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. Oztiks's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Rocheku View Post
    Cataclysm heroics are defo not any harder then WotLK heroics (talking about 5 mans here).
    LOL yea I dont think so mate on this one....Maybe to clarify with the term 'harder' to a casual also implies time consuming (hence that is why most are casuals due to lack of time constraints). In the beginning when I hit 80 in LK I remember being in Halls of Lightning with a pretty good group (no LFG yet) and after a few wipes we cleared it in just under an hour. Never again in any heroic did i spend even close to that much time in a dungeon. And you're telling me that now 5 months of heroics you can wip out a random heroic easier than a LK heroic? Please lets get real and save some face on this one. Unless you are secretly Ghostcrawler and are just trying to add sugar to the sour ingredients in the pot, you fail in opinions.

    And why do i keep monitoring these forums someone pms me....hoping to one day find a reason to start playing again a game that i loved so much for 5 years.........
  1. Monkeybutt22345's Avatar
    Bliz is so far off with their understanding of their subscribers, it's not even funny. It's not only "content consumption," but the feeling of the core mechanics. Imo, healing feels like crap, tanking is frustrating, and DPS is an e-peen contest with other tards yelling "LOL I DID 15K DPS IM GOOD *dies to fire*" along with the community post wrath will never be the same as it was in TBC again. Also, pumping out content faster than bliz is now with the immense bugging when the patch comes live will most likely lead into a deterioration of quality, and I can get a piece of shit MMO anywhere. (I could just slip 15 bucks into my Aion account, how easy was that!) Time to go back to the drawing board bliz, cause this game has been taking a beating as far as quality and challenge since 3.2 with trial of the huge stinking load of crap, more like trial of my patience. (although to tell the truth not much can be done, I see most of the problems is community based)
  1. Beasty's Avatar
    I can't, I can only base it on figures in the past about the percentage of the playerbase that is top level or even wearing any epics, it was a while back now but blizzard stated that only about 10% of top levels had killed a boss in karazhan. Content is more accessible these days but I doubt that figure has changed much
  1. Joeygiggles's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by ZyngaFail View Post
    QFT, but it's too late now. WoW will not peak again.

    But to be honest it still amazes me that a buy-to-play game without subs (Guild Wars) can outproduce WoW in content even after years of no new expansions while the large majority of their developers are focused on the sequel.
    Im actually surprised u said wow cant peak again
    Many things they have been doing is little but as they go along like direct x11 smoother models the game is changing. The game has gotten more accessible but also more challenging. We arent haflway thru this xpac and already you want to call it fail. Not just you but many people. Ok wow dipped and your point being...people have things going on. Whats happenign with the game is and will always be changing. Everyone says why didnt they do this sooner..well it wasnt done sooner because it wasnt thought of. The interaction between GM's and the way they communicate and the way the game changes is just coming forward is only because of how this community is changing. WoW is far from done. Everygame sees decline and thats what happens. WoW imo is the future till titan comes out, so willl they stop developing no, will they stop creating no, will people want something else to play yea of course. Seeing as how far they come and how far the MMO community has come as a whole WoW wont and prob wont ever be done. When you speak of outproduce WoW what do you mean. People dont like that pay for this n that, I have friends who played rift and already quit. They wont play wont but quit rift and arent even looking forward to GW2, I cant even say im looking forward to it, imo its looks like another jap anime mmo. Heres my opinion like an asshole I have one liek everyone else. WoW wont die this has made to many social and even political aspects in life. Its mmo's as we know it. We are the community and we are the future, we may have diff play styles and we may have diff agendas but when it comes down to it everyone compares everything to WoW. That it why and it will rein supreme. Blizzard is gaming and they will make sure that WoW is killed by themselves hence enter Titan, its like beatiung a dead horse but thats been said over n over again
  1. ZyngaFail's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Monkeybutt22345 View Post
    Bliz is so far off with their understanding of their subscribers, it's not even funny. It's not only "content consumption," but the feeling of the core mechanics. Imo, healing feels like crap, tanking is frustrating, and DPS is an e-peen contest with other tards yelling "LOL I DID 15K DPS IM GOOD *dies to fire*" along with the community post wrath will never be the same as it was in TBC again. Also, pumping out content faster than bliz is now with the immense bugging when the patch comes live will most likely lead into a deterioration of quality, and I can get a piece of shit MMO anywhere. (I could just slip 15 bucks into my Aion account, how easy was that!) Time to go back to the drawing board bliz, cause this game has been taking a beating as far as quality and challenge since 3.2 with trial of the huge stinking load of crap, more like trial of my patience. (although to tell the truth not much can be done, I see most of the problems is community based)
    See the bar at the top of this page? Click the 6th link, labeled "Guild Wars 2 Guru", you'll find that game that makes you want to play MMOs again.
  1. Buu's Avatar
    First the last: Only is Comic Sans is precious.
    And then the first. BWAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHHAHAHHAHAHHAHAHHAHAHAHAHHAHHAHAH
    Really? Their idea of 600K subscriptions canceled is that's because of people "DOING ALL THE CONTENT"? Seriously? No other reason come to their mind? None? Come on, PLEASE... Their own development department know that's not the reason, and made Rise of the Zandalari before the Firelands to try to correct their previous misconceptions, and yet they still say that absurd? Oh, come on...
  1. Oztiks's Avatar
    Agreed....Blizz hasnt peeked but WoW has....with Blizzard getting ready to launch 2 mmo's in 3 years one would argue to deft ears to not realize this but man alive....Blizz is gonna stay on top with D3 and Titan to follow for sure.
  1. Fierae's Avatar
    I quit two months ago, can't say I didn't see it coming really.
  1. Skulli's Avatar
    Wasnt it always a up and down in subscriptions? Maybe not that early after a expansion release but usually the rate peaks at the release of a expansion and goes down over the period of that new expansion until the next one hits.
  1. Vasz's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Zatheyll View Post
    Based on how big this game is, I have never seen a more balanced game.
    I am not sure what you mean by balance, but that is far from true. For one example DK's were not even close to the tops of the damage meters, in any fight; Hunters however were. So what does Blizz do? They nerf DK's and buff hunters .... amazing! Why? because of pvp! The fury warrior changes was to stop burst dps in pvp .... AND YET THEY BUFF ARCANE MAGES! Nothing like getting hit for 80k arcane blast and then reading the patch notes to see a 15% damage buff.

    Its hard to see the logic on almost all of the class changes.
  1. BeerWolf's Avatar
    Wow - I'm impressed!... With the person who predicted the D3 Public Beta announcement a few days ago that is, with logic from previous dates in the last few years. Fair play to him, whoever it was.
  1. Verth Aeyta's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Monkeybutt22345 View Post
    Bliz is so far off with their understanding of their subscribers, it's not even funny. It's not only "content consumption," but the feeling of the core mechanics. Imo, healing feels like crap, tanking is frustrating, and DPS is an e-peen contest with other tards yelling "LOL I DID 15K DPS IM GOOD *dies to fire*" along with the community post wrath will never be the same as it was in TBC again. Also, pumping out content faster than bliz is now with the immense bugging when the patch comes live will most likely lead into a deterioration of quality, and I can get a piece of shit MMO anywhere. (I could just slip 15 bucks into my Aion account, how easy was that!) Time to go back to the drawing board bliz, cause this game has been taking a beating as far as quality and challenge since 3.2 with trial of the huge stinking load of crap, more like trial of my patience. (although to tell the truth not much can be done, I see most of the problems is community based)
    I rather enjoy healing in WoW right now, it actually feels like a it's my duty to heal people rather than show up and spam one heal and win. DPS seems to be an e-peen contest no matter what game you play, people are always fascinated with being first, being the top, it's not just WoW it's every game I have ever played.

    I personally think WoW's core mechanics are fine for the most part, the content is what needs work, it's easy for the most part, I'm not an utter completion freak but I have been through normal mode in current content and that is just dandy for me, now I'm waiting for firelands to come out and spend a few months rocking that out with my guild.

    There could be many reasons for the sub losses, hell I cancelled my sub for 8 months just because my band was going places, once it died down I came back to WoW. People grow up, people get bored, people just.. move on. Blizzard knows this and which is why they'll keep coming with the new games for people to play and a new MMO to appeal to the people who want an updated MMO.
  1. Joeygiggles's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Vasz View Post
    I am not sure what you mean by balance, but that is far from true. For one example DK's were not even close to the tops of the damage meters, in any fight; Hunters however were. So what does Blizz do? They nerf DK's and buff hunters .... amazing! Why? because of pvp! The fury warrior changes was to stop burst dps in pvp .... AND YET THEY BUFF ARCANE MAGES!
    Ok so you try n balance a game between pvp and pve. They said from the begining they didnt want to separate the 2 and keep all the talents in line with both. If thats your argument then it kinda sucks. One the game is based off of 3v3 pvp balance and if you havent seen that then wtf are you even doing posting. Balance is from a pve and pvp perspective. Really check how you play because hey just because other wont say it but maybe you suck at both and cant play your class. I know shitty pvpers who are awesome at pvp and vice versa so run your mouth more
  1. Alianthos's Avatar
    That was bound to happen. And with D3, Wow will go down still more, unfortunatly. All good things must come to an end
  1. Toinouze's Avatar
    600k...honestly I was expecting more

    5% is not THAT high.
  1. v1sper'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.

    What the shit? You have no idea how hard/unforgiving 10m Heroic is compared to 25m. Please don't comment about things you don't know anything about.
  1. Carighan's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Zatheyll View Post
    Based on how big this game is, I have never seen a more balanced game.
    Same.

    WoW is a lot better balanced than any other MMO I tried, and most non-MMO games.

    People like to rant about it though because they think they should be the only customer and hence their opinion is automatically the #1 issue for the dev team right now, no exceptions. Ah well.
  1. runeb1980@hotmail.com's Avatar
    There is one reason and one reason only for why players for the first time are leaving WoW rather than flocking to it: Heroics & Raids are no longer fun - they're chores. Cataclysm was the expansion for the elitists... turns out they only make up a few percent of the total playerbase. Who knew... oh wait... I did.
  1. Carighan's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by samzam View Post
    If they actually balanced the game instead of sitting around and doing jack sh*t all day, waiting months to nerf grossly overpowered abilities like RoF, NS, CS and such I think at least half of these players including myself would've stuck around, I'm not going to re-roll every time another class dominates mine, which seems like it's exactly what they want. disgusting
    I think this just goes to show you've never played many computer games before. WoW is better balanced than any other MMO (by a fairly large margin, too), and than most non-MMO games, too. Your perception of balance is either based on a self-defined standard where you yourself should either be just above level or noticeably above (due to how human perception works, 50/50 would appear to be "mostly losses" to you, sorry, ask your local red traffic light), or on games like Starcraft II (incidentally by the same developer) or HoN. Games which are based on pro-league level play and focusing specifically on the smallscape PvP-only balance.
    Since WoW has a much larger playerbase to balance for (since it has PvE and different kinds of PvP), the 1v1 balance is never going to work out as well as say in HoN.

    But again, which game are you comparing WoW for for this?

    Quote Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
    There is one reason and one reason only for why players for the first time are leaving WoW rather than flocking to it: Heroics & Raids are no longer fun - they're chores. Cataclysm was the expansion for the elitists... turns out they only make up a few percent of the total playerbase. Who knew... oh wait... I did.
    Ofc you might be right, but I wouldn't exactly call it a negative thing then. The quality of pugs has noticeably improved. Not only on a gameplay- but also on a social-level. People chat again, they talk, in ZA/ZG they discuss how to clear how many of the timers, and so on. It's no longer 45 minutes of quiet boredom until people get their VP dispensed.

    But, this is due to exactly what you said: Cataclysm forced the truly bad players (and I mean social issues as much as gameplay-skill here) to either improve, or give up on it. The ones who improved, hurray. The ones who didn't... why should I feel bad if they quit? The sub-numbers prove it's a rather small number we're talking about, and if they improve my QoG noticeably by quitting, I'm happy.
    The one big remaining problem now is that WoW never teaches you how to play while levelling. I agree universally that this needs to be remedied in some way, there needs to be clear restrictions and rewards for learning how to properly Tank / Heal / DPS while levelling up. That alone would improve lvl85 life like nothing else would.
    But in the interrim, getting the people who both don't know how to play and (and this is the dealbreaker for me) can't be arsed to try improving to quit is... good.

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