Blizzard has reported steady quarterly declines for World of Warcraft since its peak in 2010. A Senior Producer at Blizzard recently spoke about the loss of subscribers, calling it unsurprising and atrributing it, at least partly, to the success of Star Wars: The Old Republic.
In a recent interview with Eurogamer, John Lagrave told the publication “Of course people are trying Star Wars – our development team are trying Star Wars! I’m one of the few people who’s still playing it actually, but yeah we’ve seen a dip in subs. It certainly has to at least be attributable to The Old Republic, but it’s also attributable to people who want to wait and get Mists of Pandaria, so it’s not surprising.”
For World of Warcraft, Blizzard looks to stoke the flames with their ambitious expansion later this year. Mists of Pandaria is centered around the Pandaran Race which little is known about. We do know they are Pandas, and after taking an hour long test drive with the game at BlizzCon, I can say that the new game zone is definitely unlike anything Blizzard has released up to this point for WoW. Is it enough to keep players engaged and lift subscriber numbers? That’s yet to be seen. The company is also making it easier to get into WoW for the long haul with the yearly pass, which includes a copy of Diablo III and is a pretty decent deal if you are considering getting the upcoming dungeon crawler. The MMO is also free to play up to level 20, which delivers a surprising portion of the game to players at zero cost. If these promotions don’t breathe new life into the MMO, Blizzard still hasn’t taken Free to Play completely off the table, but they are comfortable with the position they are in currently.
“We could certainly look at extending the level of the trial,” Lagrave told Eurogamer, “what you can do in the trial in terms of the amount of gold that you can have and all that kind of stuff.
“There’s a fair amount that you can experience up to level 20, because you really get most of the core systems in by that point. “But we can absolutely say, ‘Hey, why don’t we make it level 40?’ ‘Why don’t we make it level 60?’, do we let you at least experience the old world? It’s all possible.”
As for The Old Republic, Bioware is just getting started with their massive MMO. The last figures out of EA claimed that the MMO sold 2 million copies and had a subscriber base nearing the same figure. Bioware is still fine tuning the MMO, listening to community feedback to improve upon the outstanding infrastructure they have in place. Bioware is set to rollout another big update in the coming weeks for The Old Republic, some features can be seen below.