World Of Warcraft: Legion Sold 3.3 Million At Launch

It’s interesting to follow the fate of World of Warcraft [official site]. It’s the MMORPG which made MMORPGs mainstream, the MMO which accidentally stunted ’em by inspiring so many homogenising imitators, and one of the few which has managed to hold onto a subscription model (heck, even EVE Online is getting a free option). So how’s WoW doing? Pretty well! In their traditional post-expansion boast, Blizzard say Legion has sold over 3.3 million copies (or so they think) and seen player numbers (by one measure) at their highest since the launch of 2010’s expansion Catalysm.

As ever, they can’t just say “We’ve looked at the numbers on that whole doodad we have with registrated accounts and whatnot and here are the actual numbers.”

Instead, the announcement says things like “as of the expansion’s first full day of launch on August 30, more than 3.3 million copies of Legion had sold through, matching the all-time record achieved by previous expansions and making it one of the fastest-selling PC games ever.” With a little citation note saying that’s “Based on internal company records and/or reports from key distribution partners.”

That’ll cover pre-orders and launch day sales, and presumably it’s sold a few more copies since. (‘Sold through’ is the number actually sold – ‘sold in’ is the figure publishers often announce in the hope that people don’t realise it includes copies sitting on shop shelves.)

If those 3.3 million copies were gumballs and someone fired them out a paintball gun at you, it’d flipping hurt.

As for player numbers, they say “World of Warcraft’s launch-week player concurrency climbed to its highest point since the 2010 launch of the Cataclysm expansion”. Because they couldn’t say anything simply, could they.

If you hosted a barbecue for all those concurrent players, you might need to make three trips to the shop for baps alone. At least two trips. And you’d definitely want a hand on the fizzy pop run.

Blizzard don’t report WoW subscriber numbers anymore. Which is fair enough – it’s their business – but I was always curious to follow how it was doing. Even squinting at curious metrics is still fun. The subscriber count is certainly down from its peak of 12 million (though Blizzard’s definition of ‘subscriber’ might be different to yours – it’s not strictly people paying fees, also including folks who’ve played in Internet game rooms at any point in the past 30 days) but 3.3 million copies sold is still a mighty big number.

I believe we’ll have someone telling you Wot They Think of Legion soonish.


  1. Shammah says:

    This time it includes the number of the Chinese who actually had to buy the expansion this time, I think? I really wonder if they’ll ever launch some kind of legacy server. The current game’s so vastly different form the old one that I have the feeling the current playerbase replaced the old playerbase. Makes me wonder what the old playerbase is actually playing. Or maybe it’s the same, I don’t know; only the money flow knows the exact truth.

    • Shuck says:

      I suspect most of the people who have moved on from WoW aren’t playing anything – at least, not an MMO. Anecdotally, that’s true for all the people I knew playing WoW, and in terms of player numbers for other MMOs, that seems to be generally, although probably not universally, true. The time sink that MMOs represent combined with WoW essentially creating the MMO market (and being unmatched in features and emotional attachment by other games) means a lot of players came into WoW as their first – and only – MMO.

      • bhauck says:

        Yeah, I feel intense nostalgia for the years I spent playing WoW, but I’m pretty sure what I miss is having 3+ hours a day to play a computer game. And I don’t even have kids!

      • invitro says:

        FWIW, I played WoW an hour or two a night most months from 2004 to 2010, and then ran out of money and quit. I’ve played many games since then, probably put more time into games, Steam says I have 7838 hours in The Pinball Arcade. So that’s the game that replaced WoW for me. I’ve played a couple other MMO’s for about 40 hours each… Guild Wars 2, Elder Scrolls Online. I won’t be going back to WoW until/unless my income increases a lot, and they redo all of the graphics.

      • Press X to Gary Busey says:

        I think WoW created the WoW market rather than the MMO market.
        As a socially self-reinforcing thing, getting to be (kind-of) mainstream trendy for a while.

        Like Pokemon Go with its 45 million daily users probably didn’t create a new consumer base that will rush Nintendo’s iPhone Mario dabblings, or other mobile games at all when they get bored of catching Pokemons.

      • SaunteringLion says:

        I definitely dabbled with other MMO’s, usually just to try, sometimes for months here and there (The Old Republic, FF XIV). But I never played any game (probably ever) as much as World of Warcraft when I was into it, and never really moved on to a different game. Just single player and other games.

  2. montorsi says:

    Subs will be up right now since you don’t get a free 30 days for buying an expansion. WOD saw the steepest decline in subs since, well, ever, and I would expect Legion to continue that trend eventually. Still, the zombie corpse shambles on.

  3. rakara says:

    Actually not true. You get 30 days when you buy the legion exp.

    • causticnl says:

      then why does it say “subscription required” on the box?

      • aepervius says:

        Because if you want to continue to play after 30 days you need a sub , and if they had not explicitly told so could have gotten some flake ?

        • causticnl says:

          so you dont need a subscription then?

          • MadJax says:

            You need to resub when you buy Legion, I got it, I’m enjoying it, and I had to resub.

        • MrLoque says:

          Nope mate, you need to pay a subscription to play Legion. No 30 days included.

    • Hawks says:

      No you do not? Unless it was some sort of new player deal.

    • reddog says:


    • MrLoque says:

      You do NOT get 30 days. You will need to buy the subscription too.

  4. Horg says:

    ”If those 3.3 million copies were gumballs and someone fired them out a paintball gun at you, it’d flipping hurt.”

    I suspect that only the first 100,000 or so would hurt. By then your skin would have been replaced by an armored layer of compacted gumball residue, granting immunity to pain and +3 to stickiness. At this point it may be wise to avoid bees.

  5. skalpadda says:

    Seeing as I had the ill forune of not growing up a native English speaker, could someone please tell me what “baps” are? I tried googling, but I’m guessing it’s not referring to “Bochasanwasi Akshar Purushottam Sanstha”, some K-pop boyband or breasts in this context. Or perhaps it does and your BBQ parties are really something.

    • Nauallis says:

      Oh lucky days. I’m not British either. Apparently it’s some sort of bizarro sausage and biscuit breakfast sandwich. Sausage in the sense of links, not the ground-up spiced pork patty. Sounds pretty tasty, actually, as long as you make it yourself.

      • Nauallis says:

        Or it’s just buns. I can’t tell. The recipe is pretty much that of any basic white bread.

        • skalpadda says:

          Ah, well that’s a shame. I rather enjoyed the idea of British barbecue parties featuring bare-chested hindu K-pop groups.

        • MadJax says:

          Rolls or buns, basically what you stick burgers into. That’s a bap.

          • Asurmen says:

            Or a barm, or a muffin, or a oven bottom, or a bread cake, or a…

  6. minijedimaster says:

    And in 30-60 days the sub numbers will be right back down to where they were before. Nothing to see here. Move along.

    • MrLoque says:

      You should try Legion. It’s a whole new game, compared to WoD. Much more thigns to do (even at 110), great places to see, cool and deep lore/quests, etc.

      This is not WoD anymore. Blizzard listened to their fanbase and managed to do a great job.

      • animal says:

        Yeah, it’s a hell of an expansion. Maybe even the best they’ve done.

  7. racccoon says:

    Is that eve comment a micky fin?

  8. Hardmood says:

    I dont think its 10mio subs. maybe 8 or so at best. at release the realm numbers where pretty low compared to wod release. a week later it was more, but e.g. german realms weren´t that full and still are low to medium (actually two or so are on high), russian realms too, compared to british/international.
    die-hard fans and players want to believe for the sake of their game. the thing is that either way theyre fucked. if the numbers are high im sure blizz will do the same as in wod, if the numbers are low, blizz will do nothing too.

    havent bought legion. its overpriced, especially without one month free. and i doubt its long term qualities (at least for pvp).

  9. WiseGamer says:

    I left WoW after burning out on MoP, and before WoD was announced. I recently returned to check out Legion. I have enjoyed it for the most part so far, but now I’m about done with it and I can almost guarantee this is the last time I will be playing WoW.
    Legion has some good things in it, but the time sinks are outrageous. Bringing a boatload more daily quests and calling them “World Quests” isn’t fooling me. The quests are mostly the same old lame-ass quests. The quests for the artifact weapons were okay, but not great. The dungeons are very bleh. The raids (what little of them there are at this point) are awful as well.