WoW Loses Another Million+ Subs

That is right, kiddos, WoW is down to 9.1 million. It hasn’t been this low since January 2008.

In what must only be completely unrelated news, WoW has shattered all previous records for “longest time without a new content patch.” No, seriously. Dragon Soul was released November 29th, 2011. It is now eight months later. When I relayed this to my friend, he didn’t believe me. The gap between ICC and Cataclysm felt like more than a year. Well, I said, let’s look at the timeline:

  • December 8th, 2009 – ICC released.
  • February 2nd, 2010 – final wing of ICC opened.
  • June 30th, 2010 – Ruby Sanctum released.
  • September 7th, 2010 – the gnome/troll world events start.
  • October 7th, 2010 – WoW hits 12 million players (!).
  • October 12th, 2010 – Patch 4.0.1, with all the new talents/class changes.
  • November 23rd, 2010 – The Shattering, all new 1-60 experience.
  • December 7th, 2010 – Cataclysm launch.

So, yes, in a strictly literal sense it was a whole year between ICC release and Cataclysm launch. Looking at that list though, shit happened. There was a filler raid, there were world events, and I always have a blast when we get to toy around with the next expansion’s talent changes early. In between TBC and the Wrath launch, I remember soloing most of heroic Underbog on my Ret paladin to cap out my Sporeggar reputation, for example.

Now look at Cataclysm:

  • November 29th, 2011 – Dragon Soul released.
  • August 3rd, 2012 – I wrote a blog post.

I mean, come on. A $300 million MMO was released, floundered, and went F2P in that same timeframe!

Only Blizzard gets away with this shit. Good lord.

Posted on August 3, 2012, in WoW and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 17 Comments.

  1. My reaction to the news was: “ONLY 1.1m”? I mean, we knew that there was nothing new coming out, I honestly stayed suscribed out of lazyness, because I’ve not been raiding since months. Any sane (= not me) player would have stopped the subscription until MoP :)


  2. I think WoW is losing some of the most valuable players now – people who stay subbed for years without playing a great deal out of inertia.

    Probably a good thing for the genre. We need a culture where doing something that isn’t copying WoW is seen as some crazy white water risk-taking. So we need WoW to be less dominant.

    I wonder how many people left WoW because they finally had a new Blizzard fantasy game to play then left Diablo 3 because it’s pretty dull at end game.


    • The inertia sub was me last summer. I had “checked out” of the endgame for three entire months before I realized that I kept logging on and seeing no one online in guild anymore. And why would they be? I was having fun on the AH, but I did nothing else aside from the occasional BG. So, I canceled my reoccurring sub and that was that.

      I had subbed continuously for 4 years.

      I will check out MoP, but the magic – the binding force that made me feel like canceling a sub was killing good relationships – is gone. You know how they say your first cash shop purchase make subsequent purchases much more likely? Same thing with canceling a subscription.


      • Transmog runs, farming mounts (TK, Rag HC, …), selling boosts (glory and mount runs), progressing DS HC on alts, world PvP (we own Orgrimmar every tuesday on my server), fiddling with MoP beta.

        But the most important thing which keeps me playing WoW is the friendships I have, and the guild I am in. If you’re a raider this is also the perfect time to stay in your raiding guild, or switch, because there’s going to be a complete gear reset for every single WoW player in MoP. If your guild is falling apart it may be perfect time to quit the game.


  3. ^^ I meant ISN’T seen as crazy of course! Sorry!


  4. Revenue was also way down. Online subscription revenue for Blizzard (non-GAAP) was $199 M in Q2 2012, down 32% from Q2 2011. All WoW revenue falls into this category, along with CoD Elite (which did not exist in Q2 2011).

    MoP will make or break the game. They’d better have been pulling development resources off Cata and putting them into MoP, or else the decline will continue. It’s not THAT far before the game becomes unprofitable to continue to develop.


  5. I wonder how big the MoP bump will be. Cataclysm and now D3 have really hurt Blizzard’s credibility. If I were Blizzard I’d be worried.


    • Even if the bump is big, the game is considerably less “sticky” when social ties are cut. And I would imagine that many such ties have been cut in the last 8 months, if they weren’t already.


  6. “I honestly stayed suscribed out of lazyness”

    I honestly stayed subscribed because I wanted a free sparkle pony and free D3….3 months left on that year long committment. Ironic that MOP is being released BEFORE all those year long committments are up? Betcha it was a driving force for such an early release date!


  7. I’d bet on WoW going fully F2P next expansion.

    Their ideas in MoP Beta are promising, but not on game-changing level. And they would need continued commitment to development of those new features, or they would fall by wayside like archaeology – and i don’t expect that commitment to happen.

    They do seem to be taking lessons from Cata to heart – not as much quest railroading, there are quests that can be done in any order – once i jumped down from the side of the mountain where monks get free teleport to, went through empty ocean to land with monsters, and they had questgiver on that side with quests available!

    Combat flow speed is close to perfect too. And Monks are a lot of fun with their mobility and easy CC options.

    It’s good, it will definitely fare better then Cata, but it’s not good enough.


  8. This is why I posted that I’m looking forward to a pay to own game. If the benchmark game for all these discussions can’t deliver, and Blizzard hasn’t since before trial of the champions, then why should I be paying a sub exactly?


  9. Remember that China and the rest of the world are now in sync. They got 4.3 at the same time, and are experiencing the butt end of the expansion at the same time. If this period causes a normal downturn in actvity, this synchronization will make the dip more extreme.


  10. I predict this game will become fun again when it’s down to 1-4 million subs. Quote this.


    • I totally see this. Not just for consumption (the community being ‘purer’) but also for creation (development focused on the game, not maintaining inflated numbers).


  11. You are exactly right, Azuriel, but I think it’s even worse than than.

    Patch 4.2 was released in late June, 2011 and besides the Firelands raid, gave us the Molten Front dailies and Thrall’s wedding quest. These lasted about a month.

    If you don’t raid, you have had nothing to do but grind DF for at least 12 months.


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