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Role Playing (Games)

World of Warcraft Hits 10 Million Subscribers 450

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the that's-a-lotta-bored-paladins dept.
technirvana writes "Blizzard Entertainment, owners of World of Warcraft, announced today that the game now has more than 10 million paying subscribers around the world. Online gameplay costs an average of $15 USD per month. Those 10 million paying subscribers include 5.5 million players in Asia, 2.5 million in the US and 2 million in Europe. The Warcraft brand was first introduced in 1994 and World of Warcraft was launched in 2001."
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World of Warcraft Hits 10 Million Subscribers

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  • by Sierpinski (266120) on Wednesday January 23, 2008 @08:52AM (#22152324)
    The Warcraft brand was first introduced in 1994 and World of Warcraft was launched in 2001.

    World of Warcraft was announced in 2001, but was launched on November 23, 2004.

    see The wikipedia entry [wikipedia.org].
  • Re:munnies! (Score:1, Informative)

    by fain0v (257098) on Wednesday January 23, 2008 @08:55AM (#22152370)
    Not all subscribers pay the same. Players in China pay as little as 6 cents an hour.
  • by Aereus (1042228) on Wednesday January 23, 2008 @08:55AM (#22152372)
    Only accounts for North America and European servers pay the regular subscription price. Blizzard licenses out WoW to local companies in the Asian markets. Typical subscription plans there are for X amount of hours per month, and in the case of China the average price is $3-4 USD/month. Of which I assume Blizzard only sees a small royalty from.
  • Re:munnies! (Score:3, Informative)

    by A.K.A_Magnet (860822) on Wednesday January 23, 2008 @08:59AM (#22152414) Homepage

    Not all subscribers pay the same. Players in China pay as little as 6 cents an hour.
    That's what "US$15/month on average" means still, doesn't it?
  • So What? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 23, 2008 @09:03AM (#22152482)
    Ragnarok Online has 25+ million subscriber worldwide with 24 million being in asia(Gold farming is impossible so no farmers either...)
  • Re:Accuracy? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Tridus (79566) on Wednesday January 23, 2008 @09:22AM (#22152690) Homepage
    The only count active subscriptions. They do count multiple accounts from the same people as multiple subscriptions (since thats exactly what they are), but thats not very uncommon.

    I'm not sure how common multi-account people actually are, aside from dual boxers. I've seen people do it far more in other games, but in WoW you get so many characters (and bank space, and bank alts) anyway that there isn't much reason to do it without dual boxing.

    The numbers seem pretty accurate. There's been server queues again lately for the first time in months, and EVERYWHERE has been busy. The low and mid level areas were full of players over the holidays, which is really something for a game out this long. Its also a regular on the weekly PC best seller list.
  • by RogueyWon (735973) * on Wednesday January 23, 2008 @09:30AM (#22152792) Journal
    To be honest, the current end-game isn't bad. They've got enough avenues in there to suit most degrees of committment to the game and general temperaments, even if some of these are more developed than others.

    For the casual players, there are the five-man instances - first the regular versions and then, when you've got your gear from those, the heroics. Heroics are an interesting twist; they aren't, as I was expecting, just tuned-up versions of the regular instances. In many cases, despite the superficial similarities, they need very different tactics. There's also a nice progression here; a group in all blues wouldn't have too many problems with Botanica or Black Morass, while even full-epic groups can find Durnholde Keep or Arcatraz tricky.

    Battlegrounds are a popular way of killing time for the casual PvPers. Even if you have awful gear and suck at them, you will still get your rewards - it'll just take a bit longer. The relative ease with which you can get your PvP rewards, combined with the low time input required, has led to them being branded "welfare epics". Of course, they don't really stand up against the high-end raiding or arena epics, but I know plenty of casuals who are content with this. Over time, the lower end arena drops get pushed down into Battleground rewards anyway.

    The hardcore PvPers have Arena, which really is a cut-throat environment (and is the only form of PvP in the game where getting killed is any more than a momentary annoyance). Ironically, it doesn't actually take particularly long each week - the main challenge here is putting in the time to get the gear so you can participate effectively. The top end season 3 arena gear is almost on a par with the top-end raiding epics, although with the new personal rating requirements for some pieces, it isn't necessarily easy to get.

    Finally, you have raiding, which is the favorite hardcore PvE end-game activity. This is where, to my mind, Blizzard have really made strides since the Burning Crusade hit. Rather than having a 40 man raid as the entry-level point, a la Molten Core, Karazhan was a nice, relatively easy 10 man raid, which many non-hardcore guilds were able to switch to quite quickly at level 70. With the addition of Zul'Aman in the 2.3 patch, you can more or less work your way through about 2/3rds of the end-game gear progression without ever setting foot in a 25-man raid. For the genuinely hardcore who do push into the 25 man raiding scene, there's a definite progression tree with 6 different instances to work through. The difference from most of the pre-expansion end-game is dramatic and impressive.

    In short, Blizzard have delivered as reasonable an end-game experience as could reasonably be expected and continue to add new content at a decent pace. At the same time, they've refined the experience for lower level players and those levelling up alts, with the new Dustwallow Marsh quests and the dramatic reduction of the amount of xp needed to level up (you can level 1-60 in WoW now faster than you can in the fully-offline Final Fantasy XII). Of course, things are far from perfect, and I can see a few dark clouds on the horizon.

    The most significant of these is that, as a former Final Fantasy XI player (where the level cap never went above 75), I must confess to being a bit worried by Blizzard's intention to slam the level cap up with 10 with every new expansion. What this essentially means is that any end-game gear you acquired before the expansion hit is immediately obsolete. Green is suddenly the new Purple. Effectively, this amounts to a complete end-game reboot every 12-18 months. While beneficial in some respects (shaking up the scene, letting newcomers get a foot on the ladder), in the long term it is just going to drive people away and kill the end-game scene for a few months before an expansion hits.

  • Re:2001? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Aladrin (926209) on Wednesday January 23, 2008 @09:31AM (#22152804)
    Correct. It was announced in 2001 and launched in 2004. TFA even says 2004.
  • Re:Accuracy? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Cabriel (803429) on Wednesday January 23, 2008 @09:36AM (#22152866)
    From their article,

    World of Warcraft's Subscriber Definition
    World of Warcraft subscribers include individuals who have paid a subscription fee or have an active prepaid card to play World of Warcraft, as well as those who have purchased the game and are within their free month of access. Internet Game Room players who have accessed the game over the last thirty days are also counted as subscribers. The above definition excludes all players under free promotional subscriptions, expired or cancelled subscriptions, and expired prepaid cards. Subscribers in licensees' territories are defined along the same rules.
  • by Broken Bottle (84695) on Wednesday January 23, 2008 @09:38AM (#22152910)
    Actually, if analysts are correct, Blizzard's average revenue per subscriber is still quite high, even with Asian players factored in.

    http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=16519 [gamasutra.com]

    This article speaks to that. Even is they aren't bringing in $15 per subscriber per month, they're still doing surprisingly well. WOW is just a phenomenon plain and simple.
  • Re:gold farmers (Score:3, Informative)

    by Broken Bottle (84695) on Wednesday January 23, 2008 @09:47AM (#22153040)
    No Asian players play for fun? Please. Blizzard's games have been huge in Asia for ages, more successful than they ever have been in the west. Starcraft is practically a religion in some Asian countries.
  • by KaiUno (1110525) on Wednesday January 23, 2008 @09:48AM (#22153064)
    Ah, but that just means you're doing it wrong. I'm sure it's only a small percentage of the 10 million strong userbase that ever hits the top and runs out of content. The more casual players (and there's a lot of them) have enough to do untill the expantion hits. I see the same thing in Everquest 2. Rise of Kunark comes out and a week later there's folk running around who have seen it all and done it all. And for them, that's where the grind starts, while the comre casual players are still hanging around in the lower tiers of the expantion, having fun discovering stuff and doing quests. Look at it this way... when you hit the top, freeze your account and go play that huge pile of singleplayer games (or multiplayer games, whatever, the non-mmo's). That's what I do, at least. Play the MMO for a couple of months, then exit and catch up on Galaxies, Mass Effect and the like. I used to be "stuck" in an MMO for ages before, but I always felt I needed more diversion in my play time. Could be the perfect MMO just hasn't come around yet. If it does, I'll probably go back to the 24/7 regime.
  • Re:I wonder (Score:2, Informative)

    by Res3000 (890937) on Wednesday January 23, 2008 @09:55AM (#22153132)
    Blizzard actually worked together with Cedega to fix the problem when the Linux users got flagged. They problems are now fixed, or at least I never heard of it again.
  • by SL Baur (19540) <steve@xemacs.org> on Wednesday January 23, 2008 @12:53PM (#22155542) Homepage Journal

    New stuff that is exactly like the old stuff, and does nothing but kill time while they work on the next expansion, which is the only part that actually advances the plot.
    The thing is that that's not true. There are ten million active accounts, certainly not all of the last three or four million are advanced Black Temple raiders who have completed all their epic sets.

    What has impressed me over the time I've been playing, since December 2006 (about a month before BC was released) is how much attention to detail Blizzard pays to every facet of the game.

    To name one recent example, they changed the rules for leveling recently to make experience gain higher from completed quests, experience required for a new level lower (one of those is between levels 20 to 60 and the other 30 to 60, I forget which) and at the same time changed the vendor discount for reputation - revered and exalted now have bigger discounts and removed most of the outdoor elite monsters in the Old World. What do those changes mean to the game play?

    Leveling to 20 remained unchanged. It's quite difficult to avoid learning how to do that already. The worst grinding was nerfed out of the game. It's now possible to do most of the quests solo (because finding someone to level with you has become all but impossible), the experience gain is rapid enough to not be particularly painful (in my n00b opinion) and between the added vendor discount for rep and added experience, you want to and can do most of the quests quickly by yourself. The main side effect of this change has been that "leveling services" are out of business. Good going Blizzard. They also want to get most of the more recent players into Outlands before the next expansion. That will happen.

    Sadly, another side effect of BC is that there's a relatively huge grind to get the epic flying mount due to the amount of gold involved. You can either grind for it or purchase it from a gold seller. The grinding has led to the absurd situation that crafting seriously sucks due to the high price of raw mats in the auction house that are being sold at prices higher than the finished goods they can be used to make which just makes it all the more worthwhile to buy gold for the few items you need to craft along the way. I expect Blizzard to attempt to balance the economy, though I don't know how they're going to do it.

    If you spend any time reading the WoW forums and don't play the game yourself, you would get the impression that people are quitting in droves. Obviously they are not as the community continues to grow. Certainly I will be one of those purchasing the next expansion on the day it's released.
  • by eht (8912) on Wednesday January 23, 2008 @02:50PM (#22157380)
    Zul'Aman was never promised as part of the expansion, and neither was the upcoming Sunwell, or the massive amount of daily quests(which they are making more of when Sunwell comes out), or the improved Dustwallow Marsh area.

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