World of Warcraft registers 12 million

Blizzard Entertainment’s MMO subscriber base jumps to new high following release of Lich King in mainland China; Cataclysm coming December 7.


It has been over five years since Blizzard Entertainment’s massively multiplayer online role-playing game World of Warcraft hit shelves, but the hugely popular title’s in-game population continues to bulge.

Blizzard Entertainment today announced that the World of Warcraft subscriber base has passed the 12 million mark, which is good for the highest tally Blizzard has ever officially announced.

World of Warcraft's subscriber base continues to swell.
World of Warcraft's subscriber base continues to swell.

Blizzard said the milestone was reached following the mainland Chinese release of World of Warcraft’s second expansion pack, Wrath of the Lich King. The content expansion arrived in that nation on August 31.

Growth in the MMORPG has been largely static as of late, however. In 2005, the subscriber base was 5 million strong; in January 2007, Blizzard reported a subscriber base of 8 million; in July 2007, the number jumped to 9 million; in January 2008, the figure climbed to 10 million; later that year, the figure hit 11 million. Finally, the most recent virtual census Blizzard took was in December of 2008, when it reported the game boasted 11.5 million subscribers.

Looking ahead, World of Warcraft's third expansion, Cataclysm, is currently in beta and is due out on the PC and Mac on December 7. Cataclysm will follow 2007's Burning Crusade and 2008's Wrath of the Lich King. It will be available in a $40 standard edition and an $80 collector’s version.

The Warcraft franchise will have been around for just over 16 years when Cataclysm reaches eager gamers in December. Talking to GameSpot around the time of the franchise's 15th birthday, Blizzard lead designer Jeff Kaplan said, "I honestly believe that there are enough compelling ideas to keep WOW going for as long as the Internet is up".

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Avatar image for Crazo-Maca-D

They and all other P2P mmo`s should allow the buying of hours instead of 30-60 day ect, think of the hours you don't play it, you're still paying for it technically. Its really what were owed.

Avatar image for GamerLegend10

hmmm some day i shall try this game but the graphics really put me off, i know graphics are not the most important aspect of a game, but the graphics are really dated on WoW. Also i dont think i would want to spend all that time on it.

Avatar image for -Unreal-

How much is WoW per day? £9 divided by 31 = 29p Not even the cost of a newspaper.

Avatar image for domot

they should turn free to play, not completely i mean still buy the retail but no supscription, i have to spend money on xbox and other consoles rather than waste it on one game

Avatar image for -Unreal-

@eriktkire The races are expansion locked, as they had been with TBC expansion. Same with the new battlegrounds. As I said, most of the new content is supposed to come with the expansion, as it has always done. The only thing people without the expansion can see is the changes to Azeroth. I'm perfectly fine with paying the subscription fees for WoW knowing that I'm getting very stable servers that very rarely have any problems, excellent customer support, excellent account security support and regular added features and improvements. I've not seen another game developer add so much into their game through patches alone nevermind expansion, so the subscription fee is worth it. I'm also perfectly fine with paying for an expansion pack as I am with any expansion pack, especially if it contains as much as what Cataclysm does. I'm sure most of the players of the game have the same view as I see Blizzard have recently announced they've hit the 12 million milestone.

Avatar image for eriktkire

@-Unreal- I'm betting the 2 new races will be expansion locked along with some of those new battlegrounds. DX11 sounds like a nice touch, but I still say it should be a free overhaul. WoW gamers seem to be paying through the nose for everything and there doesn't seem to be an end in sight for them.

Avatar image for -Unreal-

@eriktkire Cataclysm has always been anounced as a full retail expansion. There will most likely be more content like you mentioned ala Sunwell and Black Temple through future patches. Here's what you get in the new expansion. (bear in mind not all of these require you to buy the expansion.) -Kalimdor and Eastern Kingdoms completely changed. -New zones -2 new races -New race combinations -Major talent overhaul -Numerous new zones -Many new quests which are much different from anything before -New characters -New dungeons -New battlegrounds -An island quest hub which is pvp controlled -level cap raised -Class redesign -New class skills -New profession -Profession cap raised (new recipes etc) -Guild advancement system including achievements for guilds and rewards -New factions -*Loads* of new items, mounts, armor, weapons etc. -Guild mounts The graphics have also been improved. There's new textures, new models and new shader effects, plus they're adding support for DirectX11.

Avatar image for eriktkire

@-Unreal- But that's what I mean by free... I remember alot of the news about this over the past year (or however long) saying it would just be a patch based expansion.. .like a massive addition of new content like the Black Temple and the Sunwell were. I know the base 2 continents are being shattered, but making people pay yet again for 2 races, 5 new levels to grind through, and the ability to grief people without mounts on Azeroth... smells too much like an Activision rip off for content that should be free to keep an ageing game alive.

Avatar image for -Unreal-

@eriktkire $40 buys the CD Key just like any other game. The patch had to have almost all the content on it because the expansion revamps a crapload of existing content, which non-Cataclysm players need.

Avatar image for plm3d_basic

I can understand why this game is banned in some countries that want their workers to remain productive. Isn't this the same game that caused the demise of 3-D Realms?

Avatar image for Bozanimal

WoW still the most popular MMO out there? Here is my surprised face: :|

Avatar image for jimy1475

i wana be one of those people that play WOW, i mean work, thats how they get money, uh so sad

Avatar image for thunder_knight

@Syrenz I never mentioned any names. I simply said 'GW players'. I have to agree with battlemed though, WoW article and lots of naysayers slagging the game off, for no reason.

Avatar image for Pete5506

I can proudly say I'm not one of them

Avatar image for ganondorf_002

For the people who didn't read the Press Release: World of Warcraft’s Subscriber Definition World of Warcraft subscribers include individuals who have paid a subscription fee or have an active prepaid card to play World of Warcraft, as well as those who have purchased the game and are within their free month of access. Internet Game Room players who have accessed the game over the last thirty days are also counted as subscribers. The above definition excludes all players under free promotional subscriptions, expired or cancelled subscriptions, and expired prepaid cards.

Avatar image for choasgod

@Slinky826 - its active accounts (accounts that have game time on them). How else could world of warcraft of made ~1.3 billion in revenue in 2009 (According to Activision-Blizzard's fiscal statement)

Avatar image for RussianRAGE

Oh how the disease spreads...

Avatar image for Slinky826

That would be total subscribers since day one, not active. I had an account for about a year when the game came out before I got bored and stopped playing. Then 3 years later, it was hacked. I got it recovered, and tried to get it deleted, but Blizzard refused to delete an account I had no interest in ever using again, simply so they can count it on this list. At least that was my take on it since they would not give me a reason as to why they couldn't delete it. All they said was that they couldn't delete it.

Avatar image for Fandango_Letho

12 Millions subscriber over six years or ACTIVELY playing right now? Major difference.

Avatar image for jayuk

I haven't played WoW for over a year now. To be honest I got bored of doing the same end game content every week. But I'm really looking forward to Cataclysm, it's seems like the whole game has been revamped rather than just an extra area tagged onto the end. I've been gaming since about 1983 (yes, I'm old) and I can say that World of Warcraft is the best game I've ever played.

Avatar image for Sorkvir

1 million are real players, the other 11 million are the gold farmers and hackers, way to go blizzard, the way a game should be "Fun"

Avatar image for eriktkire

$40 for a standard edition? Wasn't this supposed to be a free patch? I can understand the collectors box... but what do you get in the standard edition? $40 for a DVD copy of the patch?

Avatar image for Link3301

@WNxUSA Actually they only consider people still paying for the game subscribers.

Avatar image for Battlemed

wooow nice, a page dedicated to WoW and lots of people downgrading it. Jealousy is a bad teacher....

Avatar image for s4dn3s5

This game surely deserves his success. It's an amazing piece of software, but way too addictive for me. Lucky me, the game is turning more and more casual oriented, which makes it unappealing for hardcore gamers. But it's still an amazing trip that everyone should try once.

Avatar image for cooldude9980

12 million is a truley amazing achievment, well deserved Blizzard.

Avatar image for acasero44

at least 50 percent of those people dont play any other games. Since i was a Rs player i have an idea of how addictive can be to build those digital characters Good thing i got out of it before i lost my life

Avatar image for neil108

I preferred vanilla WoW. Once I got to Outlands and started doing The Burning Crusade storyline, I just could not get into the game and so quit around level 70. I still want to try the wrath content but can't bother to login anymore really. Better games out there IMO.

Avatar image for TheDreamSeeker

@Crush_Project You are just as bad as each other, mate.

Avatar image for Crush_Project

yep 12 million noobs. 11.9 million folks that cant learn even the simplest of button rotations and classes. If this game ever goes away, we're going to have 12 million of the dumbest people alive flooding our other games so let it roll as far as im concerned.

Avatar image for Malscyllis

12 million subs for this repetitive crap? sorry, I'm waiting for the Old Republic

Avatar image for Poodger

I am actually very surprised I myself never even tried WoW, considering that I was a big Runescape player but always wanted it to upgrade into something similar to WoW. Also because almost all of my friends got into it. I think the monthly fee was the biggest deterring factor in me never even trying the game.

Avatar image for fattass21

nice, congrats on the 12. but, it still wont make me pick it up again. but really, i dont see why people are complaining about WOW. if you dont like it, then you dont. every mmo has its ups and down, so why the hell is everyone hating other games. -_- like i always say, if you like only 1 thing, then you are not a true gamer, true gamers expand their gaming experience and that is why we have more fun then fanboys. so grow up, and enjoy the world of true gaming.

Avatar image for wickdawg01

at WNxUSA the statistics are how many subscribers. If there are that many people still paying the 15 bucks a month and not playing then there are more dumb people in this world than I thought

Avatar image for WNxUSA

Ewww, 12 mil subscribers but they don't tell you how many exactly are still playing which i believe is like 1/3rd that.

Avatar image for Shadow_Fire41

so getting cataclysm.

Avatar image for finaleve

@IrshDrkWlf Honestly, I felt TBC was worse than Lich King. I never could get into the story behind TBC and thats because it wasn't that great. Lich King followed through well and had a ton more interesting areas and storylines that felt like it was leading the right direction toward the Lich King, plus the progression concept is nice (albeit annoying when you want to help someone out who hasn't progressed as far as you have). About time. It's been sitting at 11 million for a year almost.

Avatar image for travisstaggs

Very impressive.

Avatar image for blackace

Argle WoW is great and all, but please dont neglect the possibility of Warcraft 4 ************************************************************** That's what I 'm waiting for; Warcraft 4 and Diablo 3. I'm going to have to upgrade my PC to play it though. I'm done with WoW for now. Lich King was very good, but I just can't dedicate 10-12hrs a day to do the raids. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ zo70 This Is How You Make A MMO Sqaure Enix!!!! **************************************************************** SquareEnix will never have a MMORPG as good as WoW. They still have a couple million playing FFXI, but the game is a terrible grind. It's like a second job if you play it to L70. I made it to Level 30 and I was done.

Avatar image for Syrenz

@thunder_knight : I'd love if you could show me where I said that WoW was terrible and anyone that plays it is a dumb fool. Back-up that statement.

Avatar image for WTF2000

my play progression play cataclysm in december>>>switch to dc universe in early 2011>>>switch to old republic late 2011.

Avatar image for IrshDrkWlf

@ zo70 Did you forget that FFXI was a huge success? I know it is sad that SE made FFXIV no where near as good as their first MMO. WoW is a great and fun game to play, but to be honest there are better MMO's out there that do things WoW does not and things WoW does but not as well. The overall best expanision so far for WoW is the Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King had its good parts, but was not as impressive as the first. On that note Cataclysm looks like it will be as great if not better than BC was. Can't wait to play it.

Avatar image for Argle

WoW is great and all, but please dont neglect the possibility of Warcraft 4

Avatar image for tehepicpwnzor

I'm proud to say that I don't play World of Warcraft. :D

Avatar image for thunder_knight

i do love it when the GW players come here and insist WoW is terrible and anyone who plays it, is a dumb fool. Truely, Jealously has'th no-bounds!

Avatar image for Evenios

more on the way too!

Avatar image for Syrenz

Never played WoW, doubt I ever will considering the monthly fee. GW2 on the other hand.... I wonder if altseal will see this.

Avatar image for gamedragonshi

12 million sad souls.

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