World of Warcraft down 800k Subscribers in Q3

In an earnings call yesterday, Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime has just confirmed that World of Warcraft has lost 800,000 subscribers in Q3, placing World of Warcraft at around 10.3 million players. Most of the losses came from the East, but Cataclysm simply wasn't a good expansion overall for WoW, as this is about a 1.7 million player loss from last year's reported number.

In other reported financial news, however, Activision has announced that they've beaten financial analyst expectations in the third fiscal quarter. They've tripled their profits with a strong push of digital sales.

Getting back to those World of Warcraft subs... Does anyone else find it incredible that WoW's subscription losses add up to more than double the entire population of many MMORPGs? Mind-boggling!

Thanks to Gamasutra for the heads up!

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I agree
# Nov 13 2011 at 9:42 AM Rating: Good
That Cata wasn't the best Xpack. I left shortly after getting to the cap. I didn't have time for end game (I do think I managed to get rep up) and Heroics were really hard to PUG. Nothing to do, why keep paying?
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# Dec 18 2011 at 4:39 PM Rating: Decent
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I don't know why people complained about the difficulty of doing heroics at the start of cata. When the content is first released it should be challenging or there is no point to it. Why not just give out free gear if you want it to be easy. At this point in the expansion heroics are a joke and LFR lets bad players see content and get gear. If the game is still to hard then l2p and don't stand in the fire.
cata
# Nov 12 2011 at 1:56 PM Rating: Decent
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I quit when cata came out. With all the changes in the sundering (patch 4) it marked the first time a patch came out with more changes I didn't like than changes I did like. I loved the guild changes and some other things but each patch seemed to head further in directions that made the game less fun for me. I kept going til cata itself came out hoping I'd like it better. I didn't. I haven't played any mmo since. I've kept up with wow news out of a combination of curiosity and nostalgia but even with MOP I don't feel any urge to come back to wow. Most people I played wow with are now waiting for starwars TOR to come out and I am also.
I guess in a nutshell the main thing that drove me away from wow is that the things I love most in the game were largely eroded. Like one person posted above I loved the class specific quests like the ones for lock/pally mounts. I loved working towards atunements. I loved gearing up for raids and working towards them rather than jumping in raids the moment you hit max level. When I first entered MC or Kara it was something special I'd worked towards.
Most of all I loved levelling. Levelling became a joke with patch 4. Most zones became incredibly linear with phasing meaning you normally had to progress through a zone's quests in a specific order. Phasing was a good idea in wotlk but was overdone in cata. Previously when you were questing you'd think twice about taking on more than 2 mobs your level. After patch 4 I was beating 6-7 mobs my level or higher without breaking a sweat, even after I'd stopped using heirloom gear in an attempt to make levelling less mind numbingly boring. And the levelling was so quick. You'd be too high a level for a zone's content before you were even close to being halfway done with it. They might as well just let people roll level 85 alts with entry level raid gear since it's almost that way anyway.
And yeah I absolutely hated what they did to druid tree form. My druid was a healer and I hated being the only druid spec that couldn't stay in shapeshift form. If I wanted a healer than looked like a tauren the whole fight I would have rolled a shammy. I played a druid for the shape shifting and I liked being a tree for more than just a friggin cooldown.
It was mostly the dumbing down though. They way mounts, titles and other things seemed to be increasingly thrown out to just about anyone without having to put in any effort. The only way to find any challenge in the game was heroic mode raids and pvp (regular difficulty raids weren't that challenging) - neither of which were my favourite parts of the game. For me, questing and levelling were always the bits I played for with a bit of casual raiding and pvp.
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Meh...
# Nov 12 2011 at 2:43 AM Rating: Good
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In all honesty, my only true complaint about WoW has been the removal of some of the character or class-specific stuff over the years. I was one of those weirdoes that did the Dungeon upgrade questline to get my dungeon set 1 upgraded to dungeon set 2 on my paladin. I was one of those crazies that loved the Paladin charger questline and how it related to the mechanics of the class at the time. I enjoyed the fact that you couldn't buy certain abilities from a trainer and instead learned them from quests.

With the exception of Cata's messing with class design and the game centralizing everything to Org/Stormwind, I've seen only positive game experience changes. WotLK was WoW's high point, Cata is a dud, and lord knows what'll happen once MoP hits. Hopefully, something better than Cata.
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WoW was challenging? Ever?!?
# Nov 11 2011 at 8:03 PM Rating: Default
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I'm having a hard time seeing how anyone can consider this game, even Vanilla/BC, hard or challenging..ESPECIALLY original EQ'rs. In under a month in vanilla, it was fairly simple to hit max level, casual play. Add another month for dungeon/raid gear, and that's being generous. At the very least, vanilla, then burning crusade, required thought and some form of coordination; CC and whatnot...

Enter WotLK. While it was cool looking, new content, with a new hero class, it dumbed people down to slugs. All you needed was someone that knew how to consecrate, thunderstomp, or death and decay, and everything else was a faceroll.

Cata comes out, and while it was considered a fail..the dungeons or heroics werent impossible, just more challenging..YES!! New zones, cool story lines, egyptian mythos themes...just up my ally. so long as people had half a brain, used CC, didnt fire their most potent spell the second the tank grabbed a mob, etc, the dungeons were a bit longer, but very doable. So finally, people are learning to think again, and getting the gear to make the runs easier, learning the strats, and what does blizz do? Nerf the piss out of it, and once again, dumbing the game down.

Now, we get MoP. Finally, I get to play a monk again (i miss my iksar monk)...oh wait, along with the monk, we get the @#%^ing kung-fu panda and pokemon. Soooo, on top of probably yet another dumbdown, your gonna @#%^ up the talent system...again, and give the adult players a nice big @#%^ you in the process with a teddybear race. No, I dont have to play it, but i would like to experience something on a new level without having to deal with an influx of hello kitty island children, or even more dumb sh*t from the current prepubescent player base.

Thanks for the 6 years blizz, but its time we see other people. Enjoy making the 8 year olds smile with a jack black ripoff...I'll stick with RIFT, and see what SWTOR has to offer come next month. If bioware lets me down, Rift will take me back. its 9 months of playtime vs 6 years with you, but lets face it. what you screw up, they take and improve. panda's vs realistic toons/environment? challenging dungeons and experts, dynamic rift events, and, most important to myself, every other level when I get those talent points, and have a slew of options as to what to do with them to customize my digital self, I feel like I'm actually building a character up...something i think you guys forgot about a long long time ago. 6 talents in 90 levels? naaaa
hmm
# Nov 10 2011 at 10:27 PM Rating: Decent
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I don't see how people say Blizzard is giving into the "Casual Players". LAst time I played, although granted that was shortly after Cata release people mad because heroics were too hard. They also kept making huge class changes and then Ghostcrawler basically called people who didn't like Heroics newbs and told us we couldn't play our classes. Funny how we could play our classes in Vanilla, and in BC, and in Lich King... His insult was enough reason to turn me away from the game.

Well 1.7 million less people play the game now, still think making Tanking/healing more difficult was a good idea? How about the annoying 3 hour Heroic runs, still like that idea also? If anything Cata gave in the hardcore players and screwed the casual players. I see people talking about how they should have the game more difficult like Everquest is/was. I don't think even with it was the only MMORPG game it ever being overly popular. There are alot of Casual players out there who want to enjoy a game without devoting their life and soul to it. LEave them out you lose alot of money.

I had a feeling Lich King was the high point of WOW.
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# Nov 11 2011 at 5:18 PM Rating: Good
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fronglo wrote:
I don't see how people say Blizzard is giving into the "Casual Players". LAst time I played, although granted that was shortly after Cata release people mad because heroics were too hard. They also kept making huge class changes and then Ghostcrawler basically called people who didn't like Heroics newbs and told us we couldn't play our classes. Funny how we could play our classes in Vanilla, and in BC, and in Lich King... His insult was enough reason to turn me away from the game.

Well 1.7 million less people play the game now, still think making Tanking/healing more difficult was a good idea? How about the annoying 3 hour Heroic runs, still like that idea also? If anything Cata gave in the hardcore players and screwed the casual players. I see people talking about how they should have the game more difficult like Everquest is/was. I don't think even with it was the only MMORPG game it ever being overly popular. There are alot of Casual players out there who want to enjoy a game without devoting their life and soul to it. LEave them out you lose alot of money.

I had a feeling Lich King was the high point of WOW.


Then they nerfed the living crap out of tanking and heroics. If you played in Vanilla and BC I'm not sure how you can honestly say Cataclysm was harder. Cataclysm was on par with BC at the beginning. Then when we finally had decent gear to make it less than painstaking they nerfed it so hard that it is now a joke.

I am a "casual" player, but the game is so mindless right now its not funny. Outside of raiding its simply auto pilot.

It started out too hard...then they made it too easy.
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# Nov 10 2011 at 8:37 AM Rating: Default
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Ha!! the "wow killer" has finally come along, not even released yet, just annoucned and already killed 800k subs... who woulda thunk that the wow killer would have been none other than Mists of Pandora!! Teh pandas r comminggggg! RUNNNNNN :>

Edited, Nov 10th 2011 9:38am by demegod
Nothing to see here
# Nov 10 2011 at 6:41 PM Rating: Good
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demegod wrote:
Ha!! the "wow killer" has finally come along, not even released yet, just annoucned and already killed 800k subs... who woulda thunk that the wow killer would have been none other than Mists of Pandora!! Teh pandas r comminggggg! RUNNNNNN :>

Edited, Nov 10th 2011 9:38am by demegod


Actually, these numbers are a result of pre-blizzcon I'm guessing. At least most of them. Seeing as MoP wasn't announced until a couple of weeks ago I hardly doubt a financial earnings report was dramatically changed or affected... not to mention 800,000 subscribers over the promise of new content sounds a bit... unlikely.
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Thoughts
# Nov 09 2011 at 3:37 PM Rating: Decent
I hate to admit it but I think WoW might be finally dying. But not because of players, because developers at Blizzard are getting lazy and giving into the casual player. Hardcore MMOs like EQ (which there is a new one in development) will basically destroy the hardcore population of WoW (what's left of it) leaving nothing but the 12-15 year olds who like to spam 'anal' in trade chat all day.

I only know 2 people going to Star Wars and I still don't understand why. I predict the same thing with Rift will happen with Star Wars, subs will go down and then 3-4 months later the majority of the people will be back. I still enjoy WoW but I also play with a mix or RL friends and people met throughout the years, but if Blizzard keeps it up, alot of hardcore players and raiders will end their WoW subscription for an MMO that's actually challenging but not overwhelming.

Also, this report failed to mention that the majority of the lost subs were from China, not the US or Europe.
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# Nov 09 2011 at 6:53 PM Rating: Decent
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As a new player to WoW (and a veteran of EQ) the devs seem to be dumbing down the game. Everything is just about handed on a silver platter and where you can level a toon very easy( have 3 level 30's inside of a week, where as it can take up to a week to get one level 30 on eq, and can take up to more then a few years to max out a toon to level 85 and upteen thousands aa's. WoW it seems you can max out a toon in less then 6 months and there is where the problem lies as it's to easy to max a toon as compaired to other games. Players like a challange and not diseyland give aways.
Thoughts
# Nov 09 2011 at 9:04 PM Rating: Good
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if you take into consideration how long an expansion is out for WOW then to a new player lvling they would be half way through an expac or more if blizz had a slow lvling system. So in this case i agree that if ytou want to see endcame content while its still somewhat current you would not want to take a year to lvl to 85 now a days.
there are ways to slow down your lvling curve, like dont use boas, dont join a guild that has fast track. these two things alone will slow things down slightly. granted it does not solve everything and youll probably still out lvl the area you are in before you are finished with it but there are was to stop and enjoy the game still if you want to go though the new/old content.

as for other stuff being handed to you i think most (i hope) would agree that stuff like mounts at lvl 20 is nice. It sucked hoofing it for the first 40 lvls of the game.

there is still a challenge at lvl 80-85 until you get better equipment and imo the "hardcore" players just need to suck it up since out of the 10 million players/accounts im sure the majority of people are some form of casual/non-hardcore player.
Mysts will FAIL
# Nov 09 2011 at 1:48 PM Rating: Decent
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I seriously doubt Mysts of PandasAndPokemon is going to do anything but fail to please. Seriously. The reason people are walking away has to do more with watering down the game to the casual player level. There is no challenge left in the game and certainly nothing innovative has been done to make the game a must have now, much less a year ago. Not to mention players want customization, not simplified mechanics. How about guild halls, housing, gardens, appearance armor that doesn't require holding an extra set in bags, meaningful crafting NOT tied to adventure level. And those are just to name a few features which set other games AHEAD of Wow.
Mysts will FAIL
# Nov 09 2011 at 10:13 PM Rating: Excellent
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Seanguy wrote:
I seriously doubt Mysts of PandasAndPokemon is going to do anything but fail to please. Seriously. The reason people are walking away has to do more with watering down the game to the casual player level.


Although I agree there is a lack of overall challenge to the game, I think the main problem lies in the lack of things to do outside of raiding. With the addition of challenge dungeons and the public quest like mini instances along with the minipet battles there is going to be more meaningful stuff to do.

From what I've heard only 5% of the player population ever experiences raid content. I hate to break it to you, but catering to a 5% is a dumb practice for a business or a game. Granted, I would like to see more challenging quests and more challenging dungeons, I don't want to see BC again where you're either in a progression guild or restricted to Kara the rest of the expansion.



Quote:
There is no challenge left in the game and certainly nothing innovative has been done to make the game a must have now, much less a year ago.


I agree not much innovative has been added, especially in Cataclysm. I think its overall agreed that Cataclysm was a failure. Even Blizzard has admitted that. But one failed game in a VERY strong series is not the end of the game. All of this doom-saying is melodramatic. There are numerous franchises like Battlefield, Super Mario, Sonic, Final Fantasy, Zelda, etc that had some serious failures. And yet we're still playing them strong today. I think its totally asinine to yell one bad expansion is the "death" of the most popular MMO franchise of all time.


Quote:
Not to mention players want customization, not simplified mechanics. How about guild halls, housing, gardens, appearance armor that doesn't require holding an extra set in bags, meaningful crafting NOT tied to adventure level. And those are just to name a few features which set other games AHEAD of Wow.


But, some of the mechanics needed to be simplified. When it requires advanced algebra to figure out what gear piece you need something is wrong there. Do I really lose anything reducing MP5 and Spirit to one state? Is there anything wrong with removing attack power from armor? Don't get me wrong. I'm not trying to completely disagree here, but some of these changes are warranted.

I would LOVE to see guild halls. But houses? Gardens? In WoW? And you're complaining about Pokemon-esque mini games? Seriously? Yes, after a rough day of slaying demons, ancient gods, and undead scourges my battle hardened dwarf Death Knight returns home to tend his garden.... seriously?

Quote:

appearance armor that doesn't require holding an extra set in bags


Obviously you haven't been paying attention to the news. In a couple of weeks we will have just that.


As for crafting not tied to level... that is debatable. Some games have more advanced crafting and I'd love to see more advanced crafting, but at the same time there are games with far more useless crafting systems. Warhammer comes to mind (which I remind you was the so-called WoW killer a couple of WoW Killers ago).


Challenge dungeons, mini-group quest instances, raid finder, minipet battles, etc, etc, etc, are adding more things to do. Honestly, I'm not a BAD player. I actually spend more time than most people playing this game and for having been restricted to dungeons in end-game for the majority of this expansion pack I've done very well with my characters.

I have nothing against raiding, and I like raiding in general. But I'm leader of a casual guild and getting a large group of players together to raid is very difficult. I can join the occasional pug but that's usually a disaster. I could join a raiding guild, but I don't want to deal with the attitudes prevalent on my server.

That means that me and my guild are forced to do dailies, quests, and heroics as our source of entertainment at end-game. I hate to tell you this, but we are the majority...and the majority of WoW players have nothing meaningful or at the very least interesting to do. I was sick of heroics about 8 months ago. That means I either unsubscribe or waste my time doing stuff I hate.

I for one am looking forward to the addition of content that is for more than raiders. This throwing around of "casual" as a deregatory term is really getting old. If by casual, you mean people who don't have the desire or want to invest 3-4 hours an evening smashing their head against a wall to clear a raid then yes, we're casual. It doesn't immediately equate to a bad player. It doesn't mean I don't want a challenge. I just think there should be more to this game than raiding. And I don't see what is so wrong with that.
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Mysts will FAIL
# Nov 09 2011 at 3:58 PM Rating: Decent
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Seanguy wrote:
The reason people are walking away has to do more with watering down the game to the casual player level. There is no challenge left in the game and certainly nothing innovative has been done to make the game a must have now, much less a year ago. Not to mention players want customization, not simplified mechanics.


There is still plenty of challenge left in the game if you raid. Im in a guild that has just downed rag and my group is only 4/7. granted once you get mechanics down the fights get "easy" but thats only because you have had tons of practice at them. compare this to any other expansion and you could say that about any raid. Back in the day Kara (i only started in BC) used to be a challenge until you get the mechanics down and this is true with any other raid out there.

the hardcore gamers will always complain that the game is too easy and if blizzard bumps up the difficulty then you have the casuals complaining that the game is too hard. So ether way your going to loose people due to this ever changing flux your going to have one group or the other not happy.
I myself am not casual player but nether and i hardcore i play for the fun of playing and i found when Cata first came out that things were actually hard. One couldn't take as many mobs as you would at the end of wrath, things hit alot harder in instances and if you lost a player due to some of the one shot mechanics it was a wipe for the whole group. Now that we have better gear instances are now easier and one person dying does not mean a wipe in most cases, and just to use an example just from normal firelands if Beth with 3 different adds coming from 3 separate locations for everyone to kill(which if people know the fight is a very watered down version) is simplified compare that to older raids and its downright complex. then put it on heroic and you have 2 or 3 more things to watch out for. So in my personal opinion the difficulty is just right(not to mention the first few months prenerf where the "hardcore" person can have their challenge)
So its really not that its easier its just that we adapt to the lvl of difficulty that blizz gives us and once we get used to it then the hardcore people stat to cry and say "oh why does blizz do this to us" when the normal people are still finding it a challenge.

as for greater character customization it would be nice and i think bringing in transmog is a step in the right direction. But do you really think if blizz added more that it would actually bring people back for long? Yes id love to have more hairstyles and wardrobe choices then even what transmog is bringing in but its not the solution.
For me its lack of things to do. We need more quest hubs and achievements, that's what is making WoW slow down for me. I don't overly like pvp with my main toons so i don't do it all that often , and i have gotten most of the pve achieves that i can do alone. I have done the firelands dailies to death iv got all 10 character slots filled on the realm i play on and barely tough my other characters unless it for professions.
So long story short is raiding is fine the way it is if the hardcore raiders dont like it then take off some of your gear to make it a challenge. That and we just need more to do outside raiding since the same 25 dailys become boring after a few months.
Nothing to see here
# Nov 09 2011 at 1:22 PM Rating: Good
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I'm not really all that concerned. I think that when MoP comes out numbers will shoot back up again.
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We've had talking cows from day one, and you're throwing a fit about talking panda's? Get over it.

Nothing to see here
# Nov 10 2011 at 9:13 AM Rating: Decent
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As a long time subscriber to warcraft since 2005 here in the uk, things are looking pretty grim for blizzard over here.
First of all i still love warcraft but in recent months I’ve seen the population on our server drop drastically, most of my mates and friends in our guild have moved onto rift... why? because it offered a challenge, wow wasn’t anymore. How many of you can level to 60 without getting killed once in everyday missions? now go back back to bc\vanilla days and say that again?
That’s the difference here in the uk\europe... wow offers no challenge, the only reason why most players are still there playing is just to either level the guild or top tier gear for themselves and that’s it.
You can see that blizzard are looking pretty desperate for subscribers for the offers that are popping up... subscribe for 12 months and get diablo 3 for free!! the fledgling Guardian Cub you can buy at the blizzard store and sell in game for gold etc etc.
I mean there’s a huge forum call out for them to open special servers to host the original vanilla warcraft on them, prob never happen (except private) but just to show you how bad it’s getting...
And just to add salt to the wound, when mists of pandaria were announced here the server i play on was in hysterics for quite a few days. I’m not going to even mention the Pokemon bit!!
To sum it all up, it’s going to take quite a miracle to get the players back over here playing back on warcraft
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# Nov 10 2011 at 7:00 PM Rating: Excellent
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Jozywells wrote:
As a long time subscriber to warcraft since 2005 here in the uk, things are looking pretty grim for blizzard over here.
First of all i still love warcraft but in recent months I’ve seen the population on our server drop drastically, most of my mates and friends in our guild have moved onto rift...


One server isn't necessarily reflective of the game as a whole. My home server of Medivh (US) seems unaffected. Maybe even grown in population. Queue times are good. Raids forming nightly. Guild still recruiting. You may very well be right, but taking one server as an example isn't quite reflective of the overall stats.

Quote:

why? because it offered a challenge, wow wasn’t anymore.


That's debatable. I played Rift for a few months. Before I start tearing it apart, let me say, I really liked A LOT of their ideas. I thought a lot of them were really innovative. But, it honestly felt like more of the same. Not to mention the interface was terribly slow and sluggish. I will admit I didn't get very far in the game so I can't say about higher levels, but from my tenure in Rift it was just boring. Its not a bad game, and I think it'll give WoW competition, but I don't think its the death blow to WoW in any way shape or form.



Quote:
How many of you can level to 60 without getting killed once in everyday missions? now go back back to bc\vanilla days and say that again?


I understand where you are coming from. But, having leveled through BC as a mage as my first character, dying repeatedly for menial tasks with pitiful rewards was not fun. At the same time, I agree that the brainlessness of most quests is really getting on my nerves. But Rift was not any better. It was still the same exact quest layouts and objectives. I did not experience one unique quest in Rift that hadn't already been done and save for a few close calls, most of it felt like grinding.

I think that Blizzard's promise of retuning the leveling experience for "both skilled and new players alike" is promising. Not that I'm holding my breath, but I think the problem is evident and I hope, hope they make a good effort at fixing it.



Quote:

That’s the difference here in the uk\europe... wow offers no challenge, the only reason why most players are still there playing is just to either level the guild or top tier gear for themselves and that’s it.


And that's kind of the deal late in a patch or expansion. It wasn't a whole lot different in Lich King except admittedly, it came way too early in this one. But the idea that Cataclysm failed is not a secret. Even Blizzard has admitted they screwed up.



Quote:
You can see that blizzard are looking pretty desperate for subscribers for the offers that are popping up... subscribe for 12 months and get diablo 3 for free!!


Maybe. That could be a possibility, or it could also be that some major competition is coming up (SWTOR) and instead of pushing out a half finished expansion they are trying to give incentives to keep subscribers without pushing a buggy PoS on us.


Quote:
the fledgling Guardian Cub you can buy at the blizzard store and sell in game for gold etc etc.


Still don't see the problem with it. The price is already bottoming out and if people want to buy it, more power to them. Trying to make a profit is not the same as desperation. If Blizzard wasn't changing how it did business then it be accused of living in the past.



Quote:
I mean there’s a huge forum call out for them to open special servers to host the original vanilla warcraft on them, prob never happen (except private) but just to show you how bad it’s getting...


Either that or some people are living in nostalgia lala land. From everything I've heard of Vanilla I would never have stayed playing this game. Again, its not because I don't like a challenge, its because I want it to be a challenge...not a tedious time sink. I do NOT miss walking the first 40 levels. I do not miss having to fight my way into Uldaman just to learn new levels of enchanting, I do not even want to think of what it'd have been like to coordinate 40 mans... 25 man already makes me pull my hair out.

Yes, there are some things from the old WoW that sound fun. I would LOVE epic class quest lines. I miss world bosses. I miss open world mini-instances. But none of them I miss enough to want to play Vanilla.


Quote:
And just to add salt to the wound, when mists of pandaria were announced here the server i play on was in hysterics for quite a few days. I’m not going to even mention the Pokemon bit!!
To sum it all up, it’s going to take quite a miracle to get the players back over here playing back on warcraft


Loud mouthed brats are always going to be loud mouthed brats. Most of the objections I've seen have been idiotic at best. There are a few good points and I agree with many of them...like I'm really dreading the new talent trees and I'm not sure how they are going to sell a new nemesis, but most people are just whining because Blizzard is doing something new to MMOs.
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"Trade Chat" wrote:
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Nothing to see here
# Nov 10 2011 at 8:36 AM Rating: Decent
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!

Edited, Nov 10th 2011 9:38am by demegod
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