The beginning of the end for Blizzard?


  • Grade A Premium Asshole

    WoW lost ~30% of their subscriber base in one quarter. That has to hurt.



  • Maybe they'll start releasing more games again.



  • People have been yelling wow is dying since it peaked during wrath of the lich king, ~5 years ago. If I recall correctly, it's been at a lower point during the previous expansion cycle. And even when wow stops being profitable, there are plenty of other projects they're juggling.

    Sure, they lost 3 million subs. Just subs - I don't even think revenue was down last quarter. And every other western MMO producer is wishing they had 3 million subs to lose.


  • SockDev

    Given WoW is free-to-play, losing 3 million subs doesn't mean they're losing 3 million paying customers


  • Grade A Premium Asshole

    @Magus said:

    Maybe they'll start releasing more games again.

    That might be difficult. They also lost some key devs right before they started losing subs.

    @PleegWat said:

    Sure, they lost 3 million subs. Just subs - I don't even think revenue was down last quarter. And every other western MMO producer is wishing they had 3 million subs to lose.

    Well...don't they make their money off of subscribers?? At $15/month per subscriber, that is $45M in cashflow, per month that is lost.

    Also, keep in mind that they are at 7M subscribers, when their high point was 2011 when they had 11.5M subscribers.


  • Grade A Premium Asshole



  • @RaceProUK said:

    Given WoW is free-to-play, losing 3 million subs doesn't mean they're losing 3 million paying customers

    Only the first 20 levels and none of the social features, or you have to invest enough time to buy a wow token each month (recent feature, quite expensive ingame purchase). For all intents and purposes, wow is a subscription-based game.


  • SockDev

    @Polygeekery said:

    @RaceProUK said:
    Given WoW is free-to-play

    Que?



  • I think subscriptions are paying customers?



  • Most people would classify that as "free to start".


  • Grade A Premium Asshole

    So, they have a demo. That is not really "free to play" as a revenue model....



  • @Polygeekery said:

    That might be difficult. They also lost some key devs right before they started losing subs.

    They lost subs in the period following expansion release. They've lost subs by the millions for the last 3 expansion releases in the row. There is simply a large contingent of players, especially in Asia, who stop their subs once they've reached max level.

    @Polygeekery said:

    Well...don't they make their money off of subscribers?? At $15/month per subscriber, that is $45M in cashflow, per month that is lost.

    They do. Apparently there is increased cash flow from other means (purchasable in-game vanity items, level boost up to the cap of the previous expansion set).


  • SockDev

    Well, whatever it means, it can't be a bad thing; share prices went up after this news



  • Up to level 20 and you don't get any social features. That's like saying a dress shop is free because you can come in and look at the dresses without intent to purchase.


  • Grade A Premium Asshole

    @PleegWat said:

    There is simply a large contingent of players, especially in Asia, who stop their subs once they've reached max level.

    So they cannot produce content quickly enough?



  • Well, they've been planning an expansion every 18 months since original release, but they've been averaging 24 months. so in that regard, yes.

    However, wow includes multiple kinds of content, including player-versus-player, 10-25-man raid, and various kinds of solo content, which many consider to be the key part of the game.


  • Grade A Premium Asshole

    @RaceProUK said:

    Well, whatever it means, it can't be a bad thing; share prices went up after this news

    That's a spot price. Check it in a week.



  • @Polygeekery said:

    That's a spot price. Check it in a week.

    Announcement was during the earnings call last week.



  • This isn't the end.

    This isn't even the beginning of the end.

    However, this is the end of the beginning.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @Polygeekery said:

    Also, keep in mind that they are at 7M subscribers, when their high point was 2011 when they had 11.5M subscribers.

    The article mentions the newest expansion that came out last year. What were the subscriber numbers before it came out, I wonder? I would expect a surge in numbers at the release, and then a drop as people got bored.

    If they have 7M now and they had 7M in September, then this is a big nothingburger.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @PleegWat said:

    There is simply a large contingent of players, especially in Asia, who stop their subs once they've reached max level.

    That's interesting, considering how many people say that it's a whole new game at max level.



  • @FrostCat said:

    That's interesting, considering how many people say that it's a whole new game at max level.

    That doesn't imply it's a better game.


  • Grade A Premium Asshole

    @FrostCat said:

    That's interesting, considering how many people say that it's a whole new game at max level.

    Regardless, for many people they are all about leveling up. If they cannot level up further, I could see how it would stagnate for them.



  • @Polygeekery said:

    That might be difficult. They also lost some key devs right before they started losing subs.

    Don't the big studios get somewhere between tens and hundreds of resumés a day?

    @PleegWat said:

    People have been yelling wow is dying since it peaked during wrath of the lich king, ~5 years ago.

    As far as I'm concerned, it's been dead since 2006, when endgame involved taking orders over voicechat for six hours at a time while fighting computer-controlled opponents, attempting to form a cohesive unit out of randocommandoes in Alterac Valley, or going into newbie zones of the opposing faction to gank until high levels show up.


  • Grade A Premium Asshole

    @Groaner said:

    Don't the big studios get somewhere between tens and hundreds of resumés a day?

    I said "key dev", not "code monkey".



  • Key devs are just as replaceable as anyone else. I imagine if one has been working for years on the same title they get bored like anyone else.

    Ever since wrath there has allways been a drop in subs after a new expansion.
    The 30% they lost now is the 30% they gained prior to launch with their giveaway


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @Reddog said:

    Key devs are just as replaceable as anyone else.

    Key devs are awkward to replace, because it's not a role that you can just slot someone into. They need to understand a lot of what is going on across a substantial portion of the product and/or business, and that simply takes a lot of time. Which isn't to say they're irreplaceable, just that losing one is a significant speed-bump that any software-developing organisation has to deal with from time to time.

    Just like replacing many other types of specialised senior staff can be awkward. Same reason.



  • Wow has pretty much acted as seed money for other projects like hearthstone and heroes of the storm which will be far more reliable income streams for blizzard in the future, not least because they use resources far more efficiently (mmo servers have a much higher bottom line resources wise, far easier to spin up additional resources in small 2-10 player lumps. Instances in mmo help but not completely) and the free entry is far less hobbled (at least for heroes).

    Wow will be profitable down to the hundreds of thousands mark, but it is past it's prime. They cancelled the titan project or went back to square 1, so it's going to be a long wait for a replacement, but blizzard have yet to release a bad game (compared to it's genre) so I doubt the company will collapse.



  • True enough, but it's not like it's a new and fresh project. You'd hope that the assistant lead <role> has enough experience to step up and assume the lead role. While he will have a different style it should not influence the quality. Next to that both senior people who left blizzard, left at the end of the development cycle of the latest expansion. This should give the people who take over enough time to adopt to their new role.



  • @algorythmics said:

    but blizzard have yet to release a bad game (compared to it's genre)

    Warcraft III is a bad game.



  • Well, both of the starcrafts were better. Good RTSes are rare though.



  • I'm not saying Warcraft III is "just slightly worse than Starcraft," I'm saying it's a bad game. Because it is. The only reason anybody ever installed it was to play DOTA.

    Diablo III ain't so hot either, but I wouldn't go as far as calling it "bad". More like, "a boring but competent game which initially had some really awful mechanics that have since been patched-out."



  • @Groaner said:

    As far as I'm concerned, it's been dead since 2006, when endgame involved taking orders over voicechat for six hours at a time while fighting computer-controlled opponents

    Yeah, at that rate -- there's really nothing worth grinding for ;P If I'm going to be taking orders over voicechat for six hours at a time, it better be something bigger than a canned, nigh-choreographed boss fight that everyone gets to do, usually over and over again ;).

    @Groaner said:

    attempting to form a cohesive unit out of randocommandoes in Alterac Valley,

    When has cat-herding ever worked?

    @Groaner said:

    going into newbie zones of the opposing faction to gank until high levels show up.

    Besides, you never know when someone's not as newb as they look...

    Filed under: How do you turn the tables on a would-be ganker? Watch and learn... ;)



  • I'd be more concerned over Konami instead of Blizzard. In fact, I think I'll go create a new topic about that.



  • Diablo 3's main problem initially was that they stuck too close to diablo 2. As you mentioned a lot of this has been patched out, mostly with the expansion set.



  • @PleegWat said:

    Diablo 3's main problem initially was that they stuck too close to diablo 2.

    No; it was that they catered the drops to maximize financial performance of the real-money auction house. In a game where the very concept of HAVING a real-money auction house was offensive.

    Eventually they saw the light and trashed all that shit, but it took way too long.

    ... of course the real flaw is that the game is boring as shit. So goddamned boring.



  • Oh, right, that. I'd helpfully forgotten that abomination since I never paid attention to it.

    As I recall though, drops really were that slow in D2.


  • area_deu

    /players 8?



  • Dunno, never managed to get a character past nightmare.



  • it's definitely a bad RTs. It's the editor made it acceptable, though.

    Also, what is some idiot saying about d3 being too similar to d2? No one liked it precisely because it was too different!



  • It's not about speed. They rigged the drops so you were less likely to get drops for your own class and more likely to have to use the auction house to buy them.



  • I believe them when they said drops were properly random. You may be missing the buttloads of items that were not good for any class - like having both strength and dexterity on it.



  • Bullshit. D3 was way worse than Wc3



  • Honestly, the early leaks for D3 are a large part of why Path of Exile exists: Fans of the series raging about how it was being Done Wrong.

    So they made a better one.



  • Torchlight 2 is not only better, its actually fun to play.



  • I haven't tried the second one. I can't remember if I beat the first one; I think so, but it was kind of boring. It didn't make me expect good things from a sequel. Maybe they got it right.

    What I like in Path of Exile is that all the items are potentially useful, while the most downright godly ones are yours entirely by chance. And that's not even accounting for the fact that you can totally change the way all the skills work. I love customization, so I cannot disapprove of the only game in the genre with any customization worth mentioning.



  • Well, I've considered Path of Exile briefly, but I'm not sure what the redeeming value of a loot-hamster-wheel dungeon-grinder is to begin with...

    Filed under: is it any wonder that you complain that a genre of Vegas-inspired boredom is boring?



  • It's got a nice dark style with some kind of storyline that they're still developing. Act 4 should be out in the next month or two, which goes a bit deeper into it. It's a really nice expansion.

    They plan on doing more acts still. But ultimately, it's the same as Torchlight and Diablo, except with customization. The gameplay is really good. But it's also harder than the rest of the genre, since it's possible to build wrong and be unable to progress (Which tends to just mean you didn't get enough defense nodes), unless your dodging is spectacular.

    Though, beating the game on normal is pretty easy. It's meant to be entry level. You can stop there if you aren't into hard games.


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    To me, Path of Exile and Diablo 3 are two vastly different games.
    In Diablo 3 leveling up is pretty much the most fun part. Because you get a new skill with every level and since your drops progresses with your level you get a nice feeling when leveling up.
    Path of Exile has the worst leveling segments. You HAVE to play story mode to level up. You can't get rushed because higher leveled characters take all your exp and the story never changes.

    Path of Exile has really cool builds on higher levels, though. As you stated, the fact that uniques are useful throughout the whole game and are actually strong build enabler really works it's magic from level ~75 onwards.
    Diablo 3 is getting better in the Endgame-parts. As soon as you found a full End-Game-Set or whathaveyou it's fun to see how much damage you can do.

    Gear is still bullshit in D3, though. The fact that you can just look at how many green numbers there are compared to your current gear shows that very little thought goes into gearing in D3. Path of Exile has a - in my opinion - better gear process. You gotta look out for stats, sockets, colours, effects....

    Uniques were shit in D3 when it came out. After about a million patches, most of the uniques have some kind of unique effect. That is nice. I still like the PoE-effects better. They make me feel that even for a mediocre effect there is some kind of synergy to other uniques...

    TL;DR: Diablo 3 has gotten a lot better and is more fun for a casual player IMO. Path Of Exile is a great game but kind only begins to shine on late game. Also please consider using a build from their forums for maximum fun... because thats how the game works :smiley:

    @blakeyrat said:

    Torchlight 2 is not only better, its actually fun to play.

    This is just my personal experience but I was not really happy with TL2. There were too many drops and too much stuff was useless. I liked the "every 5 skill levels, your skill gets some kind of effect"-thing, they had going.
    Also I was never able to play more than 5 minutes of coop in that game because desync was SERIOUSLY strong with that game. I don't know if that has been patched, though.

    Filed Under: Useless rambling



  • @Kuro said:

    You can't get rushed because higher leveled characters take all your exp and the story never changes.

    Tel that to the guys who can hit level 90 in less than a week :/

    @Kuro said:

    As you stated, the fact that uniques are useful throughout the whole game

    I didn't, but QFT.

    @Kuro said:

    Gear is still bullshit in D3

    Yep.

    @Kuro said:

    I still like the PoE-effects better.

    Facebreaker. Now I am as powerful with no weapon as most people are with a weapon! No weapon sockets, though.

    @Kuro said:

    Path Of Exile is a great game but kind only begins to shine on late game.

    Act 4 is really cool.

    @Kuro said:

    Also please consider using a build from their forums for maximum fun...

    I don't know, I play it pretty casually. As long as you put some thought in, you'll be fine. I like building my character in a way I find cool, rather than using a cookie-cutter.


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