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Blizzard Q1 2015 Earnings Call - Developer Interview
Ion Hazzikostas talked to GamesBeat about the recently announced loss of 2.9 million subscribers, Patch 6.2, and Warlords of Draenor.

Subscriber Numbers
  • The team was excited to see the number of subscribers increase with Warlords release, confirming they had selected the right idea and setting for the expansion.
  • Their goal is to make a fun and engaging experience and not chase subscriber numbers, as they are confident that the numbers will follow in the wake of that.
  • WoW released at the right time and has been a very adaptable game, which has helped to sustain it over the years. Other MMOs provide inspiration on how to make the game better.
  • The loss in subscribers is partially due to the cyclical nature of the game.
  • Players don't play WoW year-round anymore, they just come back for new content and then go off to play other games. To some extent that is okay. The team doesn't want to prevent people from playing that way.
  • There was a large spike in subscribers for Warlords so they knew there was going to be a "bit of a dip" after that.
  • The WoW Token hasn't had a drastic impact on the number of subscribers.

  • The new dungeons in Warlords were great, but there was no incentive to keep running them after the start of the expansion.
  • Previous expansions had something like Valor Points to keep players coming back for more dungeons.
  • It felt silly to run the same content over and over even as your character got stronger, which is why the dungeon rewards were removed, but they went too far in Warlords.
  • Group dungeons are one of the greatest strengths in the MMO genre and it is a shame that there hasn't been more of a reason to do them recently.

New Content and Patch 6.2
  • Patch 6.2 is one of the largest content patches ever released.
  • Patch 6.2 adds Timewalking and Mythic dungeons, making group dungeon content relevant again.
  • Patch 6.2 iterates on existing systems, polishes things, and adds some new content.
  • Massive class overhauls aren't as likely to appear in content patches anymore, as returning players come back to find that their class has changed once again.
  • The amount of content added in a patch is a balance between satisfying the hardcore players that go though content very quickly and the players that go at a slower pace.
  • The team also has to make progress on future projects that are important while still working on upcoming content patches.
  • Certain types of changes are reserved for expansions rather than patches to keep complexity in check.

  • Accessibility is a core value of the game and has helped WoW grow and sustain itself.
  • Classes are more complex now than they used to be back in the day. Destro Warlocks in Burning Crusade raids would literally keep up one debuff and press Shadowbolt really hard and fast to beat everyone else. The game hasn't been "dumbed down" from that.
  • Changes have been made to trim excess and keep things focused, but there is still a very high skill cap.
  • Both more casual raiders (Normal difficulty) and hardcore raiders (Mythic difficulty) can now see the entire story. This wasn't possible in older expansions like the Burning Crusade.
  • Accessibility means allowing players that have been playing for a long time to continue to enjoy the game, even if it is at a different level of commitment as their life changes. Many players started out as students and are now professionals with families.

  • More people are doing organized raiding than ever before thanks to some of the conveniences that have been added recently.
  • It would be nice if Mythic could scale with the raid size, but the team isn't sure that level of tuning is possible.
  • Making specific mechanics and encounters for Mythic difficulty is possible now because of the fixed raid size, but if the raid had to scale down to 10 players that would no longer be possible.

  • The social aspect of the game is very important to the overall experience.
  • The convenience features added over the years have made the game slightly less social.
  • Sitting in town for an hour trying to find a tank in trade chat to go and do a dungeon was inconvenient, but it allowed you to make stronger social bonds.
  • The Group Finder is an attempt to try and create environments where you can still meet new people without spending an extremely long time forming groups.

  • The group finder is getting lots of use for PvE and PvP content.
  • Garrisons give players reason to log in for a short time when they wouldn't have had any reason to log beofre. It doesn't really take away from raiding, PvP, or other longer playtime activities.

Raid Testing Schedule - May 15 - 18
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
We are hoping to have PTR login/access issues resolved by tomorrow, and are adjusting our planned testing accordingly.

From tomorrow through Monday, we will continue our Hellfire Citadel raid testing, including both Heroic and Mythic raid testing. As is always the case with PTR raid testing, it is quite possible that there will be technical or gameplay issues that disrupt our plans. Thank you in advance for your patience and understanding.

Remember that Heroic difficulty scales for any group size between 10 and 30 players, so feel free to assemble and bring a group of any size within that range. Mythic difficulty requires a fixed 20 players. Our general plan is to test every encounter on Heroic difficulty first, and then test sections of the raid on Normal and Raid Finder, alongside targeted Mythic tests.

Each encounter should be available at approximately the listed times below on all PTR servers.

Thursday, May 14


Friday, May 15
  • Socrethar the Eternal - Heroic Hellfire Citadel - 11:30 PDT (14:30 EDT, 20:30 CEST)
  • Archimonde - Heroic Hellfire Citadel - 13:30 PDT (16:30 EDT, 22:30 CEST)

After Heroic raid testing concludes on Friday, we will open the Bastion of Shadows Raid Finder wing, including Iskar, Socrethar, and Tyrant Velhari, over the weekend.

Monday, May 18
  • Shadow-Lord Iskar - Mythic Hellfire Citadel - 13:30 PDT (16:30 EDT, 22:30 CEST)
  • Hellfire High Council - Mythic Hellfire Citadel - 15:00 PDT (18:00 EDT, 24:00 CEST)

As always, this testing schedule is very fluid and subject to the realities of a PTR environment. We might have to change the time of a testing session, change the boss being tested, or cancel a test entirely, due to bugs, server hardware issues, etc. Keep an eye on this forum for the latest information, and thank you in advance for testing and providing feedback.

PTR Account Issue
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
We are aware of an issue affecting multiple users' PTR accounts and are actively looking into a fix. We will do our best to keep you informed of any status updates, and will let you know if the raid testing schedule needs to be adjusted or pushed back. Thank you for you patience while we investigate into this matter.

Blue Tweets
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Character / Items
On PTR says new glad mounts are account wide, I'm guessing this is a tooltip error?
Correct. They are not account wide. (holinka)

PTR: Is the mission awarding +50 follow ilvl reward ("Blizzard Convention") a 1 time only mission or can it be repeated?
Repeatable. (Muffinus)

What is the best garrison building? (Muffinus)

HeroesNexus - Hero Builds
Our friends over at HeroesNexus have added Hero Builds to the site! Create, find, and rank builds for your favorite heroes to help improve your gameplay or other the gameplay of other players.

OpenRaid - Transmog Competition With Michele Morrow
Our friends over at OpenRaid are having a transmog competition with Michele Morrow as a guest judge!

This article was originally published in forum thread: Dev Interview, Raid Testing Changes, Blue Tweets, Heroes Builds, Transmog Contest started by chaud View original post
Comments 265 Comments
  1. Heltoray's Avatar
    Obviously creating a fun and engaging game is by letting a game stand without content and adding store mounts
  1. mmoc39d0f47b69's Avatar
    Good to see Blizzard has learned a thing or two after losing 3M subs in the first quarter. /s
  1. mmoc88aff028a6's Avatar
    Massive class overhauls aren't as likely to appear in content patches anymore, as returning players come back to find that their class has changed once again. **

    but arent they massively nerfing most classes?
  1. magnognomus's Avatar
    Let sum up 6.2:

    Professions: "Great new recipes, exciting new gear crafts" = instead of savage blood you can run after felblight (called felblood original).... with the same exact daily cd. You can't get it for spirit etc...
    FLY: nonono you won't fly. We know you dead bored about going around hills 24/7 but still we wan't you to do that.....
    Tanaan Jungle: exciting new place (Timeless island v78.2) where you can farm exciting ilvl 655 loots on your ilvl 670 toon (no fly zone, but that's default)....
    New Raid: no there is no way you go from normal BRF to HC, we give you the fun part of farming iLVL 680 at LFR......
    Mythic Dugeons / Timewalk: we forget how to create 5 man instances so let's introduce the brand new recycled old content
    Ashran: we screwed up big time, but guess what! We don't care about it, so it stays as is....

    PS: lost 3 mill subs but you can now buy the brand new flying mount straight from the game shop! Buy it, even if you can't use it....
  1. Kymei's Avatar
    How can someone explain 2.9 MILLION people leaving WoW in such a nonchalant manner. People don't play WoW year round anymore? What changed, the game, or the people?

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