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Reader Comments (35)

Posted: Jan 26th 2009 9:50AM (Unverified) said

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What I'd be interested in seeing is before and after stats about play time. In other words, how much those people played BEFORE Lich King was released and now - having hit 80 - how many are still playing and how active they are.

I always feel WoW is a mainstay for many people, something they come back to and play but lose interest in and leave until something comes along, at which point they play it to death then stop again...

It would be interesting to see if that were true...

Posted: Jan 26th 2009 11:30AM ttvp said

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Man, I'm still not 80. Though I had unsubscribed for over a year and a half with my level 68 and immediately resubscribed for this expansion, so I'm probably not one of the people this poll is relevant to. In any case I'm sitting at 71 right now (almost 72) and having fun finishing up the outland zones/content I never got to see before.

Posted: Jan 26th 2009 11:51AM (Unverified) said

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But you do illustrate the sort of thing I was talking about - people subbing in and out of the game...
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Posted: Jan 26th 2009 2:07PM (Unverified) said

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Also their sample set seems decidedly flawed. People who picked up WOTLK within 10 days of its release AND are users of GamerDNA.

This scale is decidedly going to skew the results toward the hardcore side.

Posted: Jan 26th 2009 2:17PM J Brad Hicks said

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It takes even Blizzard a year to make an expansion like this. It takes less than a month for the average player to be bored with it. That? That right there? That's the fundamental flaw in the "AAA MMO" model: development costs, especially ongoing development costs, are too high. A developer friend of mine predicts the future is procedurally generated content. Last year the industry press was predicting it would be user-developed content. Sony and the company behind Runescape are betting the farm that it's in first developing tools that make it much faster and easier for professional developers to crank out new content. All I know for sure as that all three of those approaches make more financial sense than Wrath of the Lich King did.

Posted: Jan 26th 2009 3:52PM Holgranth said

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I have to agree with you while I am not a Runescape fan (Truth be told I HATE the game most days) I am however a Jagex fan for several reasons.

1st. They had the balls to get rid of RWT, took the fallout of removing unbalenced trading and moved onwards.
2nd They release decently high quality content (compared tothe existing game) very often.
3rd. They have hit on a subcription model that works well. Smaller f2p section supported by adds that recieves a small number of updates. Larger members section that is updated often.
4th. Game is acessable from almost any computor that can load an internet browser but also has a higher graphics quality setting for mid-high range machines.
5th. The sheer number of payment options they make availible in a huge number of diffferent countries is astounding.
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Posted: Jan 26th 2009 3:16PM Thunder7 said

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Well, I guess I am in the 2% category. I picked up WotLK on release day, I was a level 70 and am currently about 1/2 way through level 79. I guess I would be considered seriously CASUAL.

Posted: Jan 27th 2009 11:02AM (Unverified) said

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I think what people forget is that the game released on the 13th of November, and the study (released 1/23) encompasses anyone who picked up the game within 10 days of launch.

This means that the 60+ days category is actually the *smallest* window of any of the categories, averaging 5 days. Someone who picked up WotLK on the 10th day after launch literally had 1 day to fall into the 60+ category.

It's no surprise then that the 60+ category is so minuscule.
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Posted: Jan 26th 2009 4:59PM (Unverified) said

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I hit 80 with my resto shammie about 3 weeks after release and I am serverely casual. I am just a decent healer so I was constantly getting sucked into instance groups when I log in. Although it was nice to level so fast i missed 90% of the quest content in the game! So I, like most the people I know, rushed one toon to 80 that I now use specifically for raiding and the absolutely entertaining winter grasp. But, also like everyone i know, I am leveling an alt incredibly slowly doing every single quest in every new zone. So far I have discovered a killer cut scene I totally missed my first time through.
So to answer your question, lost of people are still playing post 80. The real trick to enjoying an mmo is not getting sucked up in the dewd bs and well....just enjoy yourself. Actually read quest text and look around. After all if not for the lore what the hell do you play these games for? Team fortress is much more rewarding after all if you like quick gains

Posted: Jan 26th 2009 7:33PM (Unverified) said

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FIRST.

this was all about rather hardcore players. Already fully epic equiped level 70 players and
guys who purchased the game within a few days of launch.

Now that some are leveling with an alt, WotLK level 69 in greens ...is looking MUCH harder these days.

Even then, the majority did about 30-45 days over the initial leveling trip, which means nothing of course as gameplay is MORE than hitting the level cap in Wow.

SECONDLY:
The guys above stating that Wow players only play it for a few weeks and then leave don't know ANYTHING about Wow these days.

Most play it for long periods of time. Say 6 months to one year at least. They may leave for a period, but then return for another period.

Proof is very easy to show: you don't get 11.5 million active subs if your retention rate is that low. Wow is not Warhammer or AoC. It is far better developped and has a gameplay value beyond mere leveling.

Just watch the Xfire playings these days: after 2 months Wow Xfire numbers even crawl up these days ... and with every content patch the game booms. The winter of 2007 didn't even have an expansion, only a content patch 2.3 and the game grew.

So you may wish Wow only has an interest of a few months. Most Wow players play it for years and years.

That's exactly the difference with the copycat Wow clones. You get bored with them after 10 days. Wow is ony growing on you past 2 months and WotLK is no exception on this principle.

Achievements, titles and ... gear on account with each a 5 month cycle makes for a very nice reboost of content patches (both in PvP and PVE).


Posted: Jan 27th 2009 4:44AM (Unverified) said

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For one, "that guy" (i.e. me) meant that people don't actively play WoW for long periods but still have active accounts. I for example hadn't played WoW for SIX MONTHS when I cancelled my account, yet I was still an "active subscriber." And just looking at all the "Coming Back to WOW" threads that popped up just prior to Lich King's launch on various MMO sites I know I'm not the only one.

Secondly, I'm not going to knock WoW or its quality. It IS a good, quality bit of code. Unfortunately though it's also too focused on some aspects of MMOs that not everybody is into. So accept that whilst many people respect WoW, that doesn't mean we all think it's the Best MMO Evar!

And thirdly, you talk about "WoW copycat clones" then talk about a feature (Achievements) they've *ahem* "borrowed" from elsewhere.

As I say, WoW is a very well designed, well supported and well crafted game, but please don't assume it's the be-all and end-all of MMOs.

Now, we can do what I hoped my comment would do - continue the discussion of WoW player habits in a rational manner - or we can start waving our epeens around. Personally I'd rather do the former, as it's more constructive...
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Posted: Jan 26th 2009 7:34PM (Unverified) said

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16 days for me, it seems (expansion released on November 13, armory shows the "Level 80" achievement for me on November 29)

I was one of the last in my guild to reach level 80, indeed for a while it seemed that they were going to clear all WotLK raid content before I even reached 80 - as it happens, they still had Sapph, Kel'thuzad and Malygos to go.

And this was not some uber hardcore raid guild, in fact we were pretty much a failure in TBC, crashed and burned in the middle of tier 5 and hadn't been doing much since other than gearing up alts in Karazhan.

Posted: Jan 26th 2009 7:45PM (Unverified) said

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I smile each time when a Wow hater comes up with this argument.

Wow is so big in all its end game options, you could fill in 12 months before seen 50% of WotlK playing content.

Wow is NOT about leveling to 80, it is NOT about raiding, it is NOT about doing the dozen end game dungeons, it is NOT about doing Lake Winter, it is NOT about doing the 5 Bg's, it is NOT about doing the seasonnal quests, it is NOT about getting titles in Pve or PVP, it is NOT about trying out other classes and how they play at different levels, it is NOT about twinking, it is NOT about reliving the Lore from dozens of Warcraft books and comics.

It is all that combined and then add some more that makes Wow have all these subs after 4 years.

From fishing contests, over arena prices with real money to getting that very rare horse drop in solo Stratholme.

That is the real Wow, not a leveling game, and certainly not a "down the last raid boss" game. That game was never Wow.

Posted: Jan 27th 2009 7:43AM Sangor said

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Nice to see someone who works for Blizzard contributing to the discussion.
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Posted: Jan 27th 2009 7:49AM (Unverified) said

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That is the real Wow, not a leveling game, and certainly not a "down the last raid boss" game.

----

You may think that but the audience don't.
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Posted: Jan 27th 2009 1:23PM (Unverified) said

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I don't even have the exp and I still play almost every day. I have two 70's and a lvl 55 hunter and lvl 50 shaman.

I always have something to do. Some goal to work towards, especially with the new achievements.

I totally agree that the game is more than being level 80 and how fast you got there or how many raid bosses you've downed or your areana rating.

It's just fun to play and that's how it should be.
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Posted: Jan 27th 2009 8:12AM (Unverified) said

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When will posters here think they ARE the audiance and can deduct HOW "the audiance" will react.

They are just single persons and they think everyone plays and reacts just like they do.

11.5 million subscriptions - after 4 years - show me that those guys thinking they are "the audiance" are way off in evaluating Wow on its staying power.

It's VERY long staying power.

Posted: Jan 27th 2009 9:12AM (Unverified) said

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I'm not talking about long-term sustainability. I'm talking about the way I PERSONALLY have seen people playing WoW. The numbers drop off after an expansion when the player "finish" it then pick-up when the new one arrives. You can see that by simply logging into the servers and watching your queue countdown.

The point is Blizzard talk about subscriptions, not PLAYER NUMBERS. The two are different. All MMOs quote "subscriber base," so Blizzard aren't guilty of any underhanded tactics when they talk numbers but at the same time they're not giving actual PLAYER numbers.

And the number of active players picks up with an expansion then drops off when the players feel they've "won the game." Due to WoW's more casual-friendly attitude it does attract a large userbase of players who think of it as "Counter-Strike with Spells" and for them "finishing" every raid and hitting the highest level equates to "winning." When they've done that they put it aside until the next challenge set comes along.

Nobody is dissing "your" game or anything here. The point I'm making is that the number of people PLAYING - not subscribing (although subs fluctuate too) - goes through troughs and peaks based upon the expansion's lifecycle and is something I - and I'm sure others - have observed. Don't take it as a personal slight or anything, man.
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Posted: Jan 27th 2009 9:42AM Sangor said

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Is that really you Tom? ...omg, massively is blessed to have the great Tom Chilton actually commenting on his baby.
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Posted: Jan 27th 2009 9:50AM (Unverified) said

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Well the facts prove you wrong, because on Xfire the number of players is very very fixed for Wow.

Between 400K and 500K (weekends).

And this is steady throughout the year. No sudden "drop offs". And these are playing sessions.

www.xfire.com.

I know SOME players play it like you, but most play it for years on end, each day logging in. You can say downing X Boss is the end, but you are NOT playing Wow the MMORPG, like million others play it.

That's why I say : you can NOT end WotLK. Downing X boss is not even the beginning when you play it.

Just one example: are you Justicar or do you have some other PvP titles? Well odd to know perhaps for you, but I play for PvP titles. And these are my goals, not some stupid scripted boss encounter.

And do I think this is HOW everyone else plays the game? Of course not.

It's easy to counter your argueing: just ask anybody you know in RL where they are in Wow and what their goals are. I bet not even 20% is raiding, because I 've done this numurous times and the strength of the game is... you play it the way you want.

Asking the same question on these forums is wrong, because only some hardcore players read these threads.

The error you make is that you mirror the "average" player to your own profile and that's the error. The strength of this game is that each option is a very good playing style on its own.

Even a secondary profession can become someone mains goal for a time.

To me it's the arena and general PvP, and I never get tired of PvP and its many goals. Be it titles of attunements. (titles are even better).

Because that's the secret: options open up to you and this is far more than "downing X Boss in X raid".
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