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. Kryos's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by lightmgl View Post
    Now Blizzard is saying that people are going through the content faster than ever. Completely contradictory to their previous comments.
    If you did your dailys every day you run out of content (everything exalted, every reputation item aquired) very fast. About 2 months ago I maxed out everything there is possible to do outside raid content and archeologie (after getting the junior professor title I stopped this boring crap) just by doing the daily quests and running my daily heroic.

    So if you don't have a raid, you have nothing to to. If you have a raid, then you will soon find out, that the normal modes are not very challenging (maybe except Nefarian). Hardmodes on the other hand are too hard (the first 3 bosses are ok). This is also very well reflected in this:
    http://www.wowprogress.com/

    H: Sinestra: 348 (0.61%) and H: Cho'gall: 665 (1.17%)
    means hardmodes are too hard. 5-10% would be a good number.
    if you compare it to normal mode:

    Cho'gall: 26524 (46.78%)
    about half of the raid guilds are able to farm the same boss on normal.
    So raiding is over- and undertuned resulting in bored normal mode raiders and frustrated hardmode raiders (ignore the 1% players that will now tell you hardmodes are fine the way they are now).

    So my conclusion is, that people are going through the content faster than ever if you exclude the hardmodes. So you have boredom<->frustration which leads to quitting. And the game is over 6 years old now, so many try other games.
  1. laserfloyd's Avatar
    I know 5% isn't much but I promise you that behind the scenes at Blizzard they are cringing. A big business never ever EVER wants to lose that much. Break even? OK, it sucks but no loss. Losing 5%? OUCH! A huge money making machine like that always wants to have an increase. Always and forever more. Someone is getting chewed out. I just know it. :P
  1. walexia's Avatar
    well blizzard can't do much for their old fan-base.Those are the ones who have quite literally been there and done that.I'm just waiting for gw 2 i love this game and have made it my home here all these 5yrs.But as soon as something else viable comes up it will be time to say goodbye for good
  1. Octopus's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by implicationmmo View Post
    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
    Blizzard/Activision actually stated that most of the players have already returned to WoW. I dont think Rift had any sort of affect on WoW's subscriber numbers.
  1. Baygon's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Theoron View Post
    Can't wait to see more on D3. Really anxious to play it for myself. Great news there, too bad about the subscription loss, but honestly, they still have a LOT of subscriptions and where some people leave, others join, certainly nothing to place too huge an impact on anything.
    the problem here is that the Vanilla and most of the expansions really haven't dropped in price much at all, and a lot of new players arn't willing to fork out ~100 dollars for Wow, they go from the current somewhat snazzy 1-60 stuff, mind you, npcs basically do everything for you now, seems really meh once you do it once, anyway and then they hit Outland, and it's not as shiny anymore, a lot of new people are staying a bit longer then level 10, but it's not worth forking out a fair chunk of money to just give a test run of a game, which seems to have plateaued
  1. Octopus's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Kryos View Post
    H: Sinestra: 348 (0.61%) and H: Cho'gall: 665 (1.17%)
    means hardmodes are too hard. 5-10% would be a good number.
    if you compare it to normal mode:
    100% agree with this post. Hardmodes are way too difficult.

    It annoys me when people claim you aren't done with the content since you haven't cleared all the hardmodes. If only 348 guilds have killed her, I dont think that's a playerbase issue.
  1. Faithshield'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.
    Lets be clear, they spent ages redoing the 1-60 experience and then drastically increased the xp gain, plus threw in heirlooms for almost every slot so that new leveling experience lasts little more than a week, and that is being generous. They then wonder after devoting so much time and energy to that, how people can run out of content so fast.

    The mind boggles seriously. Most people have been saying for months the 1-60 leveling curve is both far too fast and mind numbingly easy. Even me, who usually enjoys leveling has grown bored since player power in relation to mob power has grown by about 300% since Classic.
  1. 08fager's Avatar
    daily blink = me in a nutshell oh

    and on the 11.4m id think it has alot to do with it being summer and alot of eu ppl take that time to not play games , but to go outside
  1. SparkofImagination's Avatar
    They are saying 600K but it feels way more than that. I'am one of those 600K that left and I've been playing since November 2004, why did I leave? Well one of the main reasons was the queue times, 30-40 minute wait for a single instance scared away their subscribers, I also think having to restart and on top of that relearn the new terrain didn't help either, more than half my guild left. Blizz gave me a 7 day free pass just 2 days ago and most of my complaints have been fixed, queue times are like 5-9 mins max now as DPS and I can do a weeks worth of dailys in 1 day, but when I checked the guild roster nobody was on and has been on for over a week, this was an active guild with over 200 people who were friends for years, I knew personally and were WoW addicts like me, no sign of them Its really sad to be honest. Im probably not going to come back, maybe if they offered me a server transfer or something I might reconsider. I knew this was going to happen when I was playing Cata beta, I knew the changes were going to scare people away.
  1. fruust's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Vasz View Post
    Not when we have to wait half a year for another raid its not. And that is assuming that 4.2 will be out within a month. Did they honestly expect a single tier of raid content to last over a year?
    they did that in the beginning of wotlk with the exceptionable horrible naxxramas crap tier.
    yes, the game is much better now than it was in the beginning of wotlk.
  1. Eliandal's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by UncleV View Post
    so i guess like another 25%+ are sitting on subs and not playing due to being to attached to there toons and not wanting to cancel just in-case they come back.... ya 11.4 but i bet allot more are not playing anywhere near the amount they used to. meh blizzard gets the same amount of money if they play or not as long as they pay still. I guess. cheaper server costs I guess thats the idea behind the game being more casual the less they pay but same they play blizzard wins.

    5% loss in profits from players is fairly significant though. when a game comes out numbers should go up or stay the same not diminish rofl. poor blizzard
    There is no 5% loss in profits, they were MORE profitable even with the loss in subscription numbers. There is actually no area in the report where they earned less money this quarter!
  1. Slackeh's Avatar
    Lower the price of the subscription 8.99 is a joke for a game that is hardly as good as it used to me. they wonder why people wont resub, paying that much to be play a week or 2 then bored and cancel the rest of the month is what generally happens.
  1. Kryos's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by 08fager View Post
    daily blink = me in a nutshell oh

    and on the 11.4m id think it has alot to do with it being summer and alot of eu ppl take that time to not play games , but to go outside
    I don't think that Blizzard did not take the usual seasonal fluctuation into account. This is more than that and quite frankly, I'm not surprised. If you are an average good player you have chewed every non-raid and normal-mode content including getting your 4.1 pink zul bear and have no real reason to log in.
  1. Doombringer's Avatar
    WoW is showing its age. Cataclysm, for all that it did have, had very little to keep players hooked. Heroics... nothing new from Wrath, aside from higher difficulty. New zones... eh, only a handful of them, and they were all very linear (how many times can you run through TH and still find it enjoyable?). Raids... Blackwing Descent was largely recycled from Blackrock Mountain assets we saw 6 years ago, Bastion was pretty cool, and Throne of the Four Winds was short. 4.1 is barely tiding most players over - we saw ZG and ZA 4 to 5 years ago, and they haven't changed that much to keep most players interested beyond one or two runs, maybe a few more - that is a week's entertainment at this rate, at most.

    Players consumed Cata's offerings because there really wasn't anything to wow them. If you've done Vortex Pinnacle once, you've seen it. Archeology wasn't a slam dunk, but a grind. The revamped 'classic' world was awesome, but only for one or two playthroughs. After doing all this for years (depending on how long you've subscribed), it's getting to be old hat. People don't just want something new, they want something that isn't World of Warcraft.
  1. Venziir's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Tatis View Post
    I khow why players quit WoW: Archeology!

    It's so boring that I fall asleep during the trip from a dig site to another!
    While Fishing is just amazingly interesting, it's as flashy as tripping acid while getting run over by a pink lawnmower made of candy, stars and ponies.
  1. Sisariash's Avatar
    ohh this is not good
  1. Dazu's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by shadowflay View Post
    If they stopped fucking around with buffing classes and giving them fotm for few months and actually fixing the game they would have some subscribers left
    11.4 million = none left?
    Most classes are actually more even this expansion than any of the previous ones. They need mass testing on live servers on how scaling and differing playstyles pan out. Not enough people accurately document and test out on the beta/PTR's after each change to give a solid figure. Most care more about trying to feel super OP with new gear and also how to corner the market when said patch goes live (tradeskill mats etc). So, once its live they test and adjust. As it is now, most classes have easy counters, and counter another class easily. I can only think of 1 class actually struggling in high end arena and that is hunters. Last look almost all classes still had players in the top teams somewhere, although not in as high of ratio.

    Also, this happens every expansion, numbers surge prior and during an expansion, and drop off after 3-9 months as initial content loses interest in some players. It has been a larger fall and sooner this time, but then it was also only 5 levels and less total zones implemented so the solo interest was much shorter.
  1. TheOne's Avatar
    Diablo>Warcraft. Once Diablo 3 comes out, I will never look at WoW again.
  1. wiIdi's Avatar
    Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
    WoW Lost 600k Subscribers
    is anyone surprised? if so why? long term motivation = endgame content. Unlike wotlk, cataclysm is not an addon for the masses, it is an addon for hardcore gamers. Of course you will lose subscribers.

    -pros don't have enough endgame content
    -the endgame content is not accessible to the masses
    = you lose subcribers
  1. Vircomore's Avatar
    I am one of those 600k, and I can sum up why I quit in 6 words.

    "Looking for Group: Call to Arms".

    A development team that resorts to overt bribery to resolve a core game design problem is a development team that I will not support.

    The saddest part is that the system is working - not just because of the influx of noob tanks - but the "outflux" of decent players that are tired of being treated like they don't matter. When one DPS can carry an entire heroic group through a dungeon and then get no recognition for it beyond his own DPS meter, but a half-assed tank can fudge his way through a dungeon and get a free mount?

    No thanks.

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