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. Vasz's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by thebusiness View Post
    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
    Oh please, give me a break. The argument is valid, your just out to whine with anyone who doesn't agree with your opinions. It has nothing to do with how good I am in pvp. Did you not see the Colossus Smash changes? 50% in pvp, 100% in pve. How hard is it to do that with all spells? They did it with CC too.

    Saying the game is based on 3v3 is total bs. This game used to be about raiding capital cities and AV games that used to last for a week. Now its about capture the flag and arena ratings.

    They took the "Massively" part out of mmorpg.
  1. Angarin's Avatar
    What anybody does or says will never change this game...blizzard has not only said this but shown us this as well. Really your opinions, comments, your "fake" un-sub's mean nothing to blizzard. Not because they have an immense number of active bodies playing, but because they always choose whats in the "best interest of the game" which is how it should be with any game. If blizzard thought about the players or didnt think about the players there would be polls on their website for just about everything. The only polls we see mean nothing to the in-game enviorment.

    WoW isnt a democracy, its a dictatorship...run by ghostcrawler (...lol). No but really, blizzard runs itself, we dont run it. If your not happy with wow now chances are you never will be. Stop wasting your time and find a new mmo/game to enjoy & better your time with. 600k subs mean nothing and yes I'm including the pre-paid subs as well.
  1. runeb1980@hotmail.com's Avatar
    Alterac Valley is simply the best battleground WoW ever had - BECAUSE it's massive, and that massiveness helps even out the imbalances as well.

    Arena is about as much fun as a blood test, and rated battlegrounds are an abysmal failure.
  1. Vasz's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Angarin View Post
    What anybody does or says will never change this game...blizzard has not only said this but shown us this as well. Really your opinions, comments, your "fake" un-sub's mean nothing to blizzard. Not because they have an immense number of active bodies playing, but because they always choose whats in the "best interest of the game" which is how it should be with any game. If blizzard thought about the players or didnt think about the players there would be polls on their website for just about everything. The only polls we see mean nothing to the in-game enviorment.

    WoW isnt a democracy, its a dictatorship...run by ghostcrawler (...lol). No but really, blizzard runs itself, we dont run it. If your not happy with wow now chances are you never will be. Stop wasting your time and find a new mmo/game to enjoy & better your time with. 600k subs mean nothing and yes I'm including the pre-paid subs as well.
    Well 600,000 subs is about £64 million a year less cash. That for anyone is a huge chunk of money, and money that will not be invested back into the game. Admittedly they will break all records ever set when D3 comes out, short term, this is a big financial blow.
  1. Malenurse's Avatar
    Cataclysm is pretty awful for non-raiders. They did have something cool to offer to non-raiders like Path of the Titans, but it seems anything outside raids that would require puzzle solving etc. is scrapped cuz they think players are to brain dead.
  1. Buu's Avatar
    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.
    ALERT: The following text is full of irony.
    YAY!!! Kudos to the loud minority, and minority wannabes, that made a lot of noise on how good Cata was by showing to those sucky players it's not facerollfest like that worst in the history expansion, WotLK.
    <----->
    Blizzard should NEVER take back the huge business success WotLK was just because a tenth of the players whined on how everyone could do things that only THEM could in the past. They still had really hard Achievements the common folks could only dream to have in WotLK.

    NOW I hope this lesson is enough to them say SHUT UP to those complaining that Firelands have "only 7 bosses" and "why I can't have more than 2 raid days on the week, if I play just for the raids". Go play some of the other aspects of the game and quit whining. Or go whine about having separated 10 and 25 locks again, since it's still gray area of which way is better.
  1. johnnyo032003's Avatar
    You know I wonder if the reason Blizz is always nerfing one class and buffing another is because they see that a certain class seems to be able to easily pull huge numbers and they are trying to challenge wow players to get them to be better at their class. I know at the start of wrath I was terrible with my warrior, then he got nerfed and then buffed over a couple of patches, and during that nerf time i kept playing him and kept trying and trying to get better dps, and when warriors got buffed again I was able to keep up with the dps of the average raider on my server. Mind you I did this without going more than 3/12 in ICC, and wearing half t9 and half t10 and no Needle Encrusted Scorpion. This one warrior was at 100% ArP when the scorpion procced and I was doing about 2k more dps than he was LOL.
  1. Spammeister's Avatar
    That's the 600k lost when spin is applied...I wonder what the real numbers would be.

    /and everything else has been said
  1. apokillypse2k's Avatar
    I haven't played WoW in 5 months, but I know I'm addicted to this game and I want to play REALLY bad right now. And every single time I think of playing, I remind myself how much of a time sink this game really is and anything I achieve in this game won't add to my real life. That's when I remember I shouldn't be playing this game in the first place, although I have been checking up on the updates. I guess MMO Champion is the closest I'll get to it, but that makes me want to play even more. Must resist temptations!!!
  1. Alceus's Avatar
    It is still over 10 million...
  1. Thebigbull's Avatar
    Obv ppl liked Wotlk more...I myself did
  1. maych's Avatar
    Hey Boubouille you left this part in your copy&paste from curse

    "Plus the strongest competitor to the game so far -- RIFT -- launched at the beginning of March. This no doubt pulled many away from Azeroth, even if only temporarily, to explore a new world.

    It will be interesting to see what kind of lasting impact this faster content consumption, along with RIFT, have on the game's subscriber base. We'll probably hear more about this during the next earnings call."
  1. Samskeyti's Avatar
    I'm really curious as to which market lost the most subs. We all know Blizzard uses "creative" counting methods to populate their sub total. Going off the number of subs when China didn't have WoW, we arrive around 6 million (NA, EU). If a large portion of that 600k was from Western markets, that's a huge loss. I'm sure the numbers will surge again once they release Cata in China.
  1. Ausr's Avatar
    A lot of you people who are trying to explain or saying what people stopped playing, and saying WoW is dying now... are morons.

    It also amazes me why people are so angry at a game they supposedly don't have any interest in anymore. I've never experienced this before in any other mmo I've been in.
  1. ashblond's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Shadamehr View Post
    Its not that players went through the Cataclysm content faster than expected. Its that the content wasn't there to begin with. A lot of Cataclysm's development was spent on redesigning level 1 to 60 leveling content. I don't know about the rest of you but I buy expansions expecting to play new content on my main, not to go back and do all the level 1 to 60 areas. I wonder how much more we would have had if they hadn't of done that ? That and putting the A Team on Titan.
    i kinda agree here. maybe they put a lot of effort in redesign the 1-60 zones content, which is not exciting unless someone are leveling their alts.

    And there are some really basic but important stuffs (e.g. updating the old race models, gear customization, etc) which is never implemented in game, although people has been asking them for years. Instead, they create new FUN profession like archaeology....
  1. Kiro's Avatar
    So, as of this moment they're losing $9million dollars a month because they failed on numerous levels:
    - Cata was the weakest content xpac to date.
    - They failed to release content at an acceptable rate.
    - The perceived quality of the game has reached new depths (recycled content, recycled assets).
    - Their inability to balance the game.
    - Their refusal of allowing players to customize and make their character unique.
    - Homogenizing of classes making them all more and more "samey" and "me too".
    - Their refusal of taking the time to balance PVE and PVP properly, because it'll take too much time to give spells/abilities different effects between both game types.
    - Their blowing off their consumer telling them what they want as opposed to listening to the players what they really want.

    Players are not buying their "lol guys, we'll do what we promised THIS time, we swear, lol", and are dropping subs. This figure will continue to plummet I feel as people are very-very disappointed with how Blizzard is handling their game. Openly admitting your top-tier, best talent is removed and put onto their "next-big-thing", which is directly having a massively negative impact on the quality and direction of the game surely does not help. Them also "slipping" up in an interview saying they are literally cutting corners in the quality and development of the game because "Time is Money" really hurt gamers perception of Blizzard.

    This is not the Blizzard of old, this is one that's greedy, cutting corners, not listening to it's userbase, and not prioritizing their money maker as they know it's running it's course, and instead putting time, effort, and money into every project other than WoW. You can rosey goggle this all you sheeple want, but this is the truth from someone who played for years and let their subscription run out finally.

    Do not think for one minute that they're panicking right now, after all, $9million a month is not chump change, and directly impacts their expected income for funding all their other games like they have been, as well as the amount of statues they can buy and put into their offices. And the panic is going to grow worse as more and more people will be leaving this game every-single-day until they step up the quality and effort they put into this game, instead of cutting corners, and adding "value and features that people want" (but don't really want) like premium services as remote AH and Guild Chat.

    I should have known something was up when I got a free trial to come back to WoW not even two-weeks after I left. It's only going to get worse for them as like it or not, Star Wars is a HUGE name in general. It'll be a fresh experience, and will do far more damage to WoW than RIFT even did. Not to mention all the other prime titles launching this fall.

    What I also should have known is we won't be playing Diablo 3 this year. At this rate with the later than expected Beta for it, it will fall into next year going by Blizzard's slowest in the industry work pace.

    It's a shame to see what has become of my favorite, most time invested game. It's for the most part their fault for reasons listed, but it's also a major fault of the sheeple that let them get away with this for so long. Not voicing out enough so that maybe they'll listen.

    Hopefully they bounce back and realize they have to stay true to their promises, start listening to their fanbase, put more effort into this game, and most importantly stop taking their fans for granted.
  1. UncleV's Avatar
    I bet even out of that 11.4m not many play like they used to as in they are playing other games or still have the account just not playing. I have defiantly seen more than 5% of the 3 servers I played on vanish i no even if it was only 3 server i am on effected there would still be a vast number but i doubt its only them 3.

    gotta laugh now lets all more on to GW:2
  1. Isolyphic's Avatar
    It isn't the quantity of content that stopped us from subscribing, it is the quality of the contest itself.
  1. UncleV's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Isolyphic View Post
    It isn't the quantity of content that stopped us from subscribing, it is the quality of the contest itself.
    i disagree i think players have got bored of the game and just quit and new players are finding it hard to see why they should buy 1 game 3 expans and pay £8.99 a month for a really old game when there are cheaper alternatives about with equal game-play and better graphics / game engines. ya old games are just old.

    people leave and no one comes to replace them = fallen numbers.
  1. ashblond's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Sicom View Post
    I went to cancel my account and had to fill out a survey of pre-made selections.

    Where was the option for, "I'm just bored."?

    WoW has become increasingly less fun the past couple of years. It's just burnout. Cataclysm is fantastic, but no amount of content can make an old game new again.
    this is just a decrease in subscriber numbers, and i bet the decrease in players activties is more severe.

    I actually know a lot of people are leaving the game without canceling the sub, myself being one.

    60 euro per 3 months is no big deal. I dont cancel it, i just play it from time to time, much less than before.

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