WoW: Drop in players, but best is yet to come

Blizzard's last financial report stated that World of Warcraft had 11.4 million subscribers. That's a drop of 600,000 gamers - nearly 5% - since the heady days of 2010 at the launch of Cataclysm.

While many gamers are pointing and laughing, using the numbers to illustrate WoW's obvious and inevitable fall from grace, Blizzard itself remains optimistic, believing simply that the company's peak - indeed the game's highest point - is yet to come.

How? China. Brazil. The new trial service launched earlier in the year.

World of Warcraft - Cataclysm Worgen

That's what she said...

Blizzard's Vice President and Marketing Director of International, Michael Ryder, promises that there are "a lot of great things" happening with the Warcraft franchise:

We are launching in Brazil this year and we have great expectations for that. The numbers you might be looking at from the end of the last quarter, that was before Cataclysm launched in China. That is a big part of our business going forward.

He also explained to MCV UK that the change to the game's trial service - previously a time-based project that gave gamers a week or two of free gaming. Now, players can take as long as they want to mess around with the game, until their character achieves level 20. The Blizzard number crunchers have discovered that when people ding 20, "they're more likely to stay on," says Ryder.

World of Warcraft: Pandaren Monk

Pandaren Monk

The company is testing the theory that helping gamers to get over the initial, steep learning curve will encourage them to stick around longer with the game - thus building and sustaining the game's player-base.

The troubled launch in China and the expansion into Brazil will only help too, so - while haters gonn' hate, the numbers really do suggest that this is merely a lull in the overall domination plans for World of Warcraft.

...the rumoured fourth expansion pack, expected to be announced at this year's BlizzCon won't really hurt those plans either, of course.

World of Warcraft has just been patched to version 4.2.2, which contains a tiny collection of hotfixes in preparation for the eagerly anticipated transmogrification in v4.3, due "soon". If you want to grab the appropriate files, they're lurking in our File Library. While they're downloading, here's the less-than-elaborate patch notes for your perusal!

Dungeons & Raids

  • Firelands
  • The visibility of Ragnaros' Dreadflame ability has been increased.
  • The size of Ragnaros' hit box during the final phase of the Heroic encounter has been increased.

User Interface

  • Raid Frames should now remember whether they were shown or hidden upon subsequent logins


  • Players using multiple accounts should now be available to be invited to a Real ID Party.
  • Updating a raid roster while in combat should no longer cause a client crash.
  • Attempts to purchase Arena Season 10 items should no longer sometimes cause a client crash. (Korea Only)
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