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Damien

WoW down to 9.6M subscribers - Thoughts?

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Activision-Blizzard made the press release for their quarterly results (Q4 2012) available before the actual conference call. On page three, you will find the announcement about the WoW subscribers, which they define as follows (on page five):

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. Subscribers in licensees' territories are defined along the same rules.

I'm a bit disappointed by the number, I have to say. I find Mists of Pandaria to be a really good expansion and things will only get better with Patch 5.2 (the new daily quest hub is just awesome, so far).

One thing I regret is that they never release the numbers by zone. In particular, I would like to know how the number of subscribers in Europe and in North America has varied over the years (mostly because this is the readership we target with this website).

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That would definitely be interesting to see which areas gained/lost the most players. I've only been playing for the past 2 years but I love this game. My guess may be that, at least in the US, with the declining economy people can't afford it. I know a good bit of people that stopped playing due to money. Could also just be the length of time WoW has been out. Some players may just be burnt out. I know I lose interest sometimes and stop playing for a few weeks.

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There's also many more gaming options these days. For Wow to manage 9.6M subscribers today is absolutely amazing.

Also, "Mists of Pandaria was the #3 best-selling PC game at retail." Amazing.

Edited by Stasis

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Due to the economy that is why WoW is now down to 9.6M. There are also other options for players like f2p games out there.

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A game that has been running since February 2005 still has 9.6 MILLION subscribers? I think that says everything. I can't even remember a game in past history that keeps millions of people playing 8 years after it's initial release. Very impressive overall in my opinion!

Edited by Tiitch

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I am not surprised as they have lost some people over certain changes to make the game more friendly to certain players. Also with the release of Diablo 3 they had a lot of people change which games they were playing. Starcraft 2 also has a pretty good base of players who switched form WoW plus I have noticed a couple people on my friends list playing it more often and I would attribute that to the upcoming expansion.

Nothing can stay huge forever and one thing stopping people from joining the band wagon is the cost to get started. Vanilla cost me 40 when I started to play. Right now even with sales it would cost around 100 to get started on top of the monthly fee. If they were to throw a free month in on each expansion or at least the newest one it would probably get some more people to convert.

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This tier of raiding is always daunting. The progress of most guilds is stunted because 3 separate raids makes planning for them difficult. Consider this:

Heroic Stone Guard is often killed before normal Sha of Fear. This gives the allure that heroic modes are easy. Groups then go and attempt Heroic Feng...and wipe, but they get it eventually. Lots of 2/6H MSV guilds out there. Gara'jal is the first 'DPS Check' wall. Once you have the gear, this fight is trivial. But consider the difficulty of Spirit Kings...many guilds skip over this to do Heroic Elegon due to its ease. In fact, you have 2 (or arguably 3) heroic mode encounters in Heart of Fear that are easier than Spirit Kings and Will of the Emperors. There's even an accessible Heroic mode in Terrace that you can do before knocking off Spirit Kings. A passable progressive order looks like this:

Stone Guard - Feng - Gara'jal - Elegon - Blade Lord - Wind Lord - Garalon - Lei Shi - Spirit Kings - Will of the Emperors - Vizier - Amber Shaper - Protectors - Shek'zeer - Tsulong - Sha of Fear

In terms of zones, it looks like this...

MSV - MSV - MSV - MSV - HoF - HoF - HoF - ToES - MSV - MSV - HoF - HoF - ToES - HoF - ToES - ToES

Some groups have tried to clear MSV before moving on which limits their growth and gear acquisition as well as their progression. This creates frustration amongst some groups as others go on to clear more and be better because of a better planned access path. Think back to T11 when we had to bounce back and forth between Blackwing Descent, Bastion of Twilight, and Throne of the Four Winds. Halfus was very accessible as well as the double dragons...but Ascendent Council? Guilds often didn't down this until their 9th or 10th heroic out of the 12 (13 if you count Sinestra). However, most of these groups came back in Firelands and tackled 6/7H either before nerf or definitely after the nerf. At least they all got to do progression in the same place.

I'm anticipating a number of players returning for 5.2 and sticking it out. This raid looks as if it will be Ulduar 2.0 which will make many people, myself included, absolutely ecstatic. I personally have dealt with people leaving and quitting the game only to come back for a new patch, so I'm sure the general population will repeat that pattern.

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I quit mid WotLK and didn't play Cataclysm at all and was quite surprised at the "ease" the game has been equipped with. Lots of improvements, yes. But still...

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Curious to see what impact Elder Scrolls online has on WOW subscriptions. I'd probably still play WOW but I would like the variety if ESO manages to show some originality.

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I'm anticipating FF14's improved release. Most games I enjoy have lost their values...I have to do crazy things like take the Nemesis out with a knife only in Resident Evil 3...or play one of those ridiculous Super Mario World hacks. 5.2 has brought a lot of fun for me back, and the new dailies string is nice. I dreaded that it would include doing all of Stage 1 over and over + Stage 2. Instead, Stage 2 gave you 1 new set of dailies, 2 old ones for familiarity, and it showed you HOW they actually got there. Pretty cool all in all...it's taken the best of the MoP daily system and made it less tedius yet still require some time commitment. The extra you get from dailies (keys, summonable creatures, etc) are a nice perk to keep the monotony down. The normal modes of the raids were a bit relaxed as once you learn the mechanics, the fight gets super easy. There is no DPS wall or anything, so hopefully heroics bring out the best in players and finding ways to overcome obstacles.

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      Patrol Captain Gerdo: Captain of the Duskwatch, Gerdo has devoted his life to keeping the peace within the walls of Suramar. Though he has a growing unease since the arrival of the Legion, he remains faithful and loyal to the leadership of Suramar. Elisande has safeguarded them for generations, and she knows what is best for the people of the city. Tonight, Gerdo’s task is to ensure that only citizens with the proper credentials are able to enter a gathering of particular importance at the manor.
      Talixae Flamewreath: A sadistic eredar sorcerer, even as she understands the importance of the nightborne to her master’s plans, Talixae chafes at the indignity of standing guard over a building full of elves. Nevertheless, she and her lieutenants remain vigilant, and while they live, no intruders will disrupt the gathering.
      Advisor Melandrus: First Blade of the Grand Magistrix, Melandrus rarely leaves Elisande’s side. He has eschewed the magical arts, instead harnessing the power of the Nightwell to heighten his reflexes and his movements to inhuman levels.
      (source)
    • By Zadina
      Two new videos have been released, briefly introducing Artifacts and how they work. Meanwhile, Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas clarified that Artifact Power from quests and treasures will scale with Artifact Knowledge.
      Are you ready to get your hands on your Artifacts in less than a week? Two new videos present Artifact weapons and their systems. As it is mentioned in the videos, they barely touch the surface of this whole topic.
      Blizzard Entertainment
      To defeat the Legion, you’ll need to wield the most powerful weapons on Azeroth. To help you learn more about these weapons and the new Artifact system, we’ve put together two new feature videos to provide you more insight.
       
          The Artifact Forge   (source) On the topic of Artifacts, Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas explained that it is intended that Artifact Power from quests and treasures to scale with Artifact Knowledge. Think of Artifact Power as a raw currency that you will use to unlock the traits on your weapon, whereas Artifact Knowledge is just a raw increase of the rate you gain Artifact Power from all sources.
      A lot of people felt that with AP scaling with AK, it would be better to intentionally leave quests and treasures and grab them at a higher (or max) level, so they could get more AP. In a lengthy post, Watcher explained why it is better to just grab anything that yields Artifact Power immediately and not save it for a later time.
      Watcher
      + Show- Hide The fact that Artifact Power rewards from quests and treasures now scale with Knowledge is not a bug.

      We started off the design of the system thinking along the exact same lines as many of the posters in this thread: We figured that we should make sure that one-time AP rewards did not scale, or else the "right" answer might be to delay completing key quests or collecting any treasures until you had higher Knowledge. And that didn't sound like much fun.

      So we spent the first half of beta with all repeatable AP sources (world quests, item drops, missions, etc.) scaling, and all story quests and treasures flat. We added multipliers to things like Suramar or Order Campaign quests that tried to incorporate a likely expected Knowledge level at the point where players would get to that content. So, for example, finishing the third chapter of the Suramar campaign awarded a flat 10k Artifact Power, since by that point we expected players to likely have a ~14x multiplier from being around Knowledge Level 12, and we wanted to make sure that the reward still felt meaningful to that player.

      But as we were actually playtesting extensively and getting into endgame ourselves and going through the Artifact Power and Knowledge progressions, we realized two things: Artifact Power isn't a limited resource. There's always more available. There are world quests popping up every few hours, dungeons that can be repeatedly run, and so forth. And regardless of what we did with one-time sources, the vast majority of a player's AP over the course of the expansion would come from repeatable sources. Even trying to account for an expected "par" Knowledge level, any time you came across a non-scaling reward that was aimed at someone with a lower Knowledge level, it felt pretty bad. Stumbling across a zone side-quest you'd missed and getting 100 AP from it when you needed 70k for your next trait felt like a waste of time. Opening a treasure to get 25 AP when you needed 300k for your next trait felt insulting. The system we'd set up actually encouraged trying to front-load all your AP while it still mattered (e.g. doing a full world tour to collect every treasure possible while still at Knowledge Level 1, since if you waited they'd no longer be worth the time relative to other activities).   So we started changing it. The first step was making treasures and level-up quests scale. That helped, but we still found that someone who delayed doing much in Suramar beyond the initial Friendly unlock, and instead focused on other content (dungeons, world quests, etc.), found all the rewards in the zone incredibly underwhelming once they got around to doing those quests. So just over a month ago, we also converted those rewards to be scaling sources.

      Now, we haven't had a new client build since then, so community sites and datamining likely still show the values of the old items. That Suramar Chapter 3 capstone reward mentioned above is not a 10k AP item that gets multiplied by Artifact Power - that'd be pretty crazy. It's now just a 750 AP base item, which will give around 10k AP when you get there if you've been keeping up with your Knowledge.

      It's not necessarily intuitive, since at first glance it seems like an obvious flaw in our system that if you wait until Knowledge Level 20 (a month and a half longer) to complete that quest, it'd give over 70k AP instead of 10k. Aren't you "wasting" 60k AP if you don't do that? The key here is that everything is relative. That Suramar quest capstone reward is equal to ~5 world quests. It'll be equal to 5 world quests if you do it ASAP; it'll be equal to 5 world quests if you do it two months later. And it'll contribute roughly the same amount towards whatever trait you're working on at the time.

      Finally, it's also worth noting that the biggest one-time sources of AP are the Order Hall campaign, and the Suramar campaign. From a pure min-max perspective (probably the mindset most associated with the competitive raider), you really don't want to delay turning in either of those. The former leads to unlocking your third Artifact relic slot; the latter unlocks additional repeatable sources of AP (new world quests) and eventually access to the two Mythic dungeons, for an extra two Mythic clears each week.

      tl;dr: Just get Artifact Power when you find it, as you find it. Enjoy the rewards and the immediate benefit, and you aren't hurting yourself in the long run. (source) If all this talk about Artifacts, Artifact Power and Artifact Knowledge confused you, it might help reading our recap of the Artifacts and Order Halls Q&A with Craig Amai. Blizzard has promised that this whole system will seem much easier and will feel natural once it goes live and we get our hands on it.
      If you are interested in learning more about the history and lore of each Artifact, Blainie has written an excellent series of articles for each class. Here they are:
      Death Knight Demon Hunter Druid Hunter Mage Monk Paladin Priest Rogue Shaman Warlock Warrior
    • By Blainie
      Blizzard has been making efforts to represent their various franchises around the world recently. This is no different, as a glow-in-the-dark mural of Illidan has popped up in Taiwan.
      You can check out the video of the process below:
      It looks like Taiwan is enjoying plenty of attention from the Blizzard crews, with a statue of Arthas going up last month. You can watch the video of that below, just in case you missed it:
       
    • By Damien
      This thread is for comments about our Wardens reputation guide.