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Thread: World of Warcraft Finally Loses Subscribers [Slashdot]

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    Lightbulb World of Warcraft Finally Loses Subscribers [Slashdot]

    bonch writes "After seven years and a highpoint of 12 million subscribers, World of Warcraft has seen a loss of nearly one million subscribers in the last six months for the first time in its history, according to Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime during an Activision earnings call. However, the game remains the most popular MMO, and Morhaime said Blizzard plans to reverse the trend with fresh content. Some believe that the loss in subscriber interest is a sign of the game's inevitable twilight years. Blizzard also recently received a trademark for 'Mists of Pandaria,' fueling speculation about the next expansion pack."

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    I am not really surprised by this. I played on and off since BC, and came back for a few months for Cata. I enjoyed the game and more than anything I enjoyed the feeling of just coming home at night, ordering a pizza and then being absorbed in another world for a few hours. The problem is that it just feels like a grind on an endless treadmill. As soon as I would get around to getting an awesome item, there was something else that was better that all of the best players were close to getting. To truly stay cutting edge in the game you needed to devote a lot of time and a lot of effort and of course have a great guild etc. After a few months I would realize that I was spending a lot of time and getting no possible real world result from it.

    I think it would be really interesting if MMOs somehow awarded you in RL for your in-game accomplishments. Maybe I have been playing The World Ends With You too much lately but how awesome would it be if Blizzard sent you a sweet pin with your character name on it commemorating your recent defeat of some raid boss?

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    This year was the year that I cancelled my sub after having played since mid BC (2007 I think?).

    I think it's more than a million subs that they've lost. Blizz has always used China to inflate their numbers and if I remember right there is no monthly fee to play in China.

    Cataclysm killed wow imo. Blizz gained a lot of casual players who had fun with the game in Wrath but with Cata they went back to a more difficult approach. The hard core types complained all through Wrath that the game was too easy so Blizz set off to please them with this expansion. Problem Blizz never took into consideration is that the casual players outnumber the hard core types. The casual types didn't want to sit around and spend 2 hours in a heroic (which used to only take 20-30 minutes in wrath). Also Blizz changing the tanking and healing roles to be more 'challenging' to play (again to please the hard core types) hasn't helped the queue times for the dungeon finder.

    As for me I've quit since Cataclysm killed my old guild and server. The change to 10m and 25m sharing same loot and lockouts did the guild in. Everyone stuck around the first 6 months but then one of the 10m groups went off to form their own guild and the other 10m group just died.

    I also had the misfortune when I joined the game of starting to play on a realm called 'Tortheldrin'. My co worker who got me into the game was playing on that server so that's how I ended up there. At first it was a decent server. There was a healthy population both on alliance and horde side (I play Horde). It is a PVP server and there was always action to be had. Wrath came out and they opened free xfers to our server which brought a flood of people and even a queue to log on at one point. But then came faction transfers and a number of alliance came to the Horde and the other part xfered to other servers. People started leaving the server en masse. By the end of Wrath there were fewer than 50 level 80 Alliance on the server. Wintergrasp turned into 100 vs. 2 battles before they changed it to a 1:1 ratio then it just died all together. Last I looked at warcraftrealms.com (which I can't any longer since they block japanese ip's for some reason) Tortheldrin was in the bottom 5 least populated servers.

    Sure I could transfer myself but I don't want to leave all of the classes I've leveled to at least 70. $250 is a bit much to spend to xfer them all anyway so I just decided to quit.

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    I found that once I hit 80 on my main in Wrath, that there was no point to continue if I wasn't going to join a guild and grind my way through stuff.

    I'm in the minority here as a user who mainly played solo, but seeing that the game kinda left me behind with the new expansion didn't do anything to make me wanna re-up my sub. I've been taking advantage of their free 7-day trials, and every time I do it reminds me why I quit in the first place.
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    Just means those one million subscribers finally have a job, sex life or something else resembling typical human activity.

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    I started playing WoW four months after launch, played for four years, and I'd probably say it's my favorite game ever. I never was a hardcore guild type; I really liked to farm my own mats and PVP mostly. I recall so many good times PVP'ing in Hillsbrad and Alterac Valley. I wish they'd never started the cross realm PVP as it really killed some awesome rivalries on my realm. I played through BC and Wrath and had a great time but it started affecting my relationship with my wife so I left cold turkey close to two years ago. I don't miss it too much now and I guess I'll never go back but it was fun while it lasted.

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    I was a huge fan when the game first came out 7 years ago. I did all the raids, got my Tier 1,2, and some of the Tier 3 set on my Rogue then bought Burning Crusade when that came out. BC was a great expansion imo, I re-rolled a Warrior at that time and did the same...Raid and got gear.

    Then, I got a good job [gasp] so had to quit raiding and barely played after that, though I quit only a few months before Lich king came out so I saw all the BC content and im able to comment on WoW from Vanilla-BC and upto Cataclysm [I missed most of LK though]. WoW:Burning Crusade still seemed great to me at the time I quit and I planned to resub eventually...

    Btw, the Dungeons at release in both Vanilla WoW and BC were HARD. They were brutal at release and for the most part, did require gear grinds to be able to run them effectively [and you had to play well if you were a Tank class/healer]. Even the heroic dungeons in BC today [despite being nerfed] tear apart new people trying to breeze through their levels on the way to level 90. For the level range, Cata dungeons are easy compared to BC heroics. So difficulty is not the bane of WoW if you ask me...Rather its other problems which I will go into below.



    Fast forward to Cataclysm, which I did play alot for 3 months. And we now have the classes homogenized so that most classes are not unique [some have become redundant in fact]. A Warrior is now no longer de facto Main tank. A Bear Druid, A Death Knight or a Paladin can do the same exact thing...And often times, the abilities are mirrors of each other now. That if you ask me, sucks. Healers are the same. Outside of a few unique spells [Tranquility, chain heal] the healing classes are largely the same now. Again that is boring. DPS classes are the most unique now, but still, they are slowly being homogenized.


    And Hybrid classes suffer hardly any penalty in Cata. A Feral Druid is the *shit* [I hate that word but it suits this case], they are 95% the damage of a Rogue when in Cat form, and they can also tank by shifting to Bearform [which is equal to the best Tanks in the game]. Add in Duel spec and a Druid can be either a Main tank, a Amazing healer, or a amazing Spell caster aswell. That class alone is the epitome of Homogenization that has messed up WoW. Followed by the Paladin.


    So...my feeling for why WoW has gone downhill is this-
    *Most classes have lost their uniqueness.
    *Game has been dumbed down to much. Cata Heroics, are easy for anyone once you have played a month @90 casually. Whereas BC, if you had bad players present...Gear or no gear, you were in trouble [in Cata though, all tanks have AoE moves so threat doesnt matter etc]. I am not a "Elitist" but in a MMO I do enjoy a challenge and knowing that spamming the "1" key for a AoE move wont keep all the mobs superglued to me. Yet Cataclysm is that way, spam the your AoE abilities and not only will you keep all the mobs on you, but you will do great DPS aswell. Could they have made it any easier ? I dont know. But not having to try to keep mobs on you [if you are a tank] must get boring after awhile [hence the loss of subs, if you count the healer dumbing down aswell].
    *Game feels very "board room designed" now. I dont know how to explain it really...But unlike past expansions, it feels like they have a board room designing the game cookie cutter style now, with hardly any input from people who designed the [much loved] dungeons in the past. Thats probably why Blizzard is rehashing old dungeons now.

    That is just my 2c. I have also played Everquest 2 alot, and for my $ now, if I were to resub to a MMO it would be EQ2 since it has kept classes largely unique while poaching the good features WoW came up with. But of course thats IF I were to sub to one again...They are damn addictive so thats most likely a no, yet here I am talking about WoW.
    Last edited by Peonpiate; 08-20-2011 at 01:00 AM.

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    Peonpiate's comments sound like the ones I was making after quitting Earth & Beyond (after quitting Everquest a few months earlier) sometime in the early 2000s: I pretty much decided that I was never going to play another MMO again. I never picked up WoW, and I never will. There are way too many other games that I can play without a subscription fee that I feel like I have to justify with continued play-time.
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    Quote Originally Posted by calthaer View Post
    I never picked up WoW, and I never will.
    Of course you won't. Anyone crazy enough to try to get into WoW at this point will be greatly disappointed. Hell, even when trying to go back to my level 30 character, the game was a ghost town. I can't imagine starting from scratch.

    Actually, I can. I did the Burning Crusade trial and created a Blood Elf. I don't believe I saw more than two or three other players in three days of playing.

    You gave up on EverQuest in 2000? Right at the peak of its awesome-ness? What a shame.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zing View Post
    You gave up on EverQuest in 2000? Right at the peak of its awesome-ness? What a shame.
    What can I say? I had just left college, had started working, and had less free time...and EverQuest's grinding had become more like a job than my job. I was also facing a time period when my career took me overseas, and I didn't feel like dealing with the hassle. So I went back to playing games I thought were fun. Dabbled briefly with Earth & Beyond, but that was short-lived, and since that have never looked back.

    I love single player or limited multiplayer games these days. It's much less noisy.
    You are startled by a grim snarl. Before you, you see 1 Red dragon. Will your stalwart band choose to (F)ight or (R)un?

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    I was always more interested in the WoW lore (that is, the books) than the actual game. My partner, however, has played Wow since it's early days and is still a fan. He finally convinced me to make a character about a week ago and this was only after I spent a lot of time seeing if there was a good soloing class in the race I had become rather interested in. I'm only around level 4 now and the controls are my biggest complaint. While I'm sure I'll eventually wrap my brain around it, I can't see myself playing for more than a few more weeks, if even that. My first MMO was Ragnarok Online, with a few weeks of Gunbound and Maple Story directly after it. Any time I get the MMO itch, I turn directly to the free server I play RO on. I can't really see that WoW has anything to offer me that RO doesn't, with a few specific examples.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DP ServBot View Post
    However, the game remains the most popular MMO
    If we're going by number of subscribers alone...

    World of Warcraft = 11 Million Accounts
    Maplestory = 90 Million Accounts.

    ???? Am I missing something? WoW is a decent game, but it is only the most popular mmo that uses the subscription based model. Overall, it pales in comparison to the asian based market games (especially the f2p ones).

    The news here doesn't surprise me. WoW's downfall is its awful community, and man is it terrible. Not many people want to be a part of a community that acts like a bunch of high school kids and alpha male wannabes. You get this in all mmos, but it runs rampant in WoW.
    Last edited by Zthun; 08-21-2011 at 07:59 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zemmix View Post
    This year was the year that I cancelled my sub after having played since mid BC (2007 I think?).

    I think it's more than a million subs that they've lost. Blizz has always used China to inflate their numbers and if I remember right there is no monthly fee to play in China.

    Cataclysm killed wow imo. Blizz gained a lot of casual players who had fun with the game in Wrath but with Cata they went back to a more difficult approach. The hard core types complained all through Wrath that the game was too easy so Blizz set off to please them with this expansion. Problem Blizz never took into consideration is that the casual players outnumber the hard core types. The casual types didn't want to sit around and spend 2 hours in a heroic (which used to only take 20-30 minutes in wrath). Also Blizz changing the tanking and healing roles to be more 'challenging' to play (again to please the hard core types) hasn't helped the queue times for the dungeon finder.

    As for me I've quit since Cataclysm killed my old guild and server. The change to 10m and 25m sharing same loot and lockouts did the guild in. Everyone stuck around the first 6 months but then one of the 10m groups went off to form their own guild and the other 10m group just died.

    I also had the misfortune when I joined the game of starting to play on a realm called 'Tortheldrin'. My co worker who got me into the game was playing on that server so that's how I ended up there. At first it was a decent server. There was a healthy population both on alliance and horde side (I play Horde). It is a PVP server and there was always action to be had. Wrath came out and they opened free xfers to our server which brought a flood of people and even a queue to log on at one point. But then came faction transfers and a number of alliance came to the Horde and the other part xfered to other servers. People started leaving the server en masse. By the end of Wrath there were fewer than 50 level 80 Alliance on the server. Wintergrasp turned into 100 vs. 2 battles before they changed it to a 1:1 ratio then it just died all together. Last I looked at warcraftrealms.com (which I can't any longer since they block japanese ip's for some reason) Tortheldrin was in the bottom 5 least populated servers.

    Sure I could transfer myself but I don't want to leave all of the classes I've leveled to at least 70. $250 is a bit much to spend to xfer them all anyway so I just decided to quit.
    As someone who has never even tried WoW, I have no idea what any of this means. It might as well be in another language.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zemmix View Post
    Cataclysm killed wow imo. Blizz gained a lot of casual players who had fun with the game in Wrath but with Cata they went back to a more difficult approach. The hard core types complained all through Wrath that the game was too easy so Blizz set off to please them with this expansion. Problem Blizz never took into consideration is that the casual players outnumber the hard core types. The casual types didn't want to sit around and spend 2 hours in a heroic (which used to only take 20-30 minutes in wrath). Also Blizz changing the tanking and healing roles to be more 'challenging' to play (again to please the hard core types) hasn't helped the queue times for the dungeon finder.
    Which is strange, given that my partner and every topic I see on WoW forums completely contradicts that. From what I'm seeing, the chief complaint from players old and new is that the game is easier now that it's ever been before.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zemmix View Post
    I think it's more than a million subs that they've lost. Blizz has always used China to inflate their numbers and if I remember right there is no monthly fee to play in China.
    Then how do they make money in China?

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    Quote Originally Posted by c0ldb33r View Post
    Then how do they make money in China?
    Cranking up the fee for the purchase of the disk, I'd assume.

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