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Reader Comments (22)

Posted: Feb 12th 2012 9:17PM Spacegrass said

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Who is still playing WoW? I keep hearing about the 10 million players it still has, but everyone I know got tired of it years ago. Who are these people?

Posted: Feb 12th 2012 9:24PM Traptz said

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@Spacegrass

WoW is played all over the world.

A lot of WoW's player-base today is just newbs, not to be confused with noobs. Very casual people that like the way the game has gone, they totally castrated the games "Hard Core appeal" so now it's basically just filled with casual people that are bad at the game and lots and lots of gold farmers.

I would go so far to say 10-15% of it's subscribers are gold farmers from the east.

I'm glad I got out before Cata came out.
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Posted: Feb 12th 2012 11:48PM SgtBaker1234556 said

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@Spacegrass

Everyone you know is of course anecdotal to entire population on earth?
I'm playing - so using that logic, everyone else in the world is also playing.

...yawn.
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Posted: Feb 13th 2012 12:20AM avaloner said

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@Traptz SO where did all the "real" MMO players go then if its only casuals and gold farmers in WOW? Oh right the "real" MMO players are the ones who flock to the new shiny down the chute then cry and rage that the new shiny does not live up to vanila WOW/BCWOW/EQ/DAOC etc and so move on disapointed yet again with modern MMOs... endlessly waiting for the next "big thing".
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Posted: Feb 13th 2012 1:54PM Traptz said

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@avaloner

Oh..you took that literal. God bless you, make sure you don't forget your helmet on the way to your special classes.
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Posted: Feb 13th 2012 11:57PM Cyroselle said

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@Spacegrass My friends and I (IRL) all used to play it, and now I don't know a single person that does.

However I'm in one of the older demographics, chances are that the Gen y and z people have taken up that particular mantle.

I haven't played it since late WotLK, so I really wouldn't know how it is now, but I do know that a lot of us folks that had been playing since the game's queue-ridden launch were more than a little disappointed with Cataclysm, especially those of us that enjoyed making custom builds.

I can't think of a single reason in particular why my social gaming group isn't playing WoW anymore, but I can point to an exact time that our exodus occurred, and it's not an uncommon trend at all. :\
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Posted: Feb 12th 2012 10:08PM (Unverified) said

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If Blizzard would stop catering to the Famrville/Angry Bird type of playerbase who wants instant reward for minimal effort and doesn't care about the story, and actually start putting the Warcraft story back into the game, they might not only stop the sub loss but reverse it back to subscription gains.

I know if they did that, I would be back on WoW in a heartbeat. But after being told that Alleria and Turalyon would be back in BC, after seeing all the content talked for Wrath and not done, and seeing all the wonderful plans they talked about for Cataclysm never seeing the light of day, well, enough was enough. It got sad that if I wanted to follow the story I had to buy the comics or a novel.

And let's not forgot, the D3 giveaway with the Annual Pass was taken by people who more than likely would have bought the game anyway. No one I know who took up the offer didn't have plans not to buy it, so I would say of the 1 million that has taken them up on the offer, that's probably 900,000, if not more, in lost sales for D3. Was just a shifting of profits to make the money sooner rather than later and shift them to WoW and away from D3.

Posted: Feb 12th 2012 11:52PM SgtBaker1234556 said

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@(Unverified)

It's great that you can correlate anecdotal evidence into empirical study like that. Seems legit.

So based on your research, D3 is losing sales and devs are ruining WoW?
Would you care a stab at world economy as well?
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Posted: Feb 13th 2012 12:27AM avaloner said

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@(Unverified) Sorry I don't think most WOW players care about the story in WOW. In the whole time I played (3 years) I only met two other people (other then myself) that even cared about the story. The vast majority of people cared nothing for story in WOW.

I think there are many reasons WOW is slowly declining. They lost alot of people in China (according to an earlier stockholder report) which was mostly to do with the chinese players steam rolling through WOTLK and geting bored, so blizz releases cata in china and they steam rolled that to.

People leaving over the story would probably be low on the list of why people leave. I have no evidence of this beyond my own observations of talking to people who left WOW with me or the reasons out lined in the reports to share holders.

I do lament the story in WOW thou, just as I lament about alot of the changes they have made to the game since WOTLK came out.
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Posted: Feb 13th 2012 12:42AM (Unverified) said

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@SgtBaker1234556
Well, let's see. They give away D3 to people who would have likely bought it.

Hmmmm, let me think. If I make a product, and I give that product away to people who will buy it, yes, that would mean I would lose sales. Doesn't take a genius to figure that out.

Not to mention, a game called World of Warcraft should be about Warcraft should it not? When they cut out things related to Warcraft and put in things that aren't, well, also doesn't take a genius to know that isn't really a good idea now does it.
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Posted: Feb 13th 2012 12:55AM (Unverified) said

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@avaloner
Actually the Chinese players didn't steamroll through Wrath, they just plain didn't like it. Was only out in China for 6 months before Cataclysm was rushed out there.

As for the majority not liking the story, well, considering it broke EQ's record on it's first day, I would have to disagree, at least as far as the massive playerbase that made WoW the big name it is today. A bunch of people who didn't know what Warcraft was didn't go out and buy it when it was released, Warcraft fans did.

And it's only common sense that the World of Warcraft should be about, well, you know, Warcraft. That's one of their main problems. They have stopped catering to their core. WoW may be still hugely successful, but losing a large percentage of your subscribers in a short time period coupled with the failing outside merchandise related to the franchise is showing that the core fan is leaving and leaving fast. The ones who don't care about the story will not be the ones who will want to go out and buy Warcraft 4 or anything else with Warcraft in it's name because they feel no loyalty to the brand.

And I don't think it's low the number of people that have left because the story was taken out. I know almost all of my guild left because of the fact that it was not taken out and have talked to many others as well as seen a lot of others talk about that very thing.

I think the issue with WoW is because it became so popular and so huge in terms of subscribers that a lot of people who didn't even know what Warcraft was, or even knew about Blizzard, decided to start playing. Instead of welcoming those players and trying to teach them about the story, Blizzard instead seemed to cater to their complaints about gameplay related to the story and cut it out. This pushed out a lot of the Warcraft fans and a lot were replaced by non Warcraft fans. (They did say not long ago that there were more former WoW players than current ones).

But if you take any business class, you know, you can't sustain success if your products main consumer leaves. The erosion of not just the sub base but the outside merchandise is very telling evidence.
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Posted: Feb 13th 2012 1:13AM SgtBaker1234556 said

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@(Unverified)

Can one of you hardcore Warcraft lore-junkies explain one thing to me.

What exactly is it about Cataclysm that isn't "Warcraft core"? The dragon aspects? The Thrall storyline? Return of Malfurion Stormrage? Hyjal burning? ...

It's really easy to say that Blizzard has stopped catering for their core audience, when the core audience is you alone and you've stopped playing, but really - that argument turns up about as often as the "devs are ruining the game" - and I just don't get why. Cata has a lot of Warcraft story in it - perhaps not as much as Lich King which was drenched in lore, but definately more than TBC ever had.

Now I'm not a huge Warcraft fan as such because I was a huge Warhammer fan at the time the the Warcraft series was launched, so I've always felt a bit bitter about the whole 'borrowed lore' issue - but if you look at WoW alone, I can't really see why you'd draw the "WoW is not about Warcraft" conclusion?
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Posted: Feb 13th 2012 1:17AM SgtBaker1234556 said

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@(Unverified)

It's just that when our argument starts with "me and everyone I know" - it loses a pinch of credibility to draw big high-flying end conclusions about the impending doom and gloom of Blizzard, WoW and D3.
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Posted: Feb 13th 2012 1:39AM (Unverified) said

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@SgtBaker1234556
I'll just go back to the beginning of Wrath. During Wrath beta they talked about the Balehiem, Gundrak and Outland raids. None of them every happened and were suppose to be very large ias far as lore went. Balehiem and Gundrak were of course suppose to tie in to the Arthas story (as was the never done Azjol'Nerub zone). The Outland raid most people suspected was Deathwing's Lair that would happen after we dealt with Arthas, which makes sense since Deathwing was the main antagonist in Cataclysm. Would have also been the perfect place to reintroduce Alleria and Turalyon back into the game (well, into WoW since they have never been in the MMO).

In Cataclysm beta they talked about all of this lore that would be coming into the expansion. How Kul Tiras would finally make it's appearance in the game. How Danath would return to Arathi from Outland to confront Sylvanas over what she did to his nephew. Would also show the growing conflict between the Argent Crusade and The Forsaken over the Forsaken's coninuing replaguing over lands the Argent Crusade has been cleansing. Let's also not forget the entire cancellation of one of the major lore raids in Abyssal Maw with the excuse "well Neptulon's story is completed in our opinion". How was Ozumat kidnapping Neptulon a completion?

There was also the issue of the retcon in this past raid with Thrall and using the Dragon Soul. It can't be used against Neltharion (in case you don't know, Neltharion is Deathwing, also known by his human form name Daval prestor). Malfurion in Cataclysm also makes no sense. He is not a neutral entity. He is Tyrande's wife and one of the leaders of Darnassus. The attack on the Horde against Ashenvale would send him into a righteous anger, yet nothing about this is even talked about. They touch, slightly, on how the Tauren are troubled about Garrosh's action, but that is largely ignored once you leave the Tauren starting area.

Now a lot of people have been sort of questioning Metzen on some lore points even pre merger. His excuse of the entire Draeni/Eredar/Sargeras retcon was that he forgot what he wrote in the WC2 manual. A lot of people also have gotten tired of his making Thrall hero of all, especially when it seems Thrall is always making the wrong choices.

Now with the coming destruction of Theramore, how will it be explained why Thrall won't be standing with Jaina and the Alliance on this? It was after all Jaina and Theramore who stood up to Jaina's father, Lord Admiral Daelin Proudmoore when he pursued the Horde to Kalimdor after the destruction of Lordaeron and their escape. Early on when one of the Orcs, I can't remember who, attacked Northwatch Hold (one of Theramore's positions on Kalmidor), Thrall came to it's defense. Considering all Theramore has done for Thrall, and the Orcs, it makes no sense for Thrall not to stand with Jaina and the Alliance.

Of course, the entire destruction of Theramore that's going to happen also makes no sense. Theramore is a major city (it's in game representation doesn't really show of it's true scope as far as canon goes). It would be so well defended and very hard to get to.

So all in all it's just the retconning and ignoring and bypassing of the story which gets so frustrating. It was bad enough when they got so involved with things not intended for the game like PvP that they couldn't complete or even implement story elements and had to show them in the comics, but people gave up on even those and the comics got cancelled because the sales just dried up.
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Posted: Feb 13th 2012 1:40AM (Unverified) said

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@SgtBaker1234556
When I say "me and everyone I know", I'm using that terminology so I don't say "everyone". I only speaking for myself and those I know and talk to.
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Posted: Feb 13th 2012 6:50AM Koming said

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@(Unverified)

Lol, someone at Blizzard should hire you.

They are indeed ignorant and habe a bunch of silly employees who know only about profit and nothing about games. Cleary that company hires a bunch of silly guys who never took a business class.

That´s why they are one of the largests companies of the industry.

Wait... what?
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Posted: Feb 13th 2012 1:28PM (Unverified) said

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@Koming
If you have ever followed my comments about WoW, you would know I am not bashing Blizzard, I am bashing Bobby Kotick's leadership of Activision Blizzard.

Since Vivendi purchased Activision and merged them with Blizz and named him CEO over ActiBlizz, Blizzard has released 3 titles. Wrath, Cataclysm and SC2's first campaign. Wrath was stagnant and sowed the seeds of the problems now. Cataclysm has seen major sub loss for WoW. SC2 has had it's share of controversy with it's map store and such, not to mention, I believe was Kotaku (could be wrong about the source) had an article a few months ago about how the original SC was still played more in South Korea than SC2 and that's the country that SC is most popular in. Given the controversy over D3's DRM scheme and the RMAH and how it seems to be having things stripped from it left and right to make a deadline, things Blizzard pre merger NEVER did, not to mention how D3 sales were sacrificed to prop up WoW's numbers with the Annual Pass, that title isn't being universally embraced as D2 was.

So say what you want. I'm sure people laughed at those who talked about the missteps Enron was making. But it's clear Kotick's finger prints are all over Blizzard and since he became boss they really aren't as successful as they were before, and I for one hate that.
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Posted: Feb 14th 2012 12:08AM Cyroselle said

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@(Unverified) If the game was really making the Angry Bird audience that happy then the sub numbers would be soaring.

Their number is far far greater than that of the old guard.
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Posted: Feb 14th 2012 1:15AM SgtBaker1234556 said

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@(Unverified)

I see. Thanks for the explanation, I believe I do understand.

Having said that - I believe only fraction of their 12-10M sub base was even remotely aware of the things that frustrate you and many other hardcore lore fans. I believe even my level of knowledge (being able to name some characters and place them vaguely in the story) is more than most players can admit to.

While, in the light of your comments, I do agree that there indeed seems to be "things to do" on the lore front and Blizzard may have ignored their core-playerbase - I don't think the core in this case is sizable enough to be called "core" or noticeable enough to make a dent in sub numbers. I don't believe this is why WoW is losing so many players. The lore-aware playerbase is simply just not that large.

I believe the "core" (as in most sizeable, identifiable group of players) might be the so called "levelers" and "casual dungeoneers". And I believe the linearity and phasing along with Dungeon/Raid finders might be the thing to blame for the loss of these players.

The overly done phasing makes it hard to play casually with your friends, because you're constantly phased out/can't see or find each others. Dungeon/Raid finders make it hard to play with your friends/guildies, because you can just queue in and pug everything on your own.

The various finders also rather hostile environments for a casual player who is just coming to grips with the mechanic of "Talent Points" and figuring out what to do with 41 unspent ones on the character roster.

These players were previously shielded by their guilds (social, happy fun leveling guilds where messing up didn't matter much), but with the recent changes, a lot of those guilds have fallen apart, because the members who kept them running and together (the ones with some sort of clue/will/ambition in-game) now have access to real content without having to mess around with bunch of "noobs".

So I believe the game has lost many of the lower-casual scale players, simply due to the fact that the game is more "hard-core" now. Rather ironic, don't you think?

But like I said, I do sympathize with your lore-frustration.
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Posted: Feb 14th 2012 2:27AM (Unverified) said

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@SgtBaker1234556
Except the game isn't hardcore. I left it before any of the nerfs happened and just before Firelands. The main reason I left was because of the plan at the time to make Real ID grouping be an additional fee (they since implemented it without the fee). That had Kotick written all over it as Rob Pardo and Morhaime have ALWAYS been against that type of microtransaction and why they wanted the game to be sub based, so that EVERYONE'S game could do the exact same thing and paying extra wouldn't entitle someone else with "extras".

But nothing in the game was difficult. Yes, they made it so people had to learn some crowd control, but that's not hard. It's a sad commentary on our society today if requiring just a tiny amount of thought means something is seen as more difficult. All they did was take away the tank and spank that Wrath had become. If you want hardcore, go see games like EQ where if you die you lost XP and other types of mechanics.

I will also disagree that the lore fans were so small. Perhaps they are now, I mean there is a reason Warcraft merchandise is failing so bad at the moment. But the game broke EQ's sub record on the first day. The Farmville style casual was not responsible for that, the Warcraft fan was. If you think the game is "hardcore" now, then you never played vanilla because you would think it was pure hell mode then.

I will actually agree with you on the finders, but it was the "casual" (when I use the term casual, I do not mean time limited player who still tries their best, but rather the Farmville-style casual who goes "I paid $15/mo I want shinies NOW!!") who demanded those tools.

The new LFR is the perfect example. All we heard was "we just want to see content we don't care about loot". So Blizzard essentially made a tank and spank easy mode that people killed Deathwing in in the first week. You know what the response has been? It's been "Why can I only roll on loot once per week? That's not fair" or "You should make the gear be the same as normal!!". There is no way to make that type of player happy.

LFD was made because people who refused to learn their class (like rogues would use spell pen gems or mages who would use strength or agility gems) would not be able to get other players who wanted to run with them. Of course vote to kick happened and when they upped the VTK timers players simply dropped group so these players were still finding it hard to complete dungeons.

And I'm sorry, but a game called World of WARCRAFT is suppose to serve the Warcraft fan. I don't watch Start Trek and expect Star Wars fans to be catered to. Keep in mind, vanilla ended with 8.5 million subs. There weren't the Farmville-style casuals in the game then. That's just a million and a half more than what they have now, and likely by the time MoP comes out, they will be below that number. So yes, they may be making a lot of money in the very short term, but by not catering to the lore fan who stuck by them since 1994 and now is running them off, they are putting in danger that more Warcraft games will not be successes, if they happen at all.
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