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. Pancha's Avatar
    I would say the game is more or less as balanced as you can get it. Just the shear amount of things to do and how to play classes, a long with the different types of players just makes it impossible to balance it properly.

    I've stopped playing the game myself. More or less due to the game being ... poor for me. So whatever happens to the game, I won't really care :-)
  1. jayremy'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. 'Because people will so forget about the game if you dont ship it NAO!'.
    I think Blizzard could do things so much quicker when it comes to new content, so much quicker. Especially seeing how many months it takes them to release so little changes from patch to patch. Other game developers can release hard core games or patches at a much faster rate with much more complex, coding, art, graphics, animations, story, cinematics, musics scores, you name it.

    Blizzard is just so freaking slow at it, and got a bug, imbalance problem, class or UI needs a change? No problem we will include it with the next major content patch instead of dealing with it now. Or for some reason it takes them 2 months after live realms to realize they overcompensated on buffing a class, and now its OP in some regard, despite people saying it forever, especially things like CC or basic DPS abilities.
  1. Maklor's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Tryitagain View Post
    Maybe if they fixed the horde queue times so many people wouldn't have quit?
    *SIGH*

    And how exactly could they do that...

    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
    Pretty sure that is it, at least that's why I quit.

    I don't hate WoW or wish for it's death like some people, it just too much of the same for too long.
  1. Pendraeg's Avatar
    Comic sans? Man, that's cruel.

    And as far as the subscribers go....yeah, well, it's not that surprising. I'm letting my sub lapse this month. My ex who started the same time idea (around 2.2) is also quitting. I have several guild mates who are/were long time players who are quitting or have quit. Cata just doesn't seem to have the.....soul, I guess, that the previous content had. It's becoming more of a game and less of a world.
  1. jayremy's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by theturn View Post
    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 ----------



    So you are saying only people who have been playing for 5 years are the ones quitting?
    I have been playing for more than that slightly, the reason I stopped is not because I just got bored. I hate the route they went with soem class overhauls, and they should've did polls to see if a strong majority would've loved the change or not. Other than overhuals on things like classes, Blizzard never brings any new experience to the game, its just the same crap.

    No solo/duo dungeons yet, its all 5/10/25 mans or GTFO attitude and I hate it. The trinity system is outdated, and for the record I never really liked it or supported it for almost all my years of playing, yes it is very easily possible to work around it. Content and boss fights, leveling, gear is all a repetitive grind, leveling is too easy.

    It seems the biggest challenge of this game is paying attention to everything going on, because you get boring tunnel vision of watching bars and mashing the same rotation over, and over x 99999 more times. Its all about mobs, keybinds, ui configs, macros, voice communication, and I like to use my mouse (and right hand)a little more than just target selection. It really just becomes an organizational chore, all the math and logistics, grinding and preparation. I don't feel like I am playing a game, because the challenge is in the chore-based crap not, skill, something that can be worked to improved and is always fun to improve.

    It has only gotten worse and worse, probably nearest its worse now sense I gotta do everything over again, after classes getting overhauled, the game doesn't feel harder not at all but playing classes feels more complicated in a stressful way. I have never seen the game more streamlined than now, a very linear experience, everything being overly micro-balanced with excessive homogenization
  1. Infinitus's Avatar
    This is a turning point for Blizz as I don't think they ever had so many players quitting at the same time and yes 5 % is significant (revenue). Especially only 4 months into an expansion.
    If they are smart for once, they read the writing on the wall and regard this is a golden opportunity to make the right changes the player base wants while they are still ahead. Let's face it, a lot of things went horribly wrong in Cata and it wasn't a surprise to all those player who was in the beta or PTRs during the ramp up to Cata. Numerous posts were made about a lot of the major issues now plaguing Cata but went largely ignored by Blizz.
    Now is the time for Blizz to think about why WotLK was such a hit and why it attracted so many people to the game, both in PvE and PvP and make the necessary changes fast before the trend gets irreversible.

    Myself I quit back in February and just got a Blizz mail to come back and test 4.1 for 7 days for free. No thank you, I just read what they did to the most loved BGs of them all (WSG) to make that decision easy. Keep removing and nerfing things that people have loved for 5-6 years and see even more players quitting or make a hard decision right now to reverse a lot of the things that went wrong. Swallow your pride and start seriously listening to your player base before it's too late. It would be good for both the player base and you.

    The "my way or the high way" approach is not working for you anymore.
  1. Seethe's Avatar
    comic sans, am i doing it right?

    p.s. I was ganna trash comic sans users, but i cant use papyrus.

    p.p.s kudos if you got the joke.
  1. Myah's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by theturn View Post
    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 ----------



    So you are saying only people who have been playing for 5 years are the ones quitting?
    No, I never said that. I'm replying to people complaining about how good things were before and how bad it all it is now.


    They need to release new stuff aswell work on old, cause, it is old. People keep comparing numbers of how many raids there were then and now, how much content

    They make 10 bosses, 20 types of encounters (normal/hard). Some people go and clear hard mode in one month (cause it's so easy), of course they'll get bored, but some people will take months to get to that point. It's impossible to please everyone. They could hire 1000 employees to create and release 50 bosses to keep the hardcore ones busy, but even with 1000 more people working, doesn't meant it'll be quality.

    Someone mentioned it lacks innovation, but honestly how much can they innovate without affecting the base?

    My point is, it'll never be possible to please everyone.
  1. Noblia's Avatar
    There is a lot of conjecture in these forums about why it's happened.

    There is only one thing that is absolutely true without a doubt. Wow has lost it's momentum. It may have plateaued? Or it may be in for a decline? No one knows why? It can be a multitude of reasons? The one reason I am sure it's not, is the reason given... 600k cancelled subs did not blow through content that fast. Not when they ratcheted up endgame difficulty significantly vs the last expansion.
  1. Isii's Avatar
    Quitting this month aswell.

    WoW has become boring as fuck. There's nothing left to do, and content is just *yawn*...

    Nuff said, Blizz sucks balls.
    Period.
  1. Cows For Life's Avatar
    They're consuming content too fast and not because you've failed elsewhere.

    Heh that's such an MBA answer. Really channeling Kotick there.
  1. chosenkiwi's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Shrymp View Post
    How about the fact that probably 80% of players are casual, and this tier of raiding is one of the hardest we've ever seen... and it requires a pretty dedicated raid team/schedule to clear...

    Maybe that turns people away?
    You clearly did not experience the wrath period........
  1. jayremy's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Paincake View Post
    Nobody is saying WoW is dying. Just that it doesn't appeal anymore, getting lackluster. Just because Jersey Shore is a bad show doesn't mean the stupidity is stopping the viewers. Same with the players. WoW is a giant amongst the MMO's. Any type of content will keep it afloat, no matter how mediocre.

    Not horrible at all, this types of posts promote some discussion of wheter the game is improving or not. Anyone can voice their opinion.
    Emphasis on mediocre, thats why my playing has halted. My experience felt less epic after BC, ulduar was the only time in WotLK did It feel great.

    Sunwell, Hyjal, BT, karazhan, original ZA, TK, SSC, gruul's lair these were fun places, experience and mechanics. Many fun instances from start to finish, it was all available extremely early into the expansion. All they lacked in BC was some of the WotLK class changes balances, w/o the OP part of DPS buffs(and rets+DKs), that lead to screwing the fun part of healing in PvE and PvP.

    WoW has just been worse ever since BC, the mediocrity of the experience has dulled my mind. The game has never ever really impressed me to the point of tears or utter excitement where I could just jump out of my seat. So many other games have impressed me, games like the MGS series for one example, so man of the old n64 games. Some of the latest great console games have really brought a great experience to me.

    Blizzard is superb at their RTS games, they have more cinematic in the pre-release stage of D3 than all of WoW's existance. Warcraft 3 has like 2-3 times as many cinematics than all of WoW. I find it rather sad, you can even look at the SC2 campaign and it was great for telling a story and is a very popular and successful.

    Its a shame how many games with no where near the ball park of revenue WoW makes, impressed me so much more then the developers of WoW. It had so much potential, likely still does, I don't see the devs utilizing it like they should.

    Instead they keep feeding us the "carrot of mediocrity" hoping we keep carrying them on our backs providing content "good enough" but never truly great or innovative.
  1. pfunkmort's Avatar
    one has to wonder how many of the losses were from the botting purge a month or two ago. I had at least 3-4 people in my personal sphere who got their accounts banned, and I don't know a ton of people.

    also, as some places (like china) handle subscriptions on an hourly basis, I feel the numbers in general are slightly misleading. Losing 600k US or EU accounts is going to have a greater impact on them than 600k people who play 3 hours a month.
  1. Vasz's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by snowcrash512 View Post
    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.
    By small percentage I think you mean 5%. Now thats a drop in the ocean to you in your maths lesson, but in the real world a 5% is huge. After all inflation is only 0.1% If they had a billion subscribers that's 50 million players. The numbers are relative to the total amount. Just because you didn't see 5 million people leaving doesn't make it any worse.

    If your work place told you that you was getting a 5% pay cut, you would be furious. If you was on 50K a year that would be 2500 quid less in your pocket each year. Yeah 5% may seem small to you, but when your revenue is in the billions, its a LOT.
  1. cristti's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by pfunkmort View Post
    one has to wonder how many of the losses were from the botting purge a month or two ago. I had at least 3-4 people in my personal sphere who got their accounts banned, and I don't know a ton of people.

    also, as some places (like china) handle subscriptions on an hourly basis, I feel the numbers in general are slightly misleading. Losing 600k US or EU accounts is going to have a greater impact on them than 600k people who play 3 hours a month.
    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.
  1. Gulrok's Avatar
    I think one of the biggest things is that gold farmers aren't paying for active WoW Subscriptions. It honestly isn't worth it to sell gold anymore. It seems that I've not encountered very many recently. Granted that there are still gold-sellers out there. I don't seem them that often.
  1. LGalucard's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Aekero View Post
    Hmmm the way this article is written (and the way Blizzard is speaking), it feels like they think people went through the content too fast... Yet the first tier wotlk raid content was waaaay easier than first tier of cataclysm, if anything, Cataclysm lost subs because they decided not to cater to casuals as much.

    Heroic 5s were pretty challenging, normal raids were pretty challenging, I got through them but trolling the forums I saw sooo many people getting discouraged and quitting, imo they toned stuff down too late. Most of the people trash talking the casuals couldn't handle heroic difficulty, yet they were worried about normal getting too easy. Also I had to laugh when Blizzard said stuff like "hey if heroics and raids are too hard just play normals!" (number of normal level 85 dungeons at the time: 3) Then they wonder why people got fed up and bailed.

    I myself made it through all the heroics + normal difficulty levels, I'll admit I'm not hardcore enough for heroic raids but I had a good time of it... I've also been to plenty of Blizzcons, met a lot of the average WoW players, who enjoy the game for the social aspects as much as the game itself. That doesn't mean they don't want to raid, but I, as a guy in his 20's who has played a shitload of video games, raided a ton etc found normal difficulty raids right at about the level I wanted.... Now what about the 90% of people who have less experience/time/bananas/w/e than me... tough cookies?

    The fact that they said in Wotlk "hey we more people to actually see the raids, because they really are cool content and they progress the story" then they turned around and said "hey play those three normal difficulty dungeons" in Cataclysm made no sense.

    People want to be able to enjoy content, including raids. Look at Wotlk, plenty of subs with easier content, the more people who can enjoy bottom tier the better. I say put in another difficulty level (easy) and we'd be in a good place. Let casuals play casually and drop the "hey we can be hardcore too!" attitude Blizz, that isn't what got you where you are now.
    You are right on the spot. This was the whole reason i quit. Ive been a gamer for more than 15 years , i have experience in a wide variety of games and genres , i found cataclysm normal modes , right on the spot i like and for a video game. However we gotta face the fact that most of the wow player base are not "gamers" and at the beginning of cata i saw my guild fail so hard at normal modes and simple stuff that for me was simply beyond reason. I gave up on wasting my much needed sleeping time on raids and i quit. I came back from 4.1 where regardless of the guild finder (no one seems to check the goddam guild requests) i couldnt find a guild or at least a competent once able to kill magmaw or going past it, the skill level that people needed to progress in wrath normals was simply a lot less and not to mention that you could carry people even in 10 man. Right now one death in 10 man is usually a wipe. Wanna see an example of how bad the situation is? Just see how many extremely fail pugs are there for ZA/ZG i could not bear it any longer i just quit again.
  1. Kiro's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Gulrok View Post
    I think one of the biggest things is that gold farmers aren't paying for active WoW Subscriptions. It honestly isn't worth it to sell gold anymore. It seems that I've not encountered very many recently. Granted that there are still gold-sellers out there. I don't seem them that often.
    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.
  1. Galvanon's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by ElAmigo View Post
    hardly that big of a deal, they still beat any other mmo in terms of subscribers by a long shot and it's the holidays here in america which means people are going and vacation which means they're cancelling their subscriptions for short while. Not to mention that a new tier of raiding hasnt come out since cata has launched. check the numbers one or two months into 4.2 and i can assure you that it will shoot back up.
    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.

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