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. Rocheku's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Xaroc View Post
    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
    Freedom? It that how you view it when quitting WoW? You could also just play less.
  1. Cakka's Avatar
    I bet they are gonna have to shut down servers before summers over. At least it's official now, Rift is the new big dog in town.
  1. ZyngaFail's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Rocheku View Post
    Freedom? It that how you view it when quitting WoW? You could also just play less.
    When you are at the point of quitting, you log in only to stare at your toon for 20 seconds and then log out.
  1. Alexious's Avatar
    Finally they understand. The rate at which they have been producing content is incredibly lower than what other developers already do with their MMOs, especially when considered how many more resources Blizzard currently has.

    WoW is definitely going to slightly lose parts of its populations with the upcoming releases ( Star Wars: The Old Republic, The Secret World, Guild Wars 2 etc.), but if they can drastically improve the content production rate then they can avoid going totally downhill, which wouldn't be insane to think if they kept the old rate with all-new games around.
  1. ZyngaFail's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Cakka View Post
    I bet they are gonna have to shut down servers before summers over. At least it's official now, Rift is the new big dog in town.
    Uh I don't think this drop in subscribers has anything to do with Rift. Pretty sure people are just getting bored of the same old rehashed content + no new game mechanics.
  1. Oztiks's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Beasty View Post
    That's ok because I think they keep more subscribers by only having legendaries in raids than if they weren't
    um you missed the point either way and the sarcasm at the end....for Blizzard to announce 600k loss in subscriptions in less than 6 months but oh HEY! we have legendaries with pets! Come on please....yea by far its not a panick button time, but maybe it should be a wake up call to get back to what made Blizzard so LEGENDARY in LK. If not, and all you WoW lovers can QQ all you want but deep down in the depths of that muttled wow brain, you know those numbers of declind will keep rising even with Firelands coming out....
  1. Joyride's Avatar
    The cut-off date for those numbers was the end of March. We are already one month and 10 days passed the cut-off. Not to mention Blizzard probably didn't include people who canceled but still had remaining game time. I would imagine that number is way higher than Blizzard wants to publish.

    There have been thread after thread of people saying they quit, along with a ton of people giving their observations on their servers about long time guilds breaking up, people no longer on their friends list, etc etc.

    To say this is a lull, or some other anomaly and it has nothing to do with overall player satisfaction is not being logical.

    I still play Warcraft, I have seen the same thing happen on my server with the decline of people no longer playing. Frankly it doesn't affect me, I still enjoy the game, though I don't play as much as I did, partly because I thought the zones and raids in Cataclysm were garbage, and I took a break in January, knowing that I would come back and try out Firelands.

    I hope all the content in 4.2 will be amazing. If not, I probably will be done for good, or until the next expansion if it looks good.
  1. xHypnotoad's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by ZyngaFail View Post
    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.
    Basically there is this thing called marketing. It has a special calendar split into 4 - 3 month segments called quarters.


    This was just a shareholders meeting reporting what quarter 2 (January 1, 2011 - March 31, 2011) was in terms of profit gain/loss


    Simply put, the people who make and lose money based on how this game is doing just dropped their golden tea cups
  1. ZyngaFail's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by ZyngaFail View Post
    Uh I don't think this drop in subscribers has anything to do with Rift. Pretty sure people are just getting bored of the same old rehashed content + no new game mechanics.
    QFT, but it's too late now. WoW will not peak again.

    But to be honest it still amazes me that a buy-to-play game without subs (Guild Wars) can outproduce WoW in content even after years of no new expansions while the large majority of their developers are focused on the sequel.
  1. Beasty's Avatar
    Like I said, I doubt even 50% of these account were anywhere near top level.
  1. Rocheku's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Oztiks View Post
    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.
    Cataclysm heroics are defo not any harder then WotLK heroics (talking about 5 mans here).

    Something that should change tough, and i know alot of people will hate me for saying it, is that raiding should go back to how it was in TBC. Attunements for both raids and heroics.
    Making an additional level of difficulty on bosses with setting them to Heroic just doesnt do it. Bosses should be hard to begin with. That way, it will trully give you and your team a victorious feeling when slaying a boss. Heroic modes were shit from the start.

    And more grinding!
  1. ZyngaFail's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Rocheku View Post
    Cataclysm heroics are defo not any harder then WotLK heroics (talking about 5 mans here).

    Something that should change tough, and i know alot of people will hate me for saying it, is that raiding should go back to how it was in TBC.
    Yes.
    Quote Originally Posted by Rocheku View Post
    And more grinding!
    No.

    Any form of grinding puts me off a game, ultimately I'll be playing the game with the least grinding and the most varied and fun content.
  1. Smilomaniac's Avatar
    Anyone else but me like to see the statistics on what people voted when they left?

    As in "I don't like the way the development has been going" and "I don't like what they've done to my class".
  1. Beasty's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Oztiks View Post
    um you missed the point either way and the sarcasm at the end....for Blizzard to announce 600k loss in subscriptions in less than 6 months but oh HEY! we have legendaries with pets! Come on please....yea by far its not a panick button time, but maybe it should be a wake up call to get back to what made Blizzard so LEGENDARY in LK. If not, and all you WoW lovers can QQ all you want but deep down in the depths of that muttled wow brain, you know those numbers of declind will keep rising even with Firelands coming out....
    Haha, right...
  1. Alexious's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by ZyngaFail View Post
    QFT, but it's too late now. WoW will not peak again.

    But to be honest it still amazes me that a buy-to-play game without subs (Guild Wars) can outproduce WoW in content even after years of no new expansions while the large majority of their developers are focused on the sequel.
    Well said. That's the key point! It is almost unthinkable, yet it's constantly happening since years. They are damn slow, which results in less content produced overall in a given period.
  1. Joyride's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Beasty View Post
    Like I said, I doubt even 50% of these account were anywhere near top level.

    It doesn't matter to Blizzard where they were in terms of level or what ever you mean.

    A subscription is a subscription.
  1. ZyngaFail's Avatar
    Anyone else listened to the conference call and think it sounded like "Hey we lost 600k subs but don't worry, we are putting new mounts and pets in the store and looking at more premium and value-added services"?
  1. Siton's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Zatheyll View Post
    Based on how big this game is, I have never seen a more balanced game.
    Starcraft?

    Also made by Blizzard.
  1. Beasty's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Joyride View Post
    It doesn't matter to Blizzard where they were in terms of level or what ever you mean.

    A subscription is a subscription.
    Yes, my point being though everyone seems to think 600k top level players have quit when I doubt it is even a 5th of that.
  1. ZyngaFail's Avatar
    Also Guild Wars was pretty balanced, regardless of what any naysayers may say. And the PvP did actually consist of something more fun than pillar-hopping or standing in a zone to activate it or constantly running flags.

    ---------- Post added 2011-05-10 at 08:29 AM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Beasty View Post
    Yes, my point being though everyone seems to think 600k top level players have quit when I doubt it is even a 5th of that.
    But how can you know that? If the end-game content is stall, then that would hardly be a reason for lowbies to quit.

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