Daily Archives: May 4, 2021

Blizzard Still Depends on WoW but is Pinning Some Hope on Diablo II

It was time for the Activision Blizzard Q1 2021 fiscal reports, so we can once again see what the company is hyping and what they are mysteriously failing to mentions.  You can find everything I reference on the Activision Blizzard investor relations site.

As usual, it is nice I guess that Activision is doing well with yet another spin of the Call of Duty wheel and that a bazillion people still play Candy Crush Saga, but my interest resides in Blizzard camp where they continue to talk up World of Warcraft and WoW Classic.

Overall revenue was down from Q4 2020, but that was also when Blizzard launched the Shadowlands expansion, which is usually a peak item in their financials.

Activision Blizzard Q1 2021 Financial Results Presentation – Slide 9

Margins are very good, but the only title they mention is WoW, while pointing towards “product timing” as a drag on the overall numbers.  Somebody else isn’t pulling their weight.

Details from the quarter again rely heavily on WoW.

Activision Blizzard Q1 2021 Financial Results Presentation – Slide 7

Shadowlands and the coming of Burning Crusade Classic are up top, followed by another Hearthstone expansion.  But there is always another Hearthstone expansion, isn’t there?  They’ve had so many they’ve got Hearthstone Classic option in the game now.

The only “hope for the future” item on the list that isn’t invested in Azeroth is Diablo II Resurrected, which I will admit I am a bit hyped for myself.  And then there is Diablo Immortal, which continues to take its sweet time getting to a point where it can launch.

After that we have Overwatch League and nothing else.  We heard last report that Overwatch 2 and Diablo IV are not slated for this year.

Meanwhile, the reported MAUs, monthly active users, for Q1 was 27 million which, according to Massively OP, which has been keeping track, down 29% from the Q1 2018 peak of 38 million.  If WoW is still booming… and carrying the company… that means 10 million fewer people are engaged with other Blizz properties.  For those interested, slide 13 defines MAUs as:

Monthly Active Users (“MAUs”) We monitor MAUs as a key measure of the overall size of our user base. MAUs are the number of individuals who accessed a particular game in a given month. We calculate average MAUs in a period by adding the total number of MAUs in each of the months in a given period and dividing that total by the number of months in the period.

An individual who accesses two of our games would be counted as two users. In addition, due to technical limitations, for Activision and King, an individual who accesses the same game on two platforms or devices in the relevant period would be counted as two users. For Blizzard, an individual who accesses the same game on two platforms or devices in the relevant period would generally be counted as a single user. In certain instances, we rely on third parties to publish our games. In these instances, MAU data is based on information provided to us by those third parties, or, if final data is not available, reasonable estimates of MAUs for these third-party published games

Since I played WoW and WoW Classic a bit each month over the last quarter I guess I count as two users, which seems to imply that Azeroth is possibly propping up the MAU count even more than I might have suspected.

Massively OP also has some notes from the investor calls including some inconsistencies from the company.

Anyway, that is what we have from Activision Blizzard for Q1 2021.

CCP Teases about a Gate to the Stain Region as part of the EVE Online Foundation Quadrant

As mentioned in an article released on 1 April, the four Empires will also be embarking on projects to construct new stargates to their territory, and they will be asking the players for help to reshape the map of New Eden. So, you may want to keep your eyes peeled for some highly anticipated Gates coming this Quadrant.

EVE Online Foundation Quadrant Announcement

CCP announced that the next quadrant for EVE Online will be arriving shortly.  Dubbed “Foundation,” it is hinting at some strange things.

The Foundation Quadrant is Coming

That quote above is strangely portentous as the only thing that CCP posted on April 1st was the assumed April Fools joke about the long asked for low sec gate to the Stain region.

The April Fools Tease

That seemed almost cruel at the time, being something argued about for years by that point.  But now maybe it was a double reverse fool, where on April Fools an item that was obviously an attempt to fool turns out to be not a fool at all?

Of course, what I have quoted at the top doesn’t say that a low sec gate to the Stain region will be a thing, just that the empires will be building new stargates, so this could be a triple twist, a tease that is followed by hope only to turn out to be an even more cruel tease at the end.

However this works out, the Foundation Quadrant will be focused on the four main NPC empires of New Eden.

The usual NPC suspects

There will be a special trailer for each of the empires.

This also leads into the EVE Online 18th anniversary events and a new login event will kick off on Thursday of this week with the usual round of prizes for Alpha and Omega clones.

EVE Online becomes an adult I guess

There will also be the usual updates to the game with the announcement saying that there will be update to Pochven, the Triglavian region carved out of empire space by last year’s event and the possibility that reserve bank ESS keys might become available in some form, allowing players a way to access to the billions of ISK that has been locked up in them since CCP hit null sec (and then low sec) with the ESS and dynamic bounty nerf last November.

The first few updates arrived earlier today.  They include new hangar visuals in Jita 4-4 and a fully 3-D rendered Aura.

Most of the Triglavian gates in the Pochven have had their standing requirements removed, thus clearing a huge obstacle to anybody wanting to start of in the region.  Of course, some of those already farming the region are not best pleased at having their crabbing disturbed by strangers.

And structures can no longer be transferred from a Corp that has a negative wallet balance, which feels like a bit of a swipe at the Dronelands botting groups who have evade sanctions by just moving assets around in their alliances to carry on as before.

The Patch notes for today cover this and a few other items.

June 1 Date Leaks as possible Burning Crusade Classic Launch Date

Somebody at Blizzard made an error earlier when, for a brief period of time, the Battle.net launcher indicated that June 1st might very well be the target date for the launch of Burning Crusade Classic.

Image from MMO Champion

Blizzard focused news sites such as MMO Champion , Icy Veins, and WoW Head immediately began reporting on the slip as multiple people posted images of the short lived promo on the web.

The assumption is that this is the launch date for the expansion, which would line up about right with the rumored pre-patch date of May 18th.  But, given the word of issues with the raid testing in the beta, it might be the pre-patch date.

Either way, it is an indication, along with Blizzards highlight in the WoW Classic character select page, which I noted last week, that Burning Crusade Classic may be on us pretty soon.

I had better get to work on leveling up my paladin if I want him to be ready to go when the expansion hits.