Category Archives: World of Warcraft

SuperData and How God of War and Fortnite Ruled April

The SuperData Research Digital Sales numbers for April 2018 have been released.

SuperData Research Top 10 – April 2018

On the PC side of the chart the status quo ante of the top three was restored as League of Legends, which dropped to second place in March, returned to its usual position at the top of the list.  The Dungeon Fighter Online insurgency was put down.

Elsewhere on the PC list, Fortnite held on to fifth position and World of Warcraft held on to sixth.  Popping onto the list in the seventh spot was HearthstoneWorld of Tanks held eighth position for another month while PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds dropped from seventh to ninth and CS:GO held tenth again.

On the console chart, Fortnite held the top spot for another month, while the newly released God of War ran up to second position as a PlayStation 4 exclusive.  FIFA 18 held on to third while PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds remains buried by Fortnite on the console front, completely missing from the list.  Also disappearing is the XBox exclusive Sea of Thieves which broke into the console chart last month.

I do wonder whether H1Z1 will be able to make the chart, sqeezing back into the battle royal market it lost a hold of.  The report is that 1.5 million people downloaded the H1Z1 beta.  We shall see if that translates into sales going forward.

On the mobile chart Pokemon Go and Candy Crush Saga both held onto spots, but Lineage M, which brought in so much revenue for NCsoft in their last quarterly report, fell off.

Other items from the SuperData Research report:

  • Fortnite can’t be stoppedonce again it broke the record for most additional content revenue in a single month by a console game.
  • Fortnite breaks another record. Epic’s Battle Royale shooter made $296 million in April across Console, PC and Mobile, up from $223 million in March.
  • Console spend was up a whopping 44% in April due to the record-breaking success of both Fortnite and God of War
  • God of War has the largest console exclusive digital launch to date. Sony’s new exclusive title sold an estimated 2.1 million digital units at launch in April. This is more than double that of the second-largest Sony exclusive launch, Uncharted 4.
  • Grand Theft Auto V is finally showing its age. GTA V Online revenue declined 9% year-over-year, ending an impressive streak of 12 consecutive months with year-over-year growth. GTA V Online has declined sequentially every month since the start of the year, likely in part due to the continued rise of Fortnite as well as a dearth of significant content updates from Rockstar.
  • Honour of Kings hits a new high. Honour of Kings further cemented itself as the top grossing mobile title in the world with another $185 million in revenue generated during April, up from $171 million in March and $149 million last April.

Blizzard Second Among Equals in Q1 2018 Quarterly Report

Yesterday saw the release of earnings information for Activision-Blizzard for the first quarter of 2018.

As I have complained about in the past, the company has gone to great lengths to scrub all but the most basic data from these reports over the years.  Long gone is any talk of subscription numbers or line items that single out subscription revenue.  They have even reduced emphasis on their bullshit monthly average users metric.  As soon as something stops looking good they stop talking about it.

Still, they can’t hide everything.  As a public company they have to give some standard information in formats acceptable to the accounting and investment industries.  So we have, as an example, slide 9 of their presentation.

Revenues on Slide 9 of the investor presentation

This is generally where they brag about what went well.  Last year in Q1 for Blizzard in was World of Warcraft, still high on the Legion expansion, and Overwatch.  At that point Blizz was behind King for revenue, but tied with King for income, giving them the lead in margins.

This year Blizz has fallen back from that.  We expect the Activision side of the house to be in third place in any quarter when they did not have a Call of Duty release.  Still, they did pretty well year over year, largely based on Call of Duty digital sales if I read that right, but at least they have managed to get revenue out of it over more than a single quarter spike.

King grew as well.  Like each of the three segments of the company, they rely heavily on one title, Candy Crush Saga in this case.  But they managed to milk that for a lot making them both the top earner and the best in margins.

And then there is Blizzard whose revenues grew, but not by as much as the other two.  Income from that is down over last year and margins are now back in third place.

Q1 2018 Revenue and Income

The upside news from the Blizzard front seems to be mostly about keeping Legion going with updates and pre-sales of the upcoming Battle for Azeroth expansion.  Overwatch League is also mentioned, but I am not sure how much I buy that given that it is also listed under the reasons why margins have slipped.

Blizzard’s investments in “key growth initiatives” is blamed for the reduction in margins.  On them, the one I wonder about is “mobile incubation.”  With King on board I though they were handling all the mobile.  Then again, with King on board and dominating revenue, income, and margins, maybe there is a push to get the Blizzard brand on mobile in a form that makes money.

We shall see.  I suppose it is nice to see World of Warcraft still so strong, but Blizzard needs one of its newer titles to pick up some slack here as WoW declines, be that decline gentle or not.

Anyway, the reports, presentation, and audio from the call are all on the quarterly reports page of the investor relations site for Activision-Blizzard.

April in Review

The Site

April first is the one day of the year that Google remembers I have a blog and sends me traffic in numbers reminiscent of the “good old days” of blogging, before the likes of Tumblr, Twitter, and Reddit hove into view.  So my page views tend to spike a bit.

Who doesn’t love April Fools?

I get a bit of a compound boost from this as well.  Since I have covered Blizzard at April Fools regularly for a while now, I include a list of past posts which, unlike almost every other such list or link in any other article I put up, people actually click on these.  So my Top Posts list gets a bit skewed towards April Fools early in the month as well.

What you get at the start of every April

That reflects itself again in this post down the page in the most viewed posts section.  Rare is the item that can break into the dirty dozen every April, but a couple of posts made it.

Of course it is all downhill from here for the rest of the year on the page view front.

One Year Ago

There was, of course, April Fools, but Blizzard didn’t seem up to its usual level of effort.

Blizzard did make the original StarCraft free to play, no April Fools there.

I was wondering if the plan to make mobs scale with your ilevel was going to make going back to World of Warcraft a chore.  It seemed like a bad idea, but in the end it didn’t seem to matter much.

I was going on about the 3K Blissey problem in Pokemon Go.

Meanwhile I was finishing up Pokemon Sun and still felt like playing Pokemon, so went back to Pokemon Alpha Sapphire.

There was the Lord of the Rings Online ten year launch anniversary.   We would finally get to Mordor later that year.

Daybreak announced the Agnarr server for EverQuest, a retro server designed to stay retro as it would not progress beyond the Lost Dungeons of Norrath expansion.

In EVE Online Reavers were out camping Circle of Two in Impass, shooting their ratters and such.  Asher later told us that this was to have us in place as they had a CO2 director ready defect.  This was before The Judge did his thing.  However that did not come to pass.

I was going on about corpses in New Eden, which have their own special place in the game.  I was also on about force auxiliaries and titan losses.

In Iceland EVE Fanfest was under way.  They had a presentation that gave some interesting data about what happened in New Eden over the last year.  CCP also announced the winners of the CSM12 election and when/where EVE Vegas would take place.  And there was a talk on the plan to convert Null Sec stations into citadels.  We’re still waiting on that last bit.

I also started looking at the New Eden Monthly Economic Report as a regular monthly item, something set off by how much ratting and mining was being done in null sec.

I sharpened up my scanning skills, all the better to hunt MTUs.  Also, according to CCP I lost 5 billion ISK in space wealth since the month before.

In Minecraft I finished up the long road to the northern forest mansion; it took an hour to ride it on a fast horse.

And then there was the crazy story of the Nintendo NES Classic, which they stopped producing even though it remained sold out everywhere.

Five Years Ago

I was remembering the SEGA Genesis and NBA Jams

Our Wii seemed to be collecting dust and destined for retirement.  Maybe one more round of Wii Bowling?

On the iPad I was fiddling around with Vinylize Me.

The Camelot Unchained Kickstarter had kicked off with a steep $2 million goal.  With only three days left to go the campaign was $400K short.  Not sure if Mark Jacobs’ dire vision of the future of F2P helped or hurt.

Meanwhile, Lord British’s Shroud of the Avatar wrapped up its Kickstarter campaign over the $2 million mark, having doubled its $1 million initial goal.

LOTRO turned 6 years old and I was wondering what lay it its future.

World of Tanks hit 2 years and I was pondering tank crew skills and finally driving the KV-4 along with some other new tanks.

Age of Empires II – HD Edition launched on Steam.

I took another run at Need for Speed: World, which had added achievements.

In Rift, I was wondering why the Storm Legion expansion just wasn’t grabbing me.  I tried to press on.  Meanwhile, the instance group spent evenings one person short trying to find something to do.

The Burn Jita 2 event kicked off.  People didn’t seem to be paying much attention to it before it started, but it got extended and ended up bagging 573 billion ISK worth of ships.

CCP launched its EVE Online timeline as part of its prep for the 10th anniversary of the game.  They’ve since thrown all of that away.  But the Dev Blog about it is still there.

I also had items from the mail bag about Darkfall: Unholy Wars, MegaWars IV, and World of Tanks Blitz.

And it was kind of a quiet April Fools at Blizzard.

Ten Years Ago

I made up something for April Fool’s Day, SOE’s Graphite Realms!  I thought it was amusing.

Homstar Runner was getting a game on the Wii.

Lord of the Rings Online celebrated a year of being live.  Book 13 introduced, among other things, fishing.  And my video problems with the game proved to be a bad video card, so I was actually able to get into the game.

Computer Gaming World/Games For Windows magazine ceased publishing as part of the ongoing demise of print media.

In EVE Online I made the big move from Caldari to Amarr space.  I also began producing Badger transports for fun and profit.  CCP introduced the whole Council of Stellar Management thing, which I dubbed The Galactic Student Council.  My opinion on it hasn’t changed much since.

I also managed to get my hauling rigged Mammoth blown up in low sec space, which got me thinking at the recent profusion of those new heavy interdictors.

Meanwhile in World of Warcraft one million people in China logged into the game at the same time.  There is still no report on what would happen if they all pressed the space bar at the same time.  While that was going on, the instance group finished up the Slave Pens and the Underbog and began the long struggle with the Mana Tombs.

I was looking around for Tetris on the Nintendo DS.  You would think that would be easy, right?

And then it was Tipa’s turn to bang the EverQuest nostalgia drum, so I joined in yet again.

Most Viewed Posts in April

  1. April Fools at Blizzard 2018 is Mostly Just World of Warcraft
  2. April Fools at Blizzard 2017 – Not Much to Talk About
  3. From Alola Pokedex to National Pokedex in Pokemon Sun
  4. WoW Dance Battle System!
  5. April Fools at Blizzard – 2016
  6. April Fools at Blizzard – 2015
  7. Where the Hell is that EverQuest Successor Already?
  8. Burn Jita 2018 Aftermath
  9. April Fools at Blizzard – 2010
  10. Burn Jita Back for 2018
  11. Into the Abyss and Our Triglavian Future
  12. April Fools at Blizzard – 2014

Search Terms of the Month

do people still play everquest in 2018?
[You would be surprised]

palkia and dialga memes
[probably a thing]

daybreak games news april 24 2018
[According to Daybreak, there was no news that day]

“columbus nova” “daybreak”
[That’s not news!]

game with large armored “white tiger” creature
[Rift maybe?]

EVE Online

I watch some of EVE Fanfest live, and more of it as videos recorded while I was still sleeping.  Some big news out of Iceland this year.  But we’re in the gap between hopes and reality now.

In the game the deployment in the north carried on.  With Pandemic Horde gone the Guardians of the Galaxy coalition in Fade, Pure Blind, and Deklein seemed to struggle with how to face an every growing guerilla war brewing in their space.  Some interesting defections occurred when they decided to just not fight us.  Now there is talk of GotG hiring mercenaries to fight us.  Stay tuned.

Basically, EVE Online ate up most of my gaming time this month.  I even tried out the abyssal pocket content on the test server just to see what that was about.

Minecraft

I have been pottering around in Minecraft.  It remains a good game to play when you want to do something while listening to an audio book or serious podcast.  I completed the long rail line to from the northern mansion and have just been tinkering around with other projects I’ve left around.  I need to do a couple of posts about our server.

Pokemon Go

I remain at level 32, but I have been doing some of the research tasks.  As I noted earlier in the month, those are a nice bit of structure to keep people playing.  I have ended up collecting a bunch of new Pokemon along the way.

My current state of affairs:

  • Level: 32 (+0)
  • Pokedex status: 312 (+18) caught, 342 (+7) seen
  • Pokemon I want: Lapras, but it remains elusive
  • Current buddy: Grovyle

Rift

I kept on with Rift Prime this month, but did not spend as much time there as I planned.  EVE Online, as noted above, ate up most of my gaming time.  Still, I plan to carry on for another month at least, so I will go use some of my Rift funny money to buy another 30 Day ticket.

Shroud of the Avatar

After a weekend of focusing on this I haven’t really been back.  Like I said, space battles called.  I do want to continue with it some, or so I tell myself, but since it isn’t a subscription it sort of falls back in the queue most nights.  Even Minecraft has a monthly server hosting fee.

World of Warcraft

I petered out on Azeroth for the most part last month, so I let my subscription lapse in April, and that was that.  I did get an invite to the Battle for Azeroth beta, but like the alpha, I have no real interest in spoiling the content before it goes live.  I will be back when the pre-expansion events start to hit.

Coming Up

We’ll all be watching Daybreak in May to see what else might bubble up now that they’ve stirred the pot enough to get everybody staring at them.  We’re all waiting on the current rumor that Daybreak owns Standing Stone Games via Jason Epstein’s cat or some such.

On the internet spaceships front it will be a big month for EVE Online.  The list of items include:

  • 15 year anniversary events and player gifts
  • Operation: Conscious Interruption event
  • The Into the Abyss expansion
  • The death of the the old API and the 3rd party app holocaust
  • The run to grab null sec stations before they become faction citadels
  • CSM elections, or at least a date for them

And then there is the ongoing deployment in the north to keep GotG from being able to do their day to day ratting and mining.  They are hiring Black Legion to fight us and there is a rumor that MOA is going to pull back from Fade and Pure Blind altogether, though not until the June 5th null sec station conversion, so we’ll see how that plays out.

There is a huge update for Minecraft in the offing that will introduce a lot of new sea life.  I’d be happy to see that in May.

The Spring Season of Fantasy Movie League will wrap up this month, and the season ending on the Memorial Day weekend holiday and the launch of Solo: A Star Wars Story.

Other than that, carrying on with whatever else it is I play these days.

SuperData Shows League of Legends Dethroned and Fortnite Still Booming

SuperData Research has their numbers for March out and it shows an unexpected (at least to me) change with some of the usual suspected.

SuperData Research Top 10 – March 2018

League of Legends lost its first place spot on the PC list.  If you go to the SuperData tag here and scroll down the past posts, you will see that League of Legends has held that spot since the list was a thing.  It has been there for so long it seemed like it was just locked in place.

Of course, it was supplanted by Dungeon Fighter Online, a Korean game big in the China market that has been hanging around second or third position for as long as LoL has been in first place.

I’m not sure if League of Legends is sagging a bit or if the Season 4 release for Dungeon Fighter Online was that popular, but we have a new player in first position for now.

Further down the list Fortnite pushed into fifth spot while PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, fifth last month, dropped down to seventh place behind World of Warcraft.  World of Tanks held on to the eighth slot while Far Cry 5 joined at ninth, taking that spot from Hearthstone, and CS:GO held on to tenth.

On the console list Fortnite broke into the number one spot in March, followed by popular new comer Far Cry 5, pushing down FIFA 18, Call of Duty WWII, and the long in the tooth GTA VSea of Thieves also hove into view on the list while Monster Hunter: World fell from fourth to tenth spot.

And on the mobile list Pokemon Go and Candy Crush Saga swapped positions compared to the February list.

It seems like things are still full speed ahead for Fortnite and their conquest of the battle royale genre.

Other items from their update:

  • Dungeon Fighter Online has generated the highest revenue of any Free-to-Play PC game in March on the back of their third anniversary celebration and a limited event that challenged players to level up new characters for special items.
  • Tencent’s mobile kart-racing game, QQ Speed, has generated over $100M in revenue for its third month in a row.
  • 2015’s Call of Duty: Black Ops III continues to hold an impressive audience despite being two iterations behind this year’s Call of Duty: WWII. Developer Activision is continuing support for the game, releasing a new mode and map this month.
  • Fortnite had quite a March. The game has overtaken the previous “king of battle royale,” PUBG, in terms of revenue generated and monthly active users across all platforms. It also hit the #1 spot by revenue on iOS in the United States in its launch month and has the highest conversion rate of any free-to-play PC game in March. There’s no other way to say it: the game is a phenomenon. Fortnite generated $223 million across all platforms (console, PC, Mobile) in March, up a whopping 73% from February. Drake, a new season of the Battle Pass, and a John Wick skin all contributed to the massive growth.
  • Far Cry 5 marks a strong return for the franchise. Ubisoft’s Far Cry 5 sold an estimated 2.5 million digital units across console and PC. On console, Far Cry 5‘s digital launch was up nearly 500% compared to Far Cry Primal two years ago. This points to not only the underlying health of the Far Cry series, but also to growing digital download rates for AAA console games in 2018.
  • Sea of Thieves has early success but with a caveat. Sea of Thieves had 1.7 million monthly active users on console and 283,000 on PC during its launch month. However – more than half of these users obtained the game through the limited free trial offered as part of Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass. This leaves some unanswered questions concerning the long-term success of the title.
  • Candy Crush hits another multi-year high on mobile. Candy Crush had its most successful month since 2014. King’s flagship mobile title has been showing double-digit year-over-year growth since mid-2017.

Battle for Azeroth Coming August 14th

Blizzard announced the launch date for the next World of Warcraft expansion this morning.  Battle for Azeroth is slated to go live on August 14, 2018.

From the Blizzard site

Of course, we knew the expansion was coming some time this year.  The usual cycle dictates about every two years and when the pre-order came out the time frame was given as on or before September 21.

That would put the time between Battle for Azeroth and WoW Legion as 728 days, not the shortest time between expansions, but well shy of the longest stretch.

  • 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
  • Mists of Pandaria to Warlords of Draenor – 778 days
  • Warlords of Draenor to Legion – 670 days
  • Legion to Battle for Azeroth – 728 days

I personally had picked August 28 as the launch date back in my predictions for the year.  Being off by two weeks will cost me 4 points when the accounting comes, but still not too far off.  Either way, I’ll have time for a bit of a break before the pre-launch patch comes online and kicks of the starter events for the expansion.

We shall see if the late August launch will give Blizzard enough time to clear the decks and make WoW Classic a prime talking point at BlizzCon a couple of months afterwards.

 

WoW Allied Races, Alpha, and Taking a Break

As expected/predicted previously, I have hit something of a saturation point when it comes to World of Warcraft.  I am good for six months of sustained play generally, after which I tend to reach a plateau and start to look into playing something else for a while.

I usually have a set of goals when I start out.  This time around getting flying in the Broken Isles was a key item.  I managed to unlock that back in December.  As usual, a task that looked like it would take some time actually went faster than I thought it would.

First Flight in Legion

I also worked on pet battles some, growing my menagerie beyond 600 collected and finishing the Celestial Tournament finally.  I also leveled up quite a few pets to 25, so I now have quite an army to select from.  But pet battles do tend to lose their charm if all you’re doing is leveling.

When that was tapering off we had the Battle for Azeroth pre-order show up, which included the ability to unlock allied races.  I was already set for the Highmountain Tauren and it did not take me long to get the Nightborne unlocked as well.

Moose on moose action outside Orgrimmar

However, the Horde really isn’t my thing.  I just happened to have finally leveled up my Tauren druid to level 110 this time around, the first time I’ve bothered to get a Horde character to max level, which enabled all of this.  But I wasn’t sure I needed to level up another Horde character, especially not from level 20.

Meanwhile I was somewhat out in the cold on the Alliance allied races.  They required exalted status with the two Argus factions, Army of the Light and the Argussian Reach, and I wasn’t close on either.

That, however, gave me a new goal.  I hadn’t spent much time on Argus, where flying is not allowed.  So I dug into that and, this past weekend managed to get to exalted with Argussian Reach one day.

Also the 50 faction achievement

And then, having collected up a pile of faction tokens, went exalted with the Army of the Light the next day.

Another exalted faction

I waited for Darkmoon Faire to show up to use the boost to faction you get from riding the merry go round, but I didn’t really need it.  I had collected enough tokens to have gotten there without it.   But now I was set.

Allied Races unlocked

I went and ran through the missions to get the Lightforged Draenei and Void Elf options… the quest chains take about 20 minutes each, but that was about it.  I wasn’t keen to roll up new characters.  I have seven characters at level 110 already, and could get an eighth there pretty quickly, but I wasn’t feeling it.

One other goal I had was to get a character to try out the scaling leveling they put in with the 7.3.5 patch.  I did do a bit of that in Northrend with a Horde character, but did not get too far and never quite got around to doing a post about it.  Probably the biggest impact level scaling has had on me is that now all the mobs in Warlords of Draenor scale up to 100, which isn’t gray for level 110 characters, so for the Darkmoon Faire quest for 250 grisly trophies I can run around Draenor one-shotting mobs with impunity.

That helped me make some progress towards another minor goal, to get the Darkmoon Dirigible mount.  I’m still working a bit on that this week as Darkmoon Faire is up.  But I am not going to make it this month.

Meanwhile, my account renews at the end of the month so I think I am going to let it lapse.  I have other games I want to pay attention to at the moment and my zeal for Azeroth is in decline.  It is probably better that I take a break now and come back with fresh enthusiasm when the Battle for Azeroth pre-launch events start to kick in.

Of course, as soon as I decided that was probably the best course, Blizzard threw something my way, and invite to the Battle for Azeroth Alpha.

Come test our game!

Fortunately I long ago discovered my own problems with alpha and beta access.  Nothing diminishes my desire to play a game once it goes live than playing it before it goes live.  One of my pet theories is that the “it was better in beta” crowd that inevitably becomes vocal after launch is partially driven by the fact that at launch the game is no longer fresh and new to them.

That is certainly the case for me.  So playing in the Battle for Azeroth alpha now would only make me less likely to care about it when it did go live.  This is why I no longer do alpha or beta or even early access in some cases, though for some games early access is almost all you ever get. (e.g. Landmark)

So I’ll likely let WoW run down for now and come back to it when the time is ripe.

April Fools at Blizzard 2018 is Mostly Just World of Warcraft

This year Blizzard April Fools appears to have fallen even further out of favor down in Irvine.  I was wondering if it showing up on Easter would change this or not.  I checked the main sites as well as the forums for each of the current Blizzard games and below is all I found.

I’ll check back again later and add anything else that might pop up during the day.  If I missed anything, leave a comment to let me know.

World of Warcraft

The micro event when all the micro events are active… also, appropriate for today

This year saw the announcement of a whole series of new “micro holidays” including:

  • We’re All Elves Now!
  • Future Timewalking Event
  • Looking for Queue

In addition there is the traditional patch notes.  This year they are listed as Preview World of Warcraft 8.0.41 Patch Notes and includes such gems as:

The drop rates of mounts from raids and dungeons have been adjusted to ensure that that one mount you’ve been farming for the past 3 years will drop immediately for the newest member of your guild.

And that was about it.

Overwatch

Nothing

Hearthstone

What appears to be a real post about a month-long event.

A Murloc language version of the game.

Heroes of the Storm

Nothing

StarCraft II

Nothing

StarCraft Remastered

Too busy celebrating its 20th Anniversary yesterday.  You can get SC themed items in other Blizz games this weekend.

Diablo III

Nothing

Past Years

If this effort leaves you jonesing for more, you can always look back at past years:

And so it goes.  I think it might be telling that the official Blizzard April Fool’s archive stops at 2015.