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World of Warcraft Hits 9.3 Million Players

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the azeroth-needs-its-own-zipcode dept.

Role Playing (Games) 117

Gamasutra is reporting that, along with Vivendi's ever-increasing earnings, recent information has been released updating the current player stats for World of Warcraft. Despite suspicions of falling numbers due to the long wait between now and Rise of the Lich King, Blizzard's Massive title is larger than ever, with some 9.3 million players. "Vivendi has chalked up the increase not only to its WoW subscriber base, but the release of its The Burning Crusade expansion, which saw release in China in the latter part of the third quarter ... The company also noted that its subscriber base has continued to grow from the 9 million mark it celebrated in July to more than 9.3 million, which it says is up more than one million subscribers since December 31 of last year."

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Frightening (3, Funny)

denisbergeron (197036) | more than 6 years ago | (#21369445)

If you take this news and add it that one [slashdot.org]

It's the biggest botnet in the world.

That would be true... (2, Insightful)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 6 years ago | (#21369533)

Except even if Blizzard is horribly invading the privacy of their users, that doesn't make it a botnet. I assure you we won't be seeing anything like a DDoS attack from WoW subscribers any time soon.

Re:That would be true... (3, Funny)

Selfbain (624722) | more than 6 years ago | (#21369585)

I guess you've never tried to access the mod sites the day of a patch.

Re:That would be true... (1)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 6 years ago | (#21369799)

Oh, trust me, I have. There is a difference, though, between legitimate high bursts of traffic and DDoSing... or else /. would be shut the hell down for how many web servers we crash.

Re:That would be true... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21371323)

Woosh

Re:That would be true... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21374283)

you missed two jokes that slapped you in the face

Re:That would be true... (2, Funny)

Spectre (1685) | more than 6 years ago | (#21370679)

Given that the most recent patch was about 200MB in size and distributed via a torrent ... I wonder if COMCAST would agree (wankers).

Re:Frightening (1)

igolg (1189863) | more than 6 years ago | (#21375893)

The number of wow players will hit 10 Million will wrath releases. i put my reviews about wrath in my blog: htt://igolg.blogspot.com [blogspot.com]

Quite a milestone (5, Funny)

wampus (1932) | more than 6 years ago | (#21369451)

You never forget your first 9.3 million subscribers.

Re:Quite a milestone (3, Funny)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 6 years ago | (#21369693)

Yes, there'll always be a special place in Blizzard's heart for #9,299,987.

I also hope this isn't foreshadowing another post when they hit 9.4M...

Re:Quite a milestone (1)

empaler (130732) | more than 6 years ago | (#21370863)

Even better, 9,314,159 subscribers. That'd make as much sense as this one, only make it funnier.

Re:Quite a milestone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21371001)

Nope, still not funny.

9.3 what? (-1, Troll)

Turn-X Alphonse (789240) | more than 6 years ago | (#21369487)

9.3 million current subscriptions? 9.3 million people logging in every week? 9.3 million accounts in total?

These figures don't mean a whole heap unless explained.

Re:9.3 what? (1)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 6 years ago | (#21369565)

I believe that they've said in the past that it means active accounts.

Re:9.3 what? (4, Funny)

jkabbe (631234) | more than 6 years ago | (#21369657)

In all likelihood it means 2 million active player accounts, 1 million mule accounts, and 6.3 million gold farming accounts.

Re:9.3 what? (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21369603)

Thankfully they did explain it. Blizzard press release about surpassing 9 million subscribes [blizzard.com] .

It's the number of active accounts.

Direct from the site:

World of Warcraft's Subscriber Definition
World of Warcraft subscribers include individuals who have paid a subscription fee or have an active prepaid card to play World of Warcraft, as well as those who have purchased the game and are within their free month of access. Internet Game Room players who have accessed the game over the last thirty days are also counted as subscribers. The above definition excludes all players under free promotional subscriptions, expired or cancelled subscriptions, and expired prepaid cards. Subscribers in licensees' territories are defined along the same rules.
Keep that in mind the next time you see people talking about people "leaving WoW in droves" or talk about how some MMORPG with 100,000 subscribers is so much better than WoW. WoW is, by and far, the most popular MMORPG ever created. Now popular doesn't necessarily mean best, but if they weren't on to something you'd expect that number to be falling.

But it won't stop people from trying to dump on the leader. What's really pathetic are the people talking about how their fantasy MMORPG is sooo much better than WoW, despite the numbers clearly proving it isn't.

Re:9.3 what? (4, Insightful)

Selfbain (624722) | more than 6 years ago | (#21369707)

Having the most customers does not mean you have the best product. Theres an example to prove this but it has been beaten to death before.

Re:9.3 what? (2)

Clanked (1156473) | more than 6 years ago | (#21372199)

Quoted from the comment you replied to.

Now popular doesn't necessarily mean best
Could you at least read what he typed before commenting?

Re:9.3 what? (4, Insightful)

east coast (590680) | more than 6 years ago | (#21369961)

But it won't stop people from trying to dump on the leader. What's really pathetic are the people talking about how their fantasy MMORPG is sooo much better than WoW, despite the numbers clearly proving it isn't.

Why aren't you making this argument every time that someone "dumps" on Windows, WalMart, Coors Lite, Britney Spears, McDonalds or a Chevy Cobalt?

Despite anything you might think anyone's favorite MMORPG or whatever is based on their opinion. Can someone come up to me and say that WoW is the best and I can say EQ2 is the best and both of us still be right? Absolutely. We choose what's right for ourselves in any particular place and time. Media like games, books and movies cater to target crowds. Maybe I'm just happier with EQ2's vision of the Drow? I don't know.

By the way.... 50,000,000 Elvis fans are wrong... at least for my tastes.

Re:9.3 what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21370195)

I knew I should have been more clear on that last part.

I wouldn't take issue with it if it weren't that all the fantasy MMORPGs are basically identical. There's really no innovation in the fantasy MMORPG genre, and that includes WoW. Everything WoW does has been done elsewhere.

What WoW brings to the table is that it has the best selection of elements from the various MMORPGs. It has the best overall elements.

Now I have nothing wrong with EVE players preferring EVE to WoW because it's a completely different game style. The same with people who would rather play a space game than a fantasy game.

But the fantasy MMORPG is SO over-done, and they're all so similar, that trying to argue that WoW isn't the best when the numbers are so clear that it is just strikes me as absurd.

You're right, not everyone will like the same thing. But trying to argue that more people should like EQ2 despite clear evidence to the contrary is ridiculous.

Re:9.3 what? (1)

east coast (590680) | more than 6 years ago | (#21370387)

But trying to argue that more people should like EQ2 despite clear evidence to the contrary is ridiculous.

Not to string this on because I really find your "point" not only to be pointless but also incorrect...

If you wanted something valid when making a real comparison of MMORPGs you'd have to find players that played each game for a significant period of time and at that point find out who's still playing what or who prefer what game if they're not playing either anymore.

Do you know how many people play Game A over Game B simply because their friends play it? Sure, they'll read about Game B and when asked why they don't like Game B some will be honest and say that they've never played Game B but others are just as likely to just rattle off some crap about Game B that they read in PC Gamer.

My nephew is a WoW'er. He's never played another MMORPG aside from RuneScape. Do you really want to take his opinion of what game (WoW vs. EQ2) is best? Hell, he's never even demoed EQ2 let alone played it long enough to get a real handle on the game. My guess is that's true of most other WoW'ers.

It's simply the way I see it. I think that judging the popularity of a product to equal it's value is extremely short sighted. And don't get me wrong, if I were a MMORPG n00b (like most WoW players probably were) I'd likely try WoW first but that doesn't mean it's the best.

Re:9.3 what? (1)

razorh (853659) | more than 6 years ago | (#21370725)

You're both silly! Everyone knows that Meridian 59 is teh bestest mmo EVAR! (followed somewhat closely by EQ).

And yes, I played WoW for a while. Although it's nice being able to solo with just about any class, it gets boring quite fast as it has nowhere near the depth of EQ and (as pointed out above) millions of kids that can't type or spell 'you', 'are', or 'later'.

EQ2 i must admin, I've never messed with as I just didn't see the point after having invested so much time into EQ.

Oh, btw, the first line is a joke.... breath..... calm down.... no need to have a heart attack!

Re:9.3 what? (1)

WuphonsReach (684551) | more than 6 years ago | (#21379161)

I've played both WoW (recently) and EQ2 (the first year after release).

Overall, WoW is definitely the better game. Where EQ2 was about 7/10 or 8/10, WoW scores at 8/10 to 9/10. There's a lot of things that WoW still does wrong, but there's also a lot of things where WoW is definitely more polished and friendly then EQ2 was. I spent the first two weeks in WoW constantly thinking "this is a nice spin on that idea or that gameplay mechanic".

I still miss the rich graphics of EQ2 - but the EQ2 world at release was a tiny shoebox compared to old Norrath or Azeroth.

There's also some interesting concepts in the gameplay that I hadn't seen before in EQ or EQ2 (or EVE):

- Talent trees that allow you to essentially reclassify your character in later levels without having to roll up an alt. For some classes, it's a dramatic difference for others it's more of a flavor change. It helps turn a limited 6 possible classes into 12 to 18 classes.

- Paladins use seals and judgments. Basically, you cast a 30-60 second buff that you can use, or you can "judge" the mob which will convert that buff into a debuff or damage on the mob. Then you can cast a second buff and use that for the rest of the fight (or judge again for the damage effect). Not to everyone's tastes, but no other class in WoW operates that way.

- Warriors work off of a "reverse mana" or "reverse energy" system. At the start of the fight, they can't use their extra abilities until they deal/take damage (unless they still have some leftover from the previous fight). As they take/deal damage, their rage pool fills up and they can fire off abilities. After the fight, their rage slowly dissipates.

- The rogue class uses "combo points" where firing off certain abilities uses up energy (that refills quickly during battle) and builds points. Once they have a few points on the target, they can fire off an advanced ability that will do additional damage for each point. It's an interesting twist (not one that I care for, so I haven't played a rogue past 10).

- Priests who can solo. Or they can respec using talent points into a shadow priest which is a high-DPS spec.

- Summon stones outside of instances (dungeons). Which allows two players to summon a 3rd person from anywhere (assuming that they meet the level requirements of the stone). That makes setting up a group and collecting everyone together a good bit easier. Or you can use a L20+ warlock and two others to summon a 4th player.

- Travel costs. Gryphon/bat flights cost a few copper to a few silver. And the prices go up based on the destination zone (higher level zones are more expensive) or if the flight is longer. There are also a few free methods of travel, but it helps to spread out the population.

- Quest XP that matters. While I haven't done a detailed examination, in the first 40-50 levels, quest XP can end up as half of your total XP earned. So if you play smart, always chase quests, you can level a lot faster then someone who just grinds out mobs. Plus you gain standing (discounts at merchants, other benefits) from performing quests.

But there are also things that WoW does wrong or not to everyone's tastes (not as much grouping in the outdoor areas).

Re:9.3 what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21370389)

What WoW brings to the table is that it has the best selection of elements from the various MMORPGs. It has the best overall elements.
How is this any less subjective than simply saying "WoW is the best MMORPG"? The 'elements' you consider good are not necessarily considered good by everyone.

You're right, not everyone will like the same thing. But trying to argue that more people should like EQ2 despite clear evidence to the contrary is ridiculous.
What clear evidence to the contrary is there? There isn't any evidence that said people don't like EQ2 - unless they have tried it and come to that conclusion. There certainly isn't any evidence - other than your own hypocritical claims - that people shouldn't like EQ2.

Re:9.3 what? (2, Insightful)

Joe the Lesser (533425) | more than 6 years ago | (#21370431)

Being a fan Elvis is like liking being a fan of the Atari.

Wouldn't be as popular today but deserves respect for what it did in it's day because everyone's standing on the shoulders of giants.

Re:9.3 what? (-1)

bug1 (96678) | more than 6 years ago | (#21370181)

"World of Warcraft subscribers include individuals who have paid a subscription fee or ..."

So they count people who arent paying them money at the moment, but have in the past.... they say "paid a subscription fee", the ydont say when they paid it, or if the subscription has expired.

If there are 9.3 Mil subscribers and an average 10000 players per server, that would mean they have 930 servers

Re:9.3 what? (2, Informative)

filth grinder (577043) | more than 6 years ago | (#21371049)

Did you stop reading after the first sentence?

Did you not see this at the end?

"The above definition excludes all players under free promotional subscriptions, expired or cancelled subscriptions, and expired prepaid cards. Subscribers in licensees' territories are defined along the same rules."

So if your account expired or was cancelled, it is not counted.

Re:9.3 what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21371065)

WoW. You couldn't even read the whole paragraph. It listed exceptions. However, I must concede on the number of servers. I haven't looked at the total number of servers they have.

Re:9.3 what? (1)

basscomm (122302) | more than 6 years ago | (#21372211)

However, I must concede on the number of servers. I haven't looked at the total number of servers they have.


222 [worldofwarcraft.com] by my count

Re:9.3 what? (1)

ichigo 2.0 (900288) | more than 6 years ago | (#21378673)

In the US. Add in the European [wow-europe.com] servers plus the rest of the world and the number of servers will likely be close to the magic 1000 number.

Re:9.3 what? (1)

pthor1231 (885423) | more than 6 years ago | (#21371281)

Not ever wow player pays with a subscription fee. In china and most other asian countries, you get the game and account for free, but you pay for playing time, eg 20 bucks for a 100 hour card.

Re:9.3 what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21370349)

Nobody plays WoW anymore, the servers are just too crowded.

Re:9.3 what? (1)

MSojka (83577) | more than 6 years ago | (#21370799)

> WoW is, by and far, the most popular MMORPG ever created.

Wrong.

This would be probably MapleStory [wikipedia.org] , with currently about 50 million players.

Re:9.3 what? (1)

CrashPoint (564165) | more than 6 years ago | (#21371041)

Now popular doesn't necessarily mean best

What's really pathetic are the people talking about how their fantasy MMORPG is sooo much better than WoW, despite the numbers clearly proving it isn't.
These sentiments are mutually exclusive. Pick one.

Re:9.3 what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21371603)

No, it's not. There's a difference between being better than something, and being far better than something.

If other MMORPGs were really much better than WoW, people would be leaving to play them in massive numbers.

They're not. No other MMORPG (in the US at least) can claim even 0.5 million subscribers, let alone 9 million.

In a free market economy, that's proof enough that WoW's competitors are, at best, only slightly better than WoW, and not greatly better like people like to claim.

Re:9.3 what? (1)

CrashPoint (564165) | more than 6 years ago | (#21374237)

There's a difference between being better than something, and being far better than something.
Not when "better" is entirely subjective, there isn't. The higher subscriber numbers of WoW is proof that WoW is more popular (an objective standard), but say nothing whatsoever about the subjective nature of quality, either independently or relative to any other game. By your logic, the burgers from the stand down the street can only ever be "slightly better" than a Big Mac.

Not that you don't have a point about the "slag the big guy just 'cause he's the big guy" mentality common among critics of $CURRENT_MARKET_LEADER_IN_SOME_FIELD, but that doesn't mean that their preferences are somehow factually incorrect.

Re:9.3 what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21375887)

You're forgetting that WoW operates in a different market than burgers do.

All the various fantasy MMORPGs operate in essentially the same market for the same price point on the same systems. As such the cost of playing them is essentially identical.

Because the costs to obtain them are identical, the market share each fantasy MMORPG has can be used to directly correlate how good they are. In a free market, with all else being equal, the best will win.

Well, in the fantasy MMORPG market, everything is essentially equal. And WoW is winning.

Now it's not completely equal so there are so differences, but WoW is winning by such a majority that it's safe to say that the market is correct. WoW is clearly the best fantasy MMORPG by its subscriber numbers. No other fantasy MMORPG even comes close, to a degree where if there was a better MMORPG you'd think it would get more subscribers.

This doesn't mean everyone will like WoW better, but it does mean the an overwhelming majority of players do like WoW better.

Re:9.3 what? (1)

CrashPoint (564165) | more than 6 years ago | (#21377875)

The market can't be "correct", because there is no correct answer. The quality of each game is 100% subjective. WoW is clearly the game with the most mass-market appeal, but that makes it the best investment, not the best game. Which game is the best is purely a matter of opinion, and cannot be proven on a spreadsheet.

Re:9.3 what? (1)

Jartan (219704) | more than 6 years ago | (#21371669)

Pay attention to this part:

Internet Game Room players who have accessed the game over the last thirty days are also counted as subscribers.


This portion makes up a huge amount of the "subscribers" and they generate a lot less income. WoW is indeed making ooodles of money but nothing like the equivalent of 9 million normal subscribers.

Re:9.3 what? (1)

GaryPatterson (852699) | more than 6 years ago | (#21373193)

The numbers prove popularity, not quality. You say "...popular doesn't necessarily mean best" but then contradict that with "...the numbers clearly proving..." The two statements can't be reconciled.

It's okay to dump on the leaders. Sometimes there's good reason, and sometimes they will be forced to improve.

(For the record, I'm a WoW player, and while I do have fun, there are elements I find weak or entirely missing. An example is the trade-off made that allows all players to complete important quests, but the world remains the same. The static nature of the world means that there can be no advancement of story, it's a snapshot in time and nothing more. Another example is the profession system being tied to player level. Why can't a tailor reach 375 in tailoring while staying in Stormwind at level 1? Some people would prefer to make things than kill things, but the game discourages that preference. The reason is probably to keep players 'out there' in the world, interacting and all that, but I find this a poor decision. The game's a lot of fun, but it deserves criticism in many places.)

Re:9.3 what? (2, Insightful)

Kierthos (225954) | more than 6 years ago | (#21376013)

The thing is, most, if not all MMORPGs out there are that static for a reason. It allows everyone the chance to do that quest, get that special item, whatever.

I don't know if you've ever logged onto a new WoW server the day it goes online, but people race to be the first to level 20, level 30, and so on. They want to be the first on that server to down Ragnaros (well, okay, honestly, I'm not sure they even bother with that any more...), or the first player in the Outlands, or whatever goal they set for themselves. And that's why WoW is that static. Do you want to lose out on ever even starting a huge quest because some guy who lives in his mom's basement and stayed up for 48 hours straight beat you (and everyone else) to all the goals in the game? I think you'd rightfully be a little pissed that you're paying the same fee as everyone else, but because someone beat you to Quest X, no one else can ever do it.

And yes, WoW doesn't allow the whole "level 1 with max profession skill", but I honestly can't think of a game that does allow it. Did EQ? Perhaps they did (it's been years since I played), but I remember that they made it cost so much to raise any profession that it wasn't worth trying to do it as a level 1 unless you had a couple sugar daddies supporting you. DAOC might have let you, but it was so much more cost effective to go out and level and melt down the loot you got to save costs.

sigh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21369697)

someone has this craptacular comment ready every time they put out these figures. they always mean the same thing: the number of people who give them money every month.

Re:9.3 what? (1)

sigmabody (1099541) | more than 6 years ago | (#21370179)

Most likely 9.3 million current subscriptions, at least that was the definition when Blizzard last announced a milestone. Keep in mind that this includes all the subscription/payment types, which vary by country.

For example, even if you attribute fully 50% of their sales revenue to ongoing WoW subscriptions only (no other games, no initial cost of expansions, no new purchase sales, etc), that's only $17 per subscriber per quarter, or $5.65 a month. So most of those subscriptions are outside the US, and with terms netting much less $ for Vivendi than the US subscriptions. When you start thinking about subscriptions as, say, $1/month, it's not hard to see how they could accumulate them to inflate their subscription numbers by just lowering the price.

A meaning number would be revenue from ongoing WoW subscriptions compared to previous quarters. Good luck getting them to show you that downward trend, though.

OT: L:inux (-1, Troll)

slack_prad (942084) | more than 6 years ago | (#21369651)

I made it a point to play only those games which run natively on linux. It's nice. This stays out.

Re:OT: L:inux (-1, Offtopic)

Paradigm_Complex (968558) | more than 6 years ago | (#21369785)

I made it a point to play only those games which I can get to run nicely under Linux, even if it requires WINE. One step at a time - first we need to get developers to use open standards a bit more, such as OpenGL and OpenAL. Keep in mind boycotting doesn't hurt a company who never had that market to begin with.

Re:OT: L:inux (2, Informative)

miller701 (525024) | more than 6 years ago | (#21369967)

The mac client is in Open GL, which isn't everything.

As the owner of several Macs over the past 8 years, I truly appreciate their in-house mac dev team.

Blizzard's simultaneous Mac/Win releases FTW (1)

necro2607 (771790) | more than 6 years ago | (#21370947)

Hell yeah. Their simultaneous releases go back to around 2001 or 2002 or so, with the release of Warcraft 3, which for me brought a feeling of "it's about time". I still remember how much I hated waiting forever and ever for the Mac release of Warcraft 2 (Dec 1995 for DOS/Win, Sept 1996 for Mac OS). By the time the game came out for Mac OS, most of my friends were already long since onto other games. So much for modem multiplayer games with my friends!

Either way though, I'm really glad that Blizzard has, since WC3, maintained consistent simultaneous Mac/Win releases. Actually, it seems kind of funny to say, but being able to say "WoW runs on OS X" is a strong positive aspect when explaining to friends some of the advantages of using a Mac. ;)

Re:Blizzard's simultaneous Mac/Win releases FTW (0, Offtopic)

kcbanner (929309) | more than 6 years ago | (#21371353)

I play http://wargus.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net] under linux for my multiplayer WC2 needs. Higher resolution support too :)

Re:OT: L:inux (1)

zoward (188110) | more than 6 years ago | (#21377113)

I'm grateful to Blizzard for the Mac version, since it required supporting an OpenGL version of the WoW client, which made getting it to run under Wine a far easier task for those who did so. I'm pretty sure it will run in DirectX mode under Wine, but not as well as the OpenGL version does.

Re:OT: L:inux (2)

slack_prad (942084) | more than 6 years ago | (#21369999)

Open standards with WINE? You do know that WINE is getting DirectX 10 to work right? Anyway, this talk is off-topic. I don't want to be one of those how-does-linux-fit-in-this-thing posters.

Re:OT: L:inux (1)

Pi Is A Rational (1106177) | more than 6 years ago | (#21377571)

As a windows user I'd wish there was more OpenGL games again. Carmack seemed to push OpenGL back in the day and OpenGL (and Glide2x, MiniGL) seem to set the standard that seperated you from a regular PC with a 2D card or a "gaming PC" that had a 3D Accelerator, e.g. Voodoo 2 and all that jazz. DirectX is good and all but I'd rather see more things developed on OpenGL again. Perhaps if iD licenses iD Tech 5 enough it'll make a decent comeback.

Re:OT: L:inux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21371201)

So you don't play games... except maybe TuxRacer or similar garbage.

Re:OT: L:inux (1)

slack_prad (942084) | more than 6 years ago | (#21371271)

W:ET,ETQW,DOOM3,QUAKE4. Limited but enough to please me.

Re:OT: L:inux (1)

aeschenkarnos (517917) | more than 6 years ago | (#21372879)

"Natively"? I think the T is a typo. WoW works just fine under Wine.

And yet... (2, Insightful)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 6 years ago | (#21369659)

5.9907 billion people STILL don't give a fuck.

Re:And yet... (1)

TheJerg (1052952) | more than 6 years ago | (#21369813)

The .00000001% of the worlds population that owns game companies does care. They're the ones who decide what new games to devlop for the masses. To me this number means expect plenty of WoW clones over the next ten years.

Re:And yet... (1)

realmolo (574068) | more than 6 years ago | (#21370369)

The problem is, WoW pretty much owns the market for MMORPGs. No one else comes close, and it's likely no one ever will. The only competition for WoW will be "WoW 2", which will likely let you import your WoW character.

It's similar to the situation with Counter-Strike. After 8 years, no other FPS has the same number o of players. People want to play what everyone else is playing, when it comes to multiplayer games (even Xbox Live! suffers from this. Ever tried to play a multiplayer game that wasn't Halo? There's hardly anyone playing anything else). Which means the popular games only get MORE popular at the expense of other games.

Re:And yet... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21373101)

No one else comes close, and it's likely no one ever will.



Knights of the Old Republic III will bury WoW.





Re:And yet... (4, Insightful)

Paradigm_Complex (968558) | more than 6 years ago | (#21369903)

Right, and oddly enough the vast majority of them don't visit slashdot, either. WoW is sufficiently large that it can have a noticable affect on the rest of technology, which happens to be something many slashdot-goers have interest in. WoW primarily distributes it's patches through bittorrent, which Comcast users are having trouble with, many of whom are calling for network neutrality, which has become enough of an issue to be picked up by many currently running for president of the world's current economic and military superpower. A very sizable chunk of those 5.9907 billion actually have some interest in the direction US politics swings. Even if you don't buy that it can affect the world as a whole, it certainly affects at least the tech world - the stuff slashdotters are interested in.

Re:And yet... (1)

MBraynard (653724) | more than 6 years ago | (#21375245)

What a bunch of dumbasses who midded you up.

Comcast has nothing to do with limiting WoW bittorrent patches. Comcast is limiting seeding.

And the only candidates who are preaching NN the same ones who claim to see UFOs (much like all the other NN supporters.)

Who are these people? (2, Insightful)

Dillenger69 (84599) | more than 6 years ago | (#21370099)

Who are these people.
Everyone I know is quitting the game.
Even I haven't played since this summer.
I just don't have the time to devote to something like this and still lead a meaningful life.

Re:Who are these people? (1)

legoman666 (1098377) | more than 6 years ago | (#21370189)

Indeed. I wonder what their turn over rate is? I quit last winter, my main friend I played with quit at the same time, and all the other people we knew quit long before us.

Re:Who are these people? (1)

SpiritOfGrandeur (686449) | more than 6 years ago | (#21370243)

You haven't played or haven't payed?

Re:Who are these people? (1)

Dillenger69 (84599) | more than 6 years ago | (#21370929)

Good point ... I just checked my account.
Last Login: August 18, 2007 10:12 AM PDT
Game Time Expires: November 5, 2007 3:28 AM PST

I just couldn't get back into things.
I dreaded being pinged by other people.
All my friends were at 70 and I'm stuck at 60 because I could only play one or two hours a week and can never sit for an hour straight without having to take a break to do something with my wife or kids.
The very last time I logged in I was in Shattrath and I couldn't even remember where the flight master was so I reconciled that I really didn't like the game any more and canceled the account once I needed the money for something else.

Re:Who are these people? (1)

Necroman (61604) | more than 6 years ago | (#21370323)

it would be interesting to hear the numbers as a breakdown by country. I bet the US is about the same as 4 months ago, if not less. But China and other countries around the world are up.

Re:Who are these people? (1)

Usekh (557680) | more than 6 years ago | (#21370483)

I have a sneaking suspicion that everyone you know is a tiny drop in the bucket of 9.3 million.

Now in Haiku! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21370925)

Who are these people?
None of my friends play any more.
I've not played since summer.

Re:Who are these people? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21373395)

hahaha quitting. thats funny.

Re:Who are these people? (2, Insightful)

gronofer (838299) | more than 6 years ago | (#21374025)

Who are these people.
You aren't likely to encounter them very often in the real world.

Re:Who are these people? (1)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 6 years ago | (#21377665)

"Who are these people."

I'm certain many people who are "subscribed" are inactive, the numbers don't tell us how active the subscribers are on an individual basis. I'm certain many wow players only play a little bit a month. My sister is one of them, she'll play a few days a month, the rest of the time she'll be out doing her thing. You have to understand that many wow players ONLY play wow and don't do much other gaming, so $15 a month is nothing.

Then there is the fact that people are continuously leaving and re-entering the game, you have new players come in as old players leave, plus old players temporarily starting again with expansions, etc. People are constantly being born, then you have emerging markets like china with enormous populations. So it's no surprise really.

Re:Who are these people? (2, Interesting)

varcher75 (800974) | more than 6 years ago | (#21379129)

I'm certain many people who are "subscribed" are inactive, the numbers don't tell us how active the subscribers are on an individual basis.

Most of the growth of the accounts is from Asia, because Asia uses a different model. In China, WoW players pay hourly, not a monthly flat rate. Due to this accounting method, and the fact that the software itself is free (you don't have to buy a box), chinese players have the habit of opening one account per character. Where, in the US or europe, a player would have one account, with five characters on it, a chinese player will have no problem having five accounts, with one character each. It doesn't matter, the cost is the same. Having multiple accounts is helpful, if you ever want to log two characters at the same time for whatever reason. Net result: the chinese player makes "five subscribers", not one. The9, who operates WoW china will tag as inactive accounts that don't have had activity, but if you log in your post office mule once a month for 5mn, you're still a subscriber.

Market research does pay (1)

ubergeek65536 (862868) | more than 6 years ago | (#21370283)

Now I know why my shares in Coppertone tanked.

Very important milestone (4, Interesting)

confusedneutrino (732640) | more than 6 years ago | (#21370325)

For those of you keeping track at home, that's approximately one account for every mile between the Earth and the Sun...

*ahem...*

Re:Very important milestone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21370443)

1 AU is about 93 million, no?

Re:Very important milestone (1)

Mark Gordon (14545) | more than 6 years ago | (#21370477)

Not quite, by an order of magnitude. It's now 9.3 million users, not 93 million users.

Re:Very important milestone (1)

TyFighter (189732) | more than 6 years ago | (#21373365)

A better metric of measurement would be 9.3 million Hiroshimas.

Re:Very important milestone (1)

johannesg (664142) | more than 6 years ago | (#21375695)

I for one cannot wait for the inevitable flood of future headlines: "WoW hits 9.4 million subscribers!" "WoW hits 9.5 million subscribers!" "WoW hits 9.503721 million subscribers!"

Re:Very important milestone (1)

ichigo 2.0 (900288) | more than 6 years ago | (#21378925)

Or to be more precise, approximately 2.13 million subscribers for every lightyear between our solar system and Alpha Centauri.

Long Wait? (1)

Aspect58 (943131) | more than 6 years ago | (#21370489)

Considering that new content was known to be coming with the release of the 2.3 patch (which happened two days ago), I seriously doubt that WoW has been suffering any major 'waiting for the next expansion' subscriber losses yet. If the pre-BC timeframe is any indicator, that should happen in the final months before the WotLK release when the bulk of Blizzard's software engineering staff is concentrating on finishing the polish on it.

Why 9.3 million? (1)

Hellpop (451893) | more than 6 years ago | (#21370809)

Why not just alert us when it hits 10 million? Am I missing some significance to 9.3 million, other than the Earth-Sol distance?
Are we just getting updates every .1 million? Should this number impress me especially? I much prefer to hear when they hit 9.475 million. Wake me up when they hit that.

The MMORPG market SUCKS. (4, Interesting)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 6 years ago | (#21370849)

Disclaimer, I have multiple WOW accounts, one LOTRO account, and have tried about every damn MMORPG to come down the pike.

Frankly, the majority of these companies other than Blizzard just don't get it. There was an article linked here from a MMORPG developer of high standing who did a talk about what gamers want, who they are, and the games they play. He then went into a point by point discussion about what makes a good game.

The real problem, the game designers who are failing are designing games for people like them. They are not designing for the market, let alone new markets. A great example is Turbine. They had Asheron's Call and then followed it up with a sequel which failed miserably and was shut down. The primary reason was, it wasn't what the players wanted. It was more of a tribute to the developers (cities that if nothing else where monuments to Turbine). It had lots of great ideas but horrible execution. It forced player cooperation in areas where people never expect nor will cooperate (like crafting). Then comes D&D Online. A group centric game which for some reason people put huge unrealistic expected subscriber numbers on. Why didn't it generate the numbers? Simple, group mechanics require coordination out of game to experience properly in game. With your gaming population spread across time zones and such that coordination breaks down over time; usually not a long time. This title probably would have excelled with a Guild Wars model where the players could take NPCs along. Then comes along LOTRO, another game of great expectations hit by implementation and perceived need to group to trudge through higher levels (mostly unfounded but still it was a very pretty game that just felt empty - turbine's problem with having buildings you have to zone in breaks immersion and combined with walking dead human npcs doesn't help)

WOW's churn numbers are probably greater than most of the top twenty game's current playing population. But why? Simple, you can log in and accomplish something in a short time without ever having to wait for others. Friends can pop in for brief periods and play along, you can pick up with others as you go, but for the most part you don't have to rely on others to enjoy the bulk of the content.

There is also the major fact that none of the wow-killers has lived up to their hype or haven't released. Every time one of these games comes along and fails the blame game starts but always ignores the fact. The game isn't polished, the game is bug laden, the game requires a lot of grouping, or the game's hardware requirements are too high for the real MMORPG desiring player base.

WOW is only going to lose a large number of people to the next Blizzard game. Blizzard set a very high standard and continues to keep their own game at that level. This provides enough satisfaction and enjoyment for many people. Why should the majority of them even care what else comes out?

Too me it seems too many developers are actively relying on dissatisfied WOW players to swell their subscription numbers. If your looking for people who don't like such a successful and executed game just what in the hell are you aiming for?

Oh well, WOW will persist for years because Blizzard has learned that you cater to the needs of the individual player and build up from there. You keep the individual happy and then provide then avenues for more fun with opportunities that reward grouping and playing with others. You never require that as the price of just playing.

Re:The MMORPG market SUCKS. (1)

Wylfing (144940) | more than 6 years ago | (#21371365)

You make a lot of good points. Early on, WoW suffered from a lot of these same faults, except in those days the competition was EverQuest, which sucked so much more that WoW was seen as a huge step up. Blizzard has learned a lot about what people want in the years since launch. The 40-man raid has given way to the 10-man and 5-man raid. They added battlegrounds with rewards on par with raiding, so you don't have to raid to get great loot. The crafting system, while it does in fact require some cooperation among different professions, isn't cripplingly so. (The possible exception is the whole primal nether thing, which requires you to do raids, which in turn requires grouping and a significant time investment.)

Re:The MMORPG market SUCKS. (1)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | more than 6 years ago | (#21371469)

If one could have separate talents for PvE vs PvP that would also help.

And if I could temporarily "downgrade" my toon to a lower level for PvP, that would be golden.

Re:The MMORPG market SUCKS. (1)

pfdietz (33112) | more than 6 years ago | (#21378511)

The 2.3 patch makes it easier to get Badges of Justice, which can be used to buy Primal Nether, so they're addressing that point as well.

The 2.3 patch and the switch from client to server side targeting, along with the interaction with the global cooldown, has also had a crippling effect on melee classes, especially in PvP, which may cause some loss of customers.

Re:The MMORPG market SUCKS. (3, Interesting)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | more than 6 years ago | (#21371385)

While I don't think Wow is a great game, or even a good game (wow designers still don't have a clue about dead-time, and about minimizing the time it takes to get a party together at your favorite instances/location) I would agree with your post. Blizzard _nailed_ the basics in Wow. The core mechanics of what you do for the first 20 levels is usually interesting enough to keep a player leveling up. I'm usually not impressed with combat systems in games, but even the combat system is Wow I feel is good.

I would argue Blizzard doesn't really innovate, but they take the best ideas, and continually refine the process. (i.e. Warcraft 3 took the best elements of RTS's and combined them.) And at the end of the day, that's what matters -- the basic gameplay. As a game programmer it is sad to see so many MMORPGs that can't even get that right. Diablo 2 and Wow aren't the prettiest games around, but the gameplay is addicting and "good enough." One can trace the evolution (not revolution) of their games and almost see the paradigm shifts in the industry with their game UI and design in their products.

> Why should the majority of them even care what else comes out?

Having gamed since the early 80's, I sadly have to agree. Because as bad as Wow is, everything else sucks worse, and I don't see anyone raising up meet that challenge of getting past that hurdle anytime soon. I used to thank Sony for Everquest -- "How NOT to design a game."

The _real_ innovation in MMORPGs these days is the UI -- how accessible is your game to players (even to people who have NEVER gamed -- we still have a LONG ways to go.) Blizzard has a history of polishing their game, streamlining the UI. i.e. no click-and-drag when a single click will toggle picking up/dropping an item, right-click for the default action, etc. The latest patch 2.3 _finally_ organized Alchemy recipes. It is not much, but the little refinements here and there, add up to a more intuitive, and logical whole. And I think that is one of the reasons wow will continue to be around. Not because it is great, but because everyone else has this tremendous bar to overcome.

Re:The MMORPG market SUCKS. (1)

Peeteriz (821290) | more than 6 years ago | (#21378563)

You're right on spot with the 'minimising down-time' thing.
Even the new 2.3 patch - which is quite nice in general - seems quite broken in the "facilitate grouping" part. For a specific example - the level requirements for the instances were made more narrow. WHY?? I had a class-specific quest to do at the Sunken Temple, but due to a simple, unneccesary restriction I cannot a) use the LookingForGroup interface to find people for this instance, and b) use summoning stone for this instance.... does it really benefit the players, Blizzard or the gameplay in any way?

Re:The MMORPG market SUCKS. (1)

zerocool^ (112121) | more than 6 years ago | (#21372575)

I'd like to point everyone to this article [rockpapershotgun.com] , entitled "The World of Eve-Craft.

Disclaimer: If you check my post history, it's obvious that I am an avid EvE Online player, and even maybe fanboi.

Having said that, to be honest there are some things that EvE really, really does wrong. The 4 year paid beta test is one of them, ISK farmers are another (though that's not specific to any one MMO). Another common complaint is that many EvE players have said they tried out the game and found it wholly unapproachable in the short term, only to have an EvE old-timer correct them and say "a character 2 months old can be very effective". But the reality is that the immediate immersion and new player experience of EvE can be tedious - us old timers think nothing of training a skill for 10 days, but for a player who's been in the game for 2 weeks, that's an eternity. And there are other reasons.

This article seems to take "the idea of EvE", and apply it to "what WoW does right". What the guy says makes for an incredibly powerful game idea, and he's got a lot of really good points. What I'm hoping is that "Darkfall" IS the game that I want. I'm hoping it's the WoW world, minus the grinding and plus the risk/reward and heart-pounding PVP of EvE. "Item requires level X" completely breaks the immersive nature of a role-playing game - you should never be prevented from eating a level 50 cake because you're level 38: What, do you magically learn how to eat better cake? It's stupid. Eve does some of this, but come on - WoW does a shitload of it. Not to mention, death means that your equipment is magically transported to a graveyard with you and takes some damage? What is that about? That's not immersive! Neither is anything where something is left at A and can magically be picked up at B (EvE is pretty good about this: buy stuff in a region with low prices, spend the time to transport it, and sell it in the suburbs or the boonies for profit).

If you want to read more about darkfall, check out:
http://www.lordsofdeath.com/www/?p=12 [lordsofdeath.com]
or the wikipedia entry.

There are a lot of us in the "serious PVP MMO community" that are hoping against hope that Darkfall isn't vaporware, and that it's going to be even 50% of what we dream about.

~Wx

Re:The MMORPG market SUCKS. (1)

Nathreee (1185673) | more than 6 years ago | (#21376453)

I can only agree. Having tried many MMORPGs, like EVE, DDO, LotRO, Ryzom, Vanguard, Sword of the New World, Guildwars, FFXI and WoW, I cannot explain in short why WoW is so immensely popular and the other games are not. (See the mmorpg tag in my LJ for some articles I wrote about it) Some of these games have elaborate crafting systems, others have nice instances, I have seen good systems for group play, and new ways to tackle the grind and make the game more interesting. All I can say is, whereas most of the games I've tried only have one of these advantages, WoW has them all. And let's not forget the UI. Blizzard is making an effort to let their subrscibers feel that their monthly fee is put to use; every patch brings an improvement to the game. I am not a WoW-fanatic, I will never say it's the best game ever. You just can't argue with the numbers. It IS the most popular MMORPG at the moment. For a reason.

Re:The MMORPG market SUCKS. (1)

PrimalChrome (186162) | more than 6 years ago | (#21379095)

Having played WoW since its release, I dropped my account a few months after the Burning Crusade. It was a very enjoyable game, but like most MMOGs it failed to evolve and remained a very simple game. It began to feel like a stagnant experience. While PvP and the Battlegrounds helped that a great deal....at the end of the day it was the same experience.

A few months ago I reactivated my EQ2 account. If the current version of EQ2 had been the release version, I would never have left it for WoW. Like WoW, you can accomplish things in a short period of time, you can solo, there is a banker, getting around is simplified to a degree, and the mechanics are complex while not detracting from the enjoyment of the game itself.

I can only hope that more people go back and give EQ2 a try...and build its subscriber base. Competition is good...and Blizzard needs someone to keep them pushing the envelope.

It's *Wrath* of the Lich King (1)

Akaihiryuu (786040) | more than 6 years ago | (#21371259)

Not Rise

Just think, 9.3 million possible (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 6 years ago | (#21371413)

Just think of it, 9.3 million possible guild members to deposit gold for my Squirrelly Wrath guild bank!

But, the big question is, if I need 1000 gold to buy 96 slots for the guild bank, how many of those 9.3 million accounts are on my server and aren't gold farmers who will try to join so they can siphon gold out of the guild?

And how many will be online when I am?

And will they all help me in my mythical quest for coffee, nuts, and Foamy the Squirrel?

The view from the top is great... (1)

Gavin Scott (15916) | more than 6 years ago | (#21371949)

But from the top of the mountain there is no longer anywhere to go but down. And the air may be so thin at that altitude that it makes thinking clearly about the future difficult.

I've been playing WoW since beta (blah, blah), but I predict that in a few years we'll look back on the announcement of the forthcoming expansion as the peak in the life of WoW.

Note that in the past they announced subscriber numbers in even millions but now we have this 9.3 number. What's gone wrong that they didn't hit 10 million? After all, they've been continuously releasing the game into new markets over the last few years, so there has been a constant source of new players to help inflate the subscriber numbers.

WoW in the U.S. has been in decline for several months now. While there are many die-hard players who have been there for three years or more and will likely be playing WoW five years from now, there are also many many player who have gotten bored and have either moved on, or are now ready for a "next big thing" to come along at which point they'll jump so fast it will make Blizzards' heads spin.

There is an enormous potential opening in the market resulting from Blizzard's stumble. The window will likely last a year or two until Blizzard realizes they're in trouble and does something about it. It will be interesting to see if any of next year's big challengers is able to capitalize on this. Games like Age of Conan or Warhammer have a big opportunity, but will they be able to take advantage of it?

One of the biggest problems with new games (Lord of the Rings Online is a perfect example) is that in many cases they copy so much from WoW as to be almost indistinguishable from it. Someone who has gotten tired of WoW is unlikely to be inspired by a poor clone of it.

Blizzard has all the talent required to get back on track, but I think a significant shakeup in their design group will be needed. They can't just keep pushing another identical 10-level grind + new endgame raiding content on people every 18 months and expect them not to notice that it's just the same thing all over again.

The announcement of the new forthcoming expansion turned a lot of people off as simply being more level and gear inflation that will invalidate everything they've accomplished so far and make them go through the whole process again. Especially those people who were brought into gaming for the first time by WoW.

More of the same is no longer a recipe for success, and the new subscriber numbers suggest that the engines on the high-flying Blizzard ship have flamed out. Whether they can recognize this and get themselves restarted by coming up with something NEW will have to be seen.

If there's one thing that WoW suffers from it's the word "static". Everything is fixed, very little is dynamic. Dungeons are exactly the same every time you run them, and you need a fixed number of people and skills to beat them. Imagine if the dungeon layouts were randomly generated each time and the monsters and rewards automatically scaled to the number of people in the party and their abilities? In my opinion, it's only through major changes like this that Blizzard has any hope of returning to a growing subscriber base.

G.

Re:The view from the top is great... (1)

Dark_MadMax666 (907288) | more than 6 years ago | (#21375181)

Yeah yeah yeah .lol. You make it sound like Blizzard is bleeding money. They would turn enormous profits even with 400k subscribers (like it was the case with mmorpg before WoW, you know that business plan for UO was counting on 10k subscribers? That there are games CURRENTLY on market profitable with 2k subscribers? ). With their numbers they just rake in huge amount of cash. Heck they can stop dead and do nothing and I bet they still will have 4 mill in 10 years (if not more).

Market for MMORPG is not unlimited so I don see why they have to chase the "ever growing" target. Despite that they are still doing that and make all their critics look like idiots.

Re:The view from the top is great... (1)

Xamot (924) | more than 6 years ago | (#21379327)

While I agree that I think WoW will start seeing active accounts in the US decline in the next year or two. I disagree with the reason. The questing in WoW is what they do great. While I have tons of complaints about the game, I'm sure I'll renew for the WotLK to play those 10 levels. The questing, exploration, and general leveling process is a lot of fun in WoW. My biggest complaint is that at max level the game goes from being a fun game of frequent character improvements to soul crushing long grind for even the smallest improvement. My 2nd complaint is that support characters (talented for teamplay) do not have a way to support themselves or significantly lag behind dps characters. (Some daily quests help, but they don't really balance the game, but I won't go into that long diatribe that I have.) My 3rd complaint is about grouping in general, it takes too long to get people together for group activities, and group activities are not dynamic for variable size groups or variable skill levels, the game is too ridged when it comes to grouping. The game creates too sharp a divide between people of different time commitments and skill levels.

Impressive! (3, Funny)

SpacePunk (17960) | more than 6 years ago | (#21373521)

That's a lot of virgins. It makes you wonder if WOW has more virgins than Slashdot, but I'm sure there's some overlap.

WoW will hit 10 Million (1)

igolg (1189863) | more than 6 years ago | (#21375865)

I believe that when Wrath release,the number of wow players will hit 10 Million. Thus i put the forecast in my blog: http://www.igolg.com [igolg.com]

The WoW Linux base is getting bigger every day... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21376071)

Guys I actively play WoW (on my Ubuntu 7.10) and I can say that there are a lot of players that use Linux to play. With OpenGL the game looks great as Direct3D counterpart and you don't have any decrease in frame rate.

One thing is sure. As seen as many payers play only that game if this game runs good on Linux they are willing to switch to Linux. Basically WoW is helping to grow the Linux users.
Not only. Even considering that you need good drivers to play, both nVidia and ATi are forced to release some good pieces of software.

When I had some game issues (about the game policies not the program) and a Game Master contacted me I told him I was using wine. His reaction? He was prepared to that.
Do you know that thanks to wine Blizzard fixed a huge bug before releasing 2.2?
And most of all when I post screenshots on my guild's forum or WoW eu official forum, there's always at least one guy surprised that asks me if that is Linux (or Ubuntu) and how the game runs and how to start using Linux+WoW.

It's strange to state, I would never thought these things like 1 year ago, but WoW is beneficial for Linux.

As seen as stated before, WoW is the best agme at the moment, so no need to play other games, and considering that it runs perfectly in Linux many guys are trying the jump.
And once they feel the power of Linux they'll start actively using it.
Maybe they'll keep dual boot, but still is a good start.

Cheers,
E.

9.3 million players... (1)

Ailure (853833) | more than 6 years ago | (#21376221)

That's a little bit bigger than the population of Sweden (see Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] ). I found this fact rather amusing.

Blizzard is giving away WoW in Asia. (1)

Il128 (467312) | more than 6 years ago | (#21377037)

Of the 9.3 million how many subscribers are actually profitable?

Considereing they spent 100 Million $ building it (1)

Qbertino (265505) | more than 6 years ago | (#21377305)

Considereing they spent 100 Million $ building it I don't think there's much of a reason being suprised. Blizzards is the only software company that I recall forcefully resisting the urge of releasing to early. Starcraft is to date the most popular RTS and they playtested it for *two years* before releasing it. It has a resolution that was considers low even back then. WoW runs fine with my Geforce 4.

Resist pushy releasing, playtest, build for mid-range machines, playtest, see that the game is fun after 30 seconds the latest, playtest, build it so that a total newbie can understand the game in 5 minutes flat, build top-notch art for the low end tech-specs, playtest, playtest and don't forget to playtest. If all publisheres followed these simple rules we'd have much more games that would be as much fun as WoW or other Blizzard stuff.
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