Mists of Pandaria Launches Today

Nearly eight years after launching World of Warcraft, Blizzard today shipped the fourth expansion to its mega money making MMO, Mists of Pandaria.  As is the case with any Blizzard product release, there were midnight launch events all over.

I do wonder if, in the age of digital distribution, how long retailers will be willing to expand their hours for something that seems to be moving away from brick and mortar.

Mists of Pandaria continues the pattern set previously of WoW expansions coming out about every two years.

  • WoW Launch to The Burning Crusade – 784 days
  • The Burning Crusade to Wrath of the Lich King – 667 days
  • Wrath of the Lich King to Cataclysm – 754 days
  • Cataclysm to Mists of Pandaria – 658 days

Making the average time between releases just shy of 716 days.

I strongly suspect that Blizzard’s ability to get away with an expansion every two years with, at times, a seeming modest investment in additional content in between, while continuing to grow until recently, was a big influence on SOE who, up to that point, seemed to feel that cranking out an expansion every six months, finished or not, was necessary to stay afloat.  They have flailed about significantly less in the last few years.

Mists of Pandaria will likely stem the tide of subscription losses for now.  WoW has gone from over 12 million subscribers just after the launch of Cataclysm to 9.1 million at the last quarterly report.  We will know in a year or so if Pandas are a magic elixir or just a plateau on the way down.  Mike Morhaime wisely declined to make predictions on that topic.

Unlike past WoW expansions, I will not be picking up Mists of Pandaria today.  Our regular group grew bored of Cataclysm and moved on to other games.  We are currently playing Rift.

But a lot of people have been waiting for this day.  How about you?

Oh, and Ultima Online turned 15 today.  Imagine that. [Link fixed]

16 thoughts on “Mists of Pandaria Launches Today

  1. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @tms – She has been trying to get me to play, which is a post in the making. I think I need more structure in my games. I am trying to get her to do a guest post on Minecraft but, unlike me, she would rather just play than write.

    @Gorbag – You know, I thought pet battles would be a compelling reason to buy MoP, but I am just not feeling it.


  2. tms

    @ Wilhelm – If it will sell the post idea (getting kids to write anything in full English and not “text shorthand” is always a good idea if you ask me), tell her your adoring fans (okay, maybe just me) are interested in her opinions and maybe we’ll be convinced to play, too.

    I personally don’t understand the attraction… I have Lego sets if I want to play with blocks. Admittedly, I’ve not played it, though.

    On second thought maybe leave out the “convincing” part… old farts threatening to invade her game may be a deterrent to getting her to write a post! :-)


  3. scotth

    I was actually able to log in this morning before work. Nothing to download and the servers were stable.

    I don’t care much for the Pandas, but I figure I can have some fun trying out some of the new stuff. Plus my wife still plays a lot. We will see how it goes.


  4. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @scotth – And that is a good point. If people I play with regularly were totally on board with MoP, I would probably be playing it today. But, as a group, we seem to be “meh” at the moment. Nobody but me in our guild has logged into the game in over two months, and I know some of them are still subscribed.


  5. Aerynne

    I have always played WoW in bursts – usually, each burst lasts a few months, then I wander off to something else. I made my pandaren monk last night, but I suspect I will spend more time playing pet battles with my death knight than leveling my monk.


  6. anon4cec

    Nearly EIGHT years after launching World of Warcraft, Blizzard today shipped the fourth expansion to its mega money making MMO, Mists of Pandaria

    Jeez get your facs right


  7. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @anon – Always happy to feed the trolls, because when I clearly listed out the exact number of days between expansions I was clearly ignorant of facts. I am sure you feel quite the superior intellect now.



  8. Jenks

    I like the pandas, I love the mini pet battles. The idea that both factions will raid Orgrimmar to end the storyline of this expansion is such a huge turnoff that I’ll save my $30~


  9. Aufero

    I thought I was going to resubscribe when MoP launched and play the leveling game (the only part I still like after multiple burnouts on WoW raiding and PvP) again, but between Eve and GW2 my MMO time is full. Maybe eventually…


  10. NoAstronomer

    re : Pet Battles

    Pandas I could handle. After gnomes, space-goats and cows on two legs (Animal Farm anyone?) pandas are nothing special. But pet-battles? Shoot me now!



  11. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    I’m actually a bit surprised at the direction the poll went, though I suppose that, in not actually playing WoW, and thus not posting about WoW, I no longer attract people who actually play WoW all that much any more.

    The “Other” responses seem to be trending a certain way as well. Here are the 9 so far:

    -Never got into WoW — won’t be starting today either.
    -Do people, in all seriousness, still play this game?
    -Don’t care about Pandas, pretty much done with Blizzard on the whole.
    -GW2, that is all
    -Bought and playing. Don’t care about the pandas.
    -If only I still played WoW
    -Raid Orgrimmar, no!
    -Don’t play WoW

    I am going to guess that, at most, three of those can be counted as “bought the expansion.”

    All meaningless of course, except in the limited scope of “people who visit my blog and bother to vote in polls.” And that is a very narrow demographic indeed!


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