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Posted: Dec 27th 2011 8:31PM (Unverified) said

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Sorry Bree, I think your comments on both MoP and GW2 and how GW1 sold rather shows your blinders are on good and tight.

I doubt Mists of Pandaria will add a single new account. People seem to forget the only expansion of the three for WoW that actually added players was BC. Kotaku had an article in February of 2010, more than a year after Wrath's release talking about how WoW was still at where it was when BC ended, at 11.5 million subscribers. The only increase came when Wrath was released in China late summer of 2010 and that added only 500,000 because they had been on BC for nearly 4 years. However, as we learned with this past quarters conference call, the east is where they are bleeding subscribers horribly, and they got China off of Wrath in like 7 months. Cataclysm saw WoW losing subscribers in it's first 3 quarters, all where new content was being released (although released at a snails pace).

Mists of Pandaria will not correct this. They are abandoning the story completely, which may be bother a blessing and a curse for it. Blessing because it means Metzen has less oppurtunity to butcher it with constant retcons but a curse because there is still so much with the WoW lore players still want to see, such as Azshara. Of course since it seems Blizzard has run off so many of the long time franchise fan off the game, maybe few on it actually care.

The fact is GW seems to have gotten more than they ever expected. GW2 seems to be just as anticipated, maybe even more so, than Star Wars. Honestly, it would not surprise me to learn this time next year that GW2 has more players than Star Wars or WoW, as GW's appeal seems broader in other countries than does Star Wars.

Posted: Dec 27th 2011 10:05PM Space Cobra said

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@(Unverified)

She's not the only one with blinders on....
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Posted: Dec 27th 2011 10:20PM (Unverified) said

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@Space Cobra
Mind explaining that, or is one liners you don't back up the only thing you do?
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Posted: Dec 28th 2011 2:51PM Space Cobra said

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@(Unverified)

Oh-Ho, you must be a new reader here. Welcome to the site. I can do wall-o-text just fine, but I will explain.

To me, the lost subs in Asia have no real quantifiers, in that they *could* be players or they *could* be Gold Farmers (possibly transferring their operations to SWTOR) or a bit of both. I have seen you and others make this a point, but I'd like more details because, frankly, I will always suspect Blizzard of fudging numbers to some degree and this may be the case where there fudging gets counted as official at their headquarters with their CFO and CEO and the corporate types up there.

Also, Pandariens are WoW-lore. Now, you got a point that you, me, and others may not care about that particular bit of lore and long-time players may finally leave, but a percentage of players will like it and a percentage won't and this ties in with the next point...

...there are more players under the sun than you, me, those on forums, and those on blog sites such as this. (Now I am switching gears to link up the GW/GW2 topic.) GW1 was a modest hit out the gate and its playerbase grew over the number of years. GW2 has the the guaranteed potential of tapping those former players and maybe even some new ones, but it depends ultimately on gameplay. Still, I don't see GW2 coming too close to SWTOR. This comes not only from GW1's history of slowly, but surely keeping on top of the NCSoft pile (although, I believe, CoH surpassed it for a bit there and CoH may/maynot be the studio's #1 title in players).

SWTOR has drawn out the fans of two bases: Gamers and Star Wars, just as Star Trek did, although Star Trek also burned some fans who had, IMHO, a very tight/restricted view of the IP that was not lenient, more or less (although the lack of exploration/diplomacy was a strong point against STO).

Guild Wars....well, again, you are dealing with your own experiences and your own set base as many people do. I am not saying other fans of other things besides games won't be interested in GW2, but to assume it will draw on bigger numbers is missing out on what makes a potential customer. Again, not every player who logs into a game goes on a forum or blog site; they just log in and log out and the percentage of people who do that is *huge* compared to those of us, like you and me, who are now chatting on a blog site. These players do not even follow what is coming out; I have met people who were genuinely surprised a Star Wars MMO was coming out and interested.

Granted, more pre-information and pre-orders are the norm, but not everyone pre-orders. In fact, the majority do not pre-order. Really, what reason is there to pre-order if they will eventually get to it? Call of Duty hit record numbers recently, but those numbers do not indicate pre-orders.
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Posted: Dec 28th 2011 6:21PM (Unverified) said

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@Space Cobra
You sound like the blind fan kiddies back on WoW's forums. Please explain how in Q3 of 2010 kicking off gold farmers results in a loss of subscribers, yet whenever Blizzard has taken greater action over the course of past years, it's never registered at all when it came to subscriber numbers? And I say Q3 because in Q1 and Q2 Morhaime described the losses coming from the west. Did kicking off gold sellers also cause the comics and magazine to be canceled to low sales as well? Or cause The Shattering to have poor sales too? Sorry, but that's a "i have my head buried in the sand" excuse. There is plenty of evidence that Blizzard has lost it's "franchise" fan.

And yes, Panda's are a part of WoW lore. They date back to originally being a April Fools Day joke and a very minor part in WC3. The fact is however, there is still more major unresolved lore points such as Azshara, The Forsaken, and many other things that would be obvious as taking precedence to Warcraft fans before creating something entirely new. They have even said MoP won't have an end "boss". While there may be some legitimate doubt that MoP is an attempt to woo back it's Chinese, and overall Asian, playerbase (Asia has always had roughly half of WoW's subs with China having a full third of the total subs), it can't be helped to be thought it's possible. China absolutely hated Wrath. They brought Cataclysm out there less then 7 months after releasing Wrath. While Wrath didn't have as much content as promised, that is still very fast. Guess that's a gold seller issue too somehow huh? And I still don't see it doing something that neither Wrath nor Cataclysm have done and that is add to the subscriber base. Only BC did that among WoW expansions.

As for Guild Wars not having as many players as Star Wars, that may be true, in the US. But many people seem to think Star Wars won't do well in Asia. If that really is the case, it would be surprising if Guild Wars didn't do better than Star Wars world wide simply because of that as GW has been a popular title in Asia.
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Posted: Dec 27th 2011 8:39PM Malaman said

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I agree with Unverified and add:
I think you are wrong about WoW, are you playing since ... ? don't matter, PvE have turned to easy mode and if you are a PvP player you are searching every day on the web about news of a game that will provide the level of fun you expect from PvP (i'm talking about GW2). WoW is in decline and GW2 + Diablo 3 will finish it. MoP will change the game, try to bring some aspects from other MMOs to WoW, but will not save WoW from decline, maybe delay the fall and bring another chance to bring back the good old days.

Posted: Dec 27th 2011 8:54PM Furdinand said

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@Malaman I think players that primarily identify themselves as PvP really overestimate the size of their group. If PvP was a primary driver of MMO play decisions, Warhammer would be doing a lot better than it is now.
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Posted: Dec 27th 2011 9:08PM Enzymatic said

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It's unfortunate that you immediately treat your readers like idiots and that they are opposed to your own view. Massively would probably do better without you on the site.

Posted: Dec 27th 2011 9:33PM (Unverified) said

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To other commentors, the only thing that will kill wow is wow itself. The 11m subscribers was a value that is impossible to hold onto. I predicted years ago that wow would decline, I was just wrong on the timeframe (I figured it would be 4 years total before it fell back to 5m or so subs).

MoP will give WoW a shot in the arm, but won't stop the downward trend. Dumbing down of content has made things too easy and grapes are easy to get. WoW is starting to show its age, but it is still the big kid on the block and will remain that way for the forseeable future. Even with sub numbers falling back towards earth, it'll be years before we see 5m subs.

GW2 will be a hit like GW was, but with more press coverage, a less instanced world, and a not-so-limited engine it could take itself a nice corner of the market.

RIFT won't go F2P, they seem healthy enough. A round of server merges might happen, but that doesn't represent a dying game.

Vanguard may go F2P, SOE is an enigma when it comes to their MMO's. There are content updates planned, and it could be seen as a way to test the waters, to see how many people are actually interested in trying the game.

EQNext being a sandbox sounds cool, but with the way MMO's are going right now, we can only hope. Maybe they will surprise us. On that line, EQ will get enother expansion and for a 13 year old game still not go F2P.

Posted: Dec 27th 2011 9:44PM DevilSei said

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I think some people are taking the GW2 prediction way too personally and/or seriously. I see the whole "numbers not as high" thing as a playful joke. All the diehard fans of anything expect the game or whatever it is they are fans of to sell more than it ever reasonably will or is able to.

It's like saying "This game is so freaking sweet! Why in the world is it only at 5 mill instead of the 10 mill it should be! AAAH!".

Posted: Dec 27th 2011 10:04PM Space Cobra said

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@DevilSei

People are not critically thinking, that's all, but you are right.
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Posted: Dec 27th 2011 10:28PM (Unverified) said

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@DevilSei
It's because she comes off sounding like one of the WoW fan kiddies that have sprung up over the past 3-4 years who constantly bash on anything Guild Wars.

Is GW the top MMO? No. But it has done something no other MMO has, and that has come close to perfecting the F2P model. It has also kept a lot of its playerbase and constantly adds in content that advances the story.

I also find it ironic that she refers to numbers hardcore "fanboys" have made since I have seen none that's really been made. All I have seen is people looking forward to it. I do believe it's overall popularity will be greater than Star Wars. From what a lot of people have said, Star Wars doesn't have a broad appeal to the Asian market, and it that's true, that could very well be what puts GW2 over the top.

I don't think anyone thinks GW2, or any MMO, will ever reach the 12 million subscriber mark WoW did. That was rarified territory based on a very popular title. Just a shame Blizzard had to ruin what they had.
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Posted: Dec 28th 2011 12:16AM avaloner said

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And yet gw2/gw fan boys bash on WOW or any other game out there. But I guess thats ok right?

GW2 will have a decent release then people will see that its "dynamic" content is not so dynamic and many of its other refinement of MMO design get stale just as fast as kill x of y quests and become dispointed overall.

The game will face much of the same critasim every other MMO has om release, not enough end-game, class imbalnce etc. The lack of regular free updates may turn off some also, because what insentive is there for them to add more content for free? Content will most likely have to be paid for or you will just buy xpacks like GW1.

GW2 will do well but in reality it is not a compeitior to sub based MMO's and I doubt it will retain much more then a decent sized (100-250 thousand) population after the first 6 months.
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Posted: Dec 28th 2011 12:28PM Brianna Royce said

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@(Unverified) Soooo yeah, like I said in the post, I'm totally looking forward to GW2, got my HoM all set for some awesome titles and GW carry-over loot. Love the franchise, love Anet, probably gonna move my guild there when it's done. Still don't think it's going to do better than TOR. It's OK to love something and simultaneously recognize it's not going to ownz the marketz. It also doesn't have to ownz the marketz to be a great game that does well.

Similarly, I like WoW, which is a very unpopular thing on Massively -- we self-select for people who tend to play games other than WoW, after all, and the hipster thing is to hate on whatever's big. Blizzard has screwed up a bit, but I don't think those screw-ups have to do with the kiddification/dumbing-down stuff that hardcore blog-goers moan on about. In the West, Blizzard does best when it appeals to its huuuuge numbers of casuals, numbers-wise, and generally, casuals aren't the type to be moping on forums over Xmas break about the golden days of 40-man Vanilla raids. :D
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Posted: Dec 28th 2011 1:04PM (Unverified) said

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@avaloner
So you think GW2 will have far fewer playing than GW1? Honestly, I'm kind of curious why?

As I have said, it will never get to 10 million, but no immersive MMO probably ever will again.

As for bashing on WoW, you have to keep in mind, many people who you think are some sort of GW "fanboys" and "bash" WoW, are actually old Blizzard fans who don't keep their head buried on the sand and can see what has happened post merger. People realize that much of ArenaNet's team is old Blizzard people who are doing more to keep up the old Blizzard tradition of making a great immersive game for gamers than Blizzard is at the moment.

I for one hate what has become of WoW because I have always loved the Warcraft story. But when Metzen explained the whole Draeni/Eredar/Sargeras retcon in BC as being that he forgot what he wrote for WC2, that made me leery of what was to come. For Wrath, players got about half of what was talked about in beta and with Cataclysm it was far less than half. Then Cataclysm ends with patch 4.3 which was quite possibly the biggest retcon WoW has done to date over the Dragon Soul. A friend of mine posted a wonderful post to the WoW General forums citing the novels and such and pointing out just what sort of retcon was made. It was in no way derogatory to Blizzard, had no foul language, was merely him pointing out what had been said (and Metzen has always said what was in the novels is canon) and asking why the major retcon. Almost all of the commenters were amazed at it's detail and no one thought badly of it. But Blizzard deleted the post and banned him from the forums over it though it violated no rules.

I am also sad that many things that should have been shown in game, and were starting to be shown in game, were instead finished off in the comics and novels. While I have no issue with what people refer to as "casual" games and "casual" gamers (time wise I could be considered casual, but I think casual has been redefined to mean something else the past couple of years) I still would like to see at least some games keep immersive gameplay and not just this "log in and get rewarded for 2 or 3 minutes of being online". Those games have it place, but does it have to be every game?

And my issue with Bree Royce's comments about GW is the fact that she seems to bash people over numbers. Well, I haven't seen any one talk about number predictions. I would loe for her to post a link to at least one so it could be seen. I have not seen anyone give numbers for it, and certainly have not seen anyone say it will have numbers WoW has (or once had) or even come close to Star Wars numbers. Your "I doubt it will retain much more then a decent sized (100-250 thousand) population after the first 6 months" comment seems to be very derogatory because GW has a lot more than that now. Considering GW has had a very large following in Asia I would be surprised if world wide players weren't around 2-3 million constantly, which I think will be closer to the new top end numbers for an immersive MMO in a couple of years.
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Posted: Dec 28th 2011 1:32PM (Unverified) said

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@Brianna Royce
Many of the reasons people bash on WoW are very valid. I will even point out some.

BC - Major retcon of the entire releationship of the Draeni/Eredar/Sargeras. Metzen's explanation was the he "forgot" what he wrote for Warcraft 2.

Wrath - During beta they talked about all these grand things. The Baleheim raid, the Gundrak raid and the Outland raid, all not done. ToC was even told to beta players that it would not be a raid, just a 5 person dungeon. Azjol-Nerub was never done into a zone like they said it would be. And the Dance Studio is probably on the shelf next to guild halls and player housing as a promised item that will likely never make it into the game. Then of course you had ICC where Tirion is there with the players. Um, why? Where was Jaina, or Sylvanas? Where was Muradin? He was even part of the gunship fight but he's not with the players as they confront Arthas? Makes no sense.

Cataclysm - Where to begin here. Abyssal Maw, cancelled cause Neptulon's story was considered finished. Interesting how Ozumat taking him was a finish. Benedictus became a traitor why? Why is the Gilneas storyline not finished? Why did the Horde playerbase get a chance to see more of the Gilneas storyline than those who actually played a Worgen? Where was Kul Tiras like they said would show up? What about Danath's return to confront Sylvanas over what she did to his nephew? Or the conflict between the Argent Crusade and Sylvanas over the Forsake replaguing what the Argent Crusade was cleansing? Where was the resolution to Andorhol? Then there was an old world revamp. Admittedly that was highly overdue. But because so many people were like "You can't remove this dungeon/quest line!" the old world zones had a very schizophrenic feel to them. Just about half of the quests in each leveling zone had no place in a post-Cataclysm timeline. The most glaring example of this was The Missing Diplomat. This quest line makes no sense. An Alliance character has probably had contact with Varian several times over by the time they are of the level to get this quest. They know he's not missing. And the ending of the quest line was ridiculous. It essentially involves a wall of text saying Oh yeah, Varian was kidnapped by Lady Prestor but hes back now. Go see BOLVAR in Stormwind for your reward. And yes, the revised, post Cataclysm text does in fact say (or did when I did the quest on a Worgen character in May) to get to Stormwind and see Bolvar for the reward. Sorry, did the person who write that not ever play the game? Shows a horrendous lack of care for quality control. Then you get to patch 4.3 and a huge retcon over the Dragon Soul. It was never able to be used against Neltharion. That's why Rhonin could never use it against him.

And please explain when Blizzard started doing so well when it appealed to 'casuals'? Of course, I would like to know your definition of casual. I myself am a time limited casual. I never saw Naxx in vanilla. I only got to Vael in BWL then. I was lucky I got to see BT in BC but only at the end. Never completed Sunwell until Wrath's release. To me Blizzard had always made it a more casual friendly game in temrs of difficulty, but until Wrath, it was still what I call an immersive game.

Wrath was when it became what I call "Farmville-casual" friendly. What I mean by that is that they made it appeal to players who only want to play for a few minutes and see a reward for doing so. Now there is certainly a place for that type of game and gamer. I myself even like some of those kind of games. But WoW was never a game meant to be like that. And it certainly has never grown while catering to that gamer. WoW finished vanilla with 8.5 million subscribers, BC ended with 11.5 million. Wrath kept the numbers steady and Cataclysm has seen a massively sharp decline.

The only joy I take in WoW's decline is the fact that MAYBE Vivendi will wake up and get rid of Bobby Kotick as CEO over Activision Blizzard and replace him with Morhaime. Doubtful, but one can hope. But it really saddens me that a game and story that once held such beauty and promise stopped catering to those who cared about it and started catering to those who didn't.
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Posted: Dec 28th 2011 3:09PM Space Cobra said

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@(Unverified)

I'll just say, the fact that you have gone into detail and scour websites and have such an interest in the gaming hobby does not mark you as what "normal society" calls "casual".

You are probably not, what we know as "hardcore", but it is all a matter of degrees and perception. Consider the world's total population and then consider the number of reported players in WoW; there are MUCH more people in the world than players in WoW, no?

Also, consider this: you are visiting a house of someone and then are spy cat after cat and a few dogs. Maybe 25 cats and 10 dogs. Would you consider this person "over-the-top" in having so many pets? Would you look at them and judge them as having lost a bit of "reality", never mind that they may be fully responsible and keep a clean house and steady job.

People in hobbies do not realize sometimes their interests overwhelm others, even others with just a passing interest. You could feel it is "normal" and your friends do the same. You can point to statistics and cite many more people play games than ever before. I can cite they somewhat always have, but it is the measure/degree of the interest in the hobby that marks a true "casual" of the average world and a "casual gamer". I have many games, yet I do not sit 24/7 on many of them. I like variety, in some ways, I am a game collector as much as a player, but my play time would be considered "casual". However, I was put off by many of the early things in WoW that I saw; the endless treadmill of grind, the costly mounts, how hard it was to earn gold. I never really raided and I still can't make a Death Knight because I do not have a high enough level character, yet I've played off/on since the game's release. *THAT* is casual, but even I know that I am really not a "casual" gamer because I can and have spent hours leveling up characters or being online.

So gain, you need to look at yourself and compare your situation with those around you who are not necessarily your friends. You need to look at the bigger picture, the one beyond forums and trading of opinions of those you may agree and disagree with.
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Posted: Dec 28th 2011 6:34PM (Unverified) said

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@Space Cobra
You're right, as far as a fan goes, I probably am not a "casual" Warcraft fan. I played the RTS games, read the novels and comics and loved the story. But as far as a playstyle went, I most certainly did fall into what was originally called casual.

I didn't live my life around the game. I didn't have to be at the bleeding edge of progression. I wasn't on more than a couple of hours a day. Real life ALWAYS comes first. But I still enjoyed the immersive nature of the game.

But guess what, people who had no interest in the Warcraft story were not the ones who led it to breaking EQ's subscriber records on the first day. As a matter of fact, catering to people who do not care about it has not led to an increase of subscribers. Ever since they started doing what a lot of people call "dumbing down the game", they have bled subscribers and lost a lot of outside merchandise. Blizzard has given the impression that they care more about people who have come into WoW and said "Hey, there's too much Warcraft in World of Warcraft so get rid of a lot of it" and responded with "Ok, we will get rid of some of the story". These are not the customers who will wait the night of release for Warcraft 4, or even the next WoW expansion. A franchise can stay true to it's core fan base while still making it accessible to non fans. Blizzard seems to have forgotten that.
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Posted: Dec 27th 2011 10:08PM Space Cobra said

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Have to say, I am impressed by these particular predictions. I may disagree with a detail or two, wish otherwise on other details (but agree to them), but this is a pretty clear and level-headed forecast.

Posted: Dec 27th 2011 10:10PM MMOaddict said

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Archeage confuse sandbox and themepark players? I disagree. I'm long felt that the hybrid of a sandbox and themepark, now known as sandpark, is the answer to what is missing in this genre and I think it will galvanize everyone to come together not split apart.

GW2 isn't like GW1 in any way, game mechanics wise, so therefore, it will do better and be received well.

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