back to article World of Warcraft subscriptions slip

Mass multiplayer online games appear to be in decline, with World of Warcraft subscriptions down ten per cent, titles like Star Trek Online adopting the free-to-play model and the kid-friendly Lego Universe shutting up shop completely. During Activision Blizzard's investor call yesterday, the company announced WoW subscriptions …

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Anonymous Coward

Good!

Hopefully now we will get Warcraft IV!

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Anonymous Coward

Errr

We're already on World of Warcraft 4...

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I'm sure Warcraft IV will be announced as soon as they finish heart of the swarm, Diablo 3 and the protoss SC2 expansion. 2019 is probably looking a good bet.

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Yag

And Diablo III

A (weird) friend of mine still hopes for Lost Vikking II...

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Anonymous Coward

@AC

As war mentioned, hopefully we'll get WARCRAFT IV not WOW IV

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Coat

Blizzard

"2019 is probably looking a good bet."

They'll announce it in 2019. It won't be finished until 2022.

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Stop

Interesting

Blizz already knew this which is why at blizzcon they "gave" WoW subscribers Diablo 3 for "free", in-game WoW mount for "free" and also a beta key for new WoW xpac for "free".

"free" = free if you commit for a WoW subscription for 1 year.

Having played the new xpac already, its a dk from lvl 1 all over again!

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WTF?

Missing an important MMO

Where is EVE Online in all this? showing all time high subscriptions and a solid game base

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Go

Agreed. I think CCP are, in the main, getting things roughly right: i.e. encouraging pure player driven economies (hardly any NPC goods produced anymore), empire building, mass unrestricted PVP, corporations, alliances, piracy, wormholes, etc.

A common joke on the Eve forums is "Eve is dying". This is usually a response to some player complaining about rampant piracy, perceived griefing, player dominated aspects, low emphasis on pve content. Eve's success is because those things exist and the increasing subscriptions prove that.

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Anonymous Coward

Errm, no mention of Free to play DC Universe Online then?

Now free to play on PS3 and PC...

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Alert

!

About damned time. Although you say 10 million vs 11 million as attrition over a year. That's like saying "we were making a LOT of money" and "we are still making a LOt of money". It's not exactly falling over fast is it and WoW's subscription base has always peaked and then declined, they've been up and down for years between expansions. It all comes down to that old battle between new content and the rate at which players complete it.

Anyway, who cares about WoW, i just got a text telling me my skyrim has been posted, i expect it tomorrow (and here's to hoping that, unlike BF3 which i also got a day early, i can actually play it tomorrow). Bring on Thursday or Friday!

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Gold badge

Simple really.

Old lags at the top eventually get cheesed off with paying subs, cheesed off with buying expansions, cheesed off with repeated account pwnage being ignored by Blizzard or discover the multiplayer version of sex and leave.

N00bs at the bottom get turned off by wandering around amidst hordes of gold farming meatbots and don't bother going any further.

Subscriptions fall.....

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Anonymous Coward

...or discover the multiplayer version of sex...

one just can't go wrong with your posts.

And informative. Always look forward to 'em.

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Anonymous Coward

err, and I didn't mean it sarky either

(The post is required, and must contain letters. Apparently)

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No need to panic

Erm, over 10 million subscribers does not look like Blizzard should be panicking any time soon. Virtually every other mmo out there can only dream of having that many. And it's far far too early to start calling it a decline in mmos in general. WoW is between expansions right now and there's always been a drop in subscriptions at this time. But mark my words, just watch the sales figures come in when the Mists of Pandera come in. Guaranteed to break records.

As for a Warcraft IV, that will never happen since the warcraft story is being played out in WoW and any single player based game would have to either tell the same story or come up with a spin off plot. And if it's RTS you want Blizzard have the ever expanding Starcraft franchise

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Silver badge

Warcraft story?

Orcs vs Humans?

I must confess to not having played a Warcraft game since 2, but that's it surely?

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... and

I suspect it's not just people not wanting to pay but, after a while, the games get stale. No matter how much new shiny pixelcrack you pack the game out with it still just boils down to grind, grind grind...

Mind, I cancelled my WoW subscription after just a month or so after I worked out how much time you actually spent travelling from one place to another either by horse (well, nightmare like thing, I was an undead warlock) or by Zeppelin/Gryphon/whatever; you effectively spend about 30% of your time doing, well, feck all (and that's before you go into guild/graphical chatroom mode).

Though my biggest gripe with MMOs is, well, the multiplayer part of it... what I would like is a large, persistent world in which you can either go off on your own, mash up some mid-level monsters and get some decent loot (a la Diablo), or do mule work like crafting or mining, or get together with a group of people to try and take on proper big 'n' nasties... basically, something like Ultima Online from about 8 years ago (before they introduced Paragons to Ilshenar).

However most MMOs tend to assume you _always_ want other people with you all the time so they make most of the PvM either utterly drab and without reward or basically impossible for single play so logging on at 3am during a bout of insomnia is pointless as the rest of your mates/guild will be offline.

Since the games pretty much force you into guilds you then find you'll have guild events which you should probably attend ... and yeah, sometimes you just can't bothered or have better things to do and the "game" you're supposed to be playing for a bit of fun starts becoming more like, well, a job :\

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Go try

EVE Online... sounds right up your street then. If you can handle the learning curve

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Just wow!

I know it's all fantasy but that Pandaren looks stupidly unbelievable in any world.

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It's WOW for Furries.

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Meh

Surprised?

It's not surprising that the playerbase for WoW is slipping between expansions. I played the game heavily for about 3 years and stopped in early 2010 due to boredom. I expect that many others are stopping for the same reason.

I have no issue with the pay-to-play model and on that basis I'm eagerly looking forward to The Old Republic. I've honestly had enough of fantasy mmo settings in general.

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Alien

Fantasy mmo settings?

Oh really?

Not sure how or why i consider some sci fi to have more scientific basis than others, but star wars is firmly entrenched in fantasy other than the droids.

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Silver badge
Stop

Time sinks

Dunno about the other couple of million who quit, but I quit WoW because I had to play it too much to actually enjoy it. Usually I'd play games once or twice a week for a couple of hours, but WoW I was having to play a couple of hours a day in order to do raids and whatnot in the "endgame".

So I stopped playing, and wondered why I was paying £10 a month for not playing. So I stopped paying.

I guess free-to-play games solve the latter problem.

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Conversely, the main reason is that there's been a distinct lack of actual content this expac, with features delayed, dropped or simply recycled.

You either raid (which can be done 3 hours in 1 night), or pvp. There's nothing else now.

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Anonymous Coward

with all the reasonable f2p and micropayment games from the likes of outspark and aeria games (to name two companies) you'd be pretty obsessive nowdays to pay a £5 -> £15 subscription, fair enough if you already poured time in and enjoy the game.

I myself quite enjoy a good game of shin megami tensei online and repulse doesn't look half bad.

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I don't think Pokemon: Kung Fu Pandas in the Mist Edition will be seeing an upswing in WoW subs here in the west.

If it does then I weep for today's youth / humanity etc.

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Meh

Agreed

I was a long time WoW player to the point where it almost consumed my life and I remember frothing at the mouth when the first ex-pac was to be released.

Burning Crusade came and went and the jade started to set in. I was never in a hardcore raiding guild so a lot of the top end stuff I never got to play, no matter how much time and effort I sunk in.

Then Wrath of The Lich King arrived. A few small scale features that didn't really add much apart from the new class, which involved revisiting content I'd already gone through a dozen times before, with dungeon runs consisting of 5 death knight teams. -.-

That was the point when I quit. Cataclysm was released and for a little while I was tempted to go back and see the new changes. Then I remembered that the good memories I have of WoW (and there are more than a few) were all from the old content - the endless Scholomance runs, dying in Zul'Gurub, the fishing contest and exploring with guildmates.

All those are gone forever.

I don't know if there's anything that would make me go back to WoW but what I do know is that it'll take more than a panda and a new class.

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Anonymous Coward

Stopped playing because ....

.... of the lack of need for any challenge. Want a new mount, don't bother actually earning it, just buy it directly from Bliz.

Bliz forgot the ideals that the game was built on and everything they'd stated for the future the moment Activision bought them.

There doesn't really seem to be any point playing anymore unless you just want to kill time.

Activision are the kiss of death for any studio.

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Anonymous Coward

The real issue is - how many of those subscribers are still logging in? What would be more interesting are figures showing account activity over recent months and for how long those sessions are. I've played WoW since April 2005 and there are a number of people in my guild (still going since early 2007) who keep their subscription but do not play.

It doesn't help, well imho, that the current WoW dev team have turned the game upside down from it's original roots (and the time of max subscribers) since Wrath of the Lich King. It's gone from a game of progression, exploration and gradual character improvement to one of instant gratification. Content is consumed too fast, excessive changes are made too frequently. The community is increasingly dire with players that don't really want to play a mmorpg but it's the "in" thing complaining they wiped twice on the second boss in X instance/raid. And Blizzard seemingly listening to that portion of the player base more than those who've stuck around since the beginning.

My hopes remain on GW2 for the "future" of mmorpg - I just don't forsee Blizzard turning things around with WoW. With that said I bought an annual pass - mostly because I expect to see out Cataclysm and intended buying Diablo 3. It was purely an economic thing for me.

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Bronze badge

Free to Play

There are no (non-trivial) free to play games, someone pays or they go bust. The mechanisms used to induce some to pay generally make the games suck.

Monthly subscription only works for the biggest and best. If you are going to pay 15 bucks a month for one game you are going to pick the biggest and best game going and probably play the hell out of it because you already paid for it. That is why WoW dominates and all the also-rans are folding or moving to (not really)free to play models.

Sorry state of affairs really. I would like to see pay-as-you-play models, it works for mobiles. Giving away plenty of free 'minutes' removes any barrier to entry and makes it free to play a little and cheap to play a lot because more players are paying and you don't need sucky mechanisms to induce payment.

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WoW is *old*. Of course it's going to lose subs eventually. I don't think you can look at WoW and draw conclusions on the whole industry.

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