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. Meguas's Avatar
    I think the issue is... instead of trying to balance the classes they are just making everything the same... so that kinda makes the game boring.

    I left in January or so, and haven't looked back.
  1. frozenkex's Avatar
    That daily blink seemed like it was personal for the writer.
  1. Lentus's Avatar
    Agreed. I quit too, but im already considering going back. Not coz i enjoy the game, but because im addicted.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yondame View Post
    I'm proud to of been 1 of the subscribers who recently has left WoW. That being said, I'm also someone who had been playing since closed beta. The game has changed over the years, but unfortunately the game development team members have as well. Will WoW die? Doubtful. WoW could fall down to 400k subscribers.. and thats the number the estimated for "success" back when it released. So no, WoW will never die.

    But WoW did die in my heart. Yeah I still like it, but its not the awesome thing to write home to mom about, much less to anyone else. The game has begun to lack over the years for me personally. Its roller coaster of easy vs hard content and debates. WOLK honestly was the turning point for me. Everyone talks about ho LK was easy... if thats your only complaint then you have serious problems.

    LK lacked in the epicness that I wanted from killing one of the most famous and well known characters. But LK was a step up from the rest of the xpac. Going into Naxx in WOLK in crap gear and being able to full clear in the first week... thats just one of the many things that well... sucked.

    The game also now quickly caters to people. Like take for instance the guild exp right now.... it's only been screwed with more then anything else lately. Up and down.. up and down. Now its just down for guild exp. What happened to hard work gets rewards? Sure for me.. cause my guild sucked (ONE on firetree) at cooperation. It was like a daily job. 120 million guild exp for me.. while the closest person had 60 million. Really was discouraging. But again.. rewarded for the work you put in.. IE: insane title. Though eventually with guild exp you would get the rewards.

    Now its becoming to easy for that. People complain "tired of repeated" dailies. I miss the days when no dailies existed. But call me old fashioned. I just don't like giving free rides to people who put in little to no effort. I guess thats why WoW currency i so easy to get anymore..

    Anyways... rambling. Waiting for D3, titan MMO, SWTOR, or even the next SC Expac. Many other half way decent, time consuming games out there. But when it comes to wow.. I just don't feel it anymore. The fire for it is gone. That and the customer service when you have an issue... well its pretty bad. That and when they do listen to forums or the consumer base.. its the less then 80 IQ they listen to.. not the actual player for has/had a passion for this game.
  1. Oztiks's Avatar
    Agreed to the many statements that if WoW lost that many subs by March, then by now its probably doubled as to the problems as a whole of Cata for the gaming community. I am not about to flame more but just trying to be optimistic on a game that I gave so many years to could make a comeback. I guess in my mind even with my account cancelled, they have until D3 or possibly SWTOR to make it right and draw me back. For now Starcraft and piddly shooter games are tying up my interests.

    If I could pick my happiest time playing wow it was when the ICC opened. So much to do in the game and it was fun. Since that time my guild split up and put a focus on 10mans for those that were left and it was like saying goodbye to friends in the game. I stopped raiding and fell into the 'casual' raider as my guild started focusing on Hardmodes. The thing that really ruined it for me was not only the heroics but the raids no longer being fun....and 10mans....bring back the 25 mans!

    Funny how when the content of the game changes so goes the guilds in WoW.....
  1. jeezohpeet's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by ZyngaFail View Post
    When you are at the point of quitting, you log in only to stare at your toon for 20 seconds and then log out.
    This is exactly what I found myself doing over the last couple of months- now I barely log in. I have 10 85s- one of each class- which I figured would give me new stuff to do even though i was doing the same content- even that's become boring. I was a hardcore raider before cata- haven't done any raiding since the relase. The raid model sucks. Even the hard core raid guilds on my server have left.
  1. Osmeric's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Jerakal View Post
    Well what do they expect, everyone's beaten the current content,
    lol no. Few people are raiding, and of those that are, only a minority have cleared even normal mode raids.

    Morhaime has to know the reason subs are declining so much is not because people blew through the content too quickly, although I'm sure they're also losing people whose guilds fall apart while working on HM raids.

    I have to suspect the number of subs lost in the high value markets (NA, EU) is more than 600K, with China adding accounts so the total number doesn't look as bad. They'd have given the NA/EU numbers otherwise.
  1. nobodysbaby's Avatar
    Being an old WoW player (started pre-TBC) I miss the old "systems" even if it meant hard work.

    The idea of making WoW into game for casuals was a mistake. The daylie grinds, the achievement system feels like only a trick to keep people occupied in game, since everything time consuming such as travelling and spend hours in actually hard 5 man heroics is gone. I also feel the dungeon finder made it too easy to just jump into a group of people you never met, and you miss out on all those runs with friends. Besides, when in a random group, situations tends to become very nasty if someone in group is underperforming etc... It was very nice to put a group together yourself, made you many new friends outside guild to

    Mounts were actually a treasure to get as with pets! Now the game is just flooded with them, and people are spending a lot of real money to get the 150 pets ach, wich I feel is demoralizing to.

    Class homogenisation and boss mechanics being based on this is also boring. Took away a lot of flavor, and neither did it make "bring the player, not the class" very viable either.

    Today, to spend a lot of time in game is wasted, it feels like there is nothing meaningful to do besides raids. It won't do you more good than to just log on, put yourself in a dungeon que. Boring, simply.

    I also think that the change of making raids having 2 difficulties is not encouraging either. Why should everyone have the chance to kill all bosses? And for me, it takes away a lot of fun to first kill normal, then start over again on heroic, doing the same bosses for another 5 months or more. It was a lot more of an adventure seeing the top guilds kill bosses you could not reach, making you want it even more. Back then there were true legendary status on those good guilds

    My personal oppinions, I respect and understand if you don't feel the same

    I know the thought behind all this might have been good.. But ended up being un-exciting and a lot of times just simply boring.


    This is for Blizzard: You have to get better at caring/communicating with the player base. I see so many frustrated players now, for example, in the Priest community about the complete lack of Spirit Cloth drop in Firelands raids, class mechanics, PvP, everything...

    It's quite important to get feedback as a player, especially when this game is so much more than a game for many.
  1. Alki's Avatar
    I remember the days of going into UBRS with a random group of people and it being fun trying to get the bosses to drop the items I wanted. Even if they were just blue items. Then there was Molten Core. I remember getting my first Tier 1 piece ... The Nightslayer helm. It was amazing! I remember the people from the server were freaking out because it was one of the first EPIC purple pieces seen in game. Today, epic gear isn't very special. It's just part of the game and can be attained with little to no effort.

    Do you remember helping your buddy try to get High Warlord? (sorry Alliance, I was Horde). Do you remember doing group PvP for something OTHER than personal achievements? For fun? Battlegrounds today are but a glimpse of what it once was. Sure, class imbalance made it crazy, but it was still fun running around AB trying to get as much honor as possible! I remember a time when I was killed by equal or better skilled players, regardless of gear. Today, it's not like that. Roll the right class, slam your face on the keyboard with some resilience gear and win.

    I miss Vanilla, I miss BC. I miss World of Warcraft. Until the game can get back to what made it so much fun then, I will spend my money and my free time doing other things and exploring other options. WoW is an amazing game with a wonderful story. But today, the game lacks in so many areas, it's just not fun to play anymore for me. The whole homogenization mindset has really hurt the game in its entirety. Hopefully someone will step in and take the reigns to take the game back to where it once was ... for me anyway.

    ---------- Post added 2011-08-04 at 11:05 AM ----------

    Do you remember being part of the AQ event? Do you remember how cool it was to see the gates open and go into AQ20 and AQ40? How about how accomplished you and your guild felt when you downed a boss in Naxx in Vanilla? Remember the world bosses and how fun they were? How much fun the dragons were to kill and/or grief the other faction when they tried to kill one of these world Dragons?

    Better yet, how did you feel when you were sitting there at your computer waiting for midnight to come so you could play the Burning Crusade? Did you say "HOLY SHIT!" like I did when you first entered Outland? Or how special it was to kill Lady Vashj and/or Kael'Thas? Did you not feel what I felt when I entered the Black Temple for the first time? Wasn't that a good time?

    I miss those days ladies and gentlemen ... I think that WoW has gone down a different path that makes it a much different game that it once was. A game that I just bring myself to play today. And that's sad, because I absolutely love the Warcraft story.
  1. gkai's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Alki View Post
    I remember the days of going into UBRS with a random group of people and it being fun trying to get the bosses to drop the items I wanted. Even if they were just blue items. Then there was Molten Core. I remember getting my first Tier 1 piece ... The Nightslayer helm. It was amazing! I remember the people from the server were freaking out because it was one of the first EPIC purple pieces seen in game. Today, epic gear isn't very special. It's just part of the game and can be attained with little to no effort.

    Do you remember helping your buddy try to get High Warlord? (sorry Alliance, I was Horde). Do you remember doing group PvP for something OTHER than personal achievements? For fun? Battlegrounds today are but a glimpse of what it once was. Sure, class imbalance made it crazy, but it was still fun running around AB trying to get as much honor as possible! I remember a time when I was killed by equal or better skilled players, regardless of gear. Today, it's not like that. Roll the right class, slam your face on the keyboard with some resilience gear and win.

    I miss Vanilla, I miss BC. I miss World of Warcraft. Until the game can get back to what made it so much fun then, I will spend my money and my free time doing other things and exploring other options. WoW is an amazing game with a wonderful story. But today, the game lacks in so many areas, it's just not fun to play anymore for me. The whole homogenization mindset has really hurt the game in its entirety. Hopefully someone will step in and take the reigns to take the game back to where it once was ... for me anyway.

    ---------- Post added 2011-08-04 at 11:05 AM ----------

    Do you remember being part of the AQ event? Do you remember how cool it was to see the gates open and go into AQ20 and AQ40? How about how accomplished you and your guild felt when you downed a boss in Naxx in Vanilla? Remember the world bosses and how fun they were? How much fun the dragons were to kill and/or grief the other faction when they tried to kill one of these world Dragons?

    Better yet, how did you feel when you were sitting there at your computer waiting for midnight to come so you could play the Burning Crusade? Did you say "HOLY SHIT!" like I did when you first entered Outland? Or how special it was to kill Lady Vashj and/or Kael'Thas? Did you not feel what I felt when I entered the Black Temple for the first time? Wasn't that a good time?

    I miss those days ladies and gentlemen ... I think that WoW has gone down a different path that makes it a much different game that it once was. A game that I just bring myself to play today. And that's sad, because I absolutely love the Warcraft story.
    Yeah, I remember all those days too, getting an epic piece of gear felt so good. The nostalgia is gone for me though. I think it was super cool at the time because it was really really new. Now all people want is welfare epics and someone to hold their hand through every raid. It's lame to see but that's really what wow has come to. In my opinion I just see all the old casual players moving on and the elitist pve players sticking it out till the very end.
  1. Ssetback's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by frozenkex View Post
    That daily blink seemed like it was personal for the writer.
    I totally agree - lets not share this secret with the rest of them.. doh!
  1. sicness's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by nobodysbaby View Post
    Being an old WoW player (started pre-TBC) I miss the old "systems" even if it meant hard work.

    The idea of making WoW into game for casuals was a mistake.
    Though there is a lot I'd like to debate with you over your post, I don't have the time at the moment to respond to all of it. However I would like to respond to this.

    In you opinion the idea of making WoW into a game for casuals was a mistake. In my opinion it's been the greatest thing ever for the genre. It's opened up the market so much and has made so much more possible and expected out of new MMOs to the point where it's literally revolutionized the market.

    If you don't like what WoW has become you have options in others games to go back to the traditional MMO play style. Meanwhile, providing the game to a whole new customer base is not a bad thing, just because you disagree with it doesn't mean they shouldn't have done it.

    Now people play MMOs and are able to do what they want to do, not simply what was expected of them in an MMO. WoW has changed the genre forever, and for the better without question. You still have options if you like the traditional MMO design, while others have options if they don't. That's good for the game and genre, not bad.

    It's ironic that your last statement is that Blizzard needs to listen to the customers. I'd say they have, and they've changed the market for the better because they have. Just because you disagree with what they've done and they don't listen to YOU doesn't mean the game is bad, it's just not designed for you.
  1. marquinho's Avatar
    while the blizzard keep doing remakes of raids will continue to lose players ... we need new content and fights !!!!!! innovative!!
  1. nobodysbaby's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by sicness View Post
    Though there is a lot I'd like to debate with you over your post, I don't have the time at the moment to respond to all of it. However I would like to respond to this.

    In you opinion the idea of making WoW into a game for casuals was a mistake. In my opinion it's been the greatest thing ever for the genre. It's opened up the market so much and has made so much more possible and expected out of new MMOs to the point where it's literally revolutionized the market.

    If you don't like what WoW has become you have options in others games to go back to the traditional MMO play style. Meanwhile, providing the game to a whole new customer base is not a bad thing, just because you disagree with it doesn't mean they shouldn't have done it.

    Now people play MMOs and are able to do what they want to do, not simply what was expected of them in an MMO. WoW has changed the genre forever, and for the better without question. You still have options if you like the traditional MMO design, while others have options if they don't. That's good for the game and genre, not bad.

    It's ironic that your last statement is that Blizzard needs to listen to the customers. I'd say they have, and they've changed the market for the better because they have. Just because you disagree with what they've done and they don't listen to YOU doesn't mean the game is bad, it's just not designed for you.
    I wrote the "My personal oppinions, I respect and understand if you don't feel the same" for a reason. I know many do not agree, and I don't force you to or think you should.

    Instead of racking down on what I experience, maybe you could write your OWN personal oppinions instead of getting annoyed/upset over what I feel

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