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.

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
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. Puntar's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Suntamer View Post
    The players are rarely right.. Just cause you play the game don't mean you know how it should be ran.
    When developer(s) think that way than you should not be surprised, when the same dev(s) are making stupid (design) mistakes which make most of the community puzzled and are questioning the dev's credentials how out of touch are they with the player base itself!

    When developers are making design decision to remove choices out of the game that is just bad for overall game. And exactly that are doing Blizzard developers with Catacylsm expansion!
  1. Duerma's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Ariyami View Post
    Don't worry all the quitters is RP:ers.
    LOL, hardly. This expansion has been epic for RPers, delivering what we're always asking for: a changing world. I might have gotten bored with Cata content awhile ago, but the RP storylines wrought by the zone changes will keep my guild going for months. People are leaving due to lack of content, pure and simple.
  1. Zhengyi's Avatar
    what no comments for me
  1. Trollspwn's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Zhengyi View Post
    I have been reading half of the crap that you all are spewing but there are more factors then just bored of content, new games, or what ever else you all said. Some of the factors might include:
    A. Real Life Issues:
    1. Job
    2. Family
    B. Economy:
    1. Loss of Job
    2. Can't Afford WoW/Internet
    C. Boredom
    1. Tired of Content
    2. Tired of WoW in General
    3. New game
    D. Just General Retardness
    1. Got Sick of being called out all the time
    2. Don't like to take things seriously
    Yeah but that should have been a factor for quitting the last 6 years.
  1. Crashdummy's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Onzay View Post
    600k subs in 6 months.... out of 12mil? have fun with that other 10 years...
    600k in 3 months, if you read the info, the report is from January-March. A lot more have left since march, and more will leave. I don't think Rift or Diablo will kill WOW, although they will take a lot of subscriptions away (mostly because WOWs developers fault). I do think that by the time TITAN go away WOW subrscription base would be a lot lower than now and MAYBE, MAYBE Titan would end up killing it. But thats not gonna happen before 2014.
  1. McNeil's Avatar
    I'm not suprised at all with Blizzard's loss
  1. Zhengyi's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Trollspwn View Post
    Yeah but that should have been a factor for quitting the last 6 years.
    WOOT TY lol
  1. reve's Avatar
    Players aren't leaving, WoW isn't "dying"... oh wait

    Knew I wasn't alone and it isn't only those couple hundred people on this forum either.
  1. Shamslam's Avatar
    Loved the Daily Blink.

    As someone who quit WoW but doesn't hate Blizzard, this news is going to make me hate MMO-Champ. So many "WoW is dying" topics will use a 5% loss as a doomsday statistic. 11.4M is still pretty far ahead of Aion's 3 or 4 million.
  1. Reparator's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by wordup View Post
    Really no-one cares about the rift subs, no-one cares about how you think the game got shit and that 600k people apparantly agree with you, I'll sit back with the other 11.4 million and enjoy the game as it is, instead of moaning about how it used to be.
    You mean you don't care ... as for the number of subs ... A lot of ppl like to play with peers from the same region, be it their country or at least the continent they live on. Just because WoW hasn't lost that many subscribers overall, it does not mean that regionally it hasn't lost a lot. Ppl from my country used to play on one server, that server is quite empty nowadays ... maybe those 3-4k subscribers that disappeared were replaced by 3-4k chinese players. Thing is I don't want to play with chinese players.
  1. Keadin84's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Zaryi View Post
    WoW only has ~4 million subs in EU/NA and since KN/TW/CN subs are all pre-paid, they really aren't traditional subs. The loss % is, infact, a great deal higher than 5%.
    It's more than that, I'd say around 6 or 7 million, but yes, half the player base is Asian-based, and that Asian 50% of the gamers represent less than 10% of total WoW revenue. So losing 600k players in Europe or America is a very large financial loss.
  1. Dion04's Avatar
    Why do people care how many people play this game. Who is going to notice if there are 15 million or 5 million players.
  1. Schlock's Avatar
    I was one of those 5%, but I don't hate Blizzard or hate WoW or feel they failed me in some way. It's just that after playing a game for 6 years it can be hard to find interest in it with the same kind of intensity you had at the start. I don't feel it was because they weren't releasing content fast enough, simply that short of completely revamping the entire game to the point of being unrecognizable, to some extent we've done everything already, probably more than once. If you stay for friends, or your guild, or epic lootz, that's cool and I hope you enjoy the game for many years to come. Maybe I'll find myself missing it enough to come back someday.
  1. Gorf18's Avatar
    How about the fact that probably 80% of players are casual, and this tier of raiding is one of the hardest we've ever seen... and it requires a pretty dedicated raid team/schedule to clear...

    Maybe that turns people away?
    This is what did it for me. I dont have the time I used to with a new baby in my life, and would have gladly stayed subbed to join an alt raid to clear most of the normal modes, like I did in icc (I did alt run and main run 10/25) anyways with the changes in difficulty and the innability to pug/bring in people that are alt geared level, atleast on my server was gameover for me. From everyone I have spoke with (Friends that are quitting, or playing and hoping for a chance) people miss the Wotlk approach.
  1. Ameteus's Avatar
    New content will do nothing to get players back, in fact blizzard will continue to loosing players. Cataclysm system of raids absolutely piece of crap, all gameplay is boring, and most part of players up their 100500's twink to lvl 85... =(
  1. Ameteus's Avatar
    New content will do nothing to get players back, in fact blizzard will continue to loosing players. Cataclysm system of raids absolutely piece of crap, all gameplay is boring, and most part of players up their 100500's twink to lvl 85...
  1. Halryn's Avatar
    everyone whining about archaeology xd if you don't like that, just don't do it!

    and btw, about the content being raced through too fast. just killing a boss isn't good enough, I don't even DARE to enter a New Troll Instance, because I've only completed it once. with my guild members.
    And then again, 4.2 looks very promising! people will always come back when a new patch come out, especially when it has a raid!
    Believe me, WoW will not die. I don't say it will NEVER die, but not now they've got things planned.

    And about Diablo. I, for instance, have never played Diablo or anything. I assume it's good, but not every WoW-player is going to play Diablo!
    And the story is MUCH better in WoW just sayin'
  1. Jackkernaut's Avatar
    I'm not suprise to be honest.
    Most of the content in Cataclysm is recycled or get 'loathsome' and boring fast.
    Personally i've enjoyed the content at first but nowdays i find myself farming BC content or doing archeology with my death knight.
    back at Wotlk i never had lack of stuff to do even if ppl claim that the diffuclt lvl of the content was very easy.

    The recycling of the Zalandari raids as new and refreshing instances just implies the lack of creativity of Blizzard.
    Warcraft has such a rich plot and yet developers refuse to 'go wild'. Instead of enlighting basic plot holes like the era before of arriving of the Horde to Durator and the Tauren histroy that claims to be as old as the night elves themselves for example, they prefered to reinovate old content as new like they did at patch 4.0 previous to the Cataclysm release.
  1. wordup's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Reparator View Post
    You mean you don't care ... as for the number of subs ... A lot of ppl like to play with peers from the same region, be it their country or at least the continent they live on. Just because WoW hasn't lost that many subscribers overall, it does not mean that regionally it hasn't lost a lot. Ppl from my country used to play on one server, that server is quite empty nowadays ... maybe those 3-4k subscribers that disappeared were replaced by 3-4k chinese players. Thing is I don't want to play with chinese players.
    As you just did to me, you mean, YOU like to play with your peers? Considering the amount of universal guilds vs. the language specific ones, I'd say you're in the minority.
  1. Rhey's Avatar
    WoW expansions never lost subscribtions before, sometimes they were growing slower but they were always going up
    before Cataclysm...........................

    It's not Rift that sucks even more than Cataclysm. Rift is a bigger fail than the previous MMO competitors and it's not achieving many subscribtions. You can check by yourself the games streamed on the most popular channels. Rift has 1 - 2 streams max, like Aion. Compared to WoW that have always 50+ streams minimum.

    Cataclysm sucks I told ya

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