The Subscriptions Dip
Well it’s time to talk numbers, again. It feels like every time Blizzard has an earnings call the internet reacts in its snarky fashion even worse than the last time which makes me not want to talk about the subject at all. I do think it’s important to cover though as it sheds some light on how the game is performing and how well new content is received.
The latest call has revealed that World of Warcraft now has 7.1 million subscribers, down 2.9 million from the last call about three months ago. With the looming release of Warlords of Draenor, WoW saw a large increase in its subscriber base as the new expansion promised a return to the roots of what so many fans love about Warcraft. The new garrison feature was also a large draw I would suspect as so many players had been begging for some type of player housing and this was that on a much larger scale.
But why did so many players leave so quickly? I think it had to do with two major factors, one of them being the garrisons. While I totally love the idea and am really enjoying what the new gameplay system offers many players felt it was somewhat of a burden. The problem with just about every MMO is that if there is something you can be doing in the game, it often feels like if you’re not doing it it’s hindering your progression somehow. I suspect garrisons felt like one more piece of housekeeping for many players instead of something exciting to look forward to upon each login. The other issue is how much time was spent in garrisons between raids, dungeons and battlegrounds instead of socializing in cities or towns. You can sometimes feel disconnected from the greater world performing numerous tasks on your own.
The other reason why there may have been a decline in subscribers is a little more obvious - lack of new content after the launch of Warlords of Draenor. All we’ve really had is the staggered roll out of two raids with various difficulties and the legendary questline progression. I’m not discounting their value but it’s all we’ve had since the launch of Warlords. After completing these raids there hasn’t been much else to do other than farm them and when it became apparent that no new content would be added with Patch 6.1, many players decided to stop paying the bill.
The new WoW Token, which gives players the ability to exchange gold for game time, may have led to a few new subscribers or more likely the retention of existing customers. It will be interesting to see how the WoW Token continues to influence the player base.
The good news? A crap ton of content is well on the way.
Patch 6.2 Events
Patch 6.2 will be adding an entire new zone complete with a new 13 boss raid, Hellfire Citadel. There will also be a new event system in which every weekend will feature one of six new events.
- TimeWalking - Players will be able to venture back into The Burning Crusade or Wrath of the Lich King dungeons where there gear will be scaled down to create a Heroic version of specific dungeon. All loot that is acquired will scale back up to that character normal level.
- Draenor Dungeons - Take on Draenor dungeons to earn reputation and test your skills at completing the new Mythic difficulty to earn Heroic Hellfire Citadel loot.
- Battlegrounds - Participate in a random Battleground over this event weekend to earn triple honor points.
- Arena Skirmishes - Earn triple honor points here as well!
- Apexis - Earn triple the amount of Apexis crystals from eligible enemies and also earn additional Oil for your garrisons shipyard.
- Pet Battles - PvP pet battles will award triple XP and earning five wins will award the Ultimate Battle-Training Stone that will allow you to instantly level one pet to level 25.
I really love the idea of these weekend events. It helps keep things fresh and encourages players to venture out and try new things they may not have otherwise.
The latest Patch 6.2 notes can be found here.
Heroes of the Storm: Kael’thas Enters the Nexus
A new Warcraft character is entering the Nexus! Kael’thas will soon be joining the ranks of Blizzards hero brawler presumably on or before the official launch of the game on June 2nd. Kael’thas was last seen in World of Warcraft as the final boss of the five-man dungeon Magisters’ Terrace and a statue of him can be found in Silvermoon City. As of now we don’t know much about his abilities in Heroes of the Storm other than his two ultimates that were revealed on Twitter. They are Phoenix and Pyroblast.
Kael’thas is very a interesting character in the WoW lore and carries a lot of history. Read more about him on the WoW Wiki.
Hearthstone's Numbers Up
Lastly, time for more numbers. Blizzard revealed via Twitter that Hearthstone now has 30 million registered users. With Hearthstone now available on more iOS and Android devices I wouldn’t be shocked to see this number continue to grow. I would love to see how much revenue the game is bringing in and what the average user spends. The game is clearly a hit and it’s just getting going.
What do you think is the cause of fewer WoW subscribers? How have garrisons changed your view of the game? Do you think they hindered WoW in any way? Let us know in the comments below!
Follow me on Twitter @rezalackey