MMO-Champion - WoW Loses 600k Subscribers, Diablo 3 Beta Q3 2011, Arena Passe, Blue Posts
WoW Lost 600k Subscribers, down to 11.4M
Activision Blizzard's earning call was today and we learned, among other things, that the WoW playerbase is down to 11.4M players. That's 5% less than before the expansion and it seems that players went through the Cataclysm content faster than expected.

Blizzard also promised faster release of new content and expansions during the call.

From Curse.com
During today's Activision Blizzard earnings call, World of Warcraft and its expansion Cataclysm were two very hot topics. Listeners asked a number of questions related to the game, more than any other title or franchise in the publisher's stable.

Of note, World of Warcraft's subscriber base has reached pre-Cataclysm levels, according to Mike Morhaime, CEO of Blizzard Entertainment. He then later stated an actual number, with subscriptions at the end of March clocking in at right around 11.4 million.

That's down by about 5% from the announced 12 million mark late last year. Interestingly enough, that was right before Cataclysm released. In fact, it's actually lower than the milestone reached in 2008 with the release of Wrath of the Lich King.

But one important thing to point out, and Mr. Morhaime touched on this as well, is that World of Warcraft's subscriber base does not change linearly. It fluctuates based on content consumption, which players seem to be doing a whole lot of -- at a more rapid pace -- with Cataclysm. "Subscriber levels have decreased faster than previous expansions," he said.

Surprising? Not really. We have to remember that when these numbers were pulled, Cataclysm was in a bit of a lull. The expansion had been out for close to four months, and most of its content had been consumed by a large percentage of the player base -- aside from heroic raids.



Diablo 3 Public Beta in Q3 2011
The 2nd big interesting thing from the earning call was the announcement of Diablo 3's public beta in Q3 2011, it looks like the summer will be busy between Patch 4.2 and Diablo 3 ... For more Diablo related news, head to Diablofans.com.
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
The 3rd quarter reference in the earning's call today was a calendar quarter, meaning that we're aiming to launch the Diablo III beta between July 1st and September 30th. Keep in mind that it's our current goal, and of course that can change as development continues.

2011 Arena Pass: Phases
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
The 2011 Arena Pass is split into several different phases. To help you gain a more detailed understanding of how this year’s Arena Pass will unfold, you can find an explanation of the different phases in this article. You can also find out which matches are counted towards receiving a pet or title!

Registration Phase
4 May – 21 June (9pm CEST)
During this period you can register for the European 2011 Arena Pass Service. Registration will be closed outside of these dates.

Practice Phase
11 May – 8 June
During this period you will be able to enjoy the Arena Pass Realm and practice your setup with your friends. Matches played during this phase will not count towards the pet and title prizes.

Ranked Ladder Phase 1
8 June– 22 June
All Arena Rating points will be set to zero when this phase begins. Ranked 3v3 matches played during this phase will count towards the pet and title prizes. If a player switches from one Arena Team to another, the Arena Team that the player joins will have their Arena Rating reduced by 150 points.

Ranked Ladder Phase 2
22 June – 4 July (9pm CEST)
Ranked 3v3 matches played during this phase will count towards the pet and title prizes. During the Ranked Ladder Phase 2 of the Arena Pass Service, players cannot switch Arena Teams.

Prize Eligibility
Ranked 3v3 matches that count toward the pet and title prizes will start on 8 June 2011, (once the weekly maintenance has ended) and end 4 July 2011, at 9pm CEST.

Please note that phases begin once weekly maintenance has finished on the dates specified, and end at the beginning of maintenance on the dates specified (unless stated otherwise).

Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Legendary Staff availability
It's actually easier to get started on the path to acquire this legendary; the journey itself is more difficult though. Regardless, players who have cleared the prior tier of raid content are the only ones eligible to begin the quest line -- any player who's part of a group which is capable of accomplishing that probably has a good shot at getting a staff for themselves. (Source)

Legendary Staff - Guild Pet Reward
We're doing something wholly unprecedented in the history of World of Warcraft, by making the acquisition of this Legendary result in a pet for the whole group responsible. Never before has an entire guild been able to acquire any kind of item for helping a member acquire an item or achievement.

We thought that was pretty cool. (Source)

Legendary weapons in 5-man instances?
At least for the foreseeable future, we’re shying away from the model where individuals or five man groups can acquire legendary items, because that could have several possible effects which don't mesh well with our idea of what these items should represent. The items might become common enough that orange becomes the new purple, or so random that the acquisition doesn’t feel particularly good, or we’d have to include a lot of artificial controls on how many of those items end up on a given realm despite a thin veneer of accessibility. Any way you slice it, we think that this would diminish the appeal of these items, and that’s not the way we want to go for now.

We do want the path to getting them to be more than a scavenger hunt though, and we’re continually trying to make the experience of acquiring a legendary weapon more… legendary. We learn as we go. For example, we’re unlikely to ever again do the Molten Core / Black Temple style legendary drops where sometimes you get lucky and more often, you don’t. We think that was really excessively random, and perhaps more importantly, it lost the entire sense of ceremony involved in forging your weapon. To return to the point of discussion that spawned this thread, Dragonwrath is almost the polar opposite of that. Sure, there is a “gated” portion of the quest line, which involves killing Firelands raid bosses, because we want this weapon to be something that a group has to work for and so that nobody is completing their legendary on the first week. But there is also a ton of other content as well: many new quests, legendary-specific raid boss fights, and a great personal challenge which evokes the spirit of those old classic World of Warcraft epic quests. The staff is really awesome in itself, and is rewarding for the whole group which completes it. I think that’s pretty cool, and I hope that those who get the opportunity to pursue the staff feel the same way. (Source)

Legendary items are only for people lucky enough to have a raid!
I'm not sure that you can call being a dedicated raider a matter of luck.

When someone plays a video game, they’re usually faced with a lot of choices. World of Warcraft has a ton of choices, and being part of a guild and choosing to raid is one of the more important choices one makes. World of Warcraft has also had a pretty clear structure of progression for a long time. There’s leveling content; all the quests, dungeons, and events which one can experience as they increase in power toward maximum level. Then, at the level cap, there are some new tiers of content. Top end daily quests, five man dungeons and heroics, battlegrounds, PvP zones and the like. This is all extremely accessible, and (we hope) all players who reach maximum level in World of Warcraft will experience all of it. Then, for the players who choose to pursue the necessary preparations and relationships, there are arenas, rated battlegrounds and raids. Those are the most demanding World of Warcraft experiences available, and we hope that most players will make the choice to take their skills there and see at least some of that content, since there are some very rich experiences to be had.

Raids in particular are intentionally challenging environments, and they are meant to stand up as obstacles to overcome, to reward players who are willing to develop the relationships and coordination with other World of Warcraft players to meet and beat the toughest challenges the game has to offer. They represent achievements to aspire to and we put a lot of time into that content and try to make it rewarding because we want you to want to see it.

Legendary weapons are legendary in part because of lore, and in part because of the grand adventure it is to achieve them. They are intended to represent a goal for an entire guild and raid group, and acquiring such a weapon reflects on the raid and guild as a whole. This helps us keep these items rare, which makes them more exciting and prestigious, which, in turn, allows us to make them more powerful. (Source)

The Daily Blink
I didn't post anything from The Daily Blink in a while and they said I can have my Garfield plush back only if I resume posting. I liked this one a few weeks ago but couldn't post it because of all the Patch 4.2 content, fixed!

This article was originally published in forum thread: WoW Loses 600k Subscribers, Diablo 3 Beta Q3 2011, Arena Passe, Blue Posts started by Boubouille View original post
Comments 453 Comments
  1. Shadamehr's Avatar
    Its not that players went through the Cataclysm content faster than expected. Its that the content wasn't there to begin with. A lot of Cataclysm's development was spent on redesigning level 1 to 60 leveling content. I don't know about the rest of you but I buy expansions expecting to play new content on my main, not to go back and do all the level 1 to 60 areas. I wonder how much more we would have had if they hadn't of done that ? That and putting the A Team on Titan.
  1. Craigadiddle's Avatar
    Good thing I am one of those subscribers quitting due to lackluster content.
    This patch 4.1 didn't even release anything other than the 2 new dungeons really, most was class "balances" yet they are still not balanced at all!
    I'm looking forward to D3, it will be a while though.
  1. BigMakSak's Avatar
    Wow.....that job seems right for me....i fit ALL the requirements
  1. Deployed's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by shadowflay View Post
    If they stopped fucking around with buffing classes and giving them fotm for few months and actually fixing the game they would have some subscribers left
    Prove that the people that have left aren't all the people that want desperately easy Heroics, then you'll have a point.


    Quote Originally Posted by Brogdan View Post
    But seriously, this is to be expected during a content lull like right now.
    And if you can prove that the gap between raid tier 1 and raid tier 2 will be longer than what we had to wait for during TBC between tier 2 and 3, and you'll have a point too.


    People trying to associate the fall off to 1 or two things, are wasting their time, because we don't know exactly when or how fast the numbers have dropped, which is the relivance thing we need in order to make an educated guess.

    People making a big deal over a population fall off that may or may not have happened even if NO mistakes were happening from the dev team (6 years is a long time to play a single game guys, remember that), we can't judge those mistakes as being a direct cause either. As people can point out, there have been plenty of historically worse mistakes that haven't caused the same fall off.

    I think the issue here is lack of appeal rather than driving people away. The amount of unique indiviuals that have stopped playing may very well be the same during previous periods, the difference this time is that before, a lot of people came back, and this time, they just can't be bothered.
  1. Purgex's Avatar
    Apparently Blizzard doesn't know that lying to the government is an offence in the USA.
  1. Azrile's Avatar
    This expansion was a bit of an anomaly because so much dev time was spent redoing 1-60 leveling, it made 80-85 too fast. The other things is the devs are making questing much easier for players now with the map overlays. In the past, a lot of quests would take considerably longer because you often wouldn´t know exactly where to go. They also made questing faster with new mechanisms like auto-complete questing and also quest hubs now require less traveling back and forth. All in all, this just make questing faster for us, but still require the same amount of dev time. I was a little disappointed with just how fast I got to éndgame´, which for me is just doing a few dailies and queuing for heroics.
  1. Keosen's Avatar
    I foresee that this thread is gonna fill with mature well structured and constructive posts from fan boys and haters.
  1. Ariyami's Avatar
    Don't worry all the quitters is RP:ers.
  1. Zaryi's Avatar
    WoW only has ~4 million subs in EU/NA and since KN/TW/CN subs are all pre-paid, they really aren't traditional subs. The loss % is, infact, a great deal higher than 5%.
  1. Deployed's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Shadamehr View Post
    Its not that players went through the Cataclysm content faster than expected. Its that the content wasn't there to begin with. A lot of Cataclysm's development was spent on redesigning level 1 to 60 leveling content. I don't know about the rest of you but I buy expansions expecting to play new content on my main, not to go back and do all the level 1 to 60 areas. I wonder how much more we would have had if they hadn't of done that ? That and putting the A Team on Titan.
    Very true, but remember that Wrath's tier 1 was cleared in 24 hours, Cata and TBC both took 5 months, and TBC's was gated.

    Player mentality is the issue. Killing everything on Normal once seems to be enough for them to claim "I've cleared the content" and seem to forget what happened during the previous 2 expansions, which saw bigger lulls and easier content.
  1. Esotaric's Avatar
    11.4m is just the beginning, wait until other MMO kicks in and wait... wait... DIABLO 3
    any bad news about WoW is an indirect good news for D3
    Can't wait for diablo3.
  1. Keosen's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Zaryi View Post
    WoW only has ~4 million subs in EU/NA and since KN/TW/CN subs are all pre-paid, they really aren't traditional subs. The loss % is, infact, a great deal higher than 5%.
    What?.....
  1. LeonardNimoy's Avatar
    Hey I should apply for--- oh, it's fake? *sadface*
  1. kerwyn's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Zaryi View Post
    WoW only has ~4 million subs in EU/NA and since KN/TW/CN subs are all pre-paid, they really aren't traditional subs. The loss % is, infact, a great deal higher than 5%.
    [Citation needed]

    11.4 million is still a fuckton. We may have reached market saturation though. Unfortunately(or, fortunately, depending on your perspective), this means than any WoW-clones coming out soon won't be doing so great.
  1. undercovergnome's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Shadamehr View Post
    Its not that players went through the Cataclysm content faster than expected. Its that the content wasn't there to begin with. A lot of Cataclysm's development was spent on redesigning level 1 to 60 leveling content. I don't know about the rest of you but I buy expansions expecting to play new content on my main, not to go back and do all the level 1 to 60 areas. I wonder how much more we would have had if they hadn't of done that ? That and putting the A Team on Titan.
    they did say months before release that there intention was to re do the old content, and i for one dont mind, its actually nice to do some alts, and the whole world was remodelled

    ---------- Post added 2011-05-10 at 07:32 AM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Craigadiddle View Post
    Good thing I am one of those subscribers quitting due to lackluster content.
    This patch 4.1 didn't even release anything other than the 2 new dungeons really, most was class "balances" yet they are still not balanced at all!
    I'm looking forward to D3, it will be a while though.
    you will be back on wow before diablo dont kid yourself
  1. Saxyplaya3's Avatar
    Has anyone considered that maybe the 5% drop was a result of the end of a semester coming up and people may have decided to devote time to passing their classes? Maybe? Unless the 5% drop kept dropping over 3 or more quarters steadily, I wouldn't pay it any mind to be honest. Though it IS true that players burned through the content very quickly, is that necessarily a bad thing? It gives some people time to focus on other things and let them enjoy the game instead of feeling like it was a second or third job to them.... and someone made a comment about the dual boxers dropping their other accounts, THAT is HIGHLY more likely than people just dropping the game because of a slight lull in pace.
  1. Matik's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Purgex View Post
    Apparently Blizzard doesn't know that lying to the government is an offence in the USA.
    What are you babbling on about?
  1. silendeath's Avatar
    This is simple reason why so many people stopped playing, because 10 man and 25 man is the same difficulty and reward. Its just easier to get 10 competent players to raid than it is to get 25. Sure all the hardcore guilds are still 25 but they never had a problem filling spots. All the middle of the game guilds have a handful of good players and this 10m raiding makes it easier for them to progress. All the players that are getting sat or just not progressing cause all that left is all the bads to group with are just quitting.

    People are progressing through the content much faster now is cause they only need 10 good players and no one to hold them back.
  1. Revrant's Avatar
    Not the end times, just a rejection of Cataclysm paired with people burning through a thinner layer of leveling content, and then looking ahead to see only recycled old world stuff, canceling their subscriptions until the next expansion.
  1. Beasty's Avatar
    So funny people are posting who have allegedly quit, wouldn't you have better things to do now? It seems not, meaning you will be back in a few days or maybe haven't quit at all. Demonstrates this game still has a massive hold on you. Is it really that there was not enough content for these players or that they weren't good enough or didnt want to put the effort in to complete what was left?

Site Navigation