhere near WoW numbers, but it's still a success.

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