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. Drakhar's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Kanggaxx View Post
    Yeah, let's have them race the game out so they can be faster than another game, in this case D3. Prime reasoning there matey, you fit right in with the dev team of one of the hundreds of failed MMO's. Also, lol comparing these two games.
    Look around bro, there's a huge overlap between the two games (in terms of playerbase and some features). Are you even paying attention to GW2? They have a clear schedule for releasing new information to try to maintain high interest, but it isn't enough to keep it forever. And don't lie to yourself, every Blizzard title since Warcraft 2 dominates headlines and player interest. Nice try, better luck next time.

    Quote Originally Posted by Senaelanna View Post
    I love this argument, because it has absolutely no backing. I quit in December, and shall not be playing WoW again until they fix the most obvious, glaring issues with the game. The drop wasn't expected to be this soon, or this obvious. Lots of fanboys will be crying from the hills content lull, harder content, blah blah blah, but the fact of the matter is that Cataclysm simply wasn't up to the standards created by the other expansions. Couple that with some other amazing games coming out within the year, and Blizzard could easily see a larger drop in subscription numbers.
    No argument that people will come back, o rly? Why would you bother even looking here (let alone post) if you had no lingering interest in the game? I suppose it could be something else - that after months of no longer playing, people are so pathetically addicted to the point where they can't just let the game go.
  1. snowcrash512's Avatar
    Blizzard loses a small percent of its subscribers.. and that percentage is still more than most MMOs ever get... i dont know if thats sad or impressive.
  1. zeralol's Avatar
    WoW has just become too easy, that's it. I log on and there is nothing to do, simply nothing.
    Give back rep grinding, open pvp and some farming places like Tyrs Hand or Elementalplateu <3


    Also, raiding and 5 man Heroics should be in 2nd place (and still harder anyway. at least normal mode).
    Server-wide events are much, much funnier. Nowadays everything is instanced and that sucks.
  1. Duster505's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Arganaut View Post
    It is an interesting figure with lots of speculation surrounding this drop in subscriptions. I am sure Blizzard execs will find legitimate reasons for the reduction, at the end of the day someone will need to justify the drop in revenues at a board level. Was the drop due to the lull in content, or because summer is kicking in (certainly in the UK we have had the warmest spring for god knows how long), was is it because content is simply not up to scratch and players are trying out other games on the market.

    I would love to see all the subscription figures. I would not be at all surprised if the numbers of players leaving the game wasway more than 600K. But any greater drop in numbers was made up by a growth in new players joining the game. You need to consider with each passing year there are millions of gamers at the age when they want to play an MMO like Warcraft.

    But I think the biggest factor has to be down WOW burnout. If you think players who started in TBC, god forbid Vanilla, that is going on 4 years of the same old linear and progressive game style. Kudos to Blizzard for keeping it entertaining for so long, but for me, and apparently many others the appeal is just not there now.

    I've been playing Rift, bought myself a new Rig and it plays so sweetly. I was offered a 7 day trial to return to Azeroth and gave in to the temptation and gave it a go. The enviroment is so dated compared to Rift. I can appreciate folks don't tend to buy an MMO because the gfx are sublime, or not, but it felt dated, and very old. Coupled with that I still stand by my belief that the Cataclysm xpac is still 50% under delivered. The latest ZG/ZA patch has gone a little way adding about 5%, re-hashed content (that was imho fantastic in the day but still re-hashed for the masses), Firelands is looking mega but Blizzard surely have to do something special to pull this expac out of the gutter.
    I doubt it has anything to do with the weather. And March is not summer. PPL keep paying a sub if they like the content and the route the game is taking. But right now quite a big group is not happy with how BLizzard has treated WOW in terms of development and those ppl will not keep paying for that.

    WOW is getting very dated yes. RIFT showed many what CATA should have been. And BLizzard has now formally put WOW on a shelf in terms of real innovative develpment work. PPL will not continue to pay for that.

    What stands out for me is that many of the loyal long term players are leaving. And the newcomers are not filling the gap. Considering they are forced to buy the orginal game + 3 expansions... + sub.. thats really not hard to figure out.

    But this is the BUISNESS model Blizzard is going for. Who cares about the game....
  1. moocowfrakmilk's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Zatheyll View Post
    Also, 5% is nothing, second place for a sub based MMO is what, 3 million?
    5% may seem like nothing to an uninterested bystander, but not from a business perspective. Losing 5% of your customer base over a single quarter is cause for serious concern for any company, especially since shareholders are a particularly fickle and panic-prone bunch. Considered in context, posting a net loss immediately after uninterrupted growth (12 million), expanding in a new market (China), and releasing a massive update (Cata), is very scary news.

    This doesn't mean WoW is dying, but it is a first warning that somewhere along the way Blizzard has lost the intrest of a significant portion of it's user base. This is nothing new: every company missteps occasionally. What matters now is what they do with this knowledge. They're response will determine whether WoW (to use a crude analogy) continues on like Windows, or ends up like Myspace.
  1. The Handsome Stranger's Avatar
    I wonder what the numbers were when they released the final LK raid where you fought the LK, I bet the subscription base was at its all time high. I have to speculate if it will reach that at the end raid for Cat, as Deathwing is not as interesting as the final chapter of the fall of Arthas was.

    One of the reasons I feel they are holding back content is because of the new Star Wars mmo, when that ships, watch a huge content patch get dropped.
  1. Duster505's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by wolfieone View Post
    i think the biggest problem of Cata is they considered Heroic Raids part of the raiding progression. Regular Dungeons->Heroic Dungeons->Regular Raids->Heroic Raids->New Tier Regular Raids->New Tier Heroic Raids. In Wrath, Heroic Raids were a bonus - something you could do for additional challenge/reward, but Hardly required. YOu could go from 232 ToC to 245 ICC and be fine. I don't know if that's the plan here. To me, I think most people see Heroic Raids as being very separate.
    I think this is the main issue as well. BUt if Firelands is gonna be tuned for ppl in full heroics for normals then omg... we will see 50% of the playerbase quit now and then. For good.

    But we will get the already fully geared hardcores stilll whining that they killed normal in 1 night.. and that is was to easy.

    Right now BLizzard is mixing together two totally diffrent groups. Its like mixing PVP and PVE - and they are failing miserably keeping either group really happy with the way they are doing it.

    The thing that should really worry Blizzard now is the fact that fire and lava + dark textures is all that they are offering the players for the next 6-8 months. Its Molten Bore all over again in terms of settings.
  1. Kanggaxx's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Drakhar View Post
    Look around bro, there's a huge overlap between the two games (in terms of playerbase and some features). Are you even paying attention to GW2? They have a clear schedule for releasing new information to try to maintain high interest, but it isn't enough to keep it forever. And don't lie to yourself, every Blizzard title since Warcraft 2 dominates headlines and player interest. Nice try, better luck next time.
    I like how you didnt even attempt to refute my argument, 'bro'. Let me make it simple for you:
    Rushing Games = not smart
    You = not smart
    That is why you think rushing an MMO is a good plan. 'Because people will so forget about the game if you dont ship it NAO!'.
  1. Tryitagain's Avatar
    Maybe if they fixed the horde queue times so many people wouldn't have quit? It just feels like aside from finishing heroic raids there isn't much to do everything was so fast it's like "what am I going to do except gear up alts?". It's that plus the lack of anything really innovative or new (wow revamped 1-60 zones!). I just wish they added little fun things, maybe more customizations, fun daily quests (town defense kind of things) or something.
  1. Myah's Avatar
    The game is not broken, people are quiting, cause after 5 years, it's normal to get bored of something. People complain that the game is lacking content, it's not, really, it's just impossible to keep people happy for so long
  1. zeralol's Avatar
    In Wrath, Heroic Raids were a bonus - something you could do for additional challenge/reward, but Hardly required. YOu could go from 232 ToC to 245 ICC and be fine. I don't know if that's the plan here. To me, I think most people see Heroic Raids as being very separate.
    Bad players are not supposed to see hard content


    But raiding got boring as hell anyway. Bring back open pvp and server-wide events and most of the players would be fine.
  1. Drakhar's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Kanggaxx View Post
    I like how you didnt even attempt to refute my argument, 'bro'. Let me make it simple for you:
    Rushing Games = not smart
    You = not smart
    That is why you think rushing an MMO is a good plan.
    Ho ho! Let the personal attacks begin.

    Maybe you just fail to comprehend my meaning, I never said rushing a game was smart, nor did I suggest they do that. The fact is if they end up delaying the release they're going to be in trouble. You see, that's called being caught between a rock and a hard place, maybe you've heard that phrase before? They release too early and have a subpar game, or release too late and lose all the hype and potential sales to competing games. You'll probably ignore it, but my opinion is that they'll release in Q4 and be right in that sweet spot. But hey, you took my playful comment and assumed it was telling a company how to do their jobs and decided to respond provocatively - now who looks like an ass?
  1. Duster505's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Myah View Post
    The game is not broken, people are quiting, cause after 5 years, it's normal to get bored of something. People complain that the game is lacking content, it's not, really, it's just impossible to keep people happy for so long
    Thats where you are wrong m8. PPL dont leave a character they have worked on for 5 years that easily. But ppl are leaving now because there was absolutly NOTIHNG new and intresting in CATA. Archeology ?

    It was BLizzard that desided that the game would not be getting any more real innovative content and features. So instead of pointing at the ppl that are bored after 5 years... point to the developers that added nothing to keep ppl intrested ...

    And it is BLizzard that is charging newcomers with orginal game + 3 expansions + sub. Thats just moronic in a world of F2P games all around.
  1. pinkz's Avatar
    there are a lot of accounts that where made for:
    - zhevra mount
    - rocket mount
    - XP bonus to rip another alt up fast

    some people actually start playing and subscribing these accounts. one player i know had exactly done all the above and ended up with 4 accounts, he recently consolidated-paid transfered players into one account and canxed sub on 3 accounts.

    players i know who recruited relatives/friends, even buying the game to get them going. from what i have seen of this in our guild, these relative/friend recruits are somewhat hot and heavy till they reach higher levels, get into PVP. that is the killer IMO. the imbalances, etc. when you tell them the class they rolled will never beat a xxxx-classes and to boot their class is unviable for 2's and even 3's, they are done. this happened with a guildee who rolled a hunter to 85....he quit. he had no interest in rolling another class to 85, not even a candy headstart DK.

    most of the actives in our guild are players who have played for a long time. many of the new players hit 85 and it seems they do a few endgame things and are done.

    players who have twink accounts and play XP off only, turn off subscriptions when BG ques are bugged (which they are again after last patch). no reason to pay to play....when you can't play

    i'm in a huge 900-1000 member guild, many players at times announce at times they are quitting. i whisper them fast and ask why. after some discussion, they leave the guild and to boot delete players....hence done

    many new account players from what i have seen, rarely purchase all the expansions, get to 60 done, get to 70 done
  1. manos1234's Avatar
    the whole only one guy in the raid can benefit from the legendary at a time is terribly unfair to anyone else in the raid.
    Who likes another guy to benefit from his hard work and all he gets is a non combat pet?
  1. nogard64's Avatar
    talk about DUH!!!

    LOL Cata is a horrible sub par expansion, it lacks in all aspects, Lore, PVE, PVP, community, I think that number is more generous than the reality, I think they've lost a lot more players than that. There used to be constant 25 man raids on ICC on my server, almost 24/7 someone is running a raid, now, I never see a 25 man raid save BH 25, and the cities just look so boring and empty.

    And now they want people to sit in G chat using their phones and not actually play the game? WTF? Are they going backwards?

    Bring back the old raid lock system! Let players do 10 man and 25 man raids eevryweek.

    Are these guys that clueless? It really does seem like the real DEVs are all gone and working on something else now..... Titan?
  1. jayremy's Avatar
    WE are talking about subs here, not game time played. We know this, those that are not subscribed, don't play. Those that are subscribed we aren't sure about them playing, having a subscription doesn't automatically mean they are a frequent player.

    They could have enough money and have a chance (in their mind) they may start playing again soon, they may keep it because they are battle.net forum posters or they have had 3-6 month subs, because its a the cheaper route to go and didn't foresee themselves quitting soon.

    Think about it, the sub number always comes later then the actual trend, its likely a large number of people stopped playing months ago, not just this week or something ridiculous.

    I doubt people really pay attention to cancelling accounts because they will have finals, summer break or anything not life changing. Most sub payments are recurring payments, $15 a month isn't a whole lot for a month's duration at that.

    At this moment, IF IT IS a trend, then the playerbase loss would in fact be much higher.

    I wouldn't measure player interest and activity directly with sub numbers, its a good gauge to get a feel but its never spot on, it could be millions of people off at that.

    I myself am just done with WoW, it LACKS innovation, that's the basic one word short way to describe it, without writing out thousands of words to describe. The game is just getting old, not because of time, but because Blizzard A) is just slow, and B) keep sticking to the same boring old philosophies of game design, they nearly refuse to experiment with new concepts and additions.

    I would like some 1v1 arenas, idc about if they are balanced, rewarding or not and some solo/duo dungeons.
    I would like some actual open world warzones, they need not be PvP but even PvE events.
    I would like to See world boss and boss city raid related events.
    I would like to see some more small room (arena sized) BGs with various PvP objectives and even deathmatches(highest kill count wins, in 15 mins).
    I would like the comps and the trinity system to change a bit, and not be so required/restricted for content as they are now, even if it entails class changes.
    I would like to see raid/dungeon fights not be so much about DPS races, this game should be much less about maximizing dps, more about surviving. DPS, threat building, mana management shouldn't even be the challenge, doing it and surviving should be the hard part. "Rotations" would have no room in this.
    I would like to see this game less about a gear grind, I would like gear to not be as influential as it is now and character level/gear scaling needs to be not so extreme.
    I would like to see that WC3 level of cinematics, voice acting and storytelling present for once in WoW.
    I think tanking and healing could use changes, not to be easier but a bit more fun, than currently.

    That's just me, you may have other things or concerns but this seems important to me if they could focus on
  1. FlacidGladiator's Avatar
    The hard numbers are coming in and people are still not completely getting it. People are leaving because of cataclysmic disappointment, yes pun intended. The expansion was a huge let-down and disappointment to me. I'm sticking with the game on slender hope that they will learn from this and make the next Xpac epic like BC and Wrath. WE DO NOT WANT RECYCLED CONTENT! We do not pay Blizzard 15-dollars a month to have old dungeons tuned for current level cap and presented to us as new. Things we did at 60 and 70 we do not want to repeat at 85 or 90. People leave because they feel their time is better spent elsewhere. When Blizzard acknowledges mistakes were made then they'll be on the path to making things right. Till then, their attitude of 'working as intended' does NOTHING but infuriate their base.
  1. theturn's Avatar
    Thats just the beginning. 600k is over the last 4 months and didn't blizz just launch a "BRAND NEW BIGGEST EVER" expansion? Blizzard also doesn't consider an account "canceled" until 30 days of inactivity. Here should be the bigger concern for blizz. The farmers who care nothing for the game but use it to make money selling gold will start to leave if the player base begins to leave. The farmers probably make up 20% of the current subs if not more.

    5% drop in player base will soon if not already be followed by a 5% loss in farmers.

    ---------- Post added 2011-05-10 at 06:56 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Myah View Post
    The game is not broken, people are quiting, cause after 5 years, it's normal to get bored of something. People complain that the game is lacking content, it's not, really, it's just impossible to keep people happy for so long
    So you are saying only people who have been playing for 5 years are the ones quitting?
  1. bigglare's Avatar
    Poor blizzard. They are only making $171 million a month now on subscriptions .

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