World of Warcraft will release content 'more frequently' to stem player decline

"It's important to note that the nature of online games has changed," says Activision CEO as subscriptions fall 1.3 million in three months.

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World of Warcraft will receive content more frequently to help stem the decline of players and combat the rise of free-to-play games, Activision and Blizzard have said.

Last night it was revealed that the subscription-based MMO lost 1.3 million players over the last three months, pointing to the decline of interest in the game from the East. World of Warcraft now has approximately 8.3 million subscribers.

Speaking to investors during Activision's Q1 2013 conference call, CEO Bobby Kotick spoke of a need to address the changing online market, but emphasised that Activision will continue to invest in the long-running subscription MMO.

"It's important to note that the nature of online games has changed, and with the environment becoming far more competitive, especially with free-to-play games," said Kotick (via Seeking Alpha). "To address this, we're working to release new content more frequently to keep our players engaged longer and make it easier for lapsed players to come back into the game. We believe in the long-term value of this franchise and will continue to commit substantial resources to World of Warcraft."

Since its launch in 2004, World of Warcraft has seen numerous updates, as well as four fully-fledged expansion packs: The Burning Crusade in 2007, Wrath of the Lich King in 2008, Cataclysm in 2010, and Mists of Pandaria in 2012.

"We're examining ways we can ease the transition back into the game for returning players," added Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime. "We've always seen players come and go from World of Warcraft. Smoothing out that transitional period is something we're studying, as we adjust our approach to player behavior and preferences."

Kotick says that the publisher expects further subscriber declines to World of Warcraft before the end of the year, but points to the game's continuing success. "While we do believe further declines are likely and we expect to have fewer subscribers at year end than we do today, World of Warcraft remains one of the most successful franchises in the history of entertainment," he said.

Blizzard is currently working on bringing Diablo III to PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4, its MOBA Blizzard All-Stars, as well as free-to-play card battler Hearthstone.

"There's still more in the pipeline with our teams continuing to work on Blizzard All-Stars and our unannounced MMO," added Morhaime.

Discussion

275 comments
nechiken
nechiken

I haven't done any PVE in WoW since WoTLK. I spend all my time in that game pvping. I don't like the idea of grinding heroics or dailies to get gear that I need for raiding, and I don't like how they make everything obsolete. Blizzard can continue to pump out as much content as they like, but if players return for 5.3, they're only gonna have 1 raid that actually matters. No one else runs the raids from the previous tier, so the content becomes obselete and there's nothing to do. 

It's also kind of ridiculous how much they screwed over the pvp community, too. Back in TBC there were about 100 gladiator teams per BG and now there's like 10-20. The community's left because they keep adding in stupid abilities, classes bounce back and forth from being OP and terrible, and gear is progressively getting more and more important than player skill. Gone are the days when a good player could wear greens and completely destroy a bad player with good gear. Now all I see is noob ass backpedallers popping all of their cooldowns and winning from raw damage. I am looking forward to Titan, though, because they said that they'd actually care about the pvp this time around

nechiken
nechiken

This honestly looks more entertaining than FC3. Not gonna get it, though,  cause I've spent a LOT of time in that game

Richardthe3rd
Richardthe3rd

Honestly, more content in WoW sounds more tedious anymore than it sounds exciting.

Devil_wings00
Devil_wings00

yay so we are all corralled into one set of raids even faster! HOORAY the previous tier becomes completely obsolete immediately after the next raid tier is released because it's main gear can be acquired via regular dungeon grinding. I miss old raid progression where you actually had to work through each tier one at a time slowly progressing. I mean sure you CAN do that but it's just faster to grind heroics solo with pugs and get the second best tier items with points or badges or whatever they use now.

Crush_Project
Crush_Project

used to be so thankful for wow soaking up all the noobs and idiots, but now that they've finally become bored with it im afraid the tidal wave of retarded players is going to bury the market entirely.

Its going to end up just like the video game crash of 83' you mark my words.

buddybuk
buddybuk

I still play WoW and enjoy it; but when Blizzard talks about future expansions to this game and adding more and more content, I can't help but get a little irritated at times.  It's time to come out with your next MMO, blizzard.  This one has had the best run of any MMO in existence.  It's time to shelf it, leave it to a core player-base, and attract 'returning' or new players to a completely different and original MMO.

jimkirk
jimkirk

its still boring.. and im tired of it maybe next year .. but really wow should go free like neverwinter or like gw2


BladeStrike1234
BladeStrike1234

MoP started out weak in my opinion but the latest ToT patch was pretty good, worthy of classic WoW even. Sadly WoW is an MMO and a very old one at that. Its bound to lose more and more over time.

CrazyGeneral
CrazyGeneral

I hate greedy corporate fucks. I realize there is a lot of overhead for WoW (servers, developers for new content, IT specialists etc), but with 8.6 million subscribers at $15 a pop, that is $129 million a month. A month. Any company that made that amount in revenue annually would be considered very successful, and yet the CEO is scrambling to ensure these people that, don't worry, we'll work as hard as possible to get back to $150 million a month. Greedy, greedy fucks. It's not even about the games anymore, it's about the bottom line, and we as customers are the ones who pay for it thrice: once when you buy the game, again when you pay every month, and in the long run when they start shoveling you shit covered in gold spray paint so you keep forking over the money.

johnwck90
johnwck90

The market has changed.  When I started to play, it was the best game I could play on a mid-range laptop, now you can buy large laptops relatively cheaply that will play games for longer periods.  There are many more options.  I think people are only going to play MMOs periodically, clear the content, then move faster than in the past when there was more incentive to play the same game over again.  This is why the shift to free-to-play has to occur.  It will be interesting to see whether Blizzard can sustain the fee-to-play model and for how long before people do as I am doing and say "I am no longer prepared to pay-to-play".  

Hakkology
Hakkology

It was never about frequency, it was always the quality of the content. It hasn't been long since 5.2 is released and you are already bleeding out. Now you will blindy bring new content more frequently, hoping to get more players.

Good players get in the game, clear the content and get out for other MMO's. If your content lacks quality and challenge, then you will not be able to keep them in game. You will only keep your loyal player base. Good players motivate other players to stay in game, become an idol for them. Blizzard blindly ignores this fact and they will continue to bleed out...

moniso
moniso

Come on Blizzzzzard, make a new warcraft not wow.

Personally I see that the income from the number of subscribers way exceeds the cost of developing a new game.

tightwad34
tightwad34

Maybe people are just getting tired of it. It does happen and there are tons of other games and things to enjoy.

dramaybaz
dramaybaz

Difference is, before (TBC days) even if content wasn't frequent, it was substitutional. Then they started releasing "not as much". Now it seems they will release more frequently to make up for that.

Ravenlore_basic
Ravenlore_basic

There need to be BIG changes for me to go back.  .... THE reason I left will NOT be undone with more of the SAME missions, PVP grounds...  Better resolution and better graphics will not  cut it either. 

Mogzsnet
Mogzsnet

I'm still amazed that so many people are playing WoW. I gave it up years ago because I felt it was becoming tired. What people still see in this game eludes me. Oh well, as long as they're happy :)

PinchySkree
PinchySkree

They need to make an MMO where the players can build almost all content.

No company can build content as fast as it's playerbase. It also has the added benefit of bringing in players that purely design content that are not really interested in the combat side. Make a sandbox game that uses ALL successful features from the past thempark style gamess, add proper physics and updated systems, then I will pay attention.

Just take a look at the Team Fortress 2 boom and Neverwinter Foundry. (although primitive, can't help but wonder how many players that game soaked)

Player made content is the way to go.

Then again they would probably just show more greed and leech a massive cut from the profits players make on selling in game custom made dungeons, equipment/mount skins and building designs.

The-Limiter
The-Limiter

Wrong route I believe. The content should have better quality than it has know, not be more in numbers.

MW2ismygame
MW2ismygame

This cant be stopped, the game is just old and people are moving on.

Abysshalolover
Abysshalolover

yeah that means they are going to have so many bugs, glitches so on so on... i rather them to take their time to make a good game.. everyone knows that Activision is making blizzard doing this right? because only thing they see is money not quality

Jaysus41
Jaysus41

Quantity over quality, what could possibly go wrong?

cablemodemx2
cablemodemx2

At this pace, all they are going to be left with is about six million gold seller accounts with no-one to sell the gold to.

bibbalo
bibbalo

Blizzard All Stars is still in Dev?  Thought it was like Starcraft:Ghost.  Would love to see it come out sometime this summer/fall.

Janpieterzun
Janpieterzun

i want an epic every time i log on.. then and ONLY THEN will i come back.

Ramhole
Ramhole

OMG just come out with a WOW2 or make a new state of the art engine for wow. I love wow but it is so out of date now of days. People like new stuff that why game studios make new games get it!!!

ahpuck
ahpuck

Looks like it's time for Blizz to finally release Titan.

Barrakas21
Barrakas21

Milk it until last drop. Blizzcunts

USDevilDog
USDevilDog

I haven't played the game since Burning Crusades, but from what I hear, the game is no longer competitive or challenging or even social.  Many players seem to complain that dungeons and raids are now somewhat of an easy zerg-fest and that the community itself has become unimportant.  Based on those complaints, I can see why the game has been on the decline. 

johnwck90
johnwck90

Why would they make a follow up to WoW when it's the main mmo on the market and still a phenomena compared to every other MMO?  Until the player base dwindles below one million why would they ever develop anything.  Their mode of operation has been clear throughout (they are an american company I believe) to maximise player base and revenue.  If they released anything to denude from their player base it would be counterproductive.  They will drag the game out as long as it's possibly.  Even at 8.5 million players it's still around what it was when BC was lanched, it's still huge.  I wouldn't hold my breath for any new MMO from them.  For them, it'll be a strategic decision, they'll eke out the development to try to maximise impact but the timing of the release will relate to the market.  The market is necessarily limited, there are only so many people who are going to play these type of games so one will always be the main one in relation to market share and this will affect their decision making.  My hope is that other manufacturers will release newer multiplayer games with mechanics designed around cooperative play so that you can find one whose culture is great, then the culture will be the main reason to play, like going to a pub you like or something.  

Gargus
Gargus

WOW is too oversaturated and it has burned out a lot of people. Tshirts, multiple expansions, talk of a movie, cups/mugs, board games, WOW monopoly, trading card game, online TCG, comic books, novels, props, figures, statues, memes and etc. They whored out warcraft so much everyone is getting tired of it.

Their new content is always about grinding boring ass dailies, running some dungeon and so on that its boring because it all feels the same. Before I quit playing my last 4 months was me logging in, doing a couple dailies, checking out my farm and then logging out. When a new raid was put in I did it once and never did it again.

The game is so easy now its no fun to play because there is no challenge, no sense of exploration and because of that the community is fat and lazy. Fat and lazy players make for annoying, selfish and sarcastic players that are no fun to play with.

The multiplayer aspect is gone because you can get high end gear, see all but the raid zones and do most everything by yourself. The only time you need to play with others is for raids in which you jump in a cue and thrown in said raid with a bunch of strangers, everyone runs the raid and immediately disbands when its done never to be seen again.

Blizzard as a whole is going downhill. Diablo 3 was fun for two play throughs and I was done with it. Now diablo 3 will be on ps3 and ps4. Its like they have no imagination anymore and can only do diablo and WOW. Everything they do is just re-doing the same old thing and trying to find ways to bilk money out of their customers with the constant ingame pets/mounts in wow or the real money auction house in diablo 3. I really hate what blizzard has become since they joined with activision much like I hate what enix became when they joined with squaresoft. I miss the blizzard from back when they were hungry to make good games, now they have become overfed and lazy, they aren't hungry anymore.

abcdefgabcdefgz
abcdefgabcdefgz

This one game has probably made more money in a year that many small countries so I would say yeah its a success even if it does eventually die out. Im amazed its lasted this long, but in its defense its actually a very well made game at least back when I played the original one.

EdmundKain4682
EdmundKain4682

Personally I'm looking forward to ESO ( Elder Scrolls Online) to come out. I had fun while I was in WoW but its starting to show its age. Its lore and story becoming a little worn out. I'v played Elder Scrolls since I was a kid ( Morrowind) I have some fond memories of WoW and some really annoying ones. But good all around. I left WoW cause I felt it wasnt really changing any, story lines, combat, ect. 

feleas
feleas

@buddybuk if you're worried about expansions for WoW, you've obviously never experienced Everquest like a lot of us did lol. 13-14 expansions atm for Everquest 1? lol

arc_salvo
arc_salvo

@MatrixGamer78 

TILAPIA > WOW > COD

I just prefer the taste over Cod, is all.  Not that I've ever tried that "wow" fish.

arc_salvo
arc_salvo

@CrazyGeneral Don't forget their cash shop and their pay services, like name changes and race/appearance customizations.  Even server transfers.  They charge like $20 or $30 for trivial data manipulations.

arc_salvo
arc_salvo

@Hakkology It's true.  I came back in for MoP and 5.2, but I can see the end of the road from where I'm at.

Once I'm done with all the content I care about (Tillers and Anglers mostly) and am done running the new raids a few times, out I go.  I don't care about getting a ton of epic gear, I just do the content I like, skip the content I don't and then move on.

stan_hg
stan_hg

@Ravenlore_basic Same for me. But i doubt that theyll introduce something original. I believe that every new idea they have is going to Titan, and WoW will be more of the same.

arc_salvo
arc_salvo

@Mogzsnet Well to be honest, the early quests in Mists are very fun and cinematic.  Lots of story, custom voice acting for a bunch of characters, absolutely gripping plot.

Then you run out of that and get to the grindy, daily quest filled endgame, with not particularly interesting dungeons and raids.  Scenarios are kind of fun but there aren't that many, and they get same-y after a while.

stan_hg
stan_hg

@MW2ismygame The agae  has nothing to do with it. They just can add new stuff in there, but they dont by some reason. If they add new mechanics, new original contetnt( not the things they are adding now) game will be as fresh as new.

jironda
jironda

@USDevilDog That's one of the biggest problems right now. I'm still playing, but the dungeon content is so easy to play, that I really don't feel like doing it more than once (on vanilla o BC days you used to do the dungeons many times, and it was actually challenging, with many wipes).

I love the idea of random groups and stuff, that was a step in the right direction. The problem is they basically killed dungeons since they require no effort to learn them and clear them in the first try. Crowd Control became a thing of the past...and many times healers start to dps, since there's no chance the tank willl ever die.

If at least they had the option to do them on "classic mode", it might be fun again.

TheRockSez611
TheRockSez611

@johnwck90 Exactly. When there's absolutely no other option and the earnings are finally down to the last, that's when Blizzard will push Titan or whatever is next, simply because they don't have a reason to push it yet. Even with the lower subscription base, and whiny people that hate it in every forum (yet still somehow log on daily), WoW is still the king of the hill, a veritable juggernaut, so why would Blizzard start hacking away at its achilles tendons?

TheRockSez611
TheRockSez611

@Gargus It's a lot like every form of entertainment, imo: when they're new, they try harder to capture our attention, and it isn't just for our sake, it's for their own. Once they get the money going, what reason do they have to push the envelope anymore? It happens all the time, and unfortunately, Blizzard was no different. Bioware and Squaresoft are just the same as Eminem and James Cameron to me, success was their ultimate downfall.


JmaN123654
JmaN123654

@Gargus Couldn't have said it better myself. The gaming industry as a whole unfortunately has changed and WoW is following suit, which is why its dying. 

Games used to be a smaller niche, and it was about QUALITY, then the money comes with it. Now that its obvious there is money to be made, everyone has changed to focusing on MONEY and the quality is not there. Well, that's why WoW is dying. It used to have the BEST community, but now there is no one that plays it. Queue for raids, queue for dungeons, why bother talking to anyone? 

To top it all off, lets make it where you can fly in Azeroth so that no one ever sees any other players and you can go anywhere and do everything by yourself.

They took the features of the game that made it WoW, and destroyed them. Ultimatly changing the game and making it crap now.

PinchySkree
PinchySkree

@abcdefgabcdefgz It lasted this long because every attempt at an MMO release after 2004 has been play-it-safe uninspired, non innovative, shit.

arc_salvo
arc_salvo

@jironda @USDevilDog 

Isn't that what Challenge Mode dungeons are for?

That said, I think that making things easier and adding the dungeon finder wasn't a bad idea.  It makes it a lot easier to run dungeons and raids and as for wipes and challenge... given how stupid so much of the playerbase is that participates in randoms...

...if they made it any harder no one would step into the random dungeon/raid finder.  Holy hell a lot of people wouldn't believe some of the wipes I've had in the so called "easy" content nowadays.  

It's only easy if the other players are competent.  Sadly, that's sometimes asking for too much when it comes to the random dungeon/raid finder.  From tanks with no gems and enchants, to dps that pull everything including unnecessary adds during boss fights, to healers that seem to hit nothing but their aoe heal all the time... oh my gosh it goes on and on.

keech
keech

@arc_salvo Lowering the bar isn't the solution IMO.  WoW and most MMO's are so eager to rush you to the level cap and throw practically free gear at you along the way that they forget to actually teach you how to play.


There is no learning curve in MMO's anymore.  It's "easy mode" until the level cap then they throw you into the deep end and expect you to know how to swim.  


I learned how to play MMO's pre-WoW so this isn't much of an issue for me personally.  But for someone who has never played an MMO before, I can see it being a huge issue.