Friday, February 8, 2013

Well, That Explains a Lot

Activision/Blizzard released their earnings today, and while they did make record profits, the surprise for me was that WoW subs dropped back to close to the pre-Mists release levels, with only 9.6 million active subs.

Now I know the true reason behind all the sales and enticement; Mists wasn't able to bring the WoW subs back to the heights of Cata.  In fact, Mists wasn't even able to sustain the release bump that they got.

That explains why it felt like the Ysera server was so empty, and even the CRZ often felt devoid of people.

To be fair, 9.6 million subs is probably more than the #2-#6 other MMOs combined.  Still, it looks like the Mists experiment hasn't quite panned out as hoped.  I doubt that means that Blizz will suddenly switch to a F2P format, since they're practically printing money with WoW, but I do think that it means Titan will move up to the front of the development lists.


  1. To be fair, Mist has been great for many things. It is, in my opinion, far superior to Cataclysm and is close to the enjoyment I derived from Wrath.

    The first raid of the expansion is a delight to tank with varied and well designed fights. Heart of Fear is not as good but still, again, not anywhere near the soul sucking cesspit of a raid that was Dragon Soul.

    It does have shortcomings though. The main one I see, which main explain some of the dip, is it's the first expansion since Wrath where alting is not easy. The gear is hidden behind massive rep grinds which can only be done through dailies. There is so much that need to be done for your mains anyway that it's hard to think about creating alts.

    For people who like variety, I think this may be an issue. I'm mostly a one character player so for me this still works and is entertaining. But it's a very different expansion than the previous ones and thus, not for everyone.

    1. I wonder if that's part of the reason why pet battles came out: not just to add a fun game, but to give the altoholics something to do.

      I think you're right, Voss. Leveling alts isn't bad at all to get to L90, unless you're intentionally making it difficult, that is. But once you get to L90, that mountain of dailies makes the Firelands look tame.

  2. Well, I don't think the subscriber drop is something you'd notice in game unless you are on a Chinese realm.

    Mike Morhaime: "The majority of the decline came from China, while subscribership in the West was relatively more stable."

    1. I think that Morhaime put it very cleverly, but I can still notice the drop. The difference is that a new player to the game --without anyone telling them otherwise-- will start the game on a server marked "New Players". Ysera-US has been around since 2005-2006, so people who have a toon there will be on because of some other reason, like someone they know having a toon on the server. So while the overall US and other Western servers have stable numbers, the churn favors the newer servers over the older ones.