A State of Affairs – Part One.

So, as you have all probably seen in recent months, even over the past year or so, World of Warcraft is in a severe decline (to put it lightly). As of the most recent subscriber call World of Warcraft lost an additional 100,000 players to bring us firmly to 5.5 Million subscribers.

Some context, we’ve had 2.9 Million, 1.5 Million, and now an additional 100,000 players.

Along with the most recent conference call, it was announced that Blizzard will stop reporting subscribers in it’s quarterly calls, instead they aim to find another metric to judge the game by. Needless to say, this is an unprecedented move by Blizzard, a company that would pride itself on it’s subscriber numbers, even through the rampant losses we’ve sustained since Cataclysm.

So what does this say about the state of the game?

Well, to put it softly, they aren’t in a fun place.

It is very likely that the internal figures forecast for the immediate, and possibly long term future doesn’t show very good things for World of Warcraft. As one might imagine, based on discontinuing subscriber numbers, and the redaction of reporting success, that what they’ve seen has definitely spurred some big decisions down the road.

To put it bluntly, things are changing.

This move likely carries with it numerous implications. This move, as simple as it may seem, exudes what boils down to a vote of no confidence in their next expansion, “Legion”. It is entirely counter to the Blizzard we saw at the launch of Warlords of Draenor, shamelessly announcing they had broken ten million subscribers before the quarterly report broke. THAT is exuding confidence (albeit later misplaced) in your product.

Fast forward to today, and one failed expansion later, Blizzard flat out refuses to announce subscriber numbers indefinitely.

Talk about shooting yourself in the foot before you can even start the race.

Legion is the expansion that’s supposed to right the ship, to borrow a line, ‘bring balance to the force’. And yet Blizzard plans on not announcing subscriber numbers for it at the time being. Confident in their product? Absolutely not. If they cannot get behind Legion as a solid title, then why should we?

If they cannot expect the title to even mirror to a degree the initial success of Warlords of Draenor, then what does that leave us to believe the quality of the next title will turn out to be?

Let’s face facts, on paper Warlords of Draenor was an abject failure. Numerically speaking the worst expansion in the history of the game. As for individual experiences? They may vary, however Warlords remains embattled at best.

So if Blizzard can go to bat for Warlords (given the quality that they advertised to us) why can they not go to bat for Legion? So far it seems to remedy everything Warlords had done wrong. It seems to have added everything Warlords couldn’t manage. The development team is the biggest it’s ever been, and it doesn’t seem to have any mysterious lack of resources or trained developers.

So.. What gives?

To be continued..

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