World of Warcraft subscriptions are down from 10 million to 7.1 million, Blizzard said during a financial earnings call yesterday. A record amount of people unsubscribed in the first three months of this year.
This drop is particularly unusual because it happened right after a huge increase in subscribers. MMO-Champion's graph shows the timeline well: A lot of people jumped into the game for the expansion pack Warlords of Draenor in November and a lot of them left a few months later.
And the reasons for a huge drop like this? While the graph above might suggest the expansion is simply bad and people are fleeing, that might not be the case. World of Warcraft is 10 years old now, so an overall decline in subscriber numbers is nothing new. The hype for the latest expansion was also really huge. One big selling point was the character booster, which would let anyone — both new and returning players — immediately leap to level 90, no grinding required. That was a huge hook both for lapsed WoW fans and curious newcomers. But once they tried out the endgame, many of those fans likely left.
The lack of quality endgame content is an issue. Once you hit level 100, there's not a lot to do: there are daily Garrison chores, two raids, and a couple of daily quests. These are great, but not enough to keep people around for months. Draenor lacks the type of cool endgame content that worked so well in previous expansions: dungeons and PvP aren't worth doing, and there aren't many daily quest hubs. The paper-thin patch 6.1 hasn't really added anything big, either.
So maybe that's why so many people have left. There's a reason to be optimistic, though: Tanaan Jungle and the Shipyard in patch 6.2 both look enormous, and hopefully they will help shake things up.