World Of Warcraft Loses A Million Subscribers

Blizzard's massively multiplayer online game is no longer quite so massive. World of Warcraft is down to eight million subscribers, publisher Activision-Blizzard said in a press release today.

That's a 1.3 million loss from February to May — mostly in the East, Blizzard says, but in the West as well.

The popular game is still the world's biggest subscription-based MMORPG, but subscriber numbers have been in decline since the game peaked at 12 million members back in 2010. World of Warcraft is also one of the last remaining paid MMORPGs; most online games, like EA's Star Wars: The Old Republic, are going free-to-play.

Of course, with eight million people continuing to pay them every month, Activision-Blizzard probably doesn't have too much to complain about.


    That's over $15,000,000 monthly revenue lost over 30 days...

    Im pretty sure someone at Act-Bliz would have noticed and im sure some amazing exp pack is int the works to try and inject life into it...

    Not to mention im sure micro transactions are still high for all the F2P users they have

      ...umm, WoW is still sub-based. They have no F2p users (unless you count the trial version, I guess) and the only microtransactions are the pet shop and server transfers.

      and im sure some amazing exp pack is int the works to try and inject life into it...

      Have you seen the current trend? Nothing Amazing is coming. Blizzard doesn't even have to try anymore. I wasn't going to buy Kung Fu Panda expansion at all, but the Mrs missed gaming with me so we got it together. Played for 3 months and unsubscribed again when the game was on special for like super cheap.

      Nostalgia is the only thing left in this game for me. Remembering the good times, and the people who I shared them with. All gone.

      This last expansion was the worst still. Only 5 levels, one new race, 1 new class shared between the two factions for super laziness. Same story over and over again. At one point went to this 'master' guy who was supposed be teaching that not everything is about violence and gets to to feed some birds and stuff. Then he's like go kill all these creatures and bring me their eye.

      I know of a few people who subscribe and don't even play. Games just.. meh.

        I wasn't going to buy Kung Fu Panda expansion at all,

        Such a strawman. Pandaria has some great lore, and the fan base has been waiting for Pandarens for years. I love the story of this expansion considerably more than Cata; backing away from "thrall is cool lol" romance is a good story choice. The story, Pandaria and "Garrosh isn't a nice person" is fine.

        This last expansion was the worst still. Only 5 levels, one new race, 1 new class shared between the two factions for super laziness.

        Starting to think that you barely played it. Those 5 levels feel like 50; there is so much god damn content packed into those 5 levels. I'm not sure what you're referring to by "1 new class shared between two factions for super laziness" either, because both factions have had access to all classes for a while now.

        The problem with WoW is that it's just getting old. The fact that they STILL have millions of subs after 9 or so years is unbelievable and a credit to how polished that game is.

        Blizzard need to adapt. Now that we have LFD/LFR, the game really shines in instances. I don't know about other players, but I hate questing. I'd much rather grind a dungeon over and over than quest, and with the way WoW is set up now, I do. Blizzard just need more types of instances; more types of PvP, more types of instanced PvE. Maybe something like a Survival Mode? Fight against hordes of enemies and bosses until your group dies? See how far you all get? Just more instances and GAMES.

        People have shown an interest in MOBA games like League of Legends and DoTA 2, why not take inspiration from them? Sure, Battlegrounds are essentially the same thing, but why not make a Battleground with the equivalent of minions and jungling? WoW's combat system is way more in depth and rewarding than MOBA games', so why not put it to use?

        Blizzard just need to make more game modes, essentially. The time of WoW being a legitimate MMORPG world is gone; they did away with it with the introduction of LFD/LFR and the ability to queue for Battlegrounds. Why not use that to their advantage? Arenas were a success, how about some more good ideas? WoW is slowly backing away from being a game, and progressing to the point of being a collection of games all linked together by your guild and character. If they realised that this isn't necessarily a bad thing, they could do some great things.

        Last edited 09/05/13 12:21 pm

        "Nostalgia is the only thing left in this game for me. Remembering the good times, and the people who I shared them with. All gone."

        Completely agree. No other game has given me so many memories and good times with friends. But sadly nothing lasts forever. I haven't bothered picking up or really looking into MoP, I feel like it would only tarnish what I have left for the game. Hate to be a Vanilla fan boy but that genuinely was when I had the most amount of good times.

        BC left a sour taste in my mouth. WotLK brought me back in and i enjoyed levelling through those zones more than any other expansion. But by then half of my friends had unsub'd, my guild had disbanded. Come cata and there wasnt much left for me..

        to the good old days!

    While I am not a fan of what WoW has become it goes to show that the P2P model still works and clearly the F2P method is not driving people in.

      Regardless of method, i'm not going to play a game if it's bad (as most F2P games are).

      That being said, I still play WoW on and off but haven't paid a cent for sub since late 2011ish. mix up that charges a non-existent credit card. Have no idea how i pulled it off but the sub keeps being "Charged" but i don't see a bill :D
      The old card has even expired since so i have no idea what they have against it...

    Still play it, still love it. I take a break for a month or 2 once a year, but ill likely stick around until it becomes F2P in a few years time. Thatll be my que to exit, and with any luck Titan will be out by then (and hopefully good.)

      I would not be at all surprised if all the time they've been spending on the last few years working on Titan hasn't been engines or network platforms or creative IP, but just modelling. Endless modelling on payment methods, what other MMOs are doing, how players respond to the different directions WoW currently subtly shifts in, all in a way to try and design something that they desperately hope might somehow manage to capture that same WoW release magic.

      It would be pretty embarrassing and disappointing to be forced to accept that your best work is behind you, and that you will never enjoy the same popularity ever again.

        I can understand your concerns, i share a few of them myself. That said, the project started 5 years ago with many of the original creators of WoW. And for all the grief Diablo 3 caused to players, i dont believe anyone was more upset with how it turned out than Blizzard themselves. As long as they manage to retain their autonomy from Activision and the parent company, i think itll turn out ok.

          Oh, I think I wasn't clear. The scenario I described isn't a concern. It's a hope.

          I HOPE they've been spending all that time looking at modelling and trying to avoid falling into all the pitfalls that other MMOs have when they've failed to capture that WoW magic for themselves. I hope they're looking at human psychology, to figure out if it's true that skinner box mechanics are gradually building up a tolerance in us against the dopamine hits that typical in-game rewards produce to encourage us to keep playing. I hope they're analyzing demographics, which people stay on for which hours with which people, and who those people associate with, and what activities they perform, so we can step away from the 'raid or die' model, and have meaningful rewards for activities of ALL group sizes, instead of forcing people to play with people they don't know or like in order to chase their true objective - shinies and character growth.

          I hope they've been spending all this time looking at that stuff to create a MMO that isn't just a WoW clone, which all the RPG/fantasy ones have been, albeit with the odd novel mechanic to them like dodging/action combat - but you still have timed abilities and you still run around picking up quests and killing ten rats to chase experience, levels, and gear, at which point you run out of content and repeatedly run whatever the endgame is.

          I want something new and exciting and I hope they've been trying to figure out exactly what that might look like, rather than polishing and iterating on existing principles.

          That said, I'm not very hopeful about their autonomy from Activision. I'm pretty sure Activision's interference is what caused Diablo 3 to be such a disappointing exercise in blatantly consumer-unfriendly, protectionist, exploitative design.

          (Judging by the number of folks who upvoted this post: I don't think I'm alone in thinking that.)

          Last edited 09/05/13 11:06 am

    No surprise really, I found myself less and less interested each new expansion and both my fiancée and I couldn't even bring ourselves to finish Pandaria, though we gave it a good shot.

    Came back for MoP after not even touching Cata, enjoyed it but one day it struck me that it's just the same old race again and again. Level, get gear, get better gear, etc. Once my guild blew up after Wotlk the social aspect of it for me died, and i think the real reason to play went with it.

    About time. Used to love that game. But it just sucked up so many hours. So I quit. It drowns out anything else for a lot of people, people need to try new things. WoW was a great game but it has no end.

    After playing the game for 6 years (started in 2007) my time in between subs gets longer and longer. I still enjoy playing the game, but not with the same fervour that I did previously. Nowadays I tend to sub for a couple of months, give it a go, lose interest, then wait for something new or big to entice me back. But since MoP is just feels like everything is a grind. Like it's designed to make you want to stay subbed for longer. I thought rep grinds in BC were bad. They've got nothing on MoP.

    I will put money on this claim... expect an announcement of WORLD OF WARCRAFT 2 within the next 2 years if numbers keep dropping.

      Keep your money, you will lose it. Its been said over and over by the devs themselves that what happend with EQ2 convinced them long ago that WoW 2 would never happen. It splits the player base, and ultimately leaves both sides feeling bad. And lets not forget that if WoW were to lose another 2-3 million in the next 2 years, that would still be millions more paying subscribers than the closest P2P competitor.

        Uh huh :P because sequels to games never happen eh... if there's potentially money in it, it will happen. Blizzard is the master at making sequels profitable. Look at Diablo 3. If anyone can shine THAT turd into gold, Blizzard could.

          Your cynicism will win many arguments, but not this one. Titan has been the focus for the mmo team since 2008. They brought in new people to take over WoW at that time. Blizzard plans to release at least 2 more expansions, as confirmed by Ghostcrawler who regularly fields these questions.
          With Titan coming in the next 2-3 years, and at least 2 more WoW expansions, where does WoW 2 fit? It doesnt.

            I think you fail to understand, an argument has two parties that care to carry on the conversation indefinitely. I've made my point and with it I'm done! Cya.

    Old new, WoW has been dead since 3.2.

      Even though it peaked it's subscribers during Cataclysm which was version 4.x.x. So yeah. It's been "dead" since 3.2, sure. Q3 & Q4 of 2010 when Cataclysm came out saw WoW at it's all time highest of subscribers of close to 12.5 million monthly subscribers.

      Also it's now at it's lowest point since 2007. Food for thought. That's pretty good considering.

        People who try to say which period/expac WoW was best at/died in are usually projecting their own opinion on when it was the most fun for them, like when they were in a really active guild or good group of friends, when their class played the way they like best, and generally when the thing was still kind of shiny and new, but they were experienced enough to be pretty close to mastery.

          Oh I understand that, but to say it was dead after X when numbers prove the total opposite is possibly the stupidest thing to say. But that's what I think. Matter of opinion I guess :P

            Yeah, just thinking this is why people will say all kinds of things in the face of evidence like the numbers you quoted.

              Yeah. In their own way each expansion has been the games peak in some aspect, Mists I haven't figured out yet. So much potential, but it felt so much of a grind between 85 & 90. Some quests were awesome and the land was beautiful, but otherwise eh.

                Mists is a golden nugget wrapped in a layer of goat shit. Once you learn to avoid the shit.....My analogy sucks, but you get what i mean.

      It's like 4chan. There is just perpetual bitching about how bad it is now and how good it was then, but in the end of the day, it's still the same, just the trends have changed.

    Each time a new xpac hits, they get an injection of new players in, but never to the same level of subscribers as before, and mid way through said xpac subscriber levels drop past what they were pre-xpac.

    It's a continued cycle, and with more and more F2P games with micro-transactions coming through the works, and the quality of said games improving, it's a cycle that will continue.

    WoW was, at one time, something extremely special. Part of why it still has so many subscribers is the holding on to those fond memories of the game, and the feel of loss associated with abandoning characters that for some people, you've spent 8-9 years developing and 'growing' through the game.

    However at the end of the day, it's lost a lot of it's 'magic' over the years, and as with others, my time between subscriptions stretches further and further each time. This time is probably the last time I quit (A while back now, sometime after MoP release and maxing a couple of characters).

    Now I've gotten heavily into Planetside 2, World of Tanks, and am eagerly awaiting the Alpha release of Star Citizen so I can start getting hands on with it and play a part in it's development.

    WoW's golden years are long behind it. It's starting to get grey around the edges, a little senile, and just can't create that same sense of awe in people that it once did.

      Star Citizen is going to suck more life out of me then WoW ever did if it holds true to even half the expectations.

        "If it holds true to even half the expectations," is a caveat we're definitely going to be having to make more of. There have been so many MMOs released since WoW where people have claimed the same thing. WAR, Aion, AoC, Tera, Rift, STO, DCUO, FFXIV, SWTOR, GW2, TSW... None of these were WoW-killers, no matter how badly their most ardent fans hoped. None of them ever took as big a chunk out of that dinosaur's flank as they were hoping to.

        Did they have an impact? Maybe. People might've stopped what they were doing in WoW to check out the New Hotness, but if Other Games can do ANYTHING to WoW, it's by inflicting death by a thousand cuts. There are many more to go before anything happens there, and they're more likely to cannibalize each other in the process.

          True enough, but the thing your missing is most of these were games that held fairly close to what WoW already is. A 3rd person action RPG in which you slowly develop your character, live in a persistent and fairly *static* world.

          The other point being, people generally don't leave WoW just because there is something 'new and shiney' - it is from a genuine growing dislike/discontent with the game, and actively trying to seek something else that can capture their interest. Yes, obviously for a lot of people, current titles have failed to do that. For me WoT & PS2 + random other SP games have filled the gap and kept me from getting bored and going back to WoW.

          Star Citizen is much closer to EVE Online then WoW. Your 'character' is not actually your avatar. It is the ship(s) you purchase, and upgrade over time. You exist in a persistent *organic* world, which changes and evolves around you based on your actions and the actions of the other players int he game... ALL the other players in the game, at this point upwards of 170,000 - players that are going to group up in outfits/clans/corporations with other players that hold similar interests, these groups then in turn effecting the universe around them through there actions, both shaping the persistent world we will exist in, and the economy and history of the game. The other part of this is there is no 'end game'. There is no final boss to beat, no 'end' to the story. There will always be another challenge, more story to create as you go.

          Hell it has worked so well in EVE Online that a TV show is now being developed based on the game using the history of player driven events that have occurred in the game. Star Citizen will be much the same, with a mix of developer driven story in the form of NPC accessed missions, and the 50 mission Squadron 42 campaign, and the events that happen organically based on the actions of players. A freighter being attacked by PC pirates, leading to a PC raid on a pirate outpost, leading to retaliatory strikes and further raids - all organic, within the game environment, driven by the choices made by players. This is something WoW, and most MMORPGs, sorely lacks - and why you get people that hammer through the game content and go "now what?", get bored, and move on to the next shiny thing.

          Anyway, I'm rambling on now so I'll shutup =).

          TLDR version: SC is more like EVE then WoW, and while not necessarily a 'WoW killer' - I predict it will last a lot longer then 99% of MMORPG titles to be released over the last 5-10 years thanks to it's design.

            I agree about the comparisons for SC specifically. And pretty much everything else you said except for the bit, "people generally don't leave WoW just because there is something 'new and shiney' - it is from a genuine growing dislike/discontent with the game," which doesn't apply to myself and my friends/family at all. We're all pretty much MMO tourists in the truest sense of the word. If WoW is home, everywhere else is a vacation, and we're always pretty keen to check out new destinations. :)

              haha fair enough. I guess each to their own. My experience is that most of the people (guild-mates, rl friends, etc) that leave the game, leave literally out of a discontent with the game itself, whether it be the content, the balance (lack-thereof) or any combination of factors.

              In my mind, Blizzard is now grasping at straws trying to inject content into the game that actually seems 'fresh' - but then I'm of the crowd that would rather go back to v1.0 (though of course a bug free and better balanced version =p), where owning item-x was actually a decent achievement - instead of handing out participation awards =p.

              For me, the "wow" factor of WoW is simply long since dead and buried.

      The game is better than ever, but its old, and like you said the new blood will never completely replace the old thats bled. Ill feel a sense of remorse the day another subscription MMO breaks their player record. But that day is a long way off, and may never come. Thats what makes WoW special, to me at least.

    I played casually for over 7 years now and in my opinion MoP was their best expac, however for me it was a case of too much content too quickly that i just couldn't keep up. The irony of this is that the content was meant to cater more for the casual player but when i logged in i would be forever being told have you done this yet? have you completed this? when i hadn't even heard of it before. I just couldn't keep up and therefore gave up.

    Just to clarify when i say i played casually it was still 1-2 hours a night and maybe 3x that on weekends, which was still a minimum investment of 11hours a week.

    I've been unsubscribed since November 2012, after a 3 month return. I don't have the want to return to the game.

    It's no surprise Blizzard lost another million and a bit subscribers, the end game content has not been fun since Wrath of the Lich King, I always enjoyed PVP absolutely loved Cataclysms PVP it was awesome, but Mists of Pandaria really lacks in that department. After hitting 90 on my Rogue I dove straight back into it. Couldn't get into it.

    6 weeks later my sub ran out and I never bothered renewing it. Blizzard gave me a free week back when the new patch hit. I took it, went on and talked with friends that still played. I actually never did anything, I tended to my farm one day but that was it, spent all my money on useless vanity shit then logged off and never bothered again.

    I will probably look into the next expansion, but that's a big probably.

      My sub lapsed without me realizing it, too. I really blame the 'raid or die' endgame focus. I wish there were challenging, max iLevel rewards and content for similarly-difficult solo/small groups. Something I could do without signing up for ridiculous scheduling/personality-conflicts and the 'your success is determined by the group's biggest fuckups' baggage that comes with raiding.

      Endgame = Raiding, and until that changes, I have no reason to be there. I already have a job, thanks.

        Even the daily grind of damn quests was such a chore. Hated it so much.

        Yeah raiding was never something I was into, I was into PVP but they ruined that, they blabbed on how PVP was a massive focus and we got what 2 new battlegrounds and modes and that was it? Wasn't really that focused on PVP if you ask me Blizzard.

        Blizzards 10 years with the most popular MMO have run its course. It was fun while it lasted I will say.

          I didn't mind the dailies which had some variety to them. I actually looked forward to seeing how things were going to progress with my rival at the temple of the Red Crane. I wanted to see more of that. And I'd have been a LOT more interested in the Golden Lotus' progression, if they hadn't been the only thing to do at that point and if they weren't gating me from accessing the Celestials/Shado-Pan. As a result, I resented them because they were barring my progress with an artificial timer.

            I guess I was just exhausted with dailies, since I grinded the FUCK out of them in Cataclysm, I think in the first 2 months I was exalted with every cata faction which had dailies and had all the fancy gear... I had something like 50 exalted reputations come end of Cataclysm thanks to questing and grinding dailies.

            Actually that is one thing I would go back to WoW for, to finish off my Loremaster title. I got pretty lazy when I was almost done ha. But I thought 30 something titles was enough in the end heh. I guess that's what happens when you have 155 days logged PLAYED time on your main character (A Human Rogue) so many lost hours. Not that I regret playing the game, it was fun. I made new friends and had fun in a social guild. Never bought the whole raiding thing.

    Vanilla grind to lvl 60 - A month.
    MoP grind to lvl 90 - A week.

    The majority wanted an easier game, well they got it and they fucked it.

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