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. MMOtemp's Avatar
    yay wow is dying
  1. Keosen's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by silendeath View Post
    This is simple reason why so many people stopped playing, because 10 man and 25 man is the same difficulty and reward.
    There is no "one" reason for a loss or a gain of half a million subs Sherlock.
    Many things are making people come and go it's never one single change/addition.

    Subs are now pre-Cata level that means that 500mil start/continue to play with the release of Cata and then left, you can't say that this 500mil is the same, they can be players from 2004 or players that played 2 months and left.

    When you see a number you have only this, a number you can't say for sure what's the reason on why people left and if they will come back or not.

    Either way it's summer,5months old expansion,5year old game i think 5% lost on their subs is nothing compared to what it should be, WoW need to lost a lot more to matter, they player base is vast and the expansion are keep on coming, the chicken still lays golden eggs
  1. -Zait-'s Avatar
    I want Diablo 3........ :3
  1. Jinzil's Avatar
    So subscribers are lost -> Blizzard decides to push content faster? Same shit like always...
  1. xHypnotoad's Avatar
    TBH it shows through how Devs have been treating the expansion. 75% of the Q&A answers were "This is something we don't currently have planned, but would like to work on in the future". I among many WoW players are just tired of the course Blizzard has been taking so far, relying on carrot on a stick gimmicks to keep people paying for extended periods of time. A great example would be the concept of splitting 4.1 into two major content patches since troll dungeons were ready long before Firelands was finished, but spent weeks on PTR while many features were implemented and prolonged the PTR for around a month and a half.

    tl;dr
    Though there certainly is a downtime going on, Blizzard's new game plan for Cataclysm hasn't been working as they hoped.
  1. Beasty's Avatar
    I would question whether 500k have cleared current content on normal or maybe even 3 bosses, so that is not where the main amount would come from, I imagine half would not even be 85.
  1. Ooldoong's Avatar
    lull? Isn't 4.2 suppose to be basically done? 4.1 content was suppose to be a piece of the bigger 4.2 Firelands. If they wanted to end a lull (or loll) they could have launched 4.2 sooner if players are consuming it faster than expected.

    I think most could tell that by how the 4.1 patch went that 4.2 wasn't even close to being ready. With 4.1 introducing a whole new set of fail, in terms of bugs and game issues, I cringed at thinking of what a bigger 4.2 patch would have done to WoW.

    Consuming the content too fast may have some truth, but I honestly think it's only a small part of the real reasons 600k people left. A few little things aren't a big deal, but as more and more little things pop up, and give reason to not play, it's only a matter of time before it's too much and people "need a break".

    Blizzard not doing something about this lull means they don't have the people on the WoW team to get rid of it, especially when they have to consider the timing of the launching of all their expansions and new products. They could end a small lull now, or prevent a bigger subscription loss later when a new game comes out.

    hehe, gotta love how people try to put their spin on the situation.

    Edit: hehe, the 600k could have been from them banning all those folks running that archeology macro.
  1. Mithgroth's Avatar
    Most of the 600k lost is probably because of people getting so sick about PvP imbalances.
    One day it's frost mages,
    other day it's warriors,
    then frost dks,
    then pandas and frogs.

    I really wonder with all that testing and PTR, how come they couldn't foresee frost dk burst 4.1?

    There's more than heroics and PvE in the game.
  1. Vasz's Avatar
    I have to admit I wasn't surprised as wow losing so many subs. All those people that said Rift wouldn't make a dent were wrong. Patch 4.1 was a huge disappointment for raiders like me (in a semi casual guild) who have been working on HMs for a while. The addition of ZG and ZA gave us nothing really exciting, and a lot of the gear in there just gets disenchanted. Its a nice alt dungeon, altough now we have started raiding our alts too.

    So with the fact that we have had no new major raid content in 5 months, and Rift is new and exciting to a lot of players, any wonder with the big drop in subs?
    Although it seems they only think Cataclysm has been out 4 months?? "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"



    Oh ans D3 !!!! OMFG bring it on!
  1. Ukerric's Avatar
    So, prior to 4.1 we had a quickly removed off-the-hand comment that people had not progressed enough (and Firelands was shifted a few weeks further to a 4.2 patch). Then, we have "most of its content had been consumed by a large percentage of the player base" (in which case, you should probably push content faster, no?).

    I don't think that's the base is consuming stuff faster. I think that it consumes less content - and simply stop there. Less and less are coming back to the game at each patch, and it's evident that Blizzard has accumulated pretty much all of the potential players for the WoW game genre; there's not many more left around.

    Still, for an almost 7-year old game... it's in a pretty good shape.
  1. Kendeura's Avatar
    Does the previous tier of raiding include SInestra?
  1. A J Rimmer's Avatar
    It's seems those 600K people left for exactly the same reasons as I don't like *insert personal bugbear*!

    I am 100% certain of this!

    lol
  1. laserguns's Avatar
    There are lots of problems with the game outside of raiding, which presents a pretty good tier compared to t10, t9, t7. There isn't just much else to do that feels valuable. There are a million achis and things implemented, but they're mostly pointless crap like "eat 91 cookies" and don't give any real rewards anyway. Also Blizz are still using the WotlK formula of enforced gear progression which seems to make everything but the latest patch redundant and I don't really know of many players who approve of this, casual or hardcore.

    I've noticed people who have quit a few times in the past are still coming back to the game, but they're only lasting a few weeks before quitting again.

    The firelands hub may offer a temporary solution to this but really their formula and philosophy needs to change.
  1. Aldrox's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Kendeura View Post
    Does the previous tier of raiding include SInestra?
    I hope so. That would be really nice return of resonable progression again.
  1. implicationmmo's Avatar
    There are several reasons why they lost 600k subscribers:

    - 4.0 has been out since some time
    - Rift is still a new game, and people will start coming back ot Wow in a bit (4.2 maybe?)

    So no worries for Wow just yet
  1. Crazytramp's Avatar
    The fanboyism in this thread... it.. it burns!
  1. Chin Music's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by silendeath View Post
    This is simple reason why so many people stopped playing, because 10 man and 25 man is the same difficulty and reward. Its just easier to get 10 competent players to raid than it is to get 25. Sure all the hardcore guilds are still 25 but they never had a problem filling spots. All the middle of the game guilds have a handful of good players and this 10m raiding makes it easier for them to progress. All the players that are getting sat or just not progressing cause all that left is all the bads to group with are just quitting.

    People are progressing through the content much faster now is cause they only need 10 good players and no one to hold them back.
    This is the most hilariously specific reason based on personal dissatisfaction for a loss of half a million players I've ever heard.

    "Guys, it's obvious all those people quit because they made the troll flight form smaller. Open your eyes."
  1. slavrix's Avatar
    Lol thats the 600,000 accounts they banned for botting archaeology.....

    when a game has plateaued you dont go mass banning lululul
  1. avadakedavra's Avatar
    No Prob, after recyling the BC Content a lot more than 600k will stop playing.

    Theres nothing special anymore, the major part, the casuals: mimimi we want everything that a hardcore raider can get.
    The Hardcore raider: for what should i spent a lot of "hard work" if i can get everything lot easier.

    My optinion is that Warcraft reches the nearly end.
    A community of mimimis and their contraries and a ton of IDeas like. Hey that ols s..t is probably to recylce !

    Sry but for me a Blizzard Fail !
  1. Mikrotaster's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by silendeath View Post
    This is simple reason why so many people stopped playing, because 10 man and 25 man is the same difficulty and reward. Its just easier to get 10 competent players to raid than it is to get 25. Sure all the hardcore guilds are still 25 but they never had a problem filling spots. All the middle of the game guilds have a handful of good players and this 10m raiding makes it easier for them to progress. All the players that are getting sat or just not progressing cause all that left is all the bads to group with are just quitting.

    People are progressing through the content much faster now is cause they only need 10 good players and no one to hold them back.
    get your facts straight, yes there are more people raiding 10 man, however about 50 kills on sinestra compared to 160 25 man kills, so please do some research before you start moaning about difficulty. 10 man raids have from the beginning been overtuned and just now over the past month or two been "nerfed" and actually have become doable on 10 man.

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