MMO-Champion - WoW Down to 8.3 Million Subscribers
WoW Down to 8.3 Million Subscribers
Activision Blizzard's press release states that World of Warcraft is down to 8.3 million subscribers. This is a loss of 1.3 million, down from 9.6 million last quarter. Most of the loss came from the East once again.

  • Blizzard expects to have less subscribers at the end of the year than they do today.
  • Most of the decline in subscribers came from China.
  • There has been less engagement by casual players.
  • Blizzard is going to work on improving the experience for returning players.
  • Blizzard All Stars and Titan will not be released in 2013 according to the slide below.
  • Heart of the Swarm was the #1 PC game of the quarter, selling 1.1 million copies in two days.
  • There has been increased competition with F2P games in Asia.
  • Players consume content faster and subscribe and unsubscribe as new content is added.

This article was originally published in forum thread: WoW Down to 8.3 Million Subscribers started by chaud View original post
Comments 913 Comments
  1. mcbubble's Avatar
    Looks like it made it to yahoo news:
    http://games.yahoo.com/blogs/plugged...233637952.html
  1. Suikoden's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by mcbubble View Post
    Looks like it made it to yahoo news:
    http://games.yahoo.com/blogs/plugged...233637952.html
    It's Yahoo news, they're not known for great articles.
  1. Psykotiq's Avatar
    Is anyone really surprised about this? A company can only treat customers poorly for so long before they decide not to be customers anymore. Yes they still have a huge sub base but it will continue to shrink and shrink until the game just goes away, at least the game as we know it. They are continuing to build a game for the developers and not for the gamers. People like Ghost Crawler are regularly dismissive of players and player concerns. The attitude seems to be one of "you don't know what you want, WE know what you want." Which is simply the wrong approach in this case. If they ever decide to get serious about fixing the subscription situation then maybe they should contact some of us and get real input from real people. Just my 2 cents.
  1. Bogrim's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Mormolyce View Post
    Good god man, don't try to cap VP in one day.

    Mine's always capped by the end of the week and all I do is 4 LFR queues spread out over the week, a heroic+scenario every other day when I can be bothered, and some easymode IOT content for some bonus VP. I'm capped by Sunday and it's effortless.

    The biggest problem Blizzard is having is this mentality of older players that they need to grind things out immediately instead of doing them at a more relaxed pace.
    That's actually not the case. If they lifted the cap, casual players would feel much less obligated to rush getting the necessary amount of points. The cap is a terrible system and should have been reworked years ago. Because it is necessary to reach the maximum amount of points before the weekly reset, grinding the points at your own phase can mean consciously losing out on progress and it feels punishing because the player is already aware the amount of points you can earn per week is so limited.

    The valor point cap is designed around hardcore players to wall how fast they can progress in the game so they don't burn through content too quickly, but the majority of Blizzard's players are casual. WoW has gotten this terrible snitch with daily quests and weekly resets that makes progress feel like a job---instead of just logging into a world and making progress as you desire (think Skyrim).

    Think about it like this: Without a cap, you would just login whenever you felt like it, play however much you wanted and then log out again. Blizzard's way of trafficking player progress is terrible and only a means of dealing with the fact that they can't actually come up with a design that would give the player the same amount of replay value without the cap. The simple fact that Blizzard weights their design decision on "what keeps players subscribed the longest" instead of "how would the players like to play the game" is why WoW's subscriber base has slowly begun to dive. This design philosophy is even something Blizzard has admitted to on several occasions, especially in defending how fast they think players burn through content without it.

    What's the solution here? It's hard to say---after all, if it was an easy solution Blizzard would never have let WoW reach a subscription peak. The fact is WoW is becoming an older game, the codes are outdated, the design is outdated, the game has a great community that keeps it running but newer games keep leeching away the player base slowly and steadily with better game designs. I don't think you'll ever see the servers shut down (at least not for another 10 years) but there might come a point where you see expansions cease in favor of designing newer games.
  1. Tomana's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Psykotiq View Post
    If they ever decide to get serious about fixing the subscription situation then maybe they should contact some of us and get real input from real people. Just my 2 cents.
    Yes, and you know what will happen. They will get totally contradictory wishes. Between the "screw PVE, make PVP fun", "screw PVP", "make this game more casual" and "make this game less casual"...
  1. Dorfadin's Avatar
    WoW went for the Asian market with MoP, clearly it wasn't well received and the huge number drop shows.
  1. Lasica's Avatar
    I quit playing earlier this year but will weigh in with the reasons why I quit.

    1) Daily quest grind. Totally unnecessary and seemed specifically designed to make players waste as much time as possible doing daily quests to unlock necessary enchants and gear etc. As someone with a limited amount of time to play (2 hours a day normally), I found almost all my time was spend doing daily quests and I didn't have time to do pet battles, level alts, etc. Rep grinds for mounts and vanity items I can understand, but slow gated rep grinds for enchants and so forth are wrong.

    2) LFR. I used a raid a lot back in BC - Cata and I think LFR and killed off a lot of the interest I had for the raiding part of the game, and this wasn't helped by my guild being unable to get enough people together to run normal mode raids. I'm not not really interested in doing a dumbed down raid for sacks of gold every week. It was better when there was actual gear dropping and you could see it and roll on it, even if you didn't win it you actually had some excitement from killing a boss.

    3) Putting fight club invitations on the black market AH so only those with enough gold could do that content. If they can't make content everyone can enjoy then it's wasted content.

    4) General apathy about the setting and story. Pandas just didn't cut it for me.
  1. Osmeric's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Lasica View Post
    3) Putting fight club invitations on the black market AH so only those with enough gold could do that content. If they can't make content everyone can enjoy then it's wasted content.
    If it helps, now there's always a big pile of those on the BMAH that no one bids on.
  1. ShadowForge's Avatar
    i predict more losses when 5.3 hits cos of PVP getting the final nai lin the coffin. thanks blizzard youve ruined my class and my style of play i hope they do lose another 1.3 million subs in 5.3 maybe it will give em the hint that pvp needs fixing and isnt just some side game anymore in wow.
  1. illfindu0742's Avatar
    As a player who has been playing since 4 months after release and hasn't liked where the game has been going I'd like to just make some points and see if any one agrees.

    1) Blizz has been fairly clear that they felt the game needed to be a bit more casual, so those with less time or dedication can get to see content. I think this was a massive mistake not because casuals are bad or being hardcore makes you cool, but because casual players are less likely to stay when things slow down or they don't like a patch. Hardcore and medium core players were dedicated to the game and stuck around for years. I would think there are very few casual players who have been around for 6+ years.

    2) Personaly I felt that makeing content easier made it less fun. I remember serouis end game content being very hard and something not every one got to see but you strived for it. It made it seem more mysterious and legendary. LFR did a hurt alot here, I strongly felt that I need to do LFR's to help progress guilds I was in and contribute to the team but it cheapend the experince for me very much. I remember the first time I killed Grull and I saw him fall and it was epic and I had that experince during every expansion until LFR.

    3) Dead servers, for me this is the biggest deal. I recently reactived my account for a month to see some of 5.2 and look around a bit and in the middle of the day on a weekend there was less then 15 people on alliance in any major city. I felt alone and disconnected the feeling that the game was alive was gone. Iron Forge use to feel like it was a real city people selling lots of goods, doing things haveing fun. Citys and servers in general feel like train stations now people only talk to other people they all ready know every one is fairly quite and just going about there business. It was like WOW was full of npc's with better gear.

    I know there are typo's and I appologize I can not get to a computer for awhile and I'm typeing on my phone. People will most likely troll me and be rude but I really liked WOW allot and this is a place for other people who enjoy the game and wanted to express my feelings.
  1. Osmeric's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by illfindu0742 View Post
    1) Blizz has been fairly clear that they felt the game needed to be a bit more casual, so those with less time or dedication can get to see content. I think this was a massive mistake not because casuals are bad or being hardcore makes you cool, but because casual players are less likely to stay when things slow down or they don't like a patch. Hardcore and medium core players were dedicated to the game and stuck around for years. I would think there are very few casual players who have been around for 6+ years.
    I am dubious this is really true, and also dubious that every casual has always been so.

    But suppose casuals are more likely to quit. That means that the ex-player population has an even higher proportion of casuals than the current player population. So when Blizzard talks about improving the experience for returned players, they're talking about improving it for casuals.
  1. THevil30's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by ringpriest View Post
    '

    That would involve letting people know that a good chunk of their subscriptions are from the much less profitable Asian market.
    I do exactly that.
  1. Dukenukemx's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Bogrim View Post
    The valor point cap is designed around hardcore players to wall how fast they can progress in the game so they don't burn through content too quickly, but the majority of Blizzard's players are casual. WoW has gotten this terrible snitch with daily quests and weekly resets that makes progress feel like a job---instead of just logging into a world and making progress as you desire (think Skyrim).
    Cap is not for hardcore raiders. Ask any guild that is on Heroics and they would have ignored valor all together, cause their gear would most likely be superior to anything you can buy with valor.

    Caps and dailies are for casuals, and the reason is to pace the casual players. Otherwise you'd burn through the content and cancel your subscription until the next content patch. Hardcore raiders already burn through the content quickly and cancel their subscriptions until the next content patch.
    Think about it like this: Without a cap, you would just login whenever you felt like it, play however much you wanted and then log out again.
    Nobody cares about valor caps. I rarely cap each week as it is, and don't need to buy anything with valor either. Farming valor is boring, and nobody likes to keep running 5 man dungeons or scenarios for valor. I'm also severely over geared for it as a Ret Paladin. I just become the tank, healer, and dps and blow through everything.

    The only reason they're going to introduce gear upgrades again is to get people to keep doing those dungeons and scenarios. Otherwise new players are going to find nobody to play with.
    What's the solution here? It's hard to say---
    The solution is easy, cause my problems are different. The Alliance side of my realm was once high pop, and it's now low pop. Though the horde side is medium pop, so the realm is considered overall medium. There are essentially only 3 guilds on my realms that are "fairly" progressed in Throne of Thunder. Two out of three are 10 man guilds. RBGs don't exist. You can forget about finding people to do challenge modes.

    But there are realms that are worse then that. Some only have 1 guild that raids. The easy solution is to merge realms, but Blizzard won't do it. Mainly because they charge people to change their names, and merging realms means there's going to be a lot of conflicts of people who have paid for names that they need to change.

    Better solution is to just give players free realm transfers, with a 1 month cool down per character. Let the players choose where to go, and don't charge them money for it. Cause players are content too, and the lack of players on realms means you're not providing enough content for them.

    Should be the first thing to do for WoW.
  1. Summerdrake's Avatar
    Farming 90 coins to get 3 coins, and then for your alts...became such a grind, like a second job...now they cut it down to 50, but should have been from the start... that would have given us more time to do other stuff in the game..
  1. Bogrim's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Dukenukemx View Post
    Caps and dailies are for casuals, and the reason is to pace the casual players. Otherwise you'd burn through the content and cancel your subscription until the next content patch.
    Sorry, but you are contradicting yourself. The definition of a casual player is a player that plays at limited time spans, where a hardcore player is a player that dedicates all his time to the game. It's not logical to say that casuals burn through content faster without a cap, because you'd be suggesting that in removing the cap you would encourage casual players to play more (the contradiction).

    Quote Originally Posted by Dukenukemx View Post
    Hardcore raiders already burn through the content quickly and cancel their subscriptions until the next content patch.
    First of all, let's establish the difference in our posts. I said "players," you said "raiders." If you read further down the front page, there's a recent post highlighting how much more content hard raiders go through in today's competition. They don't cancel their subscription until the next patch, they gear up alts so they can gear up their mains faster and gain more of an advantage in racing for the world/server first kills.

    Furthermore, you based this statement on nothing factual. Players that are hardcore are naturally dedicated to the game because that is the definition of a hardcore player. It's the casual players who don't share the same dedication to the game, which are much more likely to stop playing in sessions.

    When you look at the big picture, not just the few guilds you hear about quitting every once in a while, you realize those guilds can't even possible account for the huge number of subscription loses. I'm willing to wager a guess and say 95% subscription losses are casual, 5% are hardcore---not just because hardcore players have stronger community ties, but because the ratio between casual and hardcore players have always been so obscenely different.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dukenukemx View Post
    Nobody cares about valor caps. I rarely cap each week as it is, and don't need to buy anything with valor either. Farming valor is boring, and nobody likes to keep running 5 man dungeons or scenarios for valor. I'm also severely over geared for it as a Ret Paladin. I just become the tank, healer, and dps and blow through everything.
    The point wasn't about your personal feelings for the Valor Cap (and in this regard---speak for yourself, you don't represent any other people with your opinion, sorry) but that Blizzard's "gated" design philosophy is becoming very outdated and the cap is the most classic example of how Blizzard sets their players up to renew their subscription not by how the player him/herself would like to progress, but for how long they can slow down the player's progress to keep them paying.

    As for the rest of your post, it didn't really relate to anything I said.
  1. 999tigger's Avatar
    When Blizz teamed up with Activision they got very greedy.

    The game experience for people in the minority on unbalanced servers is terrible, but they dont give a crap. Instead they demand ridiculous transfer fees and ridiculous I mean for people who have had several charcters or face the grind all over again.

    I lol'd when I saw casual players were less interested. That is not to say im hardcore, far from it, but LFR as convenient as it is has completely undermined the guild system so everyone wants and gets easy street. You dont get that strong core in raiding guilds and sense of adventure in seeing bosses for the first time.

    Also very bored of the nerfs.

    The reason we play at the moment is because we are social and its something to do in a group of friends. When they talk about delight and amazing customers, then I know the big wigs are more interested in selling new pets and trading cards than looking after the userbase who have stuck with them all these years.
  1. Anviella's Avatar
    I think the reason why Blizz is losing subs is because of the fact that raids nowdays are maybe to hard. Okay cool, make heroic raids hard, add special heroic only bosses, I'm totally fine with that. But when LFR was added blizz did making normal raids harder so that you no longer can pug them. I remember during Wotlk launch, I was quite young, I ran naxx casually with randoms and later on with my very casual guild. It was great. But nowdays you always need to use Team speak / Mumble etc and for some reason many of the bosses are really hard for no reason at all. Horridon for example, my guild was stuck on that boss for very long time and now we're stuck on the third. They made every boss fight so complex with always a tank swap / "stand in the fire" / interrupts / etc. Even though I play on a very big server it can still be hard finding a pug because everyone wants you to have X item lvl or an achivemnt.

    There was dailys in bc and wotlk aswell but the difference was that you was not forced to do them in the same way. I'm exalted with every mop faction and do you know why? Because I had to farm for those damn valor points. I think the whole valor cap system kinda ruined it for me, because they force me to get valor capped every week.

    I actually think mop's story is great and the legendary Q is good (except the 6000 valor Q), a huge improvement from cataclysm. Wrathion is one of the better characters blizzard has made in recent years and the mogu are badass.

    This is my personal thoughts on wow nowdays... By the way, for some reason there are only around 30 mogu npc in the whole Throne of Thunder raid, kinda lame if you ask me...
  1. Charnondall's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Farora View Post
    I had the time to play and I felt as though I wanted to, however faced with so much stuff which feels mandatory (despite Blizzard's protests) I simply felt overwhelmed and my desire to play WoW rapidly waned. To some this sort of feeling may be inexplicable, but having too much stuff to do, not enough time to do it, and making so much of it feel needed (Oh, you must do dailies to get valor and lesser charms) really kills my mood to play.
    This right here sums up my thoughts and how I feel too. It's a mood killer.
  1. Dukenukemx's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Bogrim View Post
    Sorry, but you are contradicting yourself. The definition of a casual player is a player that plays at limited time spans, where a hardcore player is a player that dedicates all his time to the game. It's not logical to say that casuals burn through content faster without a cap, because you'd be suggesting that in removing the cap you would encourage casual players to play more (the contradiction).
    Sorry, you're contradicting yourself. If you played for a limited time then the problem is reaching the valor cap, not wanting a larger cap. What you want is a larger cap, which means you wanna be able to sit down for a long period of time and farm up gear asap. I'm sure you'd take a super long break afterwards.

    First of all, let's establish the difference in our posts. I said "players," you said "raiders." If you read further down the front page, there's a recent post highlighting how much more content hard raiders go through in today's competition. They don't cancel their subscription until the next patch, they gear up alts so they can gear up their mains faster and gain more of an advantage in racing for the world/server first kills.
    Some do yes, and some don't. Gearing up alts isn't for world first, unless you need backup healers, tanks, or dps. If you do, then you aren't a hardcore raiding guild. You do it cause you have nothing else now that you've beaten the current content.
    Furthermore, you based this statement on nothing factual. Players that are hardcore are naturally dedicated to the game because that is the definition of a hardcore player. It's the casual players who don't share the same dedication to the game, which are much more likely to stop playing in sessions.
    Both groups can stop playing the game. People in between tend to stick around the longest.
    When you look at the big picture, not just the few guilds you hear about quitting every once in a while, you realize those guilds can't even possible account for the huge number of subscription loses. I'm willing to wager a guess and say 95% subscription losses are casual, 5% are hardcore---not just because hardcore players have stronger community ties, but because the ratio between casual and hardcore players have always been so obscenely different.
    Casuals will always quit the most, cause they would never be dedicated to a game like this. Hence why the Wii was very success at first, but suddenly dropped like a rock. Casuals are not the kind of people who stick around for long, and are unlikely to come back. The hardcores will almost always leave between content, and there's nothing Blizzard can do except make Heroic mode raids harder.

    The middle of the road people are now making up the majority of WoW players, and they're the ones who are quitting.

    The point wasn't about your personal feelings for the Valor Cap (and in this regard---speak for yourself, you don't represent any other people with your opinion, sorry) but that Blizzard's "gated" design philosophy is becoming very outdated and the cap is the most classic example of how Blizzard sets their players up to renew their subscription not by how the player him/herself would like to progress, but for how long they can slow down the player's progress to keep them paying.
    You say valor is an issue, and I say you're wrong and I'm right. Nobody cares about valor once it becomes useless, and it happens quickly. Right now, weekly LFR raids will get you gear. Valor itself will only supplement it. People are concerned with...

    #1 Finding people to play with on your realm.
    #2 Class spec balance.
    #3 Game feeling irrelevantly challenging.

    And you're worried about valor cap?
  1. Calaba's Avatar
    I'm sure it's been said tons of times already, but anyway -
    I've been raiding since Classic AQ40 days. Recently, there's 3 things that've led me more towards quitting than any other

    1) Dead servers + Paid character transfer. If there's anything that'll stop you from doing raids its being on a server with only 10 people online in major cities at a time. You'll never recruit and you'll never be able to PUG that last spot. And if you can't do this you're not making progress. If you're not making progress due to this, why pay a sub?
    This isn't just invidual players that'll leave over this - it's more like people in their hundreds deserting a sinking ship. Bliz needs to fix this as first priority - I know several who've left WoW over this and won't be coming back as their mains are on a dead server.

    2) Difficulty increase / badly balanced bosses. I can't be the only one to have noticed that even early bosses are now harder than heroic mode stuff used to be. 3 Drakes at Sarth was easier than Tortos normal for crying out loud. TBC raiding was the sweet spot, as was Uld normal, and ICC. The ONLY properly tuned bosses in current content are the first boss and the world boss! Now, i'm all for bosses gradually getting harder, but there's no fun Kara / ZA / Naxx style raid that you can have fun with guildies and gear up in anymore. This was one of the major failings of Cata too.

    3) LFR / daily / VP grind. This is the other end of the difficulty scale. Boring and tedious, LFR simply takes too long, and feels mandatory (for the first few weeks anyway). Same with the daily quest grinds. Same with Valor. All of these give too high rewards in comparison with normal mode raids (especially normal ToES compared with TOT LFR!). Valor in particular should NOT give normal-mode quality loot.

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