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Getting Optimized and Other Blizzard Tidbits February 17, 2012

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in Blizzard, Diablo III, entertainment, World of Warcraft.
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This is one of those “putting context in the timeline” sort of posts, so I remember what was going on.

We are still subscribed to World of Warcraft at our house.  My daughter and I do some of the special events.  But, for me, WoW is clearly the third game in a situation where I really only have time for two most weeks.  It is not on the “Games I Play” list in the sidebar.

Anyway, some stuff happened on the WoW front.

Subscribers

WoW only lost 100,000 subscribers in Q4 2011, according to their earnings call.  Given that they had previously shed ~2 million subscribers since the end of 2010, the bleeding has certainly slowed down.  It is still odd to say “only 100,000 subscribers lost,” as that number would put any of WoW’s erstwhile competitors into near terminal shock if not straight into the morgue.

My first thought was that Star War: The Old Republic sure didn’t have much impact.  But I think SWTOR came along too late in the quarter to really count as a factor there.  I am sure Blizz counts everybody who is subscribed at the moment, so unless you subscription ran out just as you cancelled to go play SWTOR, you were probably still on the books.

We’ll see what the next quarterly statement says.

On the Full Year Plan

Over one million accounts opted for the full year and get Diablo III, Panda beta access, and a special mount.

I must admit here that my daughter and I are on that list.  She wants the Panda beta bad… she likes to run around with pre-made level cap characters… and I was going to buy Diablo III on day one at list price anyway, so there we go.

Green Armadillo had a good post about this, which I won’t repeat in full.  I will just say that the fact that Blizz got 20-25% of their Europe/Americas audience to sign on for a year seems like a pretty big coup.  And they can already count this as over a million copies of Diablo III sold before the product is done.

I Have Been Optimized

I wasn’t sure what this was really about when I brought up the WoW launcher last week.

A flashing red light means I've won something, right?

But Blizzard assures me it will all be fine.  They are undoubtedly just making room for pandas on my hard drive.

Still, I am going to be that somebody running late for a raid was probably spitting bullets when this came up.

Some Dates… or Dates for Dates… Were Offered

We got a nice slide from Blizzard about upcoming items.

Saved for the record

Diablo III is now targeted at Q2 2012.   We can officially say that it slipped when it doesn’t ship until Q3 2012 at the earliest.  I mean, given Blizzard history, we all know that is where we’ll be, right?

We also got a date, a very concrete date, March 19, 2012, to get more information about the next WoW expansions, Adventures in Panda Bay.  I will still be very surprised if Pandas ship before Q4 2012.

A New Mount That Made No Splash At All

Blizzard added a new flying mount for WoW to the Blizzard store, bringing the total of store bought mounts to three.  Three!

Three $25 Mounts

The new mount, Heart of the Aspects… and I think part of the problem with this mount is having a name that sounds like a description… a description of something that conjures forth no mental image whatsoever for me… slipped into the store without much fanfare.  Or at least I did not notice any.

I would have put "dragon" in the name

I also have to say that, when it comes to mounts for sale for cash, Blizzard is falling behind the curve.  I think, looking at the Station Cash Store in EverQuest II, SOE must put out 2 new cash mounts a month.  Granted, a lot of them look like ass, but they are clearly shoveling them out at a much faster rate.  Of course, SOE makes almost 25% of their revenue on mounts while Blizzard still does it the old fashioned way… subscriptions.

I suppose one of the interesting things is that this mount went back to the “buy once, have it forever on all your characters” model.  I am not sure what that says about the Guardian Cub model, but it cannot be a ringing endorsement.

And how much gold is a Guardian Cub going for these days?  Has that market totally collapsed yet?

What Else?

Blizzard is still likely to make all the profits for Activision Blizzard during quarters when no Modern Warfare title ships.

Oh, and Bobby Kotick did not ruin the movie Moneyball.  He seemed right at home as the owner of a business totally detached from the essence and passion that drives it for nearly all of its participants and fans.  A big stretch for him, I know, but he pulled it off.

Did I miss anything?

Comments»

1. Darraxus - February 17, 2012

Those new mounts have been a pretty big deal. I see them everywhere. Apparently so many people tried to buy one that they had a queue 40k people long.

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2. Wilhelm Arcturus - February 17, 2012

I guess we have just hit the point where “crazy WoW subscribers queue up for an essentially infinite resource” is no longer news. Or did I miss that post over at Massively?

I don’t doubt that WoW players bought them in droves, I just didn’t hear much about it this time around outside of the official Blizz news sources.

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3. Ahtchu - February 18, 2012

I know my last visit to your doorstep had me at odds with your suggestions. I come today nodding in support.
+1 for the outro.

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4. Snick - February 18, 2012

Sorry, don’t get the Kotick / Moneyball reference. I don’t see his name in the credits, but I haven’t seen the movie yet, either.

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5. Wilhelm Arcturus - February 18, 2012

@Snick – You have to go to the trivia. He plays the owner of the A’s. And he does it with all the passion you would expect. But it works.

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6. Windpaw - February 20, 2012

Did the guardian pet market ever really do anything? I think the only gold made was made on my server was done by lucky speculators offloading their bargain priced pets to other speculators…who saw their investments dry up like the sahara.

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