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. FireBorne's Avatar
    LOL at all of the people that can't count, "wow gains 3 people for every one of you lolcasuals that quit!". Guess not, hope this is a ake up call for them. And for the retards saying it is only 600k and that is not a dent you must realize that china does not pay $15/mon they pay by the hour so if the 600k was monthly subs than that is a shit ton.
  1. Raczlol's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by FireBorne View Post
    LOL at all of the people that can't count, "wow gains 3 people for every one of you lolcasuals that quit!". Guess not, hope this is a ake up call for them. And for the retards saying it is only 600k and that is not a dent you must realize that china does not pay $15/mon they pay by the hour so if the 600k was monthly subs than that is a shit ton.
    lollll the majority of the people who quit were most likely those who started again with cata to try wow out again but found out they were still tired of it and quit.
  1. Onzay'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
    600k subs in 6 months.... out of 12mil? have fun with that other 10 years...
  1. Doowoo's Avatar
    only 11.4m bots left ?
  1. Psychos's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Cakka View Post
    This just Blizzards lies. Rift already has 2 million subscribers, so WoW has lost at least that many.
    You can't lie to your stockholders. The numbers come from a stock report. Lieing to the stockholders would probably get them sue'd to bankruptcy
  1. xSaix's Avatar
    Female worgen were enough of a reason for me to leave. They completely screwed them up and didn't care about their female players who FINALLY wanted a fierce female race, and instead made sure that they once again made them as half-assed as they could on the fierceness and as much as they could on the ~gorgeous factor~, screwing both up. Female goblins look awesome and female worgen look like rabid chihuahuas who got into some makeup, all because they wanted to make their release date. They didn't listen to the players at all, so I decided I would go to a game that did. All of my WoW-playing friends agree that they were a massive failure, but I guess I can't be surprised. The females of each race always looked like a different species completely, which is why they stand up straight when the males hunch, and why female worgen have pupils and males don't. Female worgen also have jaws that look so thin and brittle that they'd break if they tried to bite something.
    Not to mention this expansion is focused around the Horde, and even then, they ruined how Garrosh looked. They gave Malfurion a new skin and didn't bother with Tyrande, who deserves it more.
    Need I go on about the reskinning and slowness in releasing content we've all experienced before?

    WoW is boring and they're riding on their own coattails, and always think about the male players with no consideration to their female players. I got sick of it.
  1. Bahska's Avatar
    Warcraft was at the same number of subs this time last year, it only hit 12 million when wrath came out in mainland China.
    All this means is the game may have peaked.

    I do think its funny reading all the comments like *Oh well atleast D3/Titan is coming out. haha what game do you think is fueling Dev costs for those games?

    Anyway a loss of 600k subs is big but this game is out in many different country's we don't know where these subs lived (If it was china they dont even have Cata yet) or why they left (and yes they count china as subscription based they have counted them in many earnings reports since it was released there) all the said is we have 11.4 million subscribers anything else is pure speculation.
  1. Lilsocks's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by thewookiee View Post
    Sure, $8,994,000 US per month is no big deal at all! I sure wouldn't complain about losing that much of my investment right after an expansion. Clearly, nothing at all is wrong with the product. By Jove, products are supposed to lose colossal amounts of money every month!
    Flawed logic again eh! how is blizz losing colossal amounts of money each month? every month it is MAKING massive profits (even if its taken a hit on its profits it is still in the black each month)......
  1. Nabstar's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Lilsocks View Post
    Flawed logic again eh! how is blizz losing colossal amounts of money each month? every month it is MAKING massive profits (even if its taken a hit on its profits it is still in the black each month)......
    Just because they are down 600k its not the end of the world. 11.4 million is still 11 million more then most games have. On cod at any given time they have around 300,000 people online. League of legends there is 200,000. Nothing else comes close to WOW.
  1. Buzzinjoe's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Reparator View Post
    I am surprised ... just 600k subscribers. Also if 5 millions subscribers bought Cata, what are the other 5 millions playing ?
    The other ones are in China playing WotLK.
  1. RokFenris's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Hobb View Post
    11.4 mil is very nice number, more than any other paid subscription MMO out there. But it is less than it was two years ago with WoTLK's release (11.5 mil) which does show WoW is in a slow decline. While WoW isn't dying, it's not increasing either as new MMOs come out they'll continue to chip away at WoW's population base.
    Well, if you look at WoW's market share it has been steadily declining during the last two years and half, unless the MMO market was also stagnant during this period (something I really doubt).

    While WoW is still quite strong, It seems to be past it's prime, and Blizzard does not seem to know how to turn it around. This, in turn, opens a very big opportunity window for other MMOs to grow strongly despite WoW's market leadership. I don't expect WoW to lose it's leadership in the next couple years, but if games like Rift, SW:TOR, or GW2 can deliver their full potential, they might get a shot at being #1 in a few years.
  1. Reparator's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Lilsocks View Post
    Flawed logic again eh! how is blizz losing colossal amounts of money each month? every month it is MAKING massive profits (even if its taken a hit on its profits it is still in the black each month)......
    If you have the chance to get $100, but end up with just $85, the $15 are effectivelly lost to you. I am sure however that Blizz is doing his math properly. Keeping as many subscribers as possible while having as small budget as possible seems to be the business strategy right now. You don't end up with the best game, but you do end up with biggest overall profit.
  1. tufy1's Avatar
    Truth be told, I was expecting a considerably larger drop (well over a million), given that a lot of people I know have quit come Cataclysm.

    Quote Originally Posted by Reparator View Post
    If you have the chance to get $100, but end up with just $85, the $15 are effectivelly lost to you. I am sure however that Blizz is doing his math properly. Keeping as many subscribers as possible while having as small budget as possible seems to be the business strategy right now. You don't end up with the best game, but you do end up with biggest overall profit.
    Well, you can't really blame them. The only potential competition is still a few months or even a year away, whereas past competitors, while successful on their own, failed miserably to take its crown away. If I were Blizzard, I'd be pretty confident that I can weather the "next storm" as well. Let's face it - if Bioware fails (god forbid, but given EA in the background, I'm still holding breath), the only competition to WoW in the forseeable future will be Blizzard's own MMO.
  1. Smashedd's Avatar
    All i have to say is this : Leveling 80-85 should've been much harder. I mean now, whenever im leveling an alt, Wrath is the longest zone(s) to level in.
  1. Solar79'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
    Actually they have 11.4 MILLION subscribers left..
  1. Deluxo's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Nabstar View Post
    Just because they are down 600k its not the end of the world. 11.4 million is still 11 million more then most games have. On cod at any given time they have around 300,000 people online. League of legends there is 200,000. Nothing else comes close to WOW.
    Indd, 600k doesn't say anything.

    Rofl.
  1. Duster505's Avatar
    Blizzard is realeasing contradicting facts atm.

    a) Firelands raid content was delayed acroding to Blizzard because small % of the guilds were actually done with the current raid content.
    b) WOW has lost 600.000 subscribers in first 4 months of Cata because "Players are consuming Cataclysm's content faster than any expansion before it"

    The truth has probably nothing to do with how many have "finshed" the entire content. I rather think that players are done with the tier lvl of raids that they are gonna be doing (stoping after finished at normal). By delaying Firelands Blizzard was probably forcing ppl to do more heroic raiding - but big part of the playerbase are simply not into "second round same content". I personally got the feeling BLizzard has lost anther 5% of their Western Playerbase since end of March. Patch 4.1 did not get anyone back - and alot more guilds have now done full normal tier.

    I think the real problems of Cataclysm are just starting to shine through. Firelands - with 7 bosses and nothing but molten lava, fire and rocks as the only raiding content for next 8 months after release will lead to even bigger exodus. Specially considering the competition the game is facing.

    As of this point - Blizzard needs to focus on keeping subscribers happy - even if they are not playing the game alot (but still paying). I simply can not see the game beeing able to pull that off in the next 8-10 months. So Im prepared to see another 5-10% - even 15% fall in subs come the end of the year.

    But one thing is very obvious now. Making the game "harder" did not lead to more stable subscriber base. It maybe kept few more "hardcores" playing abit longer - but the mass base of normal subscribers then desided the game wasn't for them.
  1. Reparator's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Buzzinjoe View Post
    The other ones are in China playing WotLK.
    Probably ... I can even imagine that the subscriptions in Eu or USA have in fact dropped much more than what the overall result is and that growing playerbase in China compensate for it. For example 2 mill subscribers lost in EU and USA, 1.4 mill new subscribers from China = 600k subscribers lost.

    More likely however the playerbase does not respond well to the actual state of the game. For example I have WoW subscription, but I haven't played for more than a few hours in last 3 months. Part of the 11.4 mill playerbase, but kind of a dead soul, you will not meet me in the game. My prepaid subscription will however run out eventually and I can imagine that Blizz will try to throw some new cookies my way to have me pay again, but the thing is ... game industry has evolved and WoW does not keep up. A 2 years ago for me there were no alternatives and WoW was the only good option, nowadays I can play other games that are a level above WoW.
  1. Buzzinjoe's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Cakka View Post
    This just Blizzards lies. Rift already has 2 million subscribers, so WoW has lost at least that many.
    Pulling numbers out of our arses are we? The only number they announced was 1 million. And that wasn't subscribers but accounts. Massive difference. The 1 million was announced shortly after the game released and only reflected box sales. I played RIFT with some of my best friends that I've been playing with since UO through DAOC to WoW.

    We've given up on Rift now, not because the game didn't appeal to us (because we actually love it), but because we couldn't recruit decent players to save our lives. The only people playing Rift were/are keyboard turning morons, which is a real shame since the game is good but those idiots will eventually drive you away.

    I can guarantee you that Rift sub numbers are in fact way lower than most would expect.

    On top of that the 11.4 mil WoW subs announced by Blizz happened to be pulled from the same month Rift was released. See a connection in there somewhere.
  1. thewookiee's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Many View Post
    Ok. Cataclysm isnt easy in raid HC terms. But WoW is easy in over all. Game mechanics are easy. Tanks are almost same. Warrior and Paladin 95% are same. Tanks have same defensive abilities. Healers are almost same. Same spells. Etc. And this is bad.

    TBC model was best. It wasn't HC as Vanilla. It was more accessible for players then Vanilla. But everything was slower. Reputation was slower, gearing was way slower. HC players had top tiers raids. And casuals did they reputations, HC dungeons and sometimes low tier raids. Everything was in "balance".

    Now? You hit 85. You log in, touch one button and you are in dungeon. You don't have to do anything for it. No key, no reputation nothing. After the dungeon there is nothing to do. Only log on your alt. In this game you have everything TOO FAST. That why is there boredom.
    I agree with these sentiments. I had a lot of fun learning the game and tanking 5 mans on my Paladin in blues. I remember not being good enough to do any but the easiest heroics and yet I had a bloody great time playing the game. I enjoyed wotlk as well, healing so many heroics on my Shaman that eventually I bought a set of tier gear for each spec as well as all the tanking gear I could for soloing level 70 heroics and other old content. There were so many heroics in the rotation that it never felt boring and even though I do have a number of alts, I spent most of my time on my Shaman.

    With Cataclysm though, when I got to 85 and opened up the dungeons, I felt like I downgraded my account. Not only was the leveling process boring as hell, apart from a few moments here and there (I liked the Vashjir environment, but the quests were ver...zzzzzz), but there was much less to do at 85. The professions were a blah grindfest (BS/LW), the regions were too linear, no one I knew wanted to even try heroics let alone raid content, while the changes to the world are nifty I am disappointed that they were not more extensive, and the final thing I can think of for this post, lol Deathwing as the "bad guy" - At least Arthas had a history people could understand and connect with, but this Deathwing guy... should I really have laughed out loud at the trailer when the voice over said, "pain, agony" in the most retarded sounding voice? No, probably not, but that is the response it invoked and in many ways that's how the whole xpac feels to me, like it's a great big joke. Cataclysm is WoW's NGE.

    Amazingly, I actually quit playing WoW in December, even though I was paid up until Feb 2nd. This is just after an expansion was released! It's not supposed to be that way and it certainly was not that way for me in wotlk, where I struggled though heroics in my crafted level 78 blues and quest gear at launched and where I still really enjoyed running them in my full 10 man ICC gear, because my friends and I felt comfortable raiding together as well as pugging into other guilds we knew.

    Cataclysm fails because:

    1. It's the first expansion that caters to the forum trolls (vocal minority) rather that the actual player base.
    2. Far too many class mechanics changes that makes new WoW far, far different that old WoW - this is the majority of the "NGE" sentiment.
    3. The leveling process has been dumbed down to the point of sheer stupidity (Raid warnings for quests? Really? 100% Linear questing in every zone? Really?), even though no one really complained about that part of the game. Change for the sake of change is never a good idea.
    4. Dungeon content is much less at 85 than it was at 80, so here you have a player base that is used to having a whole whack of options that levels their toons only to find out they actually now have much less to do with them. Not a good design paradigm there.
    5. Still no moose.

    Ps. I started playing again in May to level two more Shaman, one to lock at level 70 and another to lock at level 80. That ought to give me something to actually do. I very, very, very much loath the WoW design paradigm of "screw all that crap we did before, and enjoy only the new stuff we give you!"...

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