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  1. #1

    The future of Blizzard and MMOs

    A lot is being said about Blizzard's announcement on the fall in WoW's subscribers, and I thought I'd offer my view.

    WoW is old. No matter how much you love or hate the game itself, you can't get away from the fact that it was released in 2004, and a lot has happened since then. WoW is starting to look dated compared to the MMOs that are being released, both technically and in its gameplay. Its a testament to the quality of the base games design that WoW can still compete 8 years after its release.

    But WoW is never going to be able to return to its peak during the late TBC/early WOLK period, it's only going to decline and shrink. The problem is that Blizzard seem slightly delusional about the current state of the game. Things which have been said about Project Titan seem to imply that its going to be a 'casual' game with WoW continuing to be sold as Blizzard's 'premium' MMO. I think this is a bad decision.

    Why doesn't Blizzard start moving the focus away from WoW, stop trying to halt its decline and concentrate on something new? Project Titan, if it has the same level of design and effort that went into WoW, could become the next big thing. WoW's sucess was always down to it being able to appeal to more casual gamers who didnt normally play MMOs as well as the hardcore MMORPG crowd, why can't Titan be like that? Alternatively, what if World of Warcraft 2 became a possibility in the near future? I can't help but feel that if Blizzard fails to move with the times, someone else will sweep the rug from under their feet, as it were.

  2. #2
    Well, Starcraft II and Diablo III both took like what, 10 years to make? How much do you think it would take for their next MMO? It's coming, that's for sure.
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  3. #3
    Are you implying that Blizzard should stop putting out content for WoW and focus on Titan? Because from a business standpoint, that is the most idiotic thing I've ever heard. WoW will indeed rise and fall over time, but they're making 15$ a month from nearly 9 million people from WoW. It's still the largest sub based MMO by a massive margin. It may never peak at 12 million again, but to dig the grave because the game is aging would be completely insane.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Rixark View Post
    Are you implying that Blizzard should stop putting out content for WoW and focus on Titan? Because from a business standpoint, that is the most idiotic thing I've ever heard. WoW will indeed rise and fall over time, but they're making 15$ a month from nearly 9 million people from WoW. It's still the largest sub based MMO by a massive margin. It may never peak at 12 million again, but to dig the grave because the game is aging would be completely insane.
    Where did I imply that? Obviously WoW is going to remain profitable for years yet, you missed my point. My point was that in the long run, WoW can't remain market leader like it is now, and Blizzard seem to think it can. What I'm suggesting is that Blizzard look to the future.

    I don't mean they should immediately kill off WoW, that would be stupid.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by ribald View Post
    Where did I imply that? Obviously WoW is going to remain profitable for years yet, you missed my point. My point was that in the long run, WoW can't remain market leader like it is now, and Blizzard seem to think it can. What I'm suggesting is that Blizzard look to the future.

    I don't mean they should immediately kill off WoW, that would be stupid.
    Was going off the "Why doesn't Blizzard start moving the focus away from WoW, stop trying to halt its decline and concentrate on something new?" part. I'm sure there is no shortage of people working on Project Titan, but to cut the WoW team down in order to speed up the process of releasing it wouldn't be a good thing either. I'm almost certain that we'll hear more on Titan at Blizzcon this year, and I wouldn't be shocked if it's released in just a couple of years, max. I'd say within the lifespan of the next WoW expansion.

  6. #6
    I see no indercation of WoW even being close to #2. The game is still evolving and I see no MMO's even coming close to WoW. Has any other MMO even achieved a milestone of five million active players, yet alone active subscribers? I just personally don't see another game even coming close to WoW in the next 6 years, not even this Project Titan (Which is supposedly a FPS, lol).

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by ribald View Post
    WoW is starting to look dated compared to the MMOs that are being released, both technically and in its gameplay.
    Starting? WoW was looking dated years ago, that's why they keep upgrading the engine/graphics.
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  8. #8
    Immortal True Anarch's Avatar
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    Well the game is only getting older. Someone who has played only WoW the past few years and goes to try out a different recent MMO will mostly feel his jaw drop at seeing how much more advance the graphics, gameplay and small parts of the engines are that are used in those other games.

    It's only going to get worse. You can keep wrapping an old corpse in new ribbons and band-aids to hide it's age, but the stink eventually will become too strong.
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  9. #9
    WoW is their cash cow. You don't abandon your cash cow.

    And they are anything but delusional. They've acknowledged pretty much nothing will stop subs from declining. But a company's Blizz's size, they probably have multiple people whose job it is to look at statistics and make projections on what will earn them the most money from WoW, and how to maintain their reputation with their audience (I know they get a lot of negative feedback on here, but they dominate the PC gaming industry [number one and number two PC games of the quarter], and game sales / subscriptions speak louder than forum posts).

    I'm not saying it's impossible for people outside Blizz to come up with better ideas than Blizz themselves. But probably none of us here make decisions for a billions-dollar company and have to answer to stockholders. You don't dominate the PC gaming / mmo markets by consistently making more bad decisions than good ones.

    It's just odd to me that people think that in the free time they have between work / school / family / etc, they can come up with better ideas about how to run Blizz than the people who put in 40/50-hour work weeks at Blizz doing nothing but thinking about how to best run Blizz.
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  10. #10
    I think their strategy is pretty sound to be honest.

    They're giving WoW the bare minimum of changes and content to keep it ticking over. Without updates, the game would be dead inside 12 months. As in no subscribers at all. Do you really think they want to give up that kind of money? Would I like to see them overhaul the graphics a bit, improve the models and generally make it more modern? Sure. Do they need to? Not at the moment. It's not the graphics scaring away new players, it's the fact that the game doesn't really begin until you hit the level cap and you understand the core game loop of running content and gearing up. Sure, you have fun before that, but a lot of people can't justify a monthly fee when the game is a quest grind up to that point.

    Upping the level cap every expansion is something that in hindsight was a poor idea. The subscription model is about incremental improvements to your character, but limited such that you can't do it in a few weeks. How then, do you keep new people close enough that they don't get bored, but far enough back that the long time players don't feel their investment wasn't worth it? It's a tricky balancing act. You can catch up on a new level 90 fairly fast, but those still levelling have been forgotten. It's not a simple matter of reducing the XP needed to level. There needs to be something dramatic, like flattening everything >60 to be 60 again. Instead of concentrating on improving your characters, they should concentrate on improving you as a player. Gear should be more interesting than just "a bit more stats".

    Also, the speed at which you can finish a project doesn't scale evenly with the number of people. You can't just throw bodies at it, unless the work is very simple. And in game development, it's not.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Anarchor View Post
    Well the game is only getting older. Someone who has played only WoW the past few years and goes to try out a different recent MMO will mostly feel his jaw drop at seeing how much more advance the graphics, gameplay and small parts of the engines are that are used in those other games.

    It's only going to get worse. You can keep wrapping an old corpse in new ribbons and band-aids to hide it's age, but the stink eventually will become too strong.
    Unfortunately for those other pretty MMOs, none have matched WoW in terms of content. The games age is starting to show for sure, but as long as the content they put out is fun, it will still be the dominant MMO.

    I'd go back and play Final Fantasy 6 over some of these new, graphically superior games any day because I personally play for content and not looks.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by ribald View Post
    A lot is being said about Blizzard's announcement on the fall in WoW's subscribers, and I thought I'd offer my view.

    WoW is old. No matter how much you love or hate the game itself, you can't get away from the fact that it was released in 2004, and a lot has happened since then. WoW is starting to look dated compared to the MMOs that are being released, both technically and in its gameplay. Its a testament to the quality of the base games design that WoW can still compete 8 years after its release.

    But WoW is never going to be able to return to its peak during the late TBC/early WOLK period, it's only going to decline and shrink. The problem is that Blizzard seem slightly delusional about the current state of the game. Things which have been said about Project Titan seem to imply that its going to be a 'casual' game with WoW continuing to be sold as Blizzard's 'premium' MMO. I think this is a bad decision.

    Why doesn't Blizzard start moving the focus away from WoW, stop trying to halt its decline and concentrate on something new? Project Titan, if it has the same level of design and effort that went into WoW, could become the next big thing. WoW's sucess was always down to it being able to appeal to more casual gamers who didnt normally play MMOs as well as the hardcore MMORPG crowd, why can't Titan be like that? Alternatively, what if World of Warcraft 2 became a possibility in the near future? I can't help but feel that if Blizzard fails to move with the times, someone else will sweep the rug from under their feet, as it were.
    Wow doesn't have to gain more subs, it's still got more subs than every other mmo on the market put together. Wow will die when blizzard decides to kill the servers.
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  13. #13
    Scarab Lord Tekkommo's Avatar
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    Every other MMO feels clunky compared to WoWs combat mechanics.

  14. #14
    Blizzard has a reputation of setting trends for any genre they touch. As other MMOGs are just now catching up to WoW, Blizzard is already one step ahead with Titan. If Blizzard was even half the company it was 8 years ago, you'll see Titan quickly rise to the top. I find it interesting because these other MMOGs are catching up to WoW, but not exceeding it. I don't think they ever will because all of them try to duplicate what WoW has with a twist. WoW is one of those games that you can't twist because if it wasn't for the way it was developed over time, it would have failed long ago. WoW has aged really well, and they can keep expanding on to it far into the future. I don't see an immediate need for WoW 2, at least not with 8.3 million subscribers (most games don't even sell that many copies let alone have that many subscribers).

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Tekkommo View Post
    Every other MMO feels clunky compared to WoWs combat mechanics.
    No shit. Even Neverwinter, the latest "WoW killer" has the worst graphics and by far the clunkest movements I've seen to date.

    WoW engine isn't behind nor are the graphics.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by ribald View Post

    Its a testament to the quality of the base games design that WoW can still compete 8 years after its release.
    Well this is a bit of an understatement. I'd put it the other way around, there's still no other mmo that can compete with WoW.

    Quote Originally Posted by ribald View Post

    The problem is that Blizzard seem slightly delusional about the current state of the game.
    I think they are pretty aware of what they are doing, the fact that WoW is losing subs, is I think purely because of the lifetime of the game, yet you see a lot of those peeps leaving, coming back a few months after.

    Quote Originally Posted by ribald View Post

    I can't help but feel that if Blizzard fails to move with the times, someone else will sweep the rug from under their feet, as it were.
    They still make games, I don't get your point. They keep wow alive and try to enhance the gamplay as long as it's succesfull. During that time they have other teams working on other games.

    Not trying to bash you, I just don't agree.

  17. #17
    Future of Blizzard sketchy. Diablo 3 mixed success critically. SC2:HotS mixed success critically, at least in the story department. WoW decline natural; with the rest of the field being packed with leaner, meaner F2P/B2P games, the market share a subscription game can realistically hold is only going to go down.

    MMOs will be fine. Only thing at risk is the subscription model, and the F2P and B2P games on the market continue to siphon away market share. I'm expecting WoW's contraction to further encourage alternate payment models.
    Last edited by LilSaihah; 2013-05-09 at 09:31 AM.
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  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Phasma View Post
    Blizzard has a reputation of setting trends for any genre they touch. As other MMOGs are just now catching up to WoW, Blizzard is already one step ahead with Titan. If Blizzard was even half the company it was 8 years ago, you'll see Titan quickly rise to the top. I find it interesting because these other MMOGs are catching up to WoW, but not exceeding it. I don't think they ever will because all of them try to duplicate what WoW has with a twist. WoW is one of those games that you can't twist because if it wasn't for the way it was developed over time, it would have failed long ago. WoW has aged really well, and they can keep expanding on to it far into the future. I don't see an immediate need for WoW 2, at least not with 8.3 million subscribers (most games don't even sell that many copies let alone have that many subscribers).
    I don't really see how they can continue expanding it into the future. Cataclysm was meant to be a significant overhaul of the game, but that didn't really work and Blizzard aren't going to change anything significantly any time soon. At the moment all Blizzard really do is release a new expansion with a new theme and a few gimmicky features like pet battles, release a couple of raid tiers over about a year, then do the same thing again.

    I'm actually quite excited for Project Titan, since I think that if Blizzard goes all out then they could make something really amazing, the next WoW even. But I find what little infomation we've had about Titan a bit underwhelming, and that worries me.

  19. #19
    Everyone is overreacting to this subscriber loss. Who is to say that this is an indication of what is to come in the future? And even if it is, WoW is still the biggest MMO in the running -- we won't soon see it die some sort of inexplicable death as we did with MySpace.

    Will Blizzard need to alter its plan with WoW? Absolutely. Though, that's what they've been doing all along and that's why they're still on top with WoW after nearly a decade. What they've done is impressive and we shouldn't underestimate them. The sky isn't falling, everyone.

  20. #20
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    Blizzard's just need to get the balls to merge their servers, everyone knows World of Warcraft is bleeding, Even the public knows this.
    Blizzard for some reason still hasn't a reason to merge servers, If they merged around 100 servers then servers would be active again, and WoW could start over again from there.
    Instead blizzard goes to the background and doesn't do a thing till it's to late and all dead servers are dead and not even 1 person will log in.
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