Daily Archives: February 6, 2014

Will Warlords of Draenor Pre-orders Help Hold the Line on WoW Subscriptions?

The news is out.  My prediction from the beginning of the year actually came to pass.  Amazing, right?

There was apparently enough excitement/interest generated by the Warlords of Draenor announcement at BlizzCon that Blizzard saw a small uptick in Word of Warcraft subscriptions in Q4 of 2013.

See you guys in the fall?

Thanks for the help guys!

As part of general good news from Activision-Blizzard, subscription numbers were reported up, going from 7.6 million subscribers to 7.8 million;  a small percentage for them, but enough players to float any number of other MMOs into profitability.

Now my prediction went on to say that subscribers would then drain off slowly until the expansion actually shipped.  That assumed that Blizzard wouldn’t offer up anything special, being engaged in the Diablo III revamp and expansion plus Hearthstone plus whatever else.

But then Blizzard announced that you would be able to use your insta-90 character boost as soon as you pre-ordered the expansion, and that the pre-orders would be available “soon.”  That got people talking about what class to boost.  But it also opened up another possibility.

My gut says that if they could get the pre-orders in place by March 1, they have a chance to get another modest increase in subscribers as people come back to see what life is like at level cap.  And with those people invested in the expansion, they might be able to hold those increases until the actual ship date… which I still think is further out that many hope.

What do you think?  Will Blizzard be able to keep the number steady, or even grow them slightly, between now and whenever Warlords of Draenor ships?

Making the Jump into Pandaria

After the previous weeks run through three instances, the group had all ascended to level 85.   That left us with some choices as to how to proceed.

The minimal completionist path was to at least take on the Twilight Highlands long enough to get to Grim Batol, the last normal mode instance in Cataclysm, before heading off to Pandaria.  The argument for this would be that we could at least say we had “done” Cataclysm by some very basic measure.

The “onward and upward” path would take us directly into Mists of Pandaria, bypassing the remains of CataclysmCata becomes a “fly over” expansion, and we are in and out in the minimum time.  And why not?  Pandaria has more than enough group content to keep us going at least out to the inevitable group summer hiatus, and probably enough to last us until Warlords of Draenor finally makes its way to us.

And then there was what I will call “the middle path” in our discussions.  This was the idea that we should take our time at level 85 and knock out some or all of the heroic-only five person instances that were included in Cataclysm.  I was all excited about the idea of Heroic Deadmines back in August 2009, it might be reasonable to follow up on that and see what came of it.  Pandaria isn’t going anywhere, and Draenor isn’t close.  Why not hang around in Cataclysm for a while?

In the end, the argument for the middle path hinged on a bag.  Specifically, the Tattered Hexcloth Bag.

TatteredHexclothBag

We are, as always in World of Warcraft, suffering for lack of bag and bank space.  And the promise of 24 slot bag as a quest reward from Zul’Aman, one of the level 70 raids converted into a five person heroic instance for Cataclysm, was like the lure of shoes to Lee’s army before Gettysburg.   We will go a fair bit out of our way for that.

Plus there is the allure of this instance, and its companion Zul’Gurub, as large, sprawling affairs that could eat up a whole evenings adventuring.  We would view that as a good thing. (And I know some people are unhappy about the conversion of these raids to five person instances, but it looks awesome from where I sit as somebody who only does the five person group content.)

The only hitch is that the two converted raids are flagged as “Level 85++” and, frankly, we just aren’t that good.

So the amended plan for the middle path included a brief foray into Pandaria to get that first round of gear when the time was right.  We didn’t think we would need it for Grim Batol, but it would help with Heroic Deadmines and would likely be a necessity for the converted raids.  We would hold off on the Pandaria thing as long as possible.

And then Earl was away this past weekend and we couldn’t think of anything else to do, so we went into Pandaria early.  Go us.

Our roster for the evening was:

  • Skronk – Level 85 Dwarf Priest Healing
  • Bungholio – Level 85 Gnome Warlock DPS
  • Alioto – Level 85 Night Elf Druid DPS
  • Ula – Level 85 Gnome Mage DPS

And we all had the lead-in quest for Pandaria, so we headed off to meet up with Sky Admiral Rogers.

Meeting the Skymarshal

Meeting the Sky Admiral

Musings on the intro to Pandaria after the cut.  If you have been there, you are pretty much excused for reading further.

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