'World of Warcraft' loses another 1.5 million subscribers ahead of new expansion

By Shawn Knight
Aug 5, 2015
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  1. World of Warcraft creator Blizzard recently revealed its popular MMORPG continues to bleed subscribers. The game finished the second quarter with 5.6 million subscribers – an impressive number for most any game but a loss of 1.5 million subscribers in just three months.

    World of Warcraft has had an incredible run that’s far from over. It debuted in late 2004 and went on to become the best-selling PC game over the next two years. At its peak in October 2010, WoW played host to 12 million subscribers. Since that time, however, users have slowly abandoned the game.

    The 5.6 million subscribers at the end of June is the lowest the game has seen since 2005. Even still, it remains the top-rated subscription-based game in the world and things could get better before they get worse.

    Blizzard is set to announce a new expansion for WoW tomorrow. If you recall, the company launched its current expansion – Warlords of Draenor – less than a year ago. Difficult times call for drastic measures, I suppose.

    The World of Warcraft universe should also receive a decent shot in the arm next summer when Warcraft, the film adaptation of the MMORPG, hits theaters. Blizzard released a handful of early images from the movie back in May.

    Regardless of what the future holds for WoW, it’ll go down in history books as one of the most successful games in history and one that’s generated a ton of revenue for Blizzard in the process.

    Permalink to story.

  2. stewi0001

    stewi0001 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,136   +480

    Looking at the chart alone, Cataclysm was a real cataclysm for the game XD.
    HiDDeNMisT and wastedkill like this.
  3. HiDDeNMisT

    HiDDeNMisT TS Booster Posts: 220   +14

    Wow I can't believe that they are releasing another expansion so early. WoW is getting a little stale. I want to try going to a different game but I kind of don't know what to play. Any suggestions on MMORPG's
  4. wastedkill

    wastedkill TS Evangelist Posts: 1,373   +310

    So include those 600k+ bans blizzard did a few month ago and you get a nice 2.1million loss of subscribers, good going blizzard :) also clearly Wrath was the best XP ever! I loved it :D best times in my gaming life on that xp :)
    AnonymousSurfer and HiDDeNMisT like this.
  5. Sniped_Ash

    Sniped_Ash TS Maniac Posts: 247   +103

    I'm really interested to see what they announce tomorrow. They got a huge surge of subscribers by leaning on Warcraft 2 nostalgia, but pissed it all away by making the non-raiding content boring as hell. Patch 6.2 was more of the same and the loss of subscribers speaks for itself.

    They really can't do the same thing for the next expansion and hope to stop the bleeding, but they also need to get an expansion out in the next 6 months. Yet Blizzard's move is to identify what players didn't like and do the exact opposite in the next expansion, for better or for worse.
    HiDDeNMisT likes this.
  6. Adhmuz

    Adhmuz TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,616   +492

    Kinda makes me wish I had gotten to experience WoTLK in all it's glory if that's what people remember best. I played before and after that expansion, but mostly during Cataclysm, wasn't enough to keep me playing and Mist was in no way bringing me back. Now that I look back and realize just how stupid it was to waste as much time as I did playing this game (and money), and at those who still cling to it as their only game they play. Perhaps it's time to move on to actually living your life, and not some silly alter ego in Azeroth.
    HiDDeNMisT likes this.
  7. HiDDeNMisT

    HiDDeNMisT TS Booster Posts: 220   +14

    The problem is that its very repetitive. No matter what the expansion is its the same thing over and over again. Personally for me the best expansion was WotLK. There was a time where I did not play anything else but that game. Everyone I knew was playing it. But when Cata came out all of my friends, including myself fell off. I came back for Panda and again for WoD but its the same thing. The garrisons were a nice touch but I feel that they could have done a better job with that system.
    MilwaukeeMike likes this.
  8. MilwaukeeMike

    MilwaukeeMike TS Evangelist Posts: 2,729   +1,093

    Wow players say the same thing about people who watch reality shows... and there are far more of those. :)

    I don't think the ex-wow players are learning a new language or volunteering down at the local soup kitchen, they're probably just playing a different game. WoW has gotten a bit stale... Blizzard wants to make the game 'all things to all people' and because there's not enough time or money for that, they end up with a huge game that's hard to compete against other games that focus on 1 aspect only. League of Legends has no PvE content for example, and their PvP balancing and gameplay is far better than WoW.

    WoW also hurt their own subscriber numbers in the name of player satisfaction when they made the game time available for purchase with gold. This gives players a legal way to buy gold (via selling game time to others), and that probably cancelled hundreds of thousands of 'gold farming' accounts. Those rooms in China where players are paid to farm gold and sell it online are now doing it for a game other than WoW.

    I'm glad I'm not on the planning team over at Blizz... what do they do for this new expansion? Another level boost, with more-of-the-same crafting items and gear progression? They've done that FIVE times already! No wonder it's gotten dull. But how do you go away from a model that has 5 million loyal subscribers? I can see why one of their lead designers left for Riot (League of Legends).
  9. Adhmuz

    Adhmuz TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,616   +492

    Don't watch those either, you don't want to know what I think of people who like reality shows like Big Brother. In general I find it hard to play video games at all these days, it's been weeks since I played anything more than Spider Solitaire. I guess I finally grew out of the need for video games, repetitively mashing buttons for nothing, who needs that.
  10. Squid Surprise

    Squid Surprise TS Guru Posts: 806   +246

    You got to try slower games, like Civ 5... I can play that for hours still... can't play FPS games any more though...
    AnonymousSurfer likes this.
  11. ikesmasher

    ikesmasher TS Evangelist Posts: 2,525   +828

    My problem is that there games that have just as much replay value and play value that don't cost 15$ a month. That being said I'd pay 5$ a month but with GTA throwing out free expansions and such wow is looking simply just pricy to me.
    Phr3d and amstech like this.
  12. amstech

    amstech TechSpot Enthusiast Posts: 1,436   +592

    As a player with over 10K achievements and 100+ days of play time, I have something to say on the matter. (I'm no expert gamer, just saying I've played enough to know the deal with WoW)

    First off, they are NEVER going to top the Wrath of the Lich King era in terms of subscriber count.
    In fact, even with a new, "awesome" expansion, I'd say about 7 million will be the max and thats being nice.
    Grasping to please everyone by making epic content achievable with DAILY'S destroyed progression players, and that's how this decline started in the first place. You want to hand things out to get new people in and old players back? Worked for 5 seconds didn't it, now what you going to do?

    Secondly its time to lower the monthly premium; there are other online MMO's that are free/cost less and WoW just isn't worth what they are asking a month. I won't pay more then 5$ a month no matter what they do/expansion they release or what they do to the game to make it look/run better. Period.
    Finally and inevitability WoW will settle down to about 2-5 million subscribers. It's had its time, there are only so many rabbits in the hat they can pull out. That being said I believe it will be many years before it drops below a few million subs, It's easy to run on PC's and still has loads of content.
    Blizzard were smart not to create another MMO and keep WoW going, but they need to realize that this ride has been at the fair 10 years in a row and other then some new kids on the block or elders reliving their past, not many people are buying tickets.
    The movie, expansion and visual upgrades will help, but the ship has sailed and Blizzard need to start preparing for its decline instead of trying to postpone it by ripping out difficulty that made it so much fun in the first place.
    Phr3d likes this.
  13. AnonymousSurfer

    AnonymousSurfer TS Guru Posts: 451   +37

    I've found I'm in that same boat and I too have gone to games like Civ 5. But I still can't help wishing blizz would come out with another expansion as fun as WOTLK.
  14. lripplinger

    lripplinger TS Addict Posts: 250   +84

    I played up through TLK, and after that, I quit. I only got two days into Cataclysm, when I realized the game had turned to garbage in my view. Haven't looked back since. TLK and before, were the glory days in my book.
  15. CrisisDog

    CrisisDog TS Booster Posts: 119   +17

    I'm never on the same schedule as my friends, so I spend my time online running solo. WoW was never good for that when I played years ago. When I do play, it's Guild Wars 2. It doesn't happen all the time, but more often than not I can find a public event with enough other players to make it fun for me. Even at lower levels. With WoW, I always felt like I was wandering around all alone as everyone was level 80+.
  16. Giltis

    Giltis TS Rookie

    To be fair,Blizzard isn't releasing anything tomorrow. They are just announcing a new expansion for the game. It will probably be a year before its released.
  17. Sniped_Ash

    Sniped_Ash TS Maniac Posts: 247   +103

    The decline started with Cataclysm which was noted for really unforgiving dungeons and raids because Blizz wanted players to be forced to learn how to be better. Well guess what: most don't want to die immediately if they make a mistake. The people who want hard content like that and do it are vastly outnumbered by the people who don't. The pendulum swung back in MoP and was in a really good place by the end, but WoD threw that all away. It had fantastic leveling content, but the PvE endgame was awful if you weren't a progression raider and most players are not and never will be.

    If you want to see what happens when an MMO caters to hardcore players, go look at Wildstar. It's not pretty.
  18. amstech

    amstech TechSpot Enthusiast Posts: 1,436   +592

    Cataclysm wasn't that difficult, that's when they nerfed talents and made some other poor decisions; also, hard raids are nothing new.
    WoW catered to all players, and mostly, still does...nothing lasts forever.
  19. psycros

    psycros TS Evangelist Posts: 1,294   +662

    That's a completely contradictory statement. OF COURSE they should've have made a new MMO - WoW, as you say, is well past its prime. The new game should have been hearkened back to the days of real challenges, game mechanics with some depth and a *requirement* to party for most activities. Everyone is completely burnt out on the mindless "single-player MMO" gaming experience where you push two buttons 99% of the time to win and nobody even talks to each other unless its to set up a raid. Do you realize that the kids graduating high school right now have no idea what Everquest is? A lot of them don't even know about WoW! They've cut their teeth on Angry Birds and Wii games. Their going to be looking for something a lot more immersive. Now is the time to bring back the semi-hardcore MMO experience but with fewer timesinks. We don't need games where just traveling between cities is a 20 minute ordeal but we DO need to have games that encourage teamwork rather than pushing an isolated experience and a pay-to-win cash store. BTW, I would have perfectly happy if that new MMO that Blizzard SHOULD of made was World of Warcraft 2, and so would've nearly all the fans. Millions of new players would've jumped at the chance to get in on the ground floor and many ex-WoW veterans would've happily signed up for a sequel. Instead their going to focus on the already over-saturated MOBA market because for the big game publishers and studios its all about the cash shop now. Meanwhile I'll be playing WoW and Everquest on private servers so none of these sellout companies will be getting a dime of my money.
  20. Arris

    Arris TS Evangelist Posts: 4,587   +278

    "Don't stand in the fire"
    "Stand in the fire"
    "Stand in the fire in groups"
    "Make the boss stand in the fire"
    "Collect things to put out the fire"

    They had some nice ideas with vehicles and other additions to the raiding but I think it's had it's time...
  21. Emexrulsier

    Emexrulsier TS Guru Posts: 503   +42

    Exactly, a new update came out you would spend a bit of time leveling your main and then maybe a new alt trying out a new class then afterwards try out the odd new dungeon or raid, then you would grind a few dailies before finding yourself eventually logging in doing 4 or 5 dailys then spending the rest of the day idling in SW.

    I played wow when it was at it's peak, with 40 man MC raids, or when Paladins and Warlocks had quest chains for their "free" mount, back then the game was fun, exiting then as patches came out especially now I feel they dumbed down the entire game. You could max level alts in hours (if not minutes), for me atleast and I reckon many others leveling was one of the fun parts of the game but they kinda ruined all that.
    Arris likes this.
  22. Arris

    Arris TS Evangelist Posts: 4,587   +278

    Back when levelling gave you a new talent point and you could make weird and wonderful builds and weren't locked to 2 talent trees...
    wastedkill likes this.
  23. amstech

    amstech TechSpot Enthusiast Posts: 1,436   +592

    Uhhh, no.
  24. Sniped_Ash

    Sniped_Ash TS Maniac Posts: 247   +103

    Cataclysm was Screw Up Once and You Die: The Expansion. Not a problem for you, not a problem for me, but for most players it is a really big problem. There's a reason why Cata heroics received such a negative response.
    Arris and amstech like this.
  25. Forebode

    Forebode TS Enthusiast Posts: 70   +6

    It's still behind schedule. Their goal is to have 1 a year.

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