Tobold's Blog
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
WoW hits 10 million on the rebound

Blizzard announced that they now have 10 million players. And they were even willing to give us a bit more detail, stating that of these 10 million 2 million are in Europe, 2.5 million in North America, and 5.5 million in Asia. Please keep in mind that the Asians only pay 6 cent per hour, and that the Chinese distributor The9 grabs a big share of the profits, so Asia isn't as profitable as it might look. In fact, if we assume that each western subscriber is worth $200 per year, for one expansion box and 12 monthly fees, the 4.5 million US/Euro players already bring in $900 million from Blizzards stated earnings of $1.1 billion. Which would lead us to the conclusion that Asia "only" earns Blizzard $200 million. Which is still quite a package.

Blizzard is telling us the US and Euro numbers because they don't look so bad any more as they still did in September. WoW is on a definitive rebound in the western world, as seen on the Warcraftrealms activity chart. December had the highest number of primetime players since March. Apparently many players, like me, got a bit bored of WoW, tried some other games, and then came back because the other games weren't any better.
But upon returning players realize WoW is still at a standpoint. yes I came back on a scroll and am not impressed. All I see are unguilded people running around in Gladiator gear with 1300 arena rankings.

The game never took skill, just a time commitment & dedication to accomplish something. Now every Tom, Dick & Harry can just spend a few minutes a day to get decked out and the sense of accomplishment is gone.

yea yea yea, I was a member of the Have club and enjoyed the Have Nots crying about wanting loot. Well now they have it but where is the fun? Well in leveling up alts. Ok, then after you level up 4 of them, what next, keep going to 7? The game is just exposed for the gring is us with no challenge. They definately need to just allow people to start at 60.

Like single player games, WoW has reached an end. The avg age of players must be getting younger by the discussions I saw in town compared to a year ago when I quit which after reaching 70 and laughing at Blizzards game which wanted me to grind rep to get to heroic dungeons.

oh well, I'll wait until AoC, then WAR, then I'll even play WotLK until I max that level. Maybe then one of those 3 will appeal to those of us needing "some" challenge. But between those I'll play single players games, some PS3 & Wii. Limit yourself to WoW only and you will miss so much just to be a mouse on a wheel.

But I do enjoy reading about your games Tobold since I'm not currently in them haha. Keep up the great work. I don't play Pirates and many complain about you writing on it, but I enjoy your perspective and seeing how these other games are.

I actually saw a log-on queue on my WoW server a couple of nights ago -- for the first time in a year-or-so. It may well be because of a reason that Tobold put forward - right now, there just isn't any other MMO out there with the polish and depth of WoW. It's good to read your broad exploration of MMOs, Tobold!

I could understand the previous poster's frustration if I was primarily an instance-raid player. But I'm primarily a PvP player, and like any game pitting real people against real people in a static setting, many people find the fun and re-play in PvP to be excellent and lasting (even with its many flaws). With so many people in the guild enjoying PvP, we're actually seeing a trend toward guild PvP groups, and frankly, PvP BG grouping with Vent has been far more fun for me than raid grouping.

And if I went by main-city trade chat for my server maturity estimate, I'd rate it as quite immature! On the other hand, I'm in a guild with an age-18 requirement with dozens of members. With a few clicks of "ignore", the 'server maturity level' increases dramatically :)
well I think the status quo will remain till something else that's good comes along.

My biggest hope is that Warhammer steals enough players away that they actually are forced to try and come up with something new.

I've been leveling a new horde character on a high pop server and even there I have difficulty forming groups. We had to 4 man BFD the other night because only 4 people were interested. we had fun but it really takes something away from an instance run when you have to pick up a 33 level warrior to run a 20ish instance because that's all that's available.

Oh well. We'll see how it goes but I play a lot less than I used to and if grouping doesn't get better in outlands I'll probably fade away and that will be the end. PVP in wow just isn't any fun for me. And it seems in the Wow that exists today that PVP is 90 percent of the game.
"The game never took skill, just a time commitment & dedication to accomplish something. Now every Tom, Dick & Harry can just spend a few minutes a day to get decked out and the sense of accomplishment is gone."

I would have to disagree with this. Whether there is a sense of accomplisment depends very much on who you are as a gamer.

For example, my current goal is to get the Gladiator Mace for my Druid. I've set a pace for myself of 1k Honor a night, and in 21 days I'll have a shiny. I fully acknowledge that 1k Honor a night is a trivial pace for some (*cough* 300 resil AB premades), but for ME, a guy with 8k health and no's a challenge.

1k Honor is roughly an hour of AV, or two hours of EOTS/AB. Again, I understand that someone could just AFK each night, but for ME, who wants to perform well and, you, it's a challenge. I get home from work at 6pm, chat with the family, etc. From 8-9 (or so) I'm fighting, constantly. If I'm behind on Honor I grind it until I meet my goal.

Alliance on my battlegroup has something like an 15% win rate in EOTS/AB, and something like 50% in AV. These are HARD fights, every minute, every night. Again, perhaps not hard for someone in full Merciless - but that person's story is not mine. For ME, that rogue with dual s3 maces is a deadly threat, and simply surviving long enough for reinforcments to arrive is a major victory. Not to mention dealing with the frustration of PUG PvP, losing again and again, yet trying to approach each new game as a potential victory.

So, when I finally get my mace 3 weeks from now, I absolutely will have earned it. Maybe Joe AFK didn't earn it, but without me fighting, he wouldn't have gotten any honor. I earned maces for BOTH of us. It's a shame that the sense of accomplishment in WoW is gone for some (perhaps you among them), but believe me, it's not gone for everyone.
"...and the sense of accomplishment is gone."

"...when I quit which after reaching 70 and laughing at Blizzards game which wanted me to grind rep to get to heroic dungeons."

Nice way to contradict yourself...
I think Blizzard's use of sending trial DvDs in the mail, resurrection scrolls, and 5 or more different TV commercials helped turn around the numbers after they started declining.
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