So It Goes: World Of Warcraft Loses 1.3 Million More Subs

By Nathan Grayson on May 9th, 2013 at 12:00 pm.

Clearly, all this 'massively multiplayer' silliness was a fad. Can we have Warcraft IV now?

That’s subscribers. Not subway sandwiches. Don’t get me wrong: I’d definitely put out a press release and hold an investor call if I misplaced a veritable volcano fortress of sandwiches. In it, I would drastically downgrade my quarterly expectations and ask if I could borrow a few hundred-thousand loaves of bread from anyone. But anyway. Activision gathered its friends and countrymen for another sermon on the moneymount today, and of course, World of Warcraft was a big focus. And while the previous reported total of 9.6 million subscribers was still quite impressive in its own way, it wasn’t exactly on the up-and-up. Since the end of last year, the most massive player in the massively multiplayer arena has bled another 1.3 million people, their shiny crimson change pooling into the gutters below. The kicker? In a decidedly un-Activision move, the publishing behemoth’s actually starting to feel a bit worried.

Emerging from his impregnable cocoon of businessly solitude, Acti CEO Bobby Kotick explained/screeched in some unfathomable tongue:

“Though the majority of our subscriber decline occurred mainly in the East, where we have more subscribers and lower revenue per subscriber, we saw declines in the West as well. While we do believe further declines are likely and we expect to have fewer subscribers at year-end than we do today, World of Warcraft remains one of the most successful franchises in the history of entertainment.”

The plan? Release more content more frequently, which is something Blizzard’s been promising (and inconsistently delivering on) for years. Meanwhile, in spite of WoW’s status as a household name, the MMO titan (who did not once mention its other MMO, Titan) admitted that it’s starting to feel pressure from free-to-play. At least, in, um, Asia. “There has been an increase in competition with free-to-play games in Asia,” said Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime. “People consume content quickly. We need to create more innovative content to keep people engaged.”

For now, though, 8.3 million is quite a ways to fall from a one-time high of 12 million. I doubt another expansion will be along for quite some time, either, seeing as Mists of Pandaria’s only been in the wild since last fall. Can smaller, meatier content chunks fill the gap? Does it even matter anymore? Obviously, WoW’s far from doomed, but eventually people just get bored of stuff – except for, you know, breathing and kitties. Personally, I’ll probably never touch WoW again, even though it was my life a few years ago. How about you?

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164 Comments »

  1. Gap Gen says:

    Yes, maintaining a fleet of submarines is quite challenging, so it’s perhaps not surprising.

  2. stahlwerk says:

    A world without WoW, a scary thought, like a baby panda sneezing suddenly.

    • BobbyDylan says:

      I doubt it’ll be gone fore long. I give it a few years till we see World of Starcraft.

    • Cinek says:

      Not scary at all. WoW is meaningless in current market. Even with it’s 8 mil subscribers. Market went in different directions long ago. I doubt they can introduce anything truly fresh into the genre any more.
      WoW age fades away. No amount of sentiments will save it.

      • Fiatil says:

        Jeez, calling the leader of the market dead huh? You people really love your death of subscriptions headline.

        • iridescence says:

          Yeah, I don’t like WoW but you can’t deny it still dominates the MMO market and has had an amazing run for any game. 10 years on and still 8 times the sub rate of any other MMO. WoW is like fast food. Most people who really know about food will tell you it’s crap but it’s still ridiculously popular.

        • Rusky says:

          WoW is market leader when it comes to subs because of it’s massive “inertia”. The point isn’t so much that WoW itself is dying (though it is, slowly), but that the genre that WoW represents is dying.
          No other WoW like MMO will ever really exceed 1mil subscribers IMO.

          • 11temporal says:

            The fact that it was the first mmo also gave it a big advantage.

          • Werthead says:

            “The fact that it was the first mmo also gave it a big advantage.”

            Well, apart from EVE ONLINE, EVERQUEST, ULTIMA ONLINE and maybe half a dozen of other MMOs that came before it.

          • xsikal says:

            Ah werthead. Naive naive werthead. You’ve fallen prey to the #1 mmo troll tactic of the day, logging into a gaming site (or indeed an MMO), claiming that WoW was the 1st MMO, and then watching people’s heads explode.

            I don’t know why it’s considered the ‘thing to do’, but you can’t find an MMO where someone’s not using that statement to try to push others’ buttons. Kids these days!

          • shadowpeople89 says:

            xsikal, Just curious, are you that dense? Werthead was quoting a post he was replying to. Obviously you can’t read. My opinion on WoW, I’m glad it’s dying. Maybe blizzard will quit ruining their other franchises from focusing to much on a shitty MMO that spawned a generation of sheep. Hell, Activision as a whole would’ve been better off if Call of duty never existed. A whole generation of gaming ruined because everyone wants to copy a shitty FPS game. I prefer REAL games. Resident evil minus the mindless action. I haven’t taken Activision/Blizzard seriously since the dawn of faggot ass 12 year-olds with mics high jacking M rated games on xbox live. Lazy fucking Parents

      • Don Reba says:

        The market went in a different direction, because WoW ate up everything, leaving ravished fields in its wake.

      • Mr Coot says:

        WoW offers very little bang for the sub buck, and the declining sub numbers reflect that consumers are starting to realise it. More content, more frequently? Snort! Rift with its sub base about 1/10 of WoW offers more content more frequently and is still viable – which goes to show just how much Activision Blizzard milk their subscribers.

        Genre is stale for me also, but while I was prepared to tolerate crapper than desktop gfx from WoW in 2007 because it was online play, today they just look ugly and embarrassing. Demographic playing has also changed, imo. I no longer easily find the sort of ppl whose company I enjoy, while finding too many of the sort that I actively despise. Long time sub expired last month and I won’t be returning.

  3. Demigod says:

    Get rid of CRZ and I may come back, slow down leveling so it take more than a couple of weeks to get to lvl 85 and I would be happy cataclysm cut to much content and make it to fast and to easy to level.]

    The “Story” is now far to inconsistent as you level up as you effectively jump forward and backwards in game time. You level so fast you miss whole areas in the expansions so the narrative that is already disjointed is missing whole chunks. It is to easy to now as well. My 60 year old mother said that so it is FAR to easy a game now..

    • jrodman says:

      What’s a CRZ?

      • stahlwerk says:

        Apparently it stands for cross realm zones. It bugged me, too, but now that I know, I can easy up.

        • jrodman says:

          Oh, I heard various warty things about them, but sort of assumed it was overblown because it didn’t bother me in gw2. However that opinion was based on no real information at all.

          Honestly the best times in WoW for me were levelling entirely on my own, or with one or two friends, with no one else around.

          • ran93r says:

            You generally understood the ebb and flow of your own server, when it was busy and when was the best time to hit up zones for either quests that you didn’t want to fight for or gathering nodes. CRZ brought a whole other level of ballache to the game.

      • Solidstate89 says:

        This is: http://automobiles.honda.com/cr-z/

        But I don’t know what it has to do with WoW.

    • Ginga121 says:

      This…

      The most enjoyable part of WoW for me, when I started playing, was the levelling up and playing with other people to do quests and stuff. It took me 2-3 months to reach level 70 and another month and a half to reach 80. Now you can do 1 – 85 or whatever it is in 2 weeks.

      No one does any quests any more either. Most people just farm dungeons all the way up since you level so fast. By the time you have finish one dungeon a few times you are high enough level to go onto the next one. All the questing areas for lvl’s 10-80 are deserted. I stopped playing over 2-3 years ago because of that. Went back about a year and a half ago and it was even worse. WoW is dead for me

      I don’t like raiding. I don’t like constantly having to have the best gear to be good enough to do anything either. It’s just dumb that all the support is for the end game which isn’t that enjoyable unless you make WoW your life and constantly grind to have the best stuff.

      • tumbleworld says:

        I agree completely. I can only assume that it’s cheaper to build a short dungeon for people to spend weeks in than it is to build extra questing content. It’s a shame, though.

    • limbeckd says:

      There are a couple realms that don’t have CRZ. Both RP-PVP, though.

  4. kwyjibo says:

    I think the big subscription MMOs are going away. EA saw it, Funcom saw it, and Bethesda will see it too.

  5. jrodman says:

    Bah, “more content more quickly” has never been delivered on. At certain points they go from glacial larger chunks to sub-snail-speed smaller chunks. They don’t produce more in aggregate more quickly. Ever.

    That’s because the design philosophy at blizzard is to polish everything like crazy. Which has its upsides, but it does mean that you can’t produce stuff rapidly.

    If you abandoned the twin ideas of:

    * There has to be “current content” that is relevant to most players and gives a point of striving similarly to other players
    * Players have to struggle with that content for a period of time

    You could provide an enormous array of content. Even just the back catalog is huge, but no one plays it because it’s not relevant due to the above ideas.

    Ultimately the subscriber numbers must drop because people get tired of the same and want something different, but a lot more could have been done to keep it engaging for a wider audience. PvP and Raiding were the only game focuses invested in satisfyingly for players, and neither has really seen much satisfying evolution.

    The situation is tedious for me because I have friends that try to get me to play to the extent of buying new expansions and buying time to try to get me to play again, and I’d feel like a dick if I didn’t at least give it a shot, but it’s just so samey by now.

    • Azradesh says:

      They have actually released a ton of content this expansion and released it faster than in the past. Already on the second content patch with the 3rd just around the corner now. In fact I’ve never had so much to do before and WoW has never kept me playing so long after hitting the level cap.

      • Obc says:

        yup, though i am not playing since 5.1 (RL commitmest), i am still amazed just how much content has already come out and is ony the way. 5.3 is looking around the corner already.

        the speed with which blizzard is churning out content lately has been even overwhelming for a lot of people. some people are debating that it might even be too fast and there are even those who are complaining that there is too much to do or too many new patches one after the next. (no matter what blizzard does, someone will always complain)

        so far this has been an amazing expansion. the story is told better that ever (no matter what you think of it overall), a lot of great raids, the upcoming pvp changes in 5.3 are looking exciting, pet battles are really adord by most players.

        though there is still a lot of iron out (e.g.: too many low pop servers, too few slots for all the new gadgets, too many dailies, LFG/LFR kinda destroying server community so that its hard to get to know more new people as you once did), MoP has deliverd a lot of great goods.

        • jrodman says:

          That’s because of the error that all the content has to have a specific time window when it’s relevant. So releasing too quickly and too slowly are both wrong for players.

    • tyren says:

      I’ve always felt a game like WoW would do better to expand horizontally rather than vertically. No more level cap increases, just provide more leveling content, more places to explore, and more endgame content.

      The only problem with that is figuring out how to keep endgame progression ongoing, if you even see that as a problem. But I’m sure it could be solved. Imagine how much actually relevant content would be in WoW right now if all four expansions’ worth of endgame content and heroic dungeons were at the current level cap.

  6. MurraySwe says:

    I tend to return to wow if there’s some expansion coming out, although I usually lose interest as I reach the new level cap.

  7. rustybroomhandle says:

    If it were just a company that spends money making games and then earns money from selling games, they would not be “worried” at this point. But no, it’s all about shares and shareholders. It’s growth or GTFO. It’s not enough to just earn a shitload of money, you have to earn a shitload more than the last shitload you earned. Fuck em.

    • 08xmt says:

      Wouldn’t it be morally corrupt, for a company not to strive to please its shareholders?

      • Nim says:

        The very idea of shareholders is morally corrupt. A company should only try to satisfy a single group and that’s the customers. No other group must have a greater importance than the customers.

        • Jdopus says:

          Idiotic, Shareholders are the people who finance and legally own a company and undertake the majority of the risk that the company will fail or under perform. If a company crashes they lose their money, not customers.

          Having said that, perpetual growth is probably not sustainable in the long term and an over-obsession with share value is probably the most consistently common factor in large scale corporate collapses or losses. It’s never a good idea to push for share value at the expense of everything else.

        • SighmanSays says:

          Ah yes. Because you, the customer whose only real stake in the company is the few dozen quid you pay for each of a company’s products, should hold priority over the network of investors, creditors, and regulators who in varying degrees actually own, fund, operate and control that company and risk significant proportions of personal wealth, time and labor to do so.

          Corporations are investment vehicles, not public services. They’re made by investors for the investors, not for you. It’s called enlightened self-interest, and is anything but “morally corrupt”. If there’s a moral problem associated with a company it’s because they’ve forgotten the ‘enlightened’ bit, not because the basic underlying system is evil.

          • jrodman says:

            You miss the forest for the trees.

            The problem here is that we believe that companies should be investment vehicles, instead of simply generators of profit and creators of useful goods and services. We believe this because of our religion of growth, which is a short-term phenomenon, and ultimately unsustainable.

            The idea that companies should care about customers, not investors ties in with the idea that they probably shouldn’t be primarily investment vehicles that cater to shareholders. It makes perfect sense to move away from our current system, even if you recognize how the current system works. Obviously there will still be need for capital even in a non-growth-oriented business market to get businesses started, but that doesn’t mean companies have to primarily be designed around cash-out options for the investors and founders at hundreds of times their seed money. Banks made loans at fractional percentages for a long long time.

            In any event, you don’t have to be forward-looking because the gas is going to run out of the growth religion soon enough, likely within our lifetimes.

      • lijenstina says:

        Shareholder interests != company interests != management interests != employees interests != society interests. It’s that easy.
        If there is not an efficient set of rules to regulate the conflicts of all of those then shit hits the fan.

      • Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

        As the sole shareholder of Smingleigh Super-Heavy Industries and Bakery I find it most equitable to have each of my employees harvested for their superfluous second kidney.

        Try our pies!

    • Azradesh says:

      In spite of loss of subs, Activision-Blizzard did actually make more money and beat all estimates.

  8. President Weasel says:

    Hmm, I can’t get quotes to work.

    Nathan said:
    Personally, I’ll probably never touch WoW again, even though it was my life a few years ago. How about you?

    Realising I didn’t actually have to grind faction quests to get the best shoulder enchantment so I could have the best possible raid gear, and that I didn’t have to obsessively do all the calendar events so I could get the rare mount in a year, but instead could go and do something else instead was something of an epiphany.
    Admittedly the “something else instead” was Eve Online, but – baby steps.

    I don’t think I have it in me to submerge myself in an MMO any more. I realised my dissatisfaction with each individual offering was probably boredom with the entire genre.

    • baby snot says:

      test

      Lets’s see. Well that worked. You used blockquote right? cite has never worked on RPS btw.

    • anduin1 says:

      Same here I keep trying to get that same feelin I got years ago with mmos but can’t because of how similar everything ultimately is. The genre is stale.

    • Vorphalack says:

      I hear that. I tried to get into Neverwinter with the RPS guild, but I had one of those epiphany things on Tuesday when I found myself sat idle in a losing PvP match, after one of our team had dc’d. I hated the PvP and was only in there to gather one of the multitude of currencies on offer, and as I sat there watching the score bar fill up, I had to ask myself why. The game is pretty bland overall, terrible voice acting and formulaic ”kill 10” quests in every zone, and yet somehow I was back in the hamster wheel chasing the progress bar.

      At least this time I got out after 4 days. Never again.

  9. Sinkytown says:

    Haha I hope blizzard have learned a HARD lesson here: it’s because pandas are for big dumb babies and not for grown ups like orcs and awesome big shoulder pads and swords,, blizzard betrayed us with this Kung fu panda stuff amirite?? What if a girl saw me playing this that’s why I’m literally going to unsubscribe any day now

  10. Calabi says:

    There going to have to whip the developers harder.

  11. TΛPETRVE says:

    So what? WoW has its 10th anniversary next year; so I’d say it’s about bloody time this fucker dies and goes to hell where it belongs.

    • RonnieBoy says:

      I seriously don’t understand this attitude, so tell me, how does WoW still existing affect you in any way? If you’re one of those disillusioned ex-players and you didn’t like the way WoW was going so left, that’s okay. But why declare that it must “die?”

      Yes, WoW has heavily influenced the state of modern MMORPG’s in positive and negative ways, which you may or may not like, but if it suddenly ended now, do you think that would help or hinder MMORPG development? Do you think the millions of subscribers will flock to new MMO’s? Without WoW sitting on the throne as most popular western MMORPG will new up and coming MMO’s be as innovative?

      For instance I don’t think WoW being around is hindering development of new MMO’s. While most new ones are merely iterative rather than re-inventing the genre I don’t think WoW existing is holding back any new radical ideas in new MMORPG’s. If anything, I think if developers and publishers see WoW fail, after having 12 million subs, it might discourage them from making an MMO, whether it be sub or F2P. Speaking of F2P, Buy2Play, and non-RPG MMO’s, they’re all on the rise, all with WoW still existing, albeit in decline.

      It’s like a while back, when I was reading the comments on the reviews of the AMD bulldozer chips when they first came out. There were Intel fan-boys laughing at AMD, and hoping that they went out of business and only Intel was left in the CPU market, as if the loss of AMD as a competitor would have been healthy for Intel’s prices and innovation. AMD is very much the underdog CPU manufacturer at the moment, but I would not want to see Intel suddenly stop making CPU’s. As without that competition there will be little drive for innovation and more of an inclination for AMD to price gouge.

      • Demnar says:

        A lot of the attitude I think involves thinking MMO’s in general are BAD FOR SOCIETY. Dear middle class, please give us your money and the far more valuable thing, your TIME, and lots of it. In return we will give you entertainment with our bled through ideals and subverted messages. We will also program you to continue to want to do the same things over and over until you win…wait you don’t…. It never ends, you never win. Now all your souls R belong to us forever.

        I love mmorpgs and think they can teach teamwork and comradery with problem solving while having fun. But they have destroyed countless lives, which is unquestionable. (Just research it). With the dungeon and raid finders eliminating nearly all challenge for gear as well as destroying nearly all decent social interaction. Maybe losing wow wouldn’t be so bad.

        Try running a dungeon without saying a word. I’ve done it for hours at a time before. Dungeon finder killed wow for me. Why do you need a guild or group of friends when you can push a button and have 4 “friends” assigned to you? Nobody helps anyone in azeroth lately either. It’s always about me me me. Easy mode, plus killing talents, plus influx of douchbags = /bye.

  12. Seafort says:

    Can’t wait for WoW to fall from it’s throne. Maybe we can get back to real MMOs then and not these casual, solo player orientated themeparks we’ve had since WoW launched.

    Actually having to work together to defeat an objective will be deemed an innovation after WoW falls from grace :P

    Hopefully we can get the Multiplayer back into MMOs again :)

    • Crimsoneer says:

      Sorry, but high level raiding in WoW is still one of the more intense, multiplayer experiences available anywhere, other than EVE. Mind you, this is from my BC days, so might have changed, but can’t blame it for everything/

      • Azradesh says:

        High level raising is still great. Look up the tactics for Lei Shen.

        • Obc says:

          Heroics on Challenge Modes are even more fun and skill rewarding. at times its far more intense and needs more player coordination and finding new shortcuts or innovative use of certain spell is always a joy.

    • NyuBomber says:

      You state this as if WoW just cropped up last year and is a fad.

      WoW shifted the paradigm and it’s effect, for better or worse or whatever stance you want to take, has rippled for years. We’re simply at the point where the ripple is naturally fading out and though the wave is still there, we’re at the point where if a MMO wants to come along with a old/new direction, it pitches to Kickstarter.

    • ScubaMonster says:

      Sorry, you are wrong. The majority of players don’t fall into the raiding category and I think one of the biggest mistakes Blizzard made was making the end game revolve around raiding. If the only way to enjoy end game is to devote your life to grinding raids, your game is broken. There needs to be a variety of things to do for every play style, not just one. WoW still revolves around raiding for end game, or PvP depending on your taste. Ultimately, both are boring grinds that grow old quick.

  13. Commander Gun says:

    To balance the usual WoW hater’s comments a bit:
    I regurlarly return to WoW, about once per larger patches (as a matter of fact, i will return when the new patch launches probably next week).

    There are a lot of things that can be better, especially the daily rep grind i really hate. But the lore and the familiarness (is this a word) matter to me quite a lot. For me WoW is a themepark, in which i can soloquest, PuG raid, do monster (pokemon)battles, solo old raid content, causal pvp, etc.
    The biggest reason is the history i’ve had with this game, i still feel connected with about everything. I tried so many other MMO’s, and granted, each of them has at least something that is better (Graphics in general, legendary weapons in LOTRO, the whole PvP thing in Eve, now the foundry in Neverwinter).

    But it never clicks long, i always return to WoW and i feel good about it too :) I guess attachment goes a long way.

  14. Choca says:

    Cool, give me WarCraft 4 now.

    • laijka says:

      I wish.

      Sadly I don’t think a Warcraft 4 is possible after WoW.

      • Myrdinn says:

        Why wouldn’t it? If WoW’s numbers keep declining like this, we might have Project Titan launching within 5 years, pulling even more subs away from WoW. Once Project Titan starts rolling, Blizzard will probably not crap out another Starcraft episode, but focus on Warcraft instead. Then a small decade after the Warcraft 4 release, Project Titan will have their own sub decline and their new MMO titled ‘Warld of Worcraft’ will be announced to the masses.

        • laijka says:

          Sorry, I was speaking in a strictly lore/story wise point of view. Should have said that, my bad.

          A Warcraft 4 as a game is not impossible, but after the WoWs loreloling with pretty much everything it wouldn’t be Warcraft anymore. At least not to me and I know others agree with that.

          • Obc says:

            WoW will probably end with a big battle against Sargeras.

            but there is still the matter of Anduin rallying all the races, dragons and Naaru’s, all in shiny gold bling armor against an allconsuming darkness. If that doesnt happen in the end of WoW, it can still be dealt with in WC4.

            there are a lot of young characters that could carry WC4. So far WoW is introducing them the right way, Anduin is fine (his adventure in 5.1 was ok) and Wrahtion is superbly badass and there is still Me’dan to account for (who btw can stay in whatever hell he is right now).
            And there is the argent dawn and ebon plague, there will always be faction bickering.

            Besides WC3 introduced a lot of new characters, some of em are now fan favourite (e.g.: Arthas), so who is saying that blizz can’t create some new good ones. also, a few cameos of old characters will keep some nostalgic roots and there will always be someone new to corrupt ;)

            so no, storywise i don’t think WC4 is a lost cause.

          • Grygus says:

            Warcraft has time travel now. None of that matters.

      • Nova says:

        Yeah, I would love a WarCraft 4, but I don’t think it will ever happen. WoW cannibalized the franchise.

        • Fiatil says:

          The only solution is for Warcraft 4 to start with Thrall waking up and realizing the past 9 years were just a dream. If only Blizzard were capable of something so amazing in its current incarnation.

  15. NothingFunny says:

    What can I say? Good news for other games. The more people leave WoW to play something else – the better it is for everyone – players and industry overall.

    • Moraven says:

      And most those asians have moved onto new MMOs and MOBAs, which every seems to dislike around here. You still lose!

      What they can keep changing with the current engine is pretty amazing and they still come out with innovative changes. But they can’t take out the core game with you loathe.

  16. laijka says:

    I’m not surprised, sooner or later people will get bored and move on. Or grow up and realize they no longer have time to play as much as they used to (which sucks btw). Combine that with a lot of f2p MMOs on the market and, I assume, not that many new subscribers I’m almost surprised they haven’t lost more.

  17. Makariel says:

    Last time I tried a bit of WoW in some 10 day test-that-fancy-new-expansion-period I got the feeling I’m not playing with other people, but with bots. Everyone was very competent and ran through standardized, highly efficient patterns, communication at a minimum. Very unlike the wonder of vanilla, when no one had a clue and it was fun to try new stuff.

    • Obc says:

      yeah, this is becoming more and more sad. Nowadays, you either know people by RL or have to join some raiding/pvp group to do something with “non-bot-players”. LFR/LFG are kinda chipping away at the server community.

      don’t take this the wrong way: LFG/LFR have brought a lot of great stuff, but once you lose most of your FL for whatever reason, it gets hard to find new players to casually have fun with but still retaining a semblance of social aspects that fostered the game to this point.

      • jonahcutter says:

        Having to fight your way into Black Rock Mountain to reach the instance portal was WoW at it’s best.

        The first year of WoW was immense fun.

        It’s all more convenient now. More technical. And less alive.

  18. staberas says:

    i would write a troll comment but then i thought it would be a waste of time…. Like WoW.

  19. Teovald says:

    I played to WoW for 3 monthes the year of its launch. I leveled up a character to lvl forty-something and started losing all interest in that game. I had my ram, which had been a big goal from levels 30 to 40 and I did not had a lot of other interesting things to do. Sure, there were more quests and leveling up, I even tried a couple of other classes and changed side. But the core of the game was already feeling very repetitive.
    I don’t think I will ever re-install it.

    • Surlywombat says:

      WoW has always been made up of many different activities. If you never experienced endgame then you missed out.

      • Teovald says:

        I was already bored at level 40, so I did not really miss out on anything.
        WoW is a cleverly disguised theme park and I just ran out of interest before seeing all its attractions.

        • jrodman says:

          Eh, in this particular thread that statement rings false.

          Team PVP and high level raiding don’t feel like a theme park activity when struggling with them. They feel fairly different and they’re the high points of the original design.

          I’m not a huge fan of them, and they are curated in a cetain way, but it’s not really the “ride the rides” feeling of questing & levelling.

  20. Koozer says:

    I miss the old WoW, pre-TBC, when it was just me, my brother and a mate adventuring across exotic lands and annoying them both with my engineering contraptions. Post-TBC it just got too…gamey, for want of a less lazy explanation. In Outland zones were more packed with content, making it faster to reach the quest hubs but utterly destroying the feeling of actually going on an adventure, when it could take half an hour to ride your horse from one place to another.

    • Jenks says:

      All you have to think about is a run through Blackrock Depths to understand what WoW is missing today. What a game it was back then.

  21. Bhazor says:

    They should panda to their fans I guess.

  22. Zepp says:

    WoW could use more of graphical overhaul, like new vanillia race models (that are supposed to be in the works, but who knows when and if they will be availible). This may be insubstantial for many people but I can’t enjoy game fully when I’m annoyed by graphical glitches, iffy animations and general ugliness of my char. Especially when gear/skill upgrades look like crap. Pandas didn’t solve it as they mostly look bad in current gear models.

    Adding more loot pinatas doesn’t do anything for me nor more daily quests which are more often than not a snooze fest. I stopped enjoying warcraft plot after W1/W2. W3 made orcs crap and Green Jesus ruined everything about this race that I liked. Maybe I’m just warhammer orcs fan but whatever.

    I think that theme park mmo era is coming to its end. How many times can you lvl up character, do dungeons and beat raid bossses in differrent settings over and over? Engaging pvp is a way to overcome this but WoW according to its devs was never mainly pvp game. Bleh.

  23. Low Life says:

    They’ll get me back (for a week or two) if they have a proper troll revolution at the end of the expansion. Trolls want to be flippin’ out, mon.

  24. Shooop says:

    I blame WoW for popularizing the shittastic “hotbar” system. When the base of your game revolves around just mashing the number keys rapidly until you win or die you’ve made a very crappy game.

    It can’t die fast enough and discourage others from using this lazy, stupid design.

    • greenbananas says:

      You’d think people who think WoW is crappy would be most bothered that it’s by design, a game that revolves around doing a repetitive task over and over again that yields prizes that allow you to keep doing the exact same bloody thing over and over again but with slightly different numbers. Not that it has a shortcut system.

      • Shooop says:

        That though is pretty much the most base motivation of any game – do this, and get stuff for it so you can keep playing the game but with different stuff!

        The problem isn’t that it’s a Skinner box, but that it’s so tedious and blatantly obvious about it being a Skinner box because it rewards you for the most tedious actions possible in a game. It barely registers as a game even because of what you do in it, not because how it rewards you for it.

    • Moraven says:

      DAoC had it first. WoW was the next improvement on the MMO gameplay and UI, much like DAoC evolved from Everquest.

      For the generic mobs, sure you can probably smash and win, but any named/elite/rare mobs you will die if you tried that. Same with dungeons and raids.

    • Jenks says:

      Most dps classes in wow have very specific action rotations. I can’t imagine a guild keeping you on for very long if you were “mashing the number keys.”

      • Shooop says:

        That is what it comes down to – 111311111611115111112111114…

        It’s the same with any game that has the hotbar system. It reduces combat to nothing more than spamming 3-4 keys as fast as possible. It’s worse than QTEs.

    • Barberetti says:

      I blame DOOM for popularizing the shittastic “1 to 0” system. When the base of your game revolves around pressing a number key then just mashing the left mouse button rapidly until you win or die you’ve made a very crappy game.

      Etc etc.

      • Shooop says:

        Because Doom didn’t also require you to move and avoid getting hit by things at the same time right?

        Don’t try this half-assed “it’s just like all other games” thing. It doesn’t work. Hotbar “combat” is literally just spamming 3-4 keys as fast as possible. If you fail, it’s almost always because you didn’t have enough other players with you at the time. There is nothing else to it – no timing required, no awareness of your environment, just move to the right distance and begin hammering keys.

        • Barberetti says:

          Don’t try this half-assed “it’s just like all other games” thing. It doesn’t work.

          The only thing I did was respond to a dumb post with a piss-take reply to show how easy it is to make the combat system of any type of game seem simple if you deliberately ignore most of it and focus on just a few aspects, like you’ve been doing.

          Hotbar “combat” is literally just spamming 3-4 keys as fast as possible. If you fail, it’s almost always because you didn’t have enough other players with you at the time. There is nothing else to it – no timing required, no awareness of your environment, just move to the right distance and begin hammering keys.

          Blatant lies eh? Ok, looks like posting any old shit that can be pulled out of your arse is the order of the day in this troll thread, so lets go!

          Because Doom didn’t also require you to move and avoid getting hit by things at the same time right?

          Just like WoW when mobs are dumping AoE all over the place right?

          But WoW’s combat is harder, because unlike something as easy as a FPS where you can just strafe out of the way of everything, in WoW you have to deal with projectile weapons and spells that have homing capabilities at the same time as dodging the AoE! Tough shit if you’re some nub that thought it would be ok to stand there and slap random number keys at a mob without being aware of your surroundings. Now you’ve got incoming fireballs from the patrol that just walked round the corner, and not enough health to survive the impact because you were too busy playing silly buggers.

          Would be nice if you could just stand behind a tree for 3 seconds and have full health again like you can do in some games right? No kids stuff like that here though, so better hope you had the foresight to pack some health potions before coming out to play, otherwise you’re fucked!

          Oh, and in response to your reply to Jenks:

          That is what it comes down to – 1 LMB LMB LMB LMB LMB LMB 6 LMB LMB LMB LMB LMB 4 LMB LMB LMB LMB LMB

          It’s the same with any game that has the numberkeys system. It reduces combat to nothing more than spamming the left mouse button as fast as possible. Hell, spamming the LMB is giving that “system” too much credit. Most of the time you just hold it down! It’s worse than QTEs.

  25. cpy says:

    I still have my hopes for SC5 and D3 even though i stopped playing wow.

    • Stephen Roberts says:

      Talking of which, when is the price for D3 going to drop? It’s still full price and with the cumbersome Online cluster fuck that blizzard feel engaged in implementing in all of their games I don’t feel like giving them more than a fiver for it. Tiny protest mode activated.

  26. Eamo says:

    I think the problem is they made the end game less and less accessible to appeal to a very small core of ridiculously hardcore players. It leaves the majority of the players stuck with watered down content while the top end fight a never ending war of attrition as the reality of the endless months of ten to twelve hour days of raiding just to remain competitive grind them down.

    This combined with the endless push to grind all content into 30-45 minute chunks. PvP games, 30-45 minutes, instance runs, 30-45 minutes, questing, each quest hum will be finished up in 30-45 minutes. The game used to have things you could do with whatever amount of time you had available to you. If you had half an hour there was something to do, if you had five hours you could find something to do.

    It just feels like an endless chain of 30 minute sub games as opposed to an MMO, theres almost no chance your character will improve as you play, instead every task adds up to having to spend 20 hours grinding out some sub game for some sort of in game currency and if I am going to play the same game over and over for 30 minutes then something like League of Legends is just a much more enjoyable way to do that.

    I still look back very fondly on my years of playing the game, I just no longer have the time to play it to a level that feels significant and as you drift further back from being able to put in those sort of hours (and the hours required to do that now are far higher than they were before) the game just becomes a longer and longer grind for less and less reward.

  27. Ein0r says:

    Sad somehow, since the Pandaria expansion was pretty good, had much content and much to do. Even if it included grinding for various factions you had really much to do, if you dont dislike the panda and asian setting in the first place. I did quit WoW too after playing Pandaria for a while.
    My reasons were: I didnt start when the expansion was new and it was quite hard to follow up in equipment and stuff if you are this late.
    But the biggest reason is that all the chars i love the most are on a dieing server, and although i was well equipped, well enchanted etc. etc. i had no chance to get into a raiding guild, left alone in random raids because there were none.. And paying about 20€ to transfer a single char onto another server is already too expensive to me. And i would need 3 transfers :/ But already one transfer alone is way too expensive …

    But only doing the raidfinder stuff instead of real raids/hc raids is not satisfying.

    • Obc says:

      this is a problem a lot of people i knew in game or in RL faced and most of em just stopped playing. i ponied up the cash for transing 4 chars. still to this day all these people who didnt pay would gladly come back if there server would have more action or the transing price reduced or abolished.

      alas for whatever reason blizz isnt merging a lot of low pop servers or reducing the price. in the long run this would add more money i think, but i am not a stastician (sp?) at blizzard.

  28. Curzen says:

    Haven’t done raids since wotlk. Played for a few weeks in the recent expansion and don’t have a character at the current level cap. Same goes for swtor and GW2 though. While the latter tried to do things a little differently it’s all just more of the same old. The genre is stuck in a rut and no one dares or is capable of reinventing it. There seems to be some money to be made with mmo offshoots of known franchises still (Elder Scrolls) or someone being “radical” and going scifi instead of fantasy (Wildstar), but as long as I still need to go fetch ten bear asses for some hobo every day I foresee myself quickly getting bored with those games too. And I really don’t have time for that shit anymore, that being endless gear grind raid content.

  29. derbefrier says:

    MMOs suck these days neverwinter lasted for a weekend but that was about it. All this instancing, player ques for pvp and dungeons just kills the feeling your in a living breathing world. Everyone is robotic, no one talks, unless its to insult you, they just go through the motions. The themepark MMO has killed the best part of MMOs, player interaction by making it completely unnecessary. I guess this is what happens when you bring millions of new players into the genre who actually hate the social part of the game but still want to sit in ironforge in the best gear to impress people they will never talk to and will never notice them.

    Vanilla WoW was so fun I still remember the names of certain horde that used to hunt lowbies in Stranglethorn vale, the epic battles of south shore, twink guilds, the craziness of organizing and actually succeeding in taking 40 people from all over the world to kill a giant dragon. Now its just so streamlined with no flavor it just gets boring and the shitty part is everyone else is still trying to copy WoW becasue they delude themselves into thinking they can sustain those types of subs with the same game just re skinned for another universe.

  30. Faxanadu says:

    I will never forgive Blizzard for missing the opportunity of having the greatest PvP MMO ever created with World of WarCraft. It was so obvious, so easy to do, all the pieces were already there. But they just didn’t.

    I hope you die, World of WarCraft.

      • Faxanadu says:

        Two factions, a story behind it, beautiful realms, snappy interface, snappy character interaction, all the mechanics, all there.

        And their investment to PvP? “Oh, lets pop ‘em a new arena this expansion, that’ll do. By the way, put some guards on those PvP realms, those PvPers keep killing each other, damn them…”

        • Rollin says:

          MMO PVP is almost all about who played for longer and got he most XP/best gear, there’s no real skill to it. Throw in the fact that you can’t “miss” with an attack and it’s just two people pressing 2493820 next to each other until the lower level one dies.

          Most of the WoW PvP I saw was a max level guy murdering a level 30 something who dared to leave the starter zones.

          • Koozer says:

            I guarantee you there are tactics involved in MMO PvP. The real problem with WoW was that of gear – the scaling was ridiculous. You learned not to even bother attacking some people based purely on what they were wearing. If everyone was given the same gear/stats, it would be much improved. Obviously this would never happen as it wouldn’t feed people’s progress fixation.

          • Faxanadu says:

            Yes, and all these flaws easily fixed, plenty of suggestions to go with. But they did nothing. They did not even TRY.

        • Jenks says:

          World PVP in vanilla WoW was incredibly fun, as were the battlegrounds they later added. If you started in TBC or later when the focus became arena, you missed the fun. Sorry.

        • malkav11 says:

          It’s really not hard to understand this decision. PvPers are extremely difficult to satisfy and a sufficient minority that they’d never have made the kind of money they’re making now if they’d made that the emphasis. Certainly I’d never have bought the game myself.

          But by the same token, there’s enough people that want to at least dabble in PvP that implementing -something- seems to be de rigeur for almost every MMO. (I’m convinced that many MMOs would be better off without doing so, but I don’t make that call.)

          • Apocalypse says:

            Bobby Kotik has a fixation for sheets and statistics and plans and such. And if you check the development cycles for WoW you will notice that they have a strong focus on arena style PvP. So you can bet that PVP was important, because Bobby would not allow wasting money on development without someone showing him some sheets that suggest that MANY players do like PvP.

  31. solymer89 says:

    My gamer ADD won’t allow me another MMO. I spent 6 years in this one so no I won’t be back. My one MMO I’m allowed is STO and it’s probably going to be that for a while.

  32. anduin1 says:

    Gimme panda exp for free and 1 week to trial it and ill probably come back.

  33. tkioz says:

    I’m always surprised to find out that people still play WoW, I mean it was a good game once upon a time, and it might be still a decent game (I wouldn’t know, I quit several years ago) but it is getting on in years, of course there is going to come a point where they’ll have to put it down… they really should be looking at a replacement for it.

  34. Marik Bentusi says:

    Soooo WoW’s version of nulsec? That’s content that never runs out as long as it doesn’t run out of players, right? Completely goes against the “themepark” game design outside of it, but that’s why you can keep it an isolated sector, much like PvP arenas or Instances.

  35. ErraticGamer says:

    8.3 million subscribers times $15 per month is… about $1.5 billion per year in subscriptions. Yeah, I suspect they’re still gonna be okay for awhile. And that doesn’t count the money they rake in on selling the boxed expansions at full price every couple years. Which is small compared to the total, but still probably in the area of a quarter billion dollars per expansion (assuming at least half the player base picks it up at launch).

    • malkav11 says:

      I’ve been informed that it’s not quite that easy a figure, especially with much of the Asian market not “subscribing”, per se, but rather paying for game time at internet cafes and the like.

  36. qutayba7 says:

    What needs to be done to really make MMO’s more sustainable is to revamp or jettison “leveling” as we currently know it. Yes, leveling might be seen as the core of RPG’s, but if you have a linear experience and want to keep people after that linear experience, you have to keep adding things to the end, as people zip through the content up to that point.

    I love WoW, but so much of the experience is centered on grinding: leveling, gaining reputation, gearing up, gathering mounds of crafting mats, killing 20 of x creatures, etc. There are just enough quests that reward exploration in and of itself to reveal that it’s possible to structure the experience around things that are not grinding. The whole MMO model needs to rethink its reward system.

    If I had perfect alternatives, I’d go out and start a gaming company myself. I don’t, but I don’t see the model getting out of its rut until it finds a way to prevent all that carefully-crafted content you see leveling from becoming quickly obsolete.

  37. Jraptor59 says:

    I was in the WoW beta and have played the game since it started. I love WoW.

    That being said, I don’t play much anymore, but I would love to. Bliz stopped really giving any sort of value to its players after WotLC. The latest “panda” expansion didn’t even have a storyline other than “oooo look! Pandas!”.

    They also started focusing on the monster guilds instead of the casual player. There are all sorts of bonuses if you are in a guild, so many you pretty much have to be, and that can be very obnoxious. The big guilds are where the psychos hang out and they turn the game into work instead of fun.

    Also, they have lost any real idea of what people want. Currently you have pet battles, farming, and horrible daily grinds you MUST do if you want to get any gear. Were talking the same thing, every day, over and over, and it can take hours. This is NOT fun.

    If they want to save the game they need to put in some effort. All they have to do is go back to the original, BC, and WotLK, and really examine what they put out there for the players. Then go back to that formula. One simple thing they could do to make me happy would be allowing me to solo and get a nice armor and weapon set.

    I believe currently they are more interested in making money than making a game. They probably have some arcane formula that projects cost vs profits. I think they just went for minimum work with maximum profit. That sounds great to a board member but lousy to a player. They may even be cutting back so they can introduce their new MMO. The problem is that it may not be as good as WoW (look at D3, a total mess; a game built around an auction hall).

    I think WoW will die in a few years, killed of by neglect from its parent company. I will miss it.

  38. 11temporal says:

    Wow was the first mmo so it was bound to happen eventually.

  39. Freud says:

    I think it’s natural. Most gamers I know have had their MMO phase where they dove in and eventually it got old and repetitive. After that you are done with WoW and MMOs.

    I’m sure some will stick with it thick and thin but I think WoW have gone through most of the potential MMO players at this point. It’s hard to replenish the player base at this point.

  40. Brahsef says:

    Just started playing on a vanilla private server with original droprates, original everything. It made me realize how bad mmos have become. Killing more than one mob at a time is a challenge and I have to routinely group up with people to clear areas which promotes a more social environment. I’m only level 13 right now but I can’t wait for deadmines, as if I remember, instances actually use to be tough.

    Also not having markers on your map that just show you where everything is, so you have to do this thing called exploring.

    Things aren’t perfect. A lot of builds are completely useless. The grind can get to you, but you can just then log off. More than anything it feels like an actual world which I feel every mmo has gone away from completely.

  41. Barberetti says:

    Yeah, no way back for me. The shit-pile that was Cataclysm was the final straw, although each previous expansion had been worse than the last. I managed about 3 weeks of Cata before saying “fuck this shit” and wiping my characters and the game. To get me back, they’d have to make a lot of major changes to the game, and I’m talking removing all Alliance Shamans and Horde Paladins kind of changes.

    Even if they just said sod that and set up a few “Classic Servers” for fans of the original game it wouldn’t be enough. I’ve been too spoiled by the superior combat of more modern MMOs to ever go back to WoW’s combat.

    • Punchbowled says:

      Same story with me, except I’ve played the odd free trial every now and again, and just paid for a months sub to Pandaria cuz somehow I ended up with a couple of level 80 characters, and…

      …and actually it’s really quite a lot of fun, to my great surprise.

  42. Wynter says:

    All this happened, more or less.

    RIP, KV

  43. daktaklakpak says:

    Loss of 1.3 million players.

    A pandas gotta eat…

  44. Carra says:

    I’ve played some more WoW during the last expansion, kept me busy for a month or two. Enough to level a character to max level, do most of the dailies and run the end game instances a few times.

    But I’m not interested in raiding any longer so I gave up my subscription. I’ll be happy to spend another 2 months in the game once their next expansion is out. But more than that? No, been there, done that.

    • Apocalypse says:

      You sum the problem very nicely up Cara, “Raid or Die” killed the game for many. Including those that loved to raid, because the game tried to make raids accessible for everyone, a flavor that at least in my social net no one liked, not the raiders and not everyone else.

  45. xsikal says:

    I question how much the posted subscriber #s are really evidence of a steep decline. I’m pretty sure a fair # of the people who have canceled their subs are the same people who re-subbed when Pandaria was released. So, while it might be a steep decline from the Q4 numbers, it’s probably only a mild decline from the #s pre-Pandaria.

    The trend in gaming (even with subbed games) seems to be to sub to a game, devour all of its content, then unsub, and move to another game while waiting for fresh content in the original. (Not all of those people come back to their original game, but a ton seem to)

    Even with user-generated content (NW’s Foundry or STO’s create-a-mission), I don’t see this changing. Frankly, F2P just makes it easier… run through all of the content, and move on. You can return and try the new content in a few months’ time. ‘Loyalty’ to a specific MMO is definitely something that seems foreign to today’s gamer.

  46. Thoric says:

    They can have my sub if they provide legacy servers for previous expansions and vanilla.

    Until DayZ Standalone/World of Darkness/Star Citizen anyway.

  47. Frisky Dingo says:

    Asians have stopped playing WOW and Blizzard desperately needs an update to attract them. The Pandas were a valiant yet misguided attempt. Think harder, Bliz. Think! You know what must be done.

  48. captain nemo says:

    “Biz Exec Glimpses Reality Shocker”

    I don’t think Wow will ever disappear completely, but if I had built an empire on Guitar Hero & WoW, I’d be worried

  49. malkav11 says:

    This really isn’t surprising. WoW’s over eight years old and getting a little bit creaky with that age (though certainly holds up amazingly well), and the market’s overwhelmingly moving to a different business model. Really, what’s surprising is that they still have such an amazingly large number of subscribers despite the average gamer attention span (I mean, seriously, I rarely spend more than a few hours with any given game. I’m pretty sure I’ve spent over a real-time month in WoW over the years.), the archaic business model, the insanely expensive buy in and unusually pricey expansions, and the age of the game.

    I bet it’s going to still have player count in the millions well into the latter part of the decade at this rate.

  50. The Random One says:

    I would lend you a few hundred thousands loaves of bread, Nathan. But I’d need then back by tomorrow.

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