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  1. #1

    Post Blizzard's two big miscalculations (yes, WoW is doomed)

    TL;DR- Before the end of this year, Blizzard will either introduce "classic vanilla" servers or heads will roll and Activision will turn WoW into Facebook's new MMORPG.


    The number of people actively playing WoW is plummeting. All the external websites that depend on WoW have been showing negative activity trends since the post-release peak. For example,

    http://www.warcraftrealms.com/weekly...-1&factionid=3
    http://i.imgur.com/cqP3r.jpg (wow-heroes.com traffic)
    http://i.imgur.com/h4sQH.jpg (wowhead.com traffic)

    And while my own anecdotal evidence is hardly conclusive, of the 50 or so people I personally know through/from WoW, less than 10 have active subscriptions right now and have little interest in returning. The truth is that WoW's active subs and income stream have cratered, and Activision Blizzard is sitting on pretty bad numbers until they can find a way to positively spin them. Why have they cratered? Because of two critical miscalculations:

    Miscalculation #1: Targeting casuals when they are unreliable player base

    In trying to expand beyond their die-hard fans and core MMO audience, Blizzard decided to simplify the game and increase the hand-holding so that it would appeal to the casual gamer. That sounds great in the boardroom, and it no doubt helped increase their "subscribers base" since everyone could finally get their mom and grandmother to play...but Blizzard forgot that it had been the die-hards and core gamers that had been paying the monthly subscription since the game first came out.

    These new casual gamers that Blizzard re-designed their entire product to target are NOT stable, paying, long-term customers. They play for a month, get bored, and then jump ship when PopCap releases their next game. Everyone's making a fuss about Rift but Rift isn't really any better than the other MMOs that have thrown themselves against the World of Warcraft juggernaut in the past few years. The difference is Rift came out right as dissatisfaction with World of Warcraft hit a new all-time high. For many players having to choose to relearn a game/class/environment that is clearly and recognizably different than the one they had been playing all this time, that was just the motivation to go ahead and try a new game. Which leads me to the second point:

    Miscalculation #2: Retroactively changing the game people already bought into

    Blizzard made a huge mistake in basically taking away "Old" Azeroth. Because what this effectively did is take away a game that millions of people had already purchased, played, enjoyed and apparently found worth a subscription. This was the first expansion that *WASNT* an expansion: it was a destruction. Big, big mistake. Blizzard basically told their entire user base "Here is our new content, take it or leave it" and for a big majority, the answer is clearly "leave it". The die-hards and core gamers no longer recognize the game into which they had invested years. And while again this is also anecdotal evidence, let me tell you how it impacted one of my friends, the most devoted WoW fan I know:

    She was a teenage girl who grew up playing MMOs: Runescape, Second Life, and then found WoW five years ago and called it her home. Rolled a Night Elf Druid (as does every teenage girl) and ground her way around Tedrassil and Darkshore and onward. Rerolled a human warrior, a dwarf hunter, another NE Hunter, another NE druid, and so on dozens of times on many servers. Finally rolled a Night Elf Priest and made that her main and took her past vanilla into TBC and Wrath and even Cataclysm. HATED Vash'jir. Enjoyed Mt Hyjal so much she got the "Coming Down the Mountain" quest achievement. But hating and getting frustrated with Deepholm, she decided to just reroll a new toon. When she ran into the cave for the level 3 spider quest, and the druid NPC appeared out of nowhere and started shooting things, she cried. She said it was exactly like when she used to play with guys and they would automatically start killing things for her because they assumed she was too stupid or bad as a girl to do it herself. She'd taken half-a-dozen night elves of every class through the original vanilla spider cave, corpse running every time she miscalculated, and here the game was telling her "oh dear, its too hard for you, let me help you."

    In a second, I suddenly saw the "new" Azeroth through her eyes. There was no more risk/reward payoff. No more elites you have to group up even at low-levels to fight. No more obnoxiously difficult farming quests that really felt like an accomplishment when you completed it. The first time she did the Fulbolg chain in that twisting maze west of Dolanar, it took her a week to complete it. Now, two steps in, an NPC is again 2-shotting enemies for her and even showing where in the maze everything was. Then she saw what they had done to Darkshore. Before, the happiest part was jumping off the boat and being greeted with more than a dozen new quests, ranging from the top to the bottom of a truly epic-feeling, expansive zone. Now, she had two. And as soon as the game put her on a Nightsaber and rode her down to Twilight Shore, she hit ALT-F4 and hasn't played since.

    It's no longer a game anymore. It's a guided tour, with NPCs hand-holding you because of the risk of inconvenience of being forced to socialize to find people to group up for the harder parts. But that's what formed friendships. Thats what made it Massively-Multiplayer and not a Single-Player. This change was very noticeable to me as well. Every time I ran into an elite on a quest in a Cataclysm zone, I braced myself to spam /1 with "LF help with [Quest Name]" ...but no, some gimmick or NPC or magic axe would suddenly turn the epic elite-killing quest into an AFK-and-watch scripted event. That's what the whole game is like now from the very beginning. It would be one thing if they had reinvented Burning Crusade; people would still have the same game for creating new toons. They could focus on if they liked their new character, not question if they liked the very world itself.

    And I believe that's the biggest part of continuing WoW interest: rolling new characters. But what if you don't like the new leveling experience? Well then, you are screwed. And that's really what I think it comes down to. Some parts of the new Azeroth are pretty cool. There's so much there, everyone can find one or two things they like. And everyone remembers things about old Azeroth they absolutely hated. But they still did them, didn't they? They cursed over every single one of those 50 tongues, but dammit, they did it and they took that +2 agility dagger and held it aloft proudly before vendoring it. But you can't do that any more.


    I can see the writing on the wall and I'm making this post so that either I can be praised as a prophet in nine months or reminded of this next time someone wants to make fun of me. But given the nature of Activision and the way the push for "casual gaming" and "social media" and looking at their customer base, not the games, as their product...I'm pretty sure that when WoW's income drops, panic mode is going to kick in, you'll see some politely worded press releases about top Blizzard employees pursuing other endeavors, and then you'll see Activision double-down on causal gaming and basically make WoW into either an hourly or upsell game (levels 1-10 free, pay for each zone beyond that) or worse, into the next big Facebook application with some way to have all your Facebook friends form a group and go place a single instance of some raid or dungeon together.

    Or, before the year is up, you'll see the big announcement that due to overwhelming player demand, they are introducing new "classic" servers (despite the developers swearing over and over they will never do that because they want the game to "move forward"). Because then they will have actually expanded the game, while still keeping everything that people already had, knew, loved or trusted.

    That's my prediction. Activision Blizzard will either double-down on casuals and kill WoW, or they'll swallow their pride and reverse course on old content before it's too late. One or the other before the Christmas purchasing season at the end of the year.

  2. #2
    Pit Lord Malgru's Avatar
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    WoW is not doomed. There will always be supporters of Blizzard (such as me) who love their games. WoW is not going to die until Blizzard ends it. Rift? Didn't kill it. Warhammer? Didn't kill it. It's not dying anytime soon.

    They have said MULTIPLE times that they will NOT introduce vanilla servers. And when they do, all people are going to do is come back. It's not going to kill it. And I have a sneaking suspicion that "teenage gamer" is actually you. /applaud for your post though.

    However, I will admit that this game has been increasingly turning into an event with NPCs guiding you through. There's no denying that. But all in all, I love Blizzard and not everyone is going to quit. Oh well, that's the truth.

  3. #3
    The Patient Frinata's Avatar
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    Oh dear lord it's finally happened, the fate of the game hangs on this man's shoulders, quick, if you want to see wow safe and sound, you will worship him!

    /snarkyness

    Honostly, just because one person amongst MILLIONS gets a little pestimistic and notices a slight decline as two huge games come out (Rift and Portal 2) dosen't mean the game is packing it in, Wow Is a Mmo do you know that that means? MASSIVLY, which goes to suggest more then your circle of friends are the player base. Yes, they might lose a few fans here and there, but they pick up 50 more to replace the lost, they, in a sense, are 'worse then the Burning Legion' for this one, where one subsrciption falls, 2 more rise to take it's place, and your the night elves.

    By now this has all confused you, and your heads is probably spinning trying to get the point from all this.

    TL;DR? Wow isn't dying, he's just emo hollaring

    Awesome Sig/Avatar by the lovely Rivellana

  4. #4
    What in the hell are you talking about?

  5. #5
    Why do you care?

    Are you only able to derive enjoyment from a game if it has above a certain level of people paying active subscriptions?

    Do you think the number of people playing matters if you still enjoy the game?

    And I believe that's the biggest part of continuing WoW interest: rolling new characters. But what if you don't like the new leveling experience? Well then, you are screwed.
    Oh, and this part?

    If they don't like questing, then they now have the options to:
    Level solely by doing instances.
    Level by doing PVP.


    Perhaps you should check thost statistics again in a week or two when 4.1 is released, or do you think the fact that not as many people are playing now as were playing when the expansion had just been released is shocking and important news?
    Last edited by Abandon; 2011-04-21 at 10:45 PM.
    I shall die here. Every inch of me shall perish. Every inch, but one. An inch. It is small and it is fragile and it is the only thing in the world worth having. We must never lose it or give it away. We must never let them take it from us.

  6. #6
    go stand on a corner yelling "the end is nigh!" you may get better results.

  7. #7
    Didn't even read what you wrote, however, WTB lock and deletion of another worthless thread.

    Mod Edit: Infracted. In the future, use the Report function instead of derailing a thread you disagree with.
    Last edited by Simca; 2011-04-22 at 02:35 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by HopOnPop View Post
    Obviously Garrosh would win, it's like a gorilla vs a human... do you know how strong a gorilla is? He'll snap your dick off and throw it in the tall grass. Garrosh = dick-snapper.
    Quote Originally Posted by Seezer View Post
    Sure. When I wake up in the middle of the night with a full tank, I just flip back the curtain and let it flow.

  8. #8
    So... How much are you being paid by Blizzard's competition to go around posting this ?

  9. #9
    So you link the decline of wow with vanilla wow servers? Ok....

    Kinda funny the moment I quit wow, the decline starts (a few months ago). I guess hardcore addicts like myself were keeping it alive!

    How about mmo-champion's visiting numbers?

  10. #10
    This is very normal for a game with expansions.

    1) First you have a steady income and outcome of players - lets say this is a straight line for arguments sake.
    2) Then with an expansion soon to hit, more and more people gradually start to play (new or old). Thats where the steady incline is coming from at the start of the graphs.
    3) Then Cataclysm hits - a lot of people use wowhead (clearly) because questing has probably multiplied 10 times or more with everyone doing new content.
    4) Then gradually people slow down and stop playing and it goes back to normal.

    What you are seeing is very predictable behaviour and I would put money on the fact that almost the same thing has happened with every expansion.

    All your graphs proved was that a lot more people play when a new game has come out compared to when the game has been out for a while. I guarantee MW2 and Black-ops would have the same graph (after release). A rush of people playing it as it comes out and then slowly over time people slow down and stop playing as frequently.
    The only difference with an MMO is you can see the HYPE of a new game because people are already playing. So like I said, the incline is the hype before the game is released, the anticipation of a new expansion.

    Lawyered.
    Last edited by Clampy; 2011-04-21 at 10:48 PM.

    | Warrior Moderator | Protection Warrior Weakaura Group |

  11. #11
    Astounding! Current WoW activity at peak time based on one census website that admits upfront to being incomplete is slumping off just as it always does in the latter half of a patch cycle, yet it's still well within the average of the past year. Some pessimist then decides to extrapolate data in a vain attempt to demonstrate WoW is somehow doomed and goes on a rant how Blizzard ruined WoW by catering to casuals.

    We've never had a topic like this before. Ever.

  12. #12
    GUYS!

    Yesterday it rained for an hour.

    And today it rained for ten minutes.

    Based on my evidence, IT WILL NEVER RAIN AGAIN!!!!
    I shall die here. Every inch of me shall perish. Every inch, but one. An inch. It is small and it is fragile and it is the only thing in the world worth having. We must never lose it or give it away. We must never let them take it from us.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Abandon View Post
    GUYS!

    Yesterday it rained for an hour.

    And today it rained for ten minutes.

    Based on my evidence, IT WILL NEVER RAIN AGAIN!!!!
    Yesterday was Wednesday, today is Thursday. IT WILL NEVER BE FRIDAY AGAIN. HOW CAN WE GET DOWN AND LOOK FOWARD TO THE WEEKEND.
    Quote Originally Posted by HopOnPop View Post
    Obviously Garrosh would win, it's like a gorilla vs a human... do you know how strong a gorilla is? He'll snap your dick off and throw it in the tall grass. Garrosh = dick-snapper.
    Quote Originally Posted by Seezer View Post
    Sure. When I wake up in the middle of the night with a full tank, I just flip back the curtain and let it flow.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by kneeo View Post
    Yesterday was Wednesday, today is Thursday. IT WILL NEVER BE FRIDAY AGAIN. HOW CAN WE GET DOWN AND LOOK FOWARD TO THE WEEKEND.
    At least I won't need to choose which seat I should sit in, I have been staying up all night worrying about it.
    I shall die here. Every inch of me shall perish. Every inch, but one. An inch. It is small and it is fragile and it is the only thing in the world worth having. We must never lose it or give it away. We must never let them take it from us.

  15. #15
    So let me get this straight, you're basing WoW is going to end because less people are using WoWhead? Have you ever considered that people have no reason to use WoWhead once we've completed the quest one or twice? I've not used WoWhead is ages, last time I used it I was levelling. Have I or am I quiting WoW? Nope.

  16. #16
    The Hedgehog Elementium's Avatar
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    lol.. Can you really say "doomed" "Failing" "dead" on a game that people have played for 5-6 years straight? So many of the veterans are finally taking a much needed break. I can't think of any other game that I could play for even 1-2 hours every day for 6 years and not get bored with it.

    If anything I'd say GG WoW. But many people are so addicted that they're actually angry at Blizzard for WoW getting old >.< Insulting WoW because your tired of it is like hating your dad because he's older than you and not as fun as your friends.

  17. #17
    Moderator d3v's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Abandon View Post
    GUYS!

    Yesterday it rained for an hour.

    And today it rained for ten minutes.

    Based on my evidence, IT WILL NEVER RAIN AGAIN!!!!
    Oh crap WHAT DO WE DO?!

  18. #18
    Scarab Lord Jaxi's Avatar
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    Okay. Clarification time:

    Link Number 1) Deals with the realm activity. This is more or less based on people who are signing in and actively playing, which understandably will be lower during the end of a content patch (as we are now). Furthermore, the skyrocket you see there is due to Cataclysm being launched, which is obvious that this would be the peak. It always balances out later on the line. Much like the economy, this graph will occilate up and down. The key to remember is this records the time played, so the same amount of people could be playing, but with less time on each day.

    Link Number 2) Deals with the amount of people actively visiting wow-heroes. Not exactly sure the point you're trying to make with this one.

    Link Number 3) Deals with the amount of people actively visiting Wow-head. I don't know about everyone else, but I go there during leveling. When I'm not so concerned with leveling, my visits there decrease. Again, what is the point? That number of hours played is lower several months after a release than immediately following one?

  19. #19
    Brewmaster Xheoul's Avatar
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    OP
    Don't you think that maybe the numbers are going down because less casuals are playing the game since you cant be all decked out in epics while doing heroics anymore?

    To the hardcore player the difficulty will never be high enough because they have to protect their e-peen and play it off as if the content is too easy even if they havent cleared it themselves yet. The comment of "Blizz is handing out epics, therefore people are getting tired" is null since most of the playerbase is casual. Hardcore players are the extreme minority.

  20. #20
    I don't think WoW will be done by the end of the year, but I definitely think it is on the decline. I also don't really agree with the OP's reasoning.
    WoW having more subs than SWTOR is the same thing as Justin Bieber having more youtube plays than Tupac. Just because its more popular doesn't mean its good.
    Warcraft Lore has gone from one of the most vast and interesting stories in all of gaming to a bad Thrall Fanfic by Chris Metzen.
    SWTOR Referral link: http://www.swtor.com/r/2MpjV9 7 free days and other free stuff.

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