Blaugust – Day 5
If you play videogames, MMOs, or follow videogame news on Twitter it’s likely that yesterday you heard about the news regarding the biggest MMO game on the market: World of Warcraft (WoW) is down to 5.6 million subscribers. While it is still an incredible number (WoW is, after all, a 10 year old sub-based MMO that’s still #1 in sub numbers) it’s still an important drop – almost 50% of the player base of 10 million at the beginning of the current expansion, Warlords of Draenor (WoD).
As someone who left WoW during the days of Mists of Pandaria (MoP), specifically after the Throne of Thunder patch, I cannot claim to have first hand experience with WoD, but what I do know is that mostly everyone I follow on Twitter has had issues with it: from the boring post-leveling content, the monotony of the Garrisons, the lack of content considering this expansion had a price $10 above what was expected, to the controversy about a certain cinematic that showed a certain “bad” character suddenly celebrating and being all buddy-buddy with the “good” guys (all between quotes because in WoW no faction is truly good or bad exclusively).
Next to the lack of flying, the biggest gripe of all seems to be surprise revelation that 6.2 was the last raid-patch of the expansion. With a new expansion being announced in a couple of days, it is suspected there will be no big content releasing until the new stuff comes; WoW players are potentially facing another 6+ month content drought – something that they specifically wanted to avoid after having the same problem during Cataclysm, when they promised to fix that before ending up doing it again for Mists.
All these issues add up and a lot of players seem to have just stopped enjoying Azeroth and what it has to offer, and the new sub numbers confirm this discontent.
The correct attitude
I was glad to see many WoW players on Twitter talk about this problems. The best thing WoW players can do is voice their concerns; eventually the dev team will (hopefully) take their concerns into consideration. It’s also good to see them identifying the issues – it is in the knowledge of what they don’t like that solutions can be found.
The wrong attitude
What’s not good, though, is players closing up and denying that something’s wrong. “WoW is still the best MMO on the market and it’s still the king in subs“. It may be so, but they cannot close themselves to consider that not only has WoW lost almost half its player base in about a year, but also that it now has a sub base it has not had since 2005.
The bad attitude
Sadly, there are those that would brush off this issues by detouring the subject to other things or games. Yesterday a certain person from a certain Blizzard/WoW fan site tweeted, mockingly, that while people claim that “WoW is dead” having 5.6 million subs there are those that say that “FFXIV is the best game ever” despite it only having 1 million subs. XIV could have 100k subs but the outlook of the game is positive on social networks; heck, it’s even positive in WoW forums where recently people commented on posts saying they were leaving WoW (and it’s issues) for XIV.
“WoW still has more subs than [insert MMO here]” is not only a terrible defense of you case, but also misses the point entirely: it’s not about bashing others, but rather seeing what can improve in your favorite game.
Where to go next?
WoW’s next expansion is a mystery that will be revealed very soon. Hopefully numbers will spike again thanks to hype, and more importantly, stay high thanks to constant and good content to keep WoW players happy. Blizz may have new cash cows (Heartstone and Heroes of the Storm) but Warcraft will always be an important part of their history (and video gaming’s history) – they have, as I read on Twitter, a “make it or break it” chance now.