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. Duster505'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.
    I dont think BLizzard is talking about having 11 million ppl online at the same time.

    Secondly - there is a totally diffrent account system in Asia than in US/EU. Totally diffrent sub system.

    These numbers seem to be based on EU/US since the talk is mostly about CATA. Considering that WOW US/EU playerbase is considered to be around 3.5 -4.5 million players - 600K is actually much bigger loss than anyone could expect.

    The bottom line is that subscribers have desided to let the wallet do the talking. Thats good cause its the only way that will get Blizzard back on their toes. Right now they are trying to PR Firelands through the Roof but I doubt 8 months of Lava, fire and rocks will make the playerbase more happy.

    I personally feel that alot of ppl have left since March. I was still playing at the time and since then I have seen so many goodbye posts from long term deticated players. And its pretty obvious that new players are not filling their shoes atm.

    WOW playerbase will not grow again in CATA. The question now is - how many more subs will WOW loose ?
  1. Maginai's Avatar
    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?
  1. Buzzinjoe's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Reparator View Post
    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.
    I'm the same way. It took me a whole 2 months to level my rogue from 60-65. That's how much I actually play. I'm really just online to chat with people, mostly friends and guildies and sometimes the occasional trade chat flame war. And I bet a lot of people are just like us. Waiting for something new to come along but at the same time keeping their sub running. That creates the sense that the servers are emptier than before, which is true, but the sub numbers aren't actually dropping much since people don't cancel.

    I mean 15$ a month is nothing. I spend more than that on newspapers in a week.
  1. bullseyed's Avatar
    "We have to remember that when these numbers were pulled, Cataclysm was in a bit of a lull."


    Uh, the community isn't ready for new content, remember? Oh wait, the players were right and always have been.
  1. Zhengyi's Avatar
    So wat they lost 600k, 99% of them were most likely ignorant pieces of crap who couldn't find their way out of a wet paper bag.
  1. Suntamer's Avatar
    I love how we have dozens of people screaming how they know why the people canceled and inserted their pet peeves.
  1. Phive's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Ironhandx View Post
    Yeahhhh. Less than 5% of the player base made it past Raz. Content that was over a year and a half old when TBC was released. I could have gotten another year+ enjoyment out of Vanilla and I only made it to twin emps(no, I didn't kill them). Even after you got your gear upped to current content level, current content was still challenging. Not hard, but the bosses that were meant to be gates still acted as such and if you didn't bring your A game you would wipe to them.

    Blizzard is right to an extent about the churn, but never have the minor balance issues that people QQ about constantly caused a huge sub loss. Also I see a lot of people posting with an opinion similar to yours as well. Most of the problems I see with the game are systemic, not balance related.

    The major problem is that a lot of these changes are coming from a group I like to call "moderate elitists". Which means blizzard is attempting to cater to all sides of the spectrum at once, and they can't do that. No one can. The closest its ever been was somewhere in between Vanilla and TBC and even then I'm fairly certain it was accidental. There was a period in WotLK where they came close again, but in a different fashion that wasn't so great because it more or less invalidated a lot of content.

    40 mans forced people to take bad players and train them. I know, I did it. In TBC+? Bads just get booted. We had 20+ good players already no problem. Its not a huge feat to get 20 good players. fill in the other 5 with people that don't suck too terribly and you're good to go. No incentive to train, no incentive to help, and much less room to carry people. I saw some of the worst players turn into top 5-10 DPS consistently in 40 mans.

    Itemization is also a problem. There was never a problem for us getting people to go back to MC to either gear up alts(giving those players something to do) or gear up new players. There was always one or two awesome drops that folks didn't have yet. our second tank didn't have his TF, the token ret pally didn't have hand of rag, two or three of the rogues wanted a brutality blade. Etc. Even into AQ40 progression getting people to help others was easy. Out of 100+ possible drops the good consistent raiders wanted 10 or so of them, and the remainder of items were still big upgrades for whoever we were gearing out.

    This, while a lot of people(wrongly) say it was catering to the "elites" was, although I think accidentally. catering to both at the same time. TBC's major saving grace was Kara, and later ZA. I don't even know how many hours I spent in those two. A large portion of the player base never raided anything much beyond those two. WotLK's saving grace was double lockouts. Cata.... has no saving grace. Thats why its getting so much flak. There's no room left for maneuvering. You're going to play the game the way they want you to play it or not at all. Unsuprisingly(myself included shortly I think, unless firelands fixes a lot of systemic issues) a lot of folks are choosing the "not at all" option. As for sub numbers, thats just 600k that have canceled. Of my entire friends list most log on maybe once a week at best. Several haven't logged on in weeks and its just a matter of them taking the time to cancel their account when they realize the game isn't fun and they don't want to play anymore. In guilds etc. I see on my server 80%+ activity decline. A lot of guilds are being forced from 25 mans altogether, having to do 10 mans. Its the same on both factions.

    Another problem is the LFD tool. It basically rendered anything that gets put into it "inconsequential content". Crap thats meant to be easy, and thus provides little value. The LFD tool was good when it was realm-only. There were still consequences for terrible players. People had more incentive to try to help someone out simply because they were liable to be grouped with that person again. Cross-realm LFD is and was a terrible idea and whoever actually pushed it through the door at blizzard is responsible for one of the most major systemic issues with WoW at the moment.

    I'm not saying Vanilla was perfect, Vanillas list of problems were generally simply a lot smaller than what has been created since then. Albeit the list was a bit longer, the items on it were of less consequence.


    Note: Cata is not too hard. I have a 95%+ success rate for random heroics with pugs. Most of the complaints seem to come from folks who run with guilds all the time who can't handle stuff that isn't exactly as they expect it to be IMO. Bad players are bad players. Deal with it somehow and move on, it won't kill your run.


    What I would like to see:

    As a Band-Aid:
    Vanilla realms, and TBC realms for those who liked that xpac better.


    To fix issues:
    Removal of cross-realm LFD. Lockouts returned to 10 man and 25 man. Hardmodes eliminated, and a return to gated progression systems in which there was a real sense of progression rather than a "Well.... we cleared all there is to clear... wanna do it again for slightly better loot and epeen?" (Hint: Most guilds are choosing not to do heroics, either directly or indirectly due to their players not wanting to crawl through the same crap but harder. Its not due to a lack of competency for many of them).

    Last, but not least. A return to 40 mans. I put this one last, because its more opinion and anecdotal evidence related than the rest. However most folks I've talked to that played through the 40's in Vanilla agree with me. The guilds that failed to do 40 mans were often the guilds that weren't worth playing for anyways as they wouldn't help their own players out.

    /endrant
    The Witcher 2 will be better anyway
  1. wordup's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by bigjenk View Post
    How about when you consider that the loss na/eu side is more like 20 percent and many of the rift players have an active account in this quarterly report since rift didn't release until well into it.
    ~Arbitrarily tacking some fake, guessed statistic onto the statement.
    No proof, a wild claim that is almost guaranteeably false, and like it says, 600k SUBSCRIBERS, that means, monthly subscriptions that are being paid into, ergo exactly the same situation as rift. Don't act as if rift is high and mighty because the Rift players have active accounts, they are not subscribers if they are not paying monthly and therefore having an active account. If anything it's more likely rift accounts are not being played, it's their first quarterly, and as such, people are much more likely to pick up, try, throw away.
  1. Suntamer's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by bullseyed View Post
    "We have to remember that when these numbers were pulled, Cataclysm was in a bit of a lull."


    Uh, the community isn't ready for new content, remember? Oh wait, the players were right and always have been.
    The players are rarely right.. Just cause you play the game don't mean you know how it should be ran.
  1. Spotnick's Avatar
    I honestly think Blizzard can only blame themselves for that. I used to keep myself busy doing hard modes in 10 man on off-nights from the 25 man raid, now I can't do that anymore.

    Now like the big majority of my guild only logs on for raid, as we literally have nothing else to do.

    And also, there are some hard mode encounters in this tier that feels like you're doing heroic Lich King all over again, were one single mistake will wipe the raid, and many people hate that.
  1. elMaD's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Duster505 View Post
    I personally got the feeling BLizzard has lost anther 5% of their Western Playerbase since end of March.
    This here. Blizzard must have lost another 5-10% since the end of March. 4.1 made me login in 5 times over the weekend to check "new" content, try to get a few crappy "Call to arms" bags as a tank, and see how the waiting time for my mage went down from ~30-40 minutes to ~10-15 and back to ~30. Obviously most tanks realized that the extra rare rewards (which you will never get, just remember all the Stratholm runs...) are not worth dragging 4 newbies on the tank's back.

    TBC - best expansion ever, a lot of things to do, even with one character.
    WOLK - wtf is that raid instance (naxx)? wtf is happening to pvp and balance with each update? new class - nice. Best expansion for levelling alts.
    Cata - simply boring.

    For me, it is a matter of a few weeks before my subscription is cancelled, at least until the 4.2... then I may be back to clear the 7+1 new raid bosses on normal difficulty, which should take about 2 months, and subscription will be cancelled again.
  1. Brasko's Avatar
    Best TDB yet.
  1. msdos's Avatar
    same shit, different day, nothing to see.

    that Daily Blink is on point, lmao.
  1. wordup's Avatar
    This is just yet another thread of people who played WoW and either don't or are considering quitting, coming to whine about the game because 1) they don't like the direction 2) it's too hard/they're not good at it 3) they're bitter they don't get the same enjoyment out of the game as others/they used to.

    Really no-one cares about the rift subs, no-one cares about how you think the game got shit and that 600k people apparantly agree with you, I'll sit back with the other 11.4 million and enjoy the game as it is, instead of moaning about how it used to be.
  1. Pellaeon's Avatar
    The first time I read they lost 600k to me it came across as thats 600k less bad players that were flying through WOTLK heroics and that could not adapt to the new cata heroics where you have to actually use crowd control and not AOE as much.
  1. Zhengyi's Avatar
    I have been reading half of the crap that you all are spewing but there are more factors then just bored of content, new games, or what ever else you all said. Some of the factors might include:
    A. Real Life Issues:
    1. Job
    2. Family
    B. Economy:
    1. Loss of Job
    2. Can't Afford WoW/Internet
    C. Boredom
    1. Tired of Content
    2. Tired of WoW in General
    3. New game
    D. Just General Retardness
    1. Got Sick of being called out all the time
    2. Don't like to take things seriously
  1. Charsi's Avatar
    The problem is that content isnt accessable enough for the masses, and the masses drive your subs. This tier of normal modes has been less puggable for joe casual than ever. There are exceptions, but most of them find heroic 5 mans fairly laborious. ZA/ZG is a wipefest for them. Some may see 1/13 HM, the 1 being Halfus. Many more wont go 12/12 normal.

    Say what you will but ICC25N was easier than this stuff, but then again alts could hit 80, do heroics, buy epics, then jump into a gdkp - and there was usually plenty of gdkp's. Maybe it'll change as the expansion goes along and epics filter down to JP vendors, but this tier in general has had a far higher execution bar than the past. Maybe it's all the changes to the healer side of the game as well. I know once my druid got 232/245 gear, I had infinite mana and could faceroll rejuv. Perhaps this ramble could be simplified to: its less faceroll now, and thats kind of a bad thing, cause some easy raid content is a necessary evil to keep a certain segment interested. It's the segement that isnt able or willing to raid hardcore but isn't content with 5 mans, PvP and archaeology.
  1. IKT's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by xSaix View Post
    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.
    Um... if you wanted to play a male character... why didn't you just make a male character? Instead of being annoyed at how female the female characters are...
  1. Ausr's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Charsi View Post
    The problem is that content isnt accessable enough for the masses, and the masses drive your subs. This tier of normal modes has been less puggable for joe casual than ever. There are exceptions, but most of them find heroic 5 mans fairly laborious. ZA/ZG is a wipefest for them. Some may see 1/13 HM, the 1 being Halfus. Many more wont go 12/12 normal.

    Say what you will but ICC25N was easier than this stuff, but then again alts could hit 80, do heroics, buy epics, then jump into a gdkp - and there was usually plenty of gdkp's. Maybe it'll change as the expansion goes along and epics filter down to JP vendors, but this tier in general has had a far higher execution bar than the past. Maybe it's all the changes to the healer side of the game as well. I know once my druid got 232 gear, I had infinite mana and could faceroll rejuv. Perhaps this ramble could be simplified to: its less faceroll now, and thats kind of a bad thing, cause some easy raid content is a necessary evil to keep a certain segment interested. It's the segement that isnt able or willing to raid hardcore but isn't content with 5 mans, PvP and archaeology.
    What the hell are you talking about? The normal modes off all the raids are easily completed, they reduced what heroics used to be and ZA/ZG rewards epics. IT should be harder than the other heroics.

    Just another person talking about nothing he knows about. If anything, I'd say this expansion has made it even more open to casuals.
  1. Carthlol's Avatar
    Rofl. Hardly surprising. Maybe if WoW hadn't turned into total garbage they wouldn't lose players.

Site Navigation