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. CrimsonKing's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by cristti View Post
    Exactly what I was thinking. EU and US subscriptions in total less than 4 million if I remember correctly. Losing even 400.000 at that number is a big fucking deal.
    That 4 million people have been going by is just the number their using because that's how many copies of Cataclysm that were sold in the first month. These people don't take into account that people have been getting into Cata at later times, I know a few people on my realm who just got Cata last month. I don't believe Blizzard has ever said how much each region brings in sub wise, so people just take that 4million copies sold announcement that Blizzard made for Cata and start preaching it as gospel.
  1. Sileh's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by CrimsonKing View Post
    That 4 million people have been going by is just the number their using because that's how many copies of Cataclysm that were sold in the first month. These people don't take into account that people have been getting into Cata at later times, I know a few people on my realm who just got Cata last month. I don't believe Blizzard has ever said how much each region brings in sub wise, so people just take that 4million copies sold announcement that Blizzard made for Cata and start preaching it as gospel.
    I have strong doubts that the amount will be much higher.
  1. Infinitus's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Maginai View Post
    In all honesty, I think that the 600k lost subscribers are botters or gold farmers who got ip banned or something. Either that or those people use to play WoW and now play Rift. I'd probably at least try Rift if they would actually let new users TRY their product first before committing to a purchase and subscription. Blizzard has a trial for WoW so why isn't there a trial for Rift, a competing product/service?
    They do regularly give away weekend keys that enables people to try the game over a weekend.
  1. CrimsonKing's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Zoeii View Post
    I have strong doubts that the amount will be much higher.
    It probably isn't but to say 4 million just based on the first month of Cata sales is still flawed, that's all I'm pointing out.
  1. Infinitus's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Suntamer View Post
    The players are rarely right.. Just cause you play the game don't mean you know how it should be ran.
    On the contrary, people who play the game every day for 6 years know a hell of a lot more about playing the game than the developers. The developers are good at designing a game and have a reasonable grasp of playing but compared with the sheer amount of the combined experience in playing the game by the massive player base, they know very little.
  1. CrimsonKing's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Kiro View Post
    No, the biggest thing is that Blizzard failed on numerous levels, not gold farmers. There's no way to dolly this up at all, we all know better. They screwed up royally. They made some incredibly stupid moves with Wrath, and then into Cata especially. Content is weak, due to them absolutely wasting their time and money on 1-60 content. They didn't live up to their once again failed promise of "more content faster this time guys lol, we swear, lol", and players are not blind to it this time and leaving ship in mass. The game is in direct, and significant trouble right now, and with the lack-luster 4.2 months off, there's nothing in sight to save it. Blizzard has to sit there and watch their game burn. It'll take months for them to recover now for their follies of pulling their best talent and putting them on another project, and using the revenues from WoW to fund all their other projects while putting an apparent minimum of it back into their golden cow. The game will continue to bleed subscribers now at this point. Sending out that week free trial to people who canceled their accounts is a sign they know they're in trouble.
    Why do you hate WoW so much and why do you think WoW is going to burn or die? There are games that are plenty older than WoW that are still running like Ultima Online and even the original Everquest (barring the SOE hack). WoW isn't going to die but I don't expect it to stay #1 which honestly isn't a big deal to me, as long as WoW is running that's all I really care about.
  1. Sumatriptan'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
    This.

    It's not hard to balance the game.
  1. Infinitus's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by quras View Post
    I still lurk the forms like many WOW gamers who no longer play. However, the difference is blizzard just sent me a free 7 day pass to come back and I still have no interest given the content that was just released.

    To me that's just not a good sign for WOW. A game I had so much time invested in over 6+ years, was recently given a free 7 day pass and I see no reason to come back. Even for free.

    Guess I really am done with WOW.
    Exactly the same for me. Reading about the latest retarded changes they made to the game made me not even wanting to use the free 7 days.
  1. Jerakal's Avatar
    Well what do they expect, everyone's beaten the current content, they'll get like half those players back after the next patch. At least until they clear those hurdles.
  1. Noblia's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Galvanon View Post
    Wrong, it is a big deal.

    Shareholders only want to see profits go up. Doesn't matter if they still have blah blah subs. A loss is a loss and it's noted.

    Sorry, but if I was a major shareholder and you came at me with that speech as to why I shouldn't
    consider moving my money elsewhere, I would consider you in panic mode.
    I agree with your statement in terms of shareholders. When I hear that blizz has lost 400k subs 5 months after a BRAND new expansion... That makes me want to do a JIm Kramer and SELL SELL SELL... LoL... If I was a developer I would be taking this pretty hard.
  1. nnelson54's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Golemstw View Post
    Keep in mind ZA and ZG are RECYCLED !!!! TOTAL MONEY RIPOFF
    How much did you pay for 4.1? Mine was free.
  1. daburton's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by nnelson54 View Post
    How much did you pay for 4.1? Mine was free.
    Wow. Mine cost me $15.00 month. I want your payment plan.
  1. Neganova's Avatar
    People are complaining that WoW is dying, but 11.4 million people is still a lot of people.
  1. Raptoos's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by daburton View Post
    Wow. Mine cost me $15.00 month. I want your payment plan.
    Woah! You are paying for patches? Because mine money going to let me raiding BWD and BoT
  1. daburton's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Raptoos View Post
    Woah! You are paying for patches? Because mine money going to let me raiding BWD and BoT
    Wow and I thought I had it bad. I got that content when I shelled out the $40 bucks for the xpac.
  1. Duster505's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Neganova View Post
    People are complaining that WoW is dying, but 11.4 million people is still a lot of people.
    I dont think ppl are saying WOW is dying. They are pointing out there are real issues and when you read whats BLizz is actually saying right now.. they really have a reason to be very conserned.

    600.000 subs is alot. Its a Huuuge amount considering that it is not lowering the maintainance cost of the game at all. It is gonna hit the design of the game directly.

    I want to remind everyone that thinks 600.000 subs is just a small amount... that one of the greatest UNIQE design gaming project of all times - Eve online has been designed - maintained and is releasing free expansions for years with just 300.000 subs. See .... Blizzard just lost twice that amount of innovative design money to REALLY keep WOW going forward. They ignored it ... and they are paying the full price.

    There is no wonder that we are seeing huge amount of previews of 4.2 and stuff coming from blues atm. And neither is it strange we are seeing another store mount ... They are trying their best to create a hype.... But its to late now. More and more ppl will unsub over the summer - Firelands will probably launch August - and Then we are in for the big game releases later this year. PPL will think twice before paying sub for playing 4-5 days a week for 3-4 hours per night considering that other time consuming games are launching as well.

    Firelands will not save WOW.... It is cheap in terms of raid content. It has 7 bosses that need to be stretched out for probably 6-7 months for big % of the playerbase and thats simply not enough. Blizzard has lost alot of ppl for diffrent reasons during Cata - and the fact is that many of them will be gone for good in this expansion. Game has grown to stagnant over the past 2 years and thats not acceptable considering the huge playerbase. And 600.000 is a huge number... Even in a game played by millions.
  1. Shambulanced's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by nogard64 View Post
    talk about DUH!!!
    Are these guys that clueless? It really does seem like the real DEVs are all gone and working on something else now..... Titan?
    I think that's stretching it, a tad. It's not unheard of (read: it's common) for businesses to "rebrand" or "re-image" themselves. I see WoW as having gone through several of these periods.

    Anyway.

    Two things that came up in this thread resonated with me. The first was a comment about hardmodes. I think (and this is just my thought, I have no factual basis to back up my suspicion) that the majority of players are disappointed in hardmodes or have little drive to complete them. In Ulduar (when they were introduced) the heroic modes were inventive and often required special activation. The response was good. You didn't have to kill Yogg Saron to take on XT's heroic mode. In Icecrown they got substantially lazier and made heroic modes toggle-able by a player who had killed the Lich King. Kinda lame, considering that plenty of guilds that were stuck on the Lich King for a while could easily have taken on heroic Marrowgar/etc for farming better gear. But something of value was lost--variety.

    Yes, variety. Now, instead of new items from heroic modes, we get the same loot tables, just with slightly better stats. Boring. On that note, where are the interesting proc-based weapons like Nibelung that devs said they wanted to include more of, going forward? Sure, we got Meteor Shard (heroic 346 dagger) but it's inferior to the other daggers at that level and breaks CC.


    The other point that was briefly brought up and I have harped upon time and time again in various threads is the status of PvP and PvE in WoW. The developers try to please both PvPers and PvEers while still maintaining that they are the "same game" (Spoiler alert: THEY'RE NOT AND NEVER HAVE BEEN) when really all the PvPers and PvEers want, at the core of their requests, is for the two game styles to be balanced separately from one-another. Sure, they've finally started caving (with cc, warrior change, etc) but I feel like it's going to come too late when they finally bite the bullet (if ever) and just balance them separately. PvP and PvE are not the same game in WoW. They never have been. Even in PvP, arenas vs bgs vs "world pvp" are all three distinct types of play that require different things. To say otherwise is either naive or convenient (for lack of development resources). The constant tweaking of one to change the other, as well as, plain and simple, vast class homogenization, has hurt WoW in the long run and regularly confuses and confounds players who don't spend their time outside wow researching specs/throughputs/patch notes/whatever. My friend plays and I teach her things about her classes regularly, but it always upsets her (she's not a very good player, but she tries) to have to relearn her class on the more drastic changes.


    Those are the two issues I believe are core in current game discontent. Raid difficulty (and creativity), and game balance. I don't think it has to do with "recycled" or "revamped" content--because let's face it, none of us liked leveling alts through 1-60 pre cata. At least now it's fast and, sometimes, fun.

    Where I do agree with Nogard is in the observation that WoW lacks consistency in its development.
  1. warlocked's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Phantoms View Post
    First there were forum posts about people who were quitting.

    Now, there will be forum posts about statistics showing people who were quitting.

    And you know there will be forum posts about those forum posts showing statistics about people who were quitting, proving/disproving them and such.

    Oh, the humanity.
    anyone else praying that the staff wont stay as is as a legendary. it would be flat out disappointing to find that it has no special ability outside of vanity
  1. buggerlugs's Avatar
    maybe they should stop rehashing old content because it obviously didnt appeal to a lot of people
  1. User007's Avatar
    Patch 3.0.2 - 10/2008
    Patch 3.1 - 04/2009 (6 months; 1 raid with 13 bosses)
    Patch 3.2 - 08/2009 (4 months; 1 raid with 5 bosses, 1 dungeon with 3 bosses)
    Patch 3.3 - 12/2009 (4 months; 1 raid with 12 bosses, 3 dungeons with 8 bosses)
    Patch 3.3.5 - 06/2010 (6 months; 1 raid with 1 boss, 3 mini-bosses)
    Patch 4.0.1 - 10/2010 (4 months, 10 months if you don't count Ruby Sanctum fake content-patch)
    Patch 4.1 - 05/2011 /7 months, 2 dungeons)

    Faster content? I call shenanigans! Oh, and for those not aware WoW-3.0.2 had more content available (raids/dungeons) than WoW-4.0.1. In fact, this revamp'd dungeons we got in 4.1 are just to bring the content up to WoTLK launch levels... 7 months after. You understand why people are leaving now?

    Edit: Typo on a date.

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