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Role Playing (Games)

World of Warcraft Hits 9.3 Million Players 117

Posted by Zonk
from the azeroth-needs-its-own-zipcode dept.
Gamasutra is reporting that, along with Vivendi's ever-increasing earnings, recent information has been released updating the current player stats for World of Warcraft. Despite suspicions of falling numbers due to the long wait between now and Rise of the Lich King, Blizzard's Massive title is larger than ever, with some 9.3 million players. "Vivendi has chalked up the increase not only to its WoW subscriber base, but the release of its The Burning Crusade expansion, which saw release in China in the latter part of the third quarter ... The company also noted that its subscriber base has continued to grow from the 9 million mark it celebrated in July to more than 9.3 million, which it says is up more than one million subscribers since December 31 of last year."
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World of Warcraft Hits 9.3 Million Players

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  • Frightening (Score:4, Funny)

    by denisbergeron (197036) <[moc.oohay] [ta] [noregreBsineD]> on Thursday November 15, 2007 @04:22PM (#21369445)
    If you take this news and add it that one [slashdot.org]

    It's the biggest botnet in the world.

  • by wampus (1932) on Thursday November 15, 2007 @04:22PM (#21369451)
    You never forget your first 9.3 million subscribers.
  • And yet... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by geminidomino (614729) *
    5.9907 billion people STILL don't give a fuck.
    • by TheJerg (1052952)
      The .00000001% of the worlds population that owns game companies does care. They're the ones who decide what new games to devlop for the masses. To me this number means expect plenty of WoW clones over the next ten years.
      • by realmolo (574068)
        The problem is, WoW pretty much owns the market for MMORPGs. No one else comes close, and it's likely no one ever will. The only competition for WoW will be "WoW 2", which will likely let you import your WoW character.

        It's similar to the situation with Counter-Strike. After 8 years, no other FPS has the same number o of players. People want to play what everyone else is playing, when it comes to multiplayer games (even Xbox Live! suffers from this. Ever tried to play a multiplayer game that wasn't Halo? The
        • by doughrama (172715)
          Not sure I agree with you when it comes to MMO's. I play WoW, simply because I enjoy MMO's and WoW happens to be the best/most entertaining right now.

          As soon as something better comes along I'll switch. I want to switch. I'm dying to switch. I just want a new experience. I quit WoW once, before the BC. I played Eve Online for almost a year. Eve has some great qualities that are currently unmatched in any other game I've played. I quit Eve over the developer scandal among other reasons. Server populations re
    • Re:And yet... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Paradigm_Complex (968558) on Thursday November 15, 2007 @04:50PM (#21369903)
      Right, and oddly enough the vast majority of them don't visit slashdot, either. WoW is sufficiently large that it can have a noticable affect on the rest of technology, which happens to be something many slashdot-goers have interest in. WoW primarily distributes it's patches through bittorrent, which Comcast users are having trouble with, many of whom are calling for network neutrality, which has become enough of an issue to be picked up by many currently running for president of the world's current economic and military superpower. A very sizable chunk of those 5.9907 billion actually have some interest in the direction US politics swings. Even if you don't buy that it can affect the world as a whole, it certainly affects at least the tech world - the stuff slashdotters are interested in.
      • by MBraynard (653724)
        What a bunch of dumbasses who midded you up.

        Comcast has nothing to do with limiting WoW bittorrent patches. Comcast is limiting seeding.

        And the only candidates who are preaching NN the same ones who claim to see UFOs (much like all the other NN supporters.)

  • Who are these people.
    Everyone I know is quitting the game.
    Even I haven't played since this summer.
    I just don't have the time to devote to something like this and still lead a meaningful life.
    • Indeed. I wonder what their turn over rate is? I quit last winter, my main friend I played with quit at the same time, and all the other people we knew quit long before us.
    • You haven't played or haven't payed?
      • Good point ... I just checked my account.
        Last Login: August 18, 2007 10:12 AM PDT
        Game Time Expires: November 5, 2007 3:28 AM PST

        I just couldn't get back into things.
        I dreaded being pinged by other people.
        All my friends were at 70 and I'm stuck at 60 because I could only play one or two hours a week and can never sit for an hour straight without having to take a break to do something with my wife or kids.
        The very last time I logged in I was in Shattrath and I couldn't even remember where the flight
    • by Necroman (61604)
      it would be interesting to hear the numbers as a breakdown by country. I bet the US is about the same as 4 months ago, if not less. But China and other countries around the world are up.
    • by Usekh (557680)
      I have a sneaking suspicion that everyone you know is a tiny drop in the bucket of 9.3 million.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by gronofer (838299)

      Who are these people.
      You aren't likely to encounter them very often in the real world.
    • "Who are these people."

      I'm certain many people who are "subscribed" are inactive, the numbers don't tell us how active the subscribers are on an individual basis. I'm certain many wow players only play a little bit a month. My sister is one of them, she'll play a few days a month, the rest of the time she'll be out doing her thing. You have to understand that many wow players ONLY play wow and don't do much other gaming, so $15 a month is nothing.

      Then there is the fact that people are continuously leavin
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by varcher75 (800974)

        I'm certain many people who are "subscribed" are inactive, the numbers don't tell us how active the subscribers are on an individual basis.

        Most of the growth of the accounts is from Asia, because Asia uses a different model. In China, WoW players pay hourly, not a monthly flat rate. Due to this accounting method, and the fact that the software itself is free (you don't have to buy a box), chinese players have the habit of opening one account per character. Where, in the US or europe, a player would have o

  • Now I know why my shares in Coppertone tanked.
  • by confusedneutrino (732640) on Thursday November 15, 2007 @05:18PM (#21370325)
    For those of you keeping track at home, that's approximately one account for every mile between the Earth and the Sun...

    *ahem...*
    • Not quite, by an order of magnitude. It's now 9.3 million users, not 93 million users.
    • by TyFighter (189732)
      A better metric of measurement would be 9.3 million Hiroshimas.
    • by johannesg (664142)
      I for one cannot wait for the inevitable flood of future headlines: "WoW hits 9.4 million subscribers!" "WoW hits 9.5 million subscribers!" "WoW hits 9.503721 million subscribers!"
    • Or to be more precise, approximately 2.13 million subscribers for every lightyear between our solar system and Alpha Centauri.
    • If you're right, then a previous poster's woes over his Coppertone holdings should be very unfounded...
    • But how many football fields or library of congress is that? Use real measurements!
  • Considering that new content was known to be coming with the release of the 2.3 patch (which happened two days ago), I seriously doubt that WoW has been suffering any major 'waiting for the next expansion' subscriber losses yet. If the pre-BC timeframe is any indicator, that should happen in the final months before the WotLK release when the bulk of Blizzard's software engineering staff is concentrating on finishing the polish on it.
  • by Shivetya (243324) on Thursday November 15, 2007 @05:56PM (#21370849) Homepage Journal
    Disclaimer, I have multiple WOW accounts, one LOTRO account, and have tried about every damn MMORPG to come down the pike.

    Frankly, the majority of these companies other than Blizzard just don't get it. There was an article linked here from a MMORPG developer of high standing who did a talk about what gamers want, who they are, and the games they play. He then went into a point by point discussion about what makes a good game.

    The real problem, the game designers who are failing are designing games for people like them. They are not designing for the market, let alone new markets. A great example is Turbine. They had Asheron's Call and then followed it up with a sequel which failed miserably and was shut down. The primary reason was, it wasn't what the players wanted. It was more of a tribute to the developers (cities that if nothing else where monuments to Turbine). It had lots of great ideas but horrible execution. It forced player cooperation in areas where people never expect nor will cooperate (like crafting). Then comes D&D Online. A group centric game which for some reason people put huge unrealistic expected subscriber numbers on. Why didn't it generate the numbers? Simple, group mechanics require coordination out of game to experience properly in game. With your gaming population spread across time zones and such that coordination breaks down over time; usually not a long time. This title probably would have excelled with a Guild Wars model where the players could take NPCs along. Then comes along LOTRO, another game of great expectations hit by implementation and perceived need to group to trudge through higher levels (mostly unfounded but still it was a very pretty game that just felt empty - turbine's problem with having buildings you have to zone in breaks immersion and combined with walking dead human npcs doesn't help)

    WOW's churn numbers are probably greater than most of the top twenty game's current playing population. But why? Simple, you can log in and accomplish something in a short time without ever having to wait for others. Friends can pop in for brief periods and play along, you can pick up with others as you go, but for the most part you don't have to rely on others to enjoy the bulk of the content.

    There is also the major fact that none of the wow-killers has lived up to their hype or haven't released. Every time one of these games comes along and fails the blame game starts but always ignores the fact. The game isn't polished, the game is bug laden, the game requires a lot of grouping, or the game's hardware requirements are too high for the real MMORPG desiring player base.

    WOW is only going to lose a large number of people to the next Blizzard game. Blizzard set a very high standard and continues to keep their own game at that level. This provides enough satisfaction and enjoyment for many people. Why should the majority of them even care what else comes out?

    Too me it seems too many developers are actively relying on dissatisfied WOW players to swell their subscription numbers. If your looking for people who don't like such a successful and executed game just what in the hell are you aiming for?

    Oh well, WOW will persist for years because Blizzard has learned that you cater to the needs of the individual player and build up from there. You keep the individual happy and then provide then avenues for more fun with opportunities that reward grouping and playing with others. You never require that as the price of just playing.
    • by Wylfing (144940)

      You make a lot of good points. Early on, WoW suffered from a lot of these same faults, except in those days the competition was EverQuest, which sucked so much more that WoW was seen as a huge step up. Blizzard has learned a lot about what people want in the years since launch. The 40-man raid has given way to the 10-man and 5-man raid. They added battlegrounds with rewards on par with raiding, so you don't have to raid to get great loot. The crafting system, while it does in fact require some cooperation a

      • If one could have separate talents for PvE vs PvP that would also help.

        And if I could temporarily "downgrade" my toon to a lower level for PvP, that would be golden.
      • by pfdietz (33112)
        The 2.3 patch makes it easier to get Badges of Justice, which can be used to buy Primal Nether, so they're addressing that point as well.

        The 2.3 patch and the switch from client to server side targeting, along with the interaction with the global cooldown, has also had a crippling effect on melee classes, especially in PvP, which may cause some loss of customers.
    • by UnknownSoldier (67820) on Thursday November 15, 2007 @06:39PM (#21371385)
      While I don't think Wow is a great game, or even a good game (wow designers still don't have a clue about dead-time, and about minimizing the time it takes to get a party together at your favorite instances/location) I would agree with your post. Blizzard _nailed_ the basics in Wow. The core mechanics of what you do for the first 20 levels is usually interesting enough to keep a player leveling up. I'm usually not impressed with combat systems in games, but even the combat system is Wow I feel is good.

      I would argue Blizzard doesn't really innovate, but they take the best ideas, and continually refine the process. (i.e. Warcraft 3 took the best elements of RTS's and combined them.) And at the end of the day, that's what matters -- the basic gameplay. As a game programmer it is sad to see so many MMORPGs that can't even get that right. Diablo 2 and Wow aren't the prettiest games around, but the gameplay is addicting and "good enough." One can trace the evolution (not revolution) of their games and almost see the paradigm shifts in the industry with their game UI and design in their products.

      > Why should the majority of them even care what else comes out?

      Having gamed since the early 80's, I sadly have to agree. Because as bad as Wow is, everything else sucks worse, and I don't see anyone raising up meet that challenge of getting past that hurdle anytime soon. I used to thank Sony for Everquest -- "How NOT to design a game."

      The _real_ innovation in MMORPGs these days is the UI -- how accessible is your game to players (even to people who have NEVER gamed -- we still have a LONG ways to go.) Blizzard has a history of polishing their game, streamlining the UI. i.e. no click-and-drag when a single click will toggle picking up/dropping an item, right-click for the default action, etc. The latest patch 2.3 _finally_ organized Alchemy recipes. It is not much, but the little refinements here and there, add up to a more intuitive, and logical whole. And I think that is one of the reasons wow will continue to be around. Not because it is great, but because everyone else has this tremendous bar to overcome.

      • by Peeteriz (821290)
        You're right on spot with the 'minimising down-time' thing.
        Even the new 2.3 patch - which is quite nice in general - seems quite broken in the "facilitate grouping" part. For a specific example - the level requirements for the instances were made more narrow. WHY?? I had a class-specific quest to do at the Sunken Temple, but due to a simple, unneccesary restriction I cannot a) use the LookingForGroup interface to find people for this instance, and b) use summoning stone for this instance.... does it really
        • Agreed. I don't get the ridicilous requirements on the summoning stone either. ( If you are going to get powered leveld through an instance, there is realy nothing Blizzard can do. )

          The ideal solution would to allow the first person there, to summon the rest of the party, regardless of level.
    • by zerocool^ (112121)
      I'd like to point everyone to this article [rockpapershotgun.com], entitled "The World of Eve-Craft.

      Disclaimer: If you check my post history, it's obvious that I am an avid EvE Online player, and even maybe fanboi.

      Having said that, to be honest there are some things that EvE really, really does wrong. The 4 year paid beta test is one of them, ISK farmers are another (though that's not specific to any one MMO). Another common complaint is that many EvE players have said they tried out the game and found it wholly unapproachable
    • by Nathreee (1185673)
      I can only agree. Having tried many MMORPGs, like EVE, DDO, LotRO, Ryzom, Vanguard, Sword of the New World, Guildwars, FFXI and WoW, I cannot explain in short why WoW is so immensely popular and the other games are not. (See the mmorpg tag in my LJ for some articles I wrote about it) Some of these games have elaborate crafting systems, others have nice instances, I have seen good systems for group play, and new ways to tackle the grind and make the game more interesting. All I can say is, whereas most of th
    • Having played WoW since its release, I dropped my account a few months after the Burning Crusade. It was a very enjoyable game, but like most MMOGs it failed to evolve and remained a very simple game. It began to feel like a stagnant experience. While PvP and the Battlegrounds helped that a great deal....at the end of the day it was the same experience.

      A few months ago I reactivated my EQ2 account. If the current version of EQ2 had been the release version, I would never have left it for WoW. Like WoW,
    • by vimh42 (981236)
      I took a break from WOW a short while back and tried out LOTRO. I think it's a worthy entry into the market but suffers from a number of things that made me drop it after a month. My issues with it were primarily in gameplay and animation. Many gameplay mechanics were just not fluid and coupled with poor animations, the feel of the game just wasn't up to par. On the other hand the environments were really great. Guild Wars continues to be a solid game. I like the fact that I can just jump in any time and p
  • Just think of it, 9.3 million possible guild members to deposit gold for my Squirrelly Wrath guild bank!

    But, the big question is, if I need 1000 gold to buy 96 slots for the guild bank, how many of those 9.3 million accounts are on my server and aren't gold farmers who will try to join so they can siphon gold out of the guild?

    And how many will be online when I am?

    And will they all help me in my mythical quest for coffee, nuts, and Foamy the Squirrel?

  • But from the top of the mountain there is no longer anywhere to go but down. And the air may be so thin at that altitude that it makes thinking clearly about the future difficult.

    I've been playing WoW since beta (blah, blah), but I predict that in a few years we'll look back on the announcement of the forthcoming expansion as the peak in the life of WoW.

    Note that in the past they announced subscriber numbers in even millions but now we have this 9.3 number. What's gone wrong that they didn't hit 10 millio
    • Yeah yeah yeah .lol. You make it sound like Blizzard is bleeding money. They would turn enormous profits even with 400k subscribers (like it was the case with mmorpg before WoW, you know that business plan for UO was counting on 10k subscribers? That there are games CURRENTLY on market profitable with 2k subscribers? ). With their numbers they just rake in huge amount of cash. Heck they can stop dead and do nothing and I bet they still will have 4 mill in 10 years (if not more).

      Market for MMORPG is not u
    • by Xamot (924)
      While I agree that I think WoW will start seeing active accounts in the US decline in the next year or two. I disagree with the reason. The questing in WoW is what they do great. While I have tons of complaints about the game, I'm sure I'll renew for the WotLK to play those 10 levels. The questing, exploration, and general leveling process is a lot of fun in WoW. My biggest complaint is that at max level the game goes from being a fun game of frequent character improvements to soul crushing long grind for e
    • If there is a WoW killer in the works it isn't getting the press that it should. WAR got delayed and Age of Conan won't attract a huge audience(even if it's awesome) because its rated M. I just watched a video of Pirates of the Burning Sea and despite the fact that I have little interest in that setting I was really impressed and thought I might give it a try. We might see a sleeper hit take some of WoW's thunder but I doubt it. People are coming back to WoW. The fickle MMORPG player is always looking
  • Impressive! (Score:4, Funny)

    by SpacePunk (17960) on Thursday November 15, 2007 @10:06PM (#21373521) Homepage
    That's a lot of virgins. It makes you wonder if WOW has more virgins than Slashdot, but I'm sure there's some overlap.
  • I believe that when Wrath release,the number of wow players will hit 10 Million. Thus i put the forecast in my blog: http://www.igolg.com [igolg.com]
  • That's a little bit bigger than the population of Sweden (see Wikipedia [wikipedia.org]). I found this fact rather amusing.
    • I actually compared it to the population of the entire population of the Chicagoland area, as that's a bit closer to home, and /that's/ terrifying.
  • Of the 9.3 million how many subscribers are actually profitable?
    • Keep in mind that all their subscriber counts include people currently on the 30 free days which come with buying a box. I can't speak to whether it also includes the 10 day free, limited trial as I don't know. Estimates are that somewhere between 3m-4m of the 9.3m are US Players. These numbers are skewed because their definition of "subscriber" changes for each region. For Asian markets most players don't buy a box and don't pay a monthly. They primarily play in LAN Cafes where the rate is somewhere aro
  • Considereing they spent 100 Million $ building it I don't think there's much of a reason being suprised. Blizzards is the only software company that I recall forcefully resisting the urge of releasing to early. Starcraft is to date the most popular RTS and they playtested it for *two years* before releasing it. It has a resolution that was considers low even back then. WoW runs fine with my Geforce 4.

    Resist pushy releasing, playtest, build for mid-range machines, playtest, see that the game is fun after 30
    • I completely agree with the reasons you've listed and it's too bad more companies don't copy their design philosophies instead of just trying to copy their designs. I just wanted to chime in to say that their budget in the neighborhood of $65 million. I'm not trying to be a fact nazi, but I just wanted to mention it because in the world of MMOs $35m is a huge difference. $65m is just over double the second highest budgeted MMO that has been released to date which speaks volumes about the kind of quality

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