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. Isolyphic's Avatar
    I left cause I was tired with dealing with Cross Realm PvE when trying to gear to raid. I wanted to raid properly in Cata much like I did in TBC and early Wrath. It just didn't give that feel this time.

    Gief time machine to go back to June 09
    Ulduar Times!
  1. lightmgl's Avatar
    You know its really funny. About 2 months ago as they were announcing that the Firelands would be delayed, Blizzard made the statement that people were moving through the content slower than expected so they were pushing back the release of Firelands to 4.2 and allowing ZG and ZA to help make the current tier easier.

    Now Blizzard is saying that people are going through the content faster than ever. Completely contradictory to their previous comments.

    Which one is it? Sounds like alot of corporate bullshit to try and appease their investors. My guess is a large portion of the 600k who quit probably felt that the game no longer suited them either due to difficulty or massive amounts of changes.....

    Theres still only a few hundred guilds worldwide who have completed this entire Tier. Those 600,000 people have nothing to do with them.
  1. Rhys's Avatar
    Best news post ever. Diablo 3, proof WoW is dying to use against the white knights and a good Daily Blink, oh so delicious.
  1. UncleV's Avatar
    so i guess like another 25%+ are sitting on subs and not playing due to being to attached to there toons and not wanting to cancel just in-case they come back.... ya 11.4 but i bet allot more are not playing anywhere near the amount they used to. meh blizzard gets the same amount of money if they play or not as long as they pay still. I guess. cheaper server costs I guess thats the idea behind the game being more casual the less they pay but same they play blizzard wins.

    5% loss in profits from players is fairly significant though. when a game comes out numbers should go up or stay the same not diminish rofl. poor blizzard
  1. epec's Avatar
    Damn, 600k in 4 months? That's a lot regardless of how you try to spin it... No wonder stockholders were concerned.
  1. Venziir's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Sabaka View Post
    yep, diablo 3 is coming soon, just in time for wow to die and lose the rest of its subs

    GG
    Yes all 11½ million players will leave for D3...................
    I for one do not care about D3, i liked D2, but D3 doesn't seem appealing whatsoever, the classes look bland and boring and the story of Diablo has never been that interesting.
  1. Granyala's Avatar
    so i guess like another 25%+ are sitting on subs and not playing due to being to attached to there toons and not wanting to cancel just in-case they come back....
    Like me ^_^

    Well ok I do play but I only log in for Raid nights because there's nothing else to do. That and my Friend stopped playing
  1. Dace's Avatar
    I'm one of those 600k people. And I didn't quit because of lack of expansion packs. But because of the expansion pack itself! It's now over 5 months that I'm clean.
    I still sometimes check MMO-Champs and I watch Totalhailbut videos. But that's about it. I'm not coming back to that grindfest. So based on what I've just said I think that new expansion packs will only reduce the player base even more. But I don't really know or care obviously :P
  1. Xaroc's Avatar
    Dont think rift will be the new big thing, people dont want a mmo thats remotely close to what wow is.
    Game designers need to come up with a completely new play and view style for mmo.
    Would say it takes like 5-10 years before people even consider binding themself to a game that looks/plays like wow.
    Next gen mmo will prob be first person view or top view, dont think 3rd person view like todays mmo will kick thru.
  1. Nienniora's Avatar
    im part of that number
  1. Strafer's Avatar
    Haha, 600k is nothing.

    Game will not die.
  1. Pruciuxtia's Avatar
    Wajooo 600k subscribers. W00000000000000000t. >.<
  1. FrizzleMe's Avatar
    From a personal progress/achievements point of view:

    Personally, I still have loads of stuff to do, doing some archeology, doing old content for achievements. I don't raid (anymore) but have done all the heroics once for the achievement. When they go faster I'll probably do everything for the meta... Call me crazy, but I enjoy undermanning ICC or even Naxx more then the new content. Solo or duo the Weekly raid in Dalaran, oh yeah.

    But that's me. I can totally see that if you have nothing to do in old content, have done the new quests, have maxed archeology, are stuck on progress... what is there to do? Dailies?

    The bottom line is, there are some players that have nearly done everything... That has nothing to do with the expansion, they would have burned out regardless. I'm pretty sure that is why the top 5 (ranked by achievements) players in my guild have stopped playing.
  1. AFK-Champion's Avatar
    Ultimately it's not balanace, but just boredom. Sure there's no way to make game fun forever, but it was their failure to merge raid content, implement new kind of PvP which is not successful at all, instead of expanding arenas.
    I'd bet people would run rounds in Dalaran, uh I mean Stormwind much less likely if they could raid and pvp twice as much they can now.

    Removing progress from arenas and merging raid content saved people a lot of time. However they have nothing to spend that time on.
    Same will happen with spammable heroics, though valor bonus used to be low anyway.
  1. tankbug's Avatar
    I think it's impressive that the game can still hold over 11 million users. Even though it has been polished over the years, it's still an old game, and has survived major changes in technology trends and tough competitors. I don't think a new expansion or more content will affect the number of subscriptions greatly.
  1. Tatis's Avatar
    I khow why players quit WoW: Archeology!

    It's so boring that I fall asleep during the trip from a dig site to another!
  1. MarizzaDraenor's Avatar
    Doubt its only 600 k subs. And even if it is the real numbers if we could get a reliable activity graph (thats what should concern us as players above all else) would be more on the 20-25 % range imo judging purely from the activity that i see on my realm .

    I mean all those players that still maintain active subs while loging 1 hour per week etc.

    Also stating that players clear the content faster then before its completely ridicoulous. Infact raiding guilds have NEVER EVER been slower when it came to clearing content and the vast majority of the 25 man guilds havent even cleared half of the available HM's.

    Of course the above is directly related to difficulty and we never seen a harder tier in the past but the fact that most guilds are far zway from clearing the content isnt really questionable.
  1. Vasz's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Isolyphic View Post
    It isn't the quantity of content that stopped us from subscribing, it is the quality of the contest itself.
    Not when we have to wait half a year for another raid its not. And that is assuming that 4.2 will be out within a month. Did they honestly expect a single tier of raid content to last over a year?
  1. Mif's Avatar
    For those claiming 600k lost subs is nothing, 600k lost subs = 9 million dollars lost profit.
  1. Impzor's Avatar
    The decrease of subs is probably the people leaving wow for rift, but they will come back, no worries

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