Sections

Blizzard’s Pearce: WoW will return to growth

Tuesday, 25th May 2010 09:18 GMT By Johnny Cullen

wowc3

Blizzard EVP of product development Frank Pearce has told VG247 that World of Warcraft will return to growth this year, moving beyond the 11.5 million subs it’s been stuck at since 2008.

Speaking with Adam Hartley in an interview in London yesterday, Pearce told us that the launch of Cataclysm later this year, as well as the release of Wrath of the Lich King in China, will bring increased numbers to the MMO.

When asked if it had hit its peak as far as the number of players went, Pearce said: “No, I don’t think that at all.

“I mean, you can look at that number and if you look at some of the details around it… In China, for example, we haven’t even launched Wrath of the Lich King yet, and that expansion is already 18-plus months old.

“They’re still playing The Burning Crusade there, because we’re waiting for approval for Wrath from the appropriate agencies. And once we get that approval and launch Wrath in China then I think we will see growth.”

Pearce added Cataclysm will probably see some “win-back” from players who had broken from the game.

“Whenever we launch an expansion we usually see some win-back from players who have set WoW aside temporarily,” he said.

“Hopefully we will get some people back from Cataclysm as well. I don’t think 11.5 million is a peak, necessarily, but there are certain things that we need to do and need to do well in order to see it go further.”

Earlier this year during its full-year financials for 2009, Blizzard boss Mike Morhaime said that the MMO had stopped growing, and had stuck at 11.5 million subs since late 2008.

Get our full interview with Frank Pierce here. Cataclysm releases later this year.

Latest

15 Comments

  1. Erthazus

    It won’t. People got tired of WOW, even when i played WOTLK, my friends and guild were bored already after 80 level.

    #1 5 years ago
  2. Boris Fett

    “People got tired of WOW.”

    And yet it’s still the most popular subscription based MMORPG on the planet, despite its stalled number of users.

    #2 5 years ago
  3. Erthazus

    @2 Yeap. True.

    This year Blizzard going to announce new MMORPG so we are going to have another one popular MMO from Blizzard :D

    #3 5 years ago
  4. Boris Fett

    It’s kinda funny, really. The only competition they have to beat is themselves.

    #4 5 years ago
  5. OlderGamer

    I think the end game being all about gear grinding and all but discarding the building process holds the game back. The expac won’t help in that regaurd, the level cap won’t move enough. It all about raiding for gear. Thats nice, but I and my friends want more actual building in terms of levels/skills.

    #5 5 years ago
  6. Dralen

    WoW is definitely the best mmo I’ve ever played, but there’s only so much fun you can get out of a game. I recently just quit WoW not because I had finished all the content, but because I got bored of it. It happens with all games eventually, just a matter of
    when.

    #6 5 years ago
  7. Phoenixblight

    I have been waiting for an expansion like this. Not only are they adding more areas, and only adding 5 more levels but they are overhauling vanilla WoW.Changing areas like Desolace to be instead a land of gray to a land full of life. Not just that but;
    making the all quests to resemble the creativity of the last expansion.
    You will also be able to fly in the old world.
    Removing all the passive talents and replacing them with more reactionary talents and/or spells. You would get all passive abilities with the Mastery system.
    New Profession that will only be available once you turn 85 to give your character more passive abilities.
    2 New Races that have starting areas that will surpass the Death Knight starting area.

    Blizzard goal with this expansion is not just new end game content and more levels but also tuning the level experience to be fun and not dull as it has been for the past few years.

    #7 5 years ago
  8. OlderGamer

    That sounds nice and all PB but most players could care less about the building experience. Thats why DKs started at 55 to begin with.

    I like the building proces. But there is a limit to how often retreading the same ground can remain fun. The vast majority of players are going to go rebuild a dozen 80/85s just because blizz went a retooled the quests along the way. The level cap should have been extended to 90 or higher and several NEW areas should have been added beyond what they did add.

    But at the heart of it they aren’t going to be able to retrain players to think of wow as anything beyond end game pvp/raiding. That is at the crux of it, what wow is all about. Love it or hate it. Big instances with huge/harder then hell boss fights to earn you emblyms/tokens/what-ever-it-takes items to trade in for better gear. Thats wow.

    This expac is simply more of the same.

    #8 5 years ago
  9. Phoenixblight

    No they created DKs to start at 55 to make it a heroic experience, they did poll in the forums about what level the DK should start at and the majority picked 55-60 area.

    I have played the game since release and I get the most enjoyment out of the leveling experience, not raiding or the pvp. My Main is an Undead Shadow Priest and I have done raiding all the way to ICC and it still doesn’t compare to leveling so much so I rerolled an alliance priest and I am now leveling her as a completely different spec than my main.

    All MMOs end game content is all about PVP and raiding, reason WoW is so successful because they make it interesting and fun.

    Curious, OG but what would you like them to do for end game?

    #9 5 years ago
  10. OlderGamer

    Well imo end game isn’t a right. It is a previledge.

    In wow more then any other MMO that i have ever played more players reach end game. Maybe that is because of the casualness that Blizz has implimented. And to their credit they are one of the best games out there and one of the biggest. So it works.

    But I want more content, moving the storyline forward along with the level cap. I want maore races. And more classes(imo, it was a mistake to allow three builds for each class – I would had offered two and made more classes)(think EQ/EQII).

    In wow they use gimmicks too often, for example their distribution of class power is moved around in a shell game fashion. The joke in my guild was if you don’t like your class today, come back next week and Blizz will have changed it. Some will say that they do this do “Balance” skills/gear sets and mostly for PVP. I think it just a way to keep players trying new things and to freshen the game. The game has been out for years, if you haven’t founf balance yet, your not going to. Stop spending time and effort tweaking and retweaking, nerfing and unnerfing and instead just add new content. Balance that in beta/demo and move on.

    Classes don’t need to be redone once or twice a year.

    I like wow, played it off and on from day one. Several 80s. But I have a hard time going into this instance, to grind for rep/gear to that I can go into the next tougher instance and grind for more rep/gear. Rinse and repeat.

    Now if I was able to gain levels and skills….

    And I have no problem with PVP ‘cept that it too is far to gear dependant. I just don’t see away around that one to be honest. Not under the current system. More world wide events that are pvp based might help. What if Stormwind were to be raided by flaged NPC Horde that flagged the player if they attacked the NPC, and of course this allowed real Horde Players to jump in. Do the same type of thing in OgM ir whatever. Stuff like that, on a global and say week long event.

    Yes they have held events here and there, and we the seasonial stuff too. But the game itself has become very mechanical over the years. At this point everyone wants to get their toon to lvl cap as fast as possible(no thought goes into building).

    And:

    “they created DKs to start at 55 to make it a heroic experience, they did poll in the forums about what level the DK should start at and the majority picked 55-60 area.”

    You just proved my point. Players don’t want to build. DKs didn’t start at lvl 55 because they were heroic, they started there because when asked players opted to not have to level them up from lvl one.

    Honestly what I think Blizz should do, is create a console version of World of Warcraft Battlegrounds. Allow toon creation to start with full builds and starting gear at say level 70. Allow the players to earn xp in combat and level up their toons and place points in a skill tree. Design the game much like the way a few of the Battlegrounds in game are setup. Add dlc/add ons like new classes, arenas, game modes, and increase the level caps once or twice a year by five.

    A game like would just about take over XBL/PSN.

    #10 5 years ago
  11. Phoenixblight

    “In wow they use gimmicks too often, for example their distribution of class power is moved around in a shell game fashion. The joke in my guild was if you don’t like your class today, come back next week and Blizz will have changed it. Some will say that they do this do “Balance” skills/gear sets and mostly for PVP. I think it just a way to keep players trying new things and to freshen the game. The game has been out for years, if you haven’t founf balance yet, your not going to. Stop spending time and effort tweaking and retweaking, nerfing and unnerfing and instead just add new content. Balance that in beta/demo and move on.”

    I disagree on this front. I look forward to the changes they do to the talents. In one of the patches post release of Wrath they allowed my Shadow Priest dots to crit and increased his damage.
    How they balance the talents is not just for PVP but to make it work with the new raid being released.

    #11 5 years ago
  12. revolting

    I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with WoW.

    I loved it to bits for 4 years solid, from day one of (european) launch through to approximately this time last year, well after launch of WotLK, but just before Icecrown was opened up.

    To this day it’s still the best MMO I’ve ever played, but, while I still do play MMOs, there’s absolutely no way I way I will go back to WoW, ever. It ate up far too much of my time (approximately 60-70 hours a week for the duration of my years-long stay, on top of working a full time job), and I just got sick to the stomach of it. I just can’t bear the thought of going back to it, no matter how many new shiney loots there are to aim for. As much as I’d love to check out goblins and worgen, the thought of loading it up again makes me physcially ill.

    Not to mention all the free time I have to enjoy other games AND have a social life now. As good as it may be, my time there is done. There’s only so much of one game a person can take, however well crafted it is.

    #12 5 years ago
  13. OlderGamer

    @12 That is prolly the way most people feel or want to feel about the game even if they still play it. Most of em just won’t admitt to it.

    If your away from the game and have broken that link it is prolly best to stay away. I have had the same problem in terms of hours played. Been times when I would stay up and raid till 5am. And to make things worse(and really it is very stupid) I wasn’t actualy enjoying my time spent playing.

    I started playing MMOs on M59 years and years ago(still one of my fav games), but wow has been the worse one out there to stay away from. Now I play it at arms length when I do play. I focus on building alts, stay out of most big guilds, avoid raiding guilds like the plague, and set time limits on when and how long I can play.

    The game used to be fun, and still can take up all of my time if I let it, but yea, like you, I have come to realise it truly isn’t fun for me to play anymore.

    #13 5 years ago
  14. revolting

    @13

    “Been times when I would stay up and raid till 5am. And to make things worse(and really it is very stupid) I wasn’t actualy enjoying my time spent playing.”

    Same here, and that was the really bizarre part for me; for the last year or so, I actually really disliked my time in the game. I loved the game itself, I loved the world, I loved the classes I played, but actually playing the thing gave me very little enjoyment, and raiding in particular I started to actively dislike and get seriously stressed out by towards the end. And yet still I played! Compelled, hooked, and unable to break the vicious cycle of not wanting to miss out on what was going on dispite loathing taking part in it.

    When I did finally stop playing, it wasn’t voluntarily, it was forced upon me; my PC blew up, and due to various issues, it was a couple of months before I was able to replace it. After that, I just couldn’t face going back to Azeroth, having missed 2 months of stuff happening, not least of which was one of the few seasonal events I had left towards that year-long mount acheivment. Just couldn’t face logging in knowing what I’d missed.

    But shortly after that, I chilled out, and saw that what had happened was actually a HUGE blessing in disguise, and started to enjoy things outside of WoW. Best thing that ever happened. :) Had the PC not blown up, I’d probably still be there, and I’d be miserable.

    And, yeah, I started on Meridian59, too! Played it for about half a year before UO eclipsed it. I have bad memories about a wood full of big red ants. Very enjoyable, though, paved the way for many an MMO addiction.

    My MMO of choice at the moment is Champions Online, the exact antithesis of my WoW experiance; completely casual and stupidly fun, easy to dip in and out of with little difference made to the content accessable whether I play for a couple of hours a day or a couple of hours hours a month.

    #14 5 years ago
  15. OlderGamer

    I find Phantasy Star Universe to be a good wow filler for me. We have three xboxes and three accounts. I play PSU with my sons. We can log in and out w/o any real stress. Its fun in a console hack and slash sort of way. Lite, but just deep enough to be interesting. It works.

    As far as M59 goes I played Pestilance, Genocide, and Dark Figure. I was a PKer to the core lol. I loved that game and will always have glowing memories of it. Beyond words lol.

    Maybe I will pick up a copy of Champions Online. Summers coming and the kids are wondering if we are going to play Wow again…maybe champs instead.

    #15 5 years ago

Comments are now closed on this article.