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. Sileh's Avatar
    And another yawn inducing Daily Blink, makes you wonder if they ever make a funny one.
  1. Sinuviel's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Vasz View Post
    So with the fact that we have had no new major raid content in 5 months, and Rift is new and exciting to a lot of players, any wonder with the big drop in subs?
    Although it seems they only think Cataclysm has been out 4 months?? "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"
    They don't 'think' Cata has been out for 4 months, the numbers pulled date back from 1st of March, when Cata actually WAS out for 4 months.

    People concluding the game is not balanced and therefore people are leaving should try some others recent MMO's and demonstrate which ones are balanced. From what I understand, balance wasn't something the Rift developers were even going for. I would imagine some complaints on flavor of the month classes for that game too. And I'm positive a lot of other games will have the same issue. Class balance in WoW is constantly being tweaked on a very small scale, because it is not a huge imbalance in any way. And any imbalance there is, usually gets addressed quite fast.

    A 600k drop in subscribers comes from people that have seen what there is to be seen (all quests, zones, dungeons) and concluding they either cannot be bothered to raid because of difficulty constraints, or just out of boredom because they have been playing this game for 5 years and can finally distinguish the addictive pattern it creates. New expansion, delete old gear, gather quest greenies that are superior to your overpowered and hardearned epics, quest/dungeon to max level, start gearing up again. Only 600k people growing bored of this and probably still returning when a 4.1 patch drops, or 4.2 arrives, is still good business.

    The sky will fall when the drop Blizzard sees is round about 3-4 million players, and a patch failing to return half of those to the game to check it out. Even then, WoW would still be the biggest MMO out there. Perspective, all you doomsayers should get it
  1. Rioo's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by xHypnotoad View Post
    TBH it shows through how Devs have been treating the expansion. 75% of the Q&A answers were "This is something we don't currently have planned, but would like to work on in the future". I among many WoW players are just tired of the course Blizzard has been taking so far, relying on carrot on a stick gimmicks to keep people paying for extended periods of time. A great example would be the concept of splitting 4.1 into two major content patches since troll dungeons were ready long before Firelands was finished, but spent weeks on PTR while many features were implemented and prolonged the PTR for around a month and a half.

    tl;dr
    Though there certainly is a downtime going on, Blizzard's new game plan for Cataclysm hasn't been working as they hoped.
    So true. All they talk about is how they would like to implement these awesome ideas, but either don't want to do it mid-expansion (lol we're not even past the first tier), or they don't have the technology (aka programming skills or want to prioritize it over say creating NPCs named after themselves), to do it.
  1. Theoron's Avatar
    Can't wait to see more on D3. Really anxious to play it for myself. Great news there, too bad about the subscription loss, but honestly, they still have a LOT of subscriptions and where some people leave, others join, certainly nothing to place too huge an impact on anything.
  1. Lotte's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Mikrotaster View Post
    get your facts straight, yes there are more people raiding 10 man, however about 50 kills on sinestra compared to 160 25 man kills, so please do some research before you start moaning about difficulty. 10 man raids have from the beginning been overtuned and just now over the past month or two been "nerfed" and actually have become doable on 10 man.
    lol... what?... Go ahead and take a look at heroic Al'akir 10-man kills compared to heroic Al'akir 25-man kills, bub. The point is that 10s and 25s will never, ever be equal in difficulty and it was really stupid of Blizzard to actually decide share loot and achievements between the two.
  1. KevyB's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Brogdan View Post
    content lull like right now.
    Somebody learned a new word, how cute
  1. Sicom's Avatar
    I went to cancel my account and had to fill out a survey of pre-made selections.

    Where was the option for, "I'm just bored."?

    WoW has become increasingly less fun the past couple of years. It's just burnout. Cataclysm is fantastic, but no amount of content can make an old game new again.
  1. Oztiks's Avatar
    Its absolutely no suprise to me to see these numbers of decline....I dont have the time to be a hardcore raider like i was in BC, LK you could pug almost all the content, and Cata, well, there's no room for errors in raiding. So unless you raid, there really isnt too much to do outside of Arenas. I loved LK content and played through the entire expansion as a casual player. But now the game is so limited...that is why I cancelled my sub 4 weeks ago. And to hear Legendaries to keep going to the raider....hmmmm....nope still dont feel like playing again lol.
  1. Ooldoong's Avatar
    hehe, the more I think of it, the more they made archeology in WoW a lot like RL.

    - Fly around to potential places. During flight, you do something else not archeology related (I watch online TV, go work out, chores, etc.)
    - Employ the use of cheap 3rd world labor to dig for your old sticks. (Archeology bots)
    - Tell some guy you have a lot of old sticks, and he'll give you a shiny object.
    - Rinse and Repeat

    Like Archeology, smart people pay someone else to do the work for them, and claim it as their own.

    Archeology failed because people expected it to be more Indiana Jones type stuff and it turned out to be the worst profession you could ever design. I mean, you don't even play WoW 95% of the time. You're in flight, fly to the spot, put out your finder a few times, and you're done. Then fly back to the flight point, send your character to another place, and alt-tab to something else.

    hehe, it's like Blizz designed a profession telling you to do something else instead of playing their game.

    A bit of a tangent, but it's little things like this that make Cata a fairly weak expansion so far.

    Another example... I've enjoyed getting, and using, the engineering toys from TBC than I ever have with the Cata ones. Loot-a-Fail-Rang and Interrupt-Your-Own-DPS-Bolt-Gun were the two toys that were conceptually interesting, but poorly implemented.

    I mean, it's just a lot of little things they just didn't bother to touch on with this x-pack. I know, I know, a lot of old areas were redone, and yes, that's a ton of work, but it's stuff that is extremely low on my 'sounds like fun' list. I've flown over all those places, and I'd have to reroll several newbies to experience those zones. It's just not something I'm interested in when I've leveled up like 12 lvl 80+ characters.

    Updating the zones to redo them so it's exciting for new players was a good idea, but the end game, which is where pretty much everyone is at in an old game, tends to be the more important thing to focus on, and they didn't do a solid job of it.

    Firelands so far looks pretty standard.

    The devs are incredibly excited about offering guild members a pet for getting the new legendary since no other legendary had done it. Is it really that big of a deal to do that? Seems like a pretty small thing to get excited about. Like their expectations are super low or something.
  1. Inexxa's Avatar
    Well my 25m 8/13 HM guild died last night due to people bored and quitting, no doubt it's the same on a lot of other servers.

    Now to find another guild -.-
  1. Xaroc's Avatar
    Well im one of the 600k :P and dont plan on going back, become happy for my freedom and not 4 hours planned almost every night.
    warrior with 3 legendary and close to 900k gold just thrown in the corner to rott :P
  1. Aekero's Avatar
    Hmmm the way this article is written (and the way Blizzard is speaking), it feels like they think people went through the content too fast... Yet the first tier wotlk raid content was waaaay easier than first tier of cataclysm, if anything, Cataclysm lost subs because they decided not to cater to casuals as much.

    Heroic 5s were pretty challenging, normal raids were pretty challenging, I got through them but trolling the forums I saw sooo many people getting discouraged and quitting, imo they toned stuff down too late. Most of the people trash talking the casuals couldn't handle heroic difficulty, yet they were worried about normal getting too easy. Also I had to laugh when Blizzard said stuff like "hey if heroics and raids are too hard just play normals!" (number of normal level 85 dungeons at the time: 3) Then they wonder why people got fed up and bailed.

    I myself made it through all the heroics + normal difficulty levels, I'll admit I'm not hardcore enough for heroic raids but I had a good time of it... I've also been to plenty of Blizzcons, met a lot of the average WoW players, who enjoy the game for the social aspects as much as the game itself. That doesn't mean they don't want to raid, but I, as a guy in his 20's who has played a shitload of video games, raided a ton etc found normal difficulty raids right at about the level I wanted.... Now what about the 90% of people who have less experience/time/bananas/w/e than me... tough cookies?

    The fact that they said in Wotlk "hey we more people to actually see the raids, because they really are cool content and they progress the story" then they turned around and said "hey play those three normal difficulty dungeons" in Cataclysm made no sense.

    People want to be able to enjoy content, including raids. Look at Wotlk, plenty of subs with easier content, the more people who can enjoy bottom tier the better. I say put in another difficulty level (easy) and we'd be in a good place. Let casuals play casually and drop the "hey we can be hardcore too!" attitude Blizz, that isn't what got you where you are now.
  1. dahmer's Avatar
    PUBLIC BETA!!!!!!!! *happy dance*
    Don't care what the rest is about, fucking public D3 beta Q3 this year *goes back to happydance*
  1. malletin's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Ooldoong View Post
    lull? Isn't 4.2 suppose to be basically done? 4.1 content was suppose to be a piece of the bigger 4.2 Firelands. If they wanted to end a lull (or loll) they could have launched 4.2 sooner if players are consuming it faster than expected.

    I think most could tell that by how the 4.1 patch went that 4.2 wasn't even close to being ready. With 4.1 introducing a whole new set of fail, in terms of bugs and game issues, I cringed at thinking of what a bigger 4.2 patch would have done to WoW.

    Consuming the content too fast may have some truth, but I honestly think it's only a small part of the real reasons 600k people left. A few little things aren't a big deal, but as more and more little things pop up, and give reason to not play, it's only a matter of time before it's too much and people "need a break".

    Blizzard not doing something about this lull means they don't have the people on the WoW team to get rid of it, especially when they have to consider the timing of the launching of all their expansions and new products. They could end a small lull now, or prevent a bigger subscription loss later when a new game comes out.

    hehe, gotta love how people try to put their spin on the situation.

    Edit: hehe, the 600k could have been from them banning all those folks running that archeology macro.
    there are still unfinished dailies, bugs that prevent further daily testing and the firelands raid is not even open yet so its still gonna be atleast a month before its on live.
  1. Beasty's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Oztiks View Post
    Its absolutely no suprise to me to see these numbers of decline....I dont have the time to be a hardcore raider like i was in BC, LK you could pug almost all the content, and Cata, well, there's no room for errors in raiding. So unless you raid, there really isnt too much to do outside of Arenas. I loved LK content and played through the entire expansion as a casual player. But now the game is so limited...that is why I cancelled my sub 4 weeks ago. And to hear Legendaries to keep going to the raider....hmmmm....nope still dont feel like playing again lol.
    That's ok because I think they keep more subscribers by only having legendaries in raids than if they weren't
  1. ZyngaFail's Avatar
    So uhm, since they decided they would only release the old subscriber numbers from March 1st, was the drop in subscriber numbers even more appalling in the 2 months following?

    Anyway, for the record I've been unsubbed since a few months before Cataclysm.. and I was in the Cataclysm beta, which did not make me want to resub at all.
  1. Gerti's Avatar
    Guess wow has peaked, interesting how long the trip is down, I'll expect that it will be quite a while. We might see some more dropping of subscriptions but I think wow has a really strong core that will play for some time.
  1. Rocheku's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by avadakedavra View Post
    no prob, after recyling the bc content a lot more than 600k will stop playing.

    Theres nothing special anymore, the major part, the casuals: Mimimi we want everything that a hardcore raider can get.
    The hardcore raider: For what should i spent a lot of "hard work" if i can get everything lot easier.

    My optinion is that warcraft reches the nearly end.
    A community of mimimis and their contraries and a ton of ideas like. Hey that ols s..t is probably to recylce !

    Sry but for me a blizzard fail !
    oh noes! Iz it 2012 yet already?!
  1. ZyngaFail's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Gerti View Post
    Guess wow has peaked, interesting how long the trip is down, I'll expect that it will be quite a while. We might see some more dropping of subscriptions but I think wow has a really strong core that will play for some time.
    *points to thread about Kungen quitting*
  1. Oztiks's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Aekero View Post
    Hmmm the way this article is written (and the way Blizzard is speaking), it feels like they think people went through the content too fast... Yet the first tier wotlk raid content was waaaay easier than first tier of cataclysm, if anything, Cataclysm lost subs because they decided not to cater to casuals as much.

    Heroic 5s were pretty challenging, normal raids were pretty challenging, I got through them but trolling the forums I saw sooo many people getting discouraged and quitting, imo they toned stuff down too late. Most of the people trash talking the casuals couldn't handle heroic difficulty, yet they were worried about normal getting too easy. Also I had to laugh when Blizzard said stuff like "hey if heroics and raids are too hard just play normals!" (number of normal level 85 dungeons at the time: 3) Then they wonder why people got fed up and bailed.

    I myself made it through all the heroics + normal difficulty levels, I'll admit I'm not hardcore enough for heroic raids but I had a good time of it... I've also been to plenty of Blizzcons, met a lot of the average WoW players, who enjoy the game for the social aspects as much as the game itself. That doesn't mean they don't want to raid, but I, as a guy in his 20's who has played a shitload of video games, raided a ton etc found normal difficulty raids right at about the level I wanted.... Now what about the 90% of people who have less experience/time/bananas/w/e than me... tough cookies?

    The fact that they said in Wotlk "hey we more people to actually see the raids, because they really are cool content and they progress the story" then they turned around and said "hey play those three normal difficulty dungeons" in Cataclysm made no sense.

    People want to be able to enjoy content, including raids. Look at Wotlk, plenty of subs with easier content, the more people who can enjoy bottom tier the better. I say put in another difficulty level (easy) and we'd be in a good place. Let casuals play casually and drop the "hey we can be hardcore too!" attitude Blizz, that isn't what got you where you are now.
    Well spoken mate....the whole point Blizzard made in LK was to separate casuals from hardcore with normal and heroic raids. That was SOOO perfect for my style. I still got to see end game content and it kept me going. But with Cata it's near impossible for me to do this. Even the heroic dungeons are a wipefest (noob tanks and healers now electing the queue made it even harder and longer to complete). With casuals making up over half of the subscriber base I think Ghostcrawler got lost in his world of gaming and lost the focus that made LK so great to all types of players.

Site Navigation