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Mar 17, 2005

Comments

1.

Unfortunately, if they don't resolve their serious (and increasingly extreme) database lag, a huge number of these subscribers are going to pack their bags and head out. Blizzard is ostriching on this issue, and based on the general chat in-game, there is a huge and growing amount of resentment in the playerbase about it.

2.


I'm not sure how you can represent it as ostriching.

They definately know about the problem, and they also definately are takeing steps to remedy it. Things are noticably better than they were just after the new flood of subscribers.

If anything they are a victim of their own success. I think quite a few people have forgotten what older games were like in the first year or so after release.

3.

iamblichos: I'd be curious how many people actually end up cancelling their accounts due to database lag. Not counting the posts on the Blizzard Forums, (no telling if those people actually ended up leaving or not) everyone I've talked to who has quit the game have quit because the game just isn't the type of thing for them. The stability of the servers isn't the best, but I wonderif that's really driving people out of the game in droves.

4.

I suspect that once battlegrounds (or any new shiny feature) is released, many of the people who quit will be back.

5.

I've yet to see any definitive evidence that Blizzard is taking any actual, measurable action to remedy the problem. Adding new servers does nothing to alleviate conditions on the overpopulated ones unless migration is allowed and populations are capped at a level the infrastructure can support.

Our Sun is billions of years old, supports at least 6 billion concurrent users, and even IT only goes down ONCE a day...

6.

I've yet to see any evidence that Blizzard is taking any actual, measurable action on *anything*. Updates to the "coming soon" pages don't count. Did they forget to hire a live team, or what?

7.

People are so quick to forget! Does no one remember the constantly crashing servers and hours of time lost to server reverts in UO's first few YEARS? The same can be said of almost any new MMORPG by a company entering the genre.

As for all the people who say they will quit over server stability, I don't believe them for a second. If they are so desperate to get on and play that they take the time to moan and whine about it on the forums, there's no way they would actually quit. Empty threats from a few addicts that want Blizzard to notice.

There are changes coming and there's even been concrete dates announced for the patch that will bring them in, which suggests that most of the work is already done.

8.

It's incredible that such a rigidly structured world is so succesfull. Maybe its just me, but having a level 10 night elf rogue with the same stats as every other night elf rogue and looking pretty much the same as any other night elf is just sad. No say in character stats, no say in character development, no customization... its like playing generic stock characters in a D&D game run by a very unimaginative GM.

It looks pretty. Yipeeee. Is that all that users want out of a game ? And don't give me the usual bullcrap about the quests being fun... every single quest is a re-packaging of a very limited variety of set patterns:

go there - find X
go there - kill X

I havent yet reached the high levels where raids happen so i might be missing out on a refreshing aspect of the game... On the other hand I think its not particularly good game design if you have to grind your way through weeks/months of same old same old to get anywhere interesting...

But the numbers of subscribers speak louder than the world's limits. Is there no hope for a world with more flexible features that allows players to combine elements in a manner of their chosing? Is there ever going to be a graphical MMOG that gives the sense of depth well run RPGs provided ?

9.

Does anyone know if the MMOG stats page has been updated with the above info... and what its url was again?

10.

Cenn, you are thinking about mmogchart.com. It was last updated about 3 weeks ago, and the number attributed to WoW at that time was 1.25M subs.

11.

yep that was the one... never seem to remember the url.. (sigh).

12.

No say in character stats, no say in character development, no customization... its like playing generic stock characters in a D&D game run by a very unimaginative GM.

At level 10 the game doesn't even begin yet. Starting level 10 you get to customise your character with Talent Points, the combination of which is usually rather unique and can be extremely powerful. It is much like the skill tree in Diablo II.

Also, while Blizzard have opted for a very limited customization of the base avatar, you will notice that there are thousands of different models for the equipement you are wearing. At higher levels, where most of your equipment is unique, you look nothing like the other guy.

And lastly, by level 10 mosts of the quests you have experience are the simplest quests you will do in the game. They are specifically designed to get newbies accustomed to the game world. 99% of the quests in the game are far more interesting and imaginative and there's loads of different kinds - collecting drop items, escort, collecting book pages, delivery, assasination, exploration, and loads more. All of them story driven and completely unique.

I was level 10 in a day... I'm not sure if you've actually been playing, but you definitly shouldn't judge the game until you get well over 20.

13.

Folks, this is a site of scholarly discussion. The good thing is, on the internet, nobody knows whether or not you're 'really' a scholar, so you can come here and post your highest-level opinions. The bad thing is, we have some expectation that the discussion be somewhat more elevated than your typical IGN thread - "WoW suxx, their servers suck, they do nothing." "WoW rulez, they are doing way more than anybody did before, ppl who leave are n00bs." OK? Please elevate this thread a bit or let it die.

14.

Actually, I have been playing WOW since December 2 and while occasional lag (especially in the auction house) is quite common, it is rarely game interrupting or little more than a small annoyance. The server is incredibly robust, never crashes, and handles peak hours incredibly well. Why am I quitting? The end game content is all geared towards players who have large time blocks available for play, and who play for incredibly large amounts of time every week. At level 60, the only equipment I can gain now requires a 6 hour raid and a winning roll with at least 20 competitors, or a reputation that takes me 2 months to earn and maintain in battlegrounds.

15.

Edward:

Please elevate this thread a bit or let it die.

Every fiber of my inner 12-year old wanted to respond to this with a two word post: "Nerf Shamans." But I resisted.

My real question is as follows:

I notice that on the sidebar of this blog, you see a list of games sorted by size. Not sure if this is subscriber base or concurrency, but either way, it appears WoW may need its own category.

I guess my question is, "Is WoW going to be MMOG's 'Star Wars?'"

Love it or hate it, Star Wars fundamentally changed the economics of the movie industry, particularly on the back end - how projects got made, why they got green-lit, what rights were deemed valuable, etc. Some lamented it as the death of film (and the birth of the Blockbuster - in other words, blame Star Wars for "Independence Day.") Some claim it crippled 'quality' filmmaking (by effectively closing studio access) some say it helped it (by eventually birthing the Indies).

Is WoW's subscriber base and relatively fast market penetration going to have the same kind of impact on this industry? If they really have 1.5 million subscribers (their newest claim), then they are taking in well over $2.25MM/month (since Asian subscribers pay much more than U.S. subscribers). Is this enough money/success to impact the industry? If so, what lessons does WoW teach about how to be commercially successful and are they copyable?

I think it is a copout to suggest that it is only succeeding because it is based on a popular game (or we can all just assume that The Matrix Online is just going to dominate, 'cause hey, who didn't see The Matrix?). Will WoW be the start of every 'mainstream' MMOG having mild death penalties and cartoony art? Or is it just an abberation?

That said, OMG, NERF FROSTSHOCKZ!!!

16.

Sorry Edward; I was probably to blame for lowering the bar since I was feeling very snarky indeed. Apologies.

As to my comments about ostriching, I say this purely based on first person observation in-game and on the forums. Blizzard does not (IMHO) do a very good job of communicating with the world beyond their "castle gates", so they may very well be working on this issue feverishly but there is no sense from their official forums or posts that this is the case. As often and vehemently noted on these boards, the player community demands a far greater level of transparency in the process of game design than they did when UO came out back in the Dark Ages.

As to WoW being the new Star Wars, I don't think so. Instead of being a ground-breaker or trend-setter, it is instead a distilled essence of the current generation of MMOs, the fully adult form to their larvae, if you will. Everything in terms of game mechanics that WoW contains was in existence before; the easy death penalty has been around since at least AC2, the questing structures were hoary when AC1 came out, the crafting system is similar to EQ, etc. etc. ad nauseam.

Where WoW is different is that it has all of these bits seamlessly integrated into one whole that is (obviously) highly palatable to the general consumer. It is also the classic "safe" game - the art is not extremely good or bad, the mechanics are not bizarre, convoluted or highly customized, and all of its bits conform very closely to the middle-of-the-road. Each individual game "bit" is below the standard set by another game... but without the other in-game problems attendant on that same game.

17.

Keep in mind that sometimes, it's just that all the rabbits line up in a row, and magic happens. Once that magic takes off, it feeds on itself and produces a blockbuster, Star Wars and Harry Potter style. Success breeds and feeds on itself.

Many a bestselling book or movie has begun a trend of copycats, and there's not a shred of doubt that WoW will do the same. However, while trying to analyze its success in terms of the art and gameplay and what lessons it teaches is a valid thing to do, good luck with using what you learn to make the magic happen again.

It happens when and where it happens. There have been children's books just as wonderful as Harry Potter that made barely a ripple in the market, and fabulous movies that didn't hit that magic nerve with the mass audience. The kind of success that WoW is experiencing is partially the game itself, which is compellingly lovely in terms of a world, and largely the magic that we don't control or design and never will...the magic of real world blockbuster chemistry.

I'm glad to see it happen to Blizzard--I haven't even played the game, but the screenshots are just delightful, and I know Blizzard knows how to make a game and their love for this one just shines through. I'd rather see it happen to them than to some cold-blooded marketing machine that set out to create a "blockbuster" game based on the elements that are supposed to work. That sort of machine sometimes does hit the magic nerve, but most often they don't because the audience can see the cold-blooded efforts to press the right buttons very well, thank you.

Analyze the heck out of WoW, learn everything you can, but know that even if you figure out all there is to know about the game and its effect on players, you'll never know what it is that made the magic happen here and now, in this place and time and moment in history. That's with the gods and fate. Incense and prayers would be equally effective. ;)

18.

OK? Please elevate this thread a bit or let it die.

I have to apologise if that was a response to my post, I forgot to include my usual WoW Fanboi disclaimer in there somewhere. I do however, have a 6 year experience of MMORPGs (UO, SWG, Planetside) and I have played every Blizzard game since Warcraft 1, so I'm not coming from nowhere.

That said, OMG, NERF FROSTSHOCKZ!!!

PS Shamans 4 teh win :P

PPS On my server at least, supposedly overpowered Shamans (which I play and I admit have an easy time of) are the rarest class of all... either people are stupid or there is little truth to it.

19.

Is this enough money/success to impact the industry?

My question is that if it's enough to mantain a serious team to keep developing radically the game on all levels. Instead of making sequels or infinite mudflated expansions.

I expect something from all those resources.

20.

Hehe thanks guys. If you knew me, you'd know I love a good joke more than anything else in this world. Nicely done. Perfect.

21.

Does anyone have any information on how many boxes they've sold? I'm curious about their churn rate.

According to their press release: day one sell-through was about 250k, Thanksgiving weekend brought the total to 350k, and by 10 Jan it was 600k. It's hard to extrapolate from that how many they sold up to now because they cut off supply for a while in there. Still, with 800k current subscribers, they need to have sold more than 200k to have lost *any* subscribers at all. So unless the sales have been tremendous in the last two months, it looks like despite all the board postings, they've managed to convert most of their box sales into subscribers, at least for now. We'll have to revisit this in another 3-4 months as the 6 month subscriptions come due and more people have played at level cap for a while etc.

22.

WOW has obviously been a huge hit, especially compared to the growth of other titles. Why is this the case?

Here are a couple initial thoughts...

1. Hey, it's Blizzard

Blizzard have developed some great games over time, and have built up an excellent reputation. Amongst the people I know, I'd say the anticipation for WOW was greater mainly because Blizzard have done such an excellent job before.

So, at least in the case of people I know, it was more the gaming company than the actual game world (which is why 'Matrix Online' is different).

2. Clear Direction

The quest system in WOW provides very clear direction about what to do. As soon as you create a character and log in, you can get a quest straight away, and go do it.

No thinking required.

If you're making a mass market game, I think this is a positive. Too often complex games don't provide enough direction and players are left with a "what now?" feeling.

23.

Point 2 is one of the many reasons about its success. Point 1 is a "void".

If EQ2 was released by Blizzard and WoW by SOE the success of those games would have been unaffected.

I really cannot stand this superficiality that dismiss a whole game and its impact with a couple of points. There's COMPLEXITY. Our world doesn't follow an handful of rules and there's a VERY long list of reasons why this game is successful.

"It's Blizzard" is just another excuse to dismiss the real reasons and unload responsibilities.

Try to give SWG or DAoC to a casula player. Look how HARD it is for them to understand how the game work, figure out all the workarounds and exceptions of their rules. See how the client is taxing on the modest computers that 90% of those players have.

It's not "Blizzard". It's that Blizzard cared for what MATTERS. And the success of the game is the direct result of its quality. Nothing else.

24.

Did any one of you bothered to read the footprint about those 1,5 millions mark* ?
As far as it is it does represent a custumer *base* based on retail sale report and internal sources(not mentioned). So basicly what it does mean is: they have sold 1,5 millions boxes (witch is great) but it does not mean that they curenly have 1,5 millions paying subscribers.

actualy they sold (in the US) 600 000 copies in Q4(dec) and 200 000 un Q1(jan+feb) (33%global increase). given that the maximum n° of online players in dec was 200k and 220K in (dec+jan+feb)(15% global increase) we can argue to some extend, that the numbers of subcriber likely decreased from the box sale figure..
etc.. You catched my drift

25.
It's not "Blizzard". It's that Blizzard cared for what MATTERS. And the success of the game is the direct result of its quality. Nothing else.

I was going to disagree with you until I saw this. Blizzard's name means blockbuster because of their production values.

I've heard many people call the visuals in WoW mediocre. That seem to be primarily based on how many of the latest technical features they have put to use in their engine. What it doesn't seem based on is the acutal quality of what they have done. I've played EQ2 at the maximum settings, and frankly while its impressive I don't feel like it measures up artistically. And on the average machine the graphics look considerably poorer technically as well.


Everything in terms of game mechanics that WoW contains was in existence before.

There is at least one bit of WoW that I haven't found in any MMOG previously. That would be a well developed and integrated server scripting engine that they use in conjuction with the quests. The scripting they've done in places give a whole new life to quests, particularlly for people interested in the backstory.

Many quests have additional story content play out as a reward. There are spawns that actually move with purpose. Stitches in Duskwood, the Forsaken Courier and the Giant in the Arathi higlands. NPCs acting with direction and purpose, instead of wandering around waiting to be killed.

Finally, one of the most powerful examples I've seen so far.. Covert Ops - Alpha and Beta in the Stonetalon Mountains. A quest that encourages even non-thiefs to take a stealthy approach. They use their scripting engine to provide you with a distraction where NPCs will literally run over to check into an explosion you create with a remote detonator.

WoW is quite a bit more than just seemlessly integrated bits.


26.

I really cannot stand this superficiality that dismiss a whole game and its impact with a couple of points.

Sure, I agree with that. I didn't mean to imply my two points were a definitive list of everything you need to get right to make a blockbuster game! They were just initial starting points of things I think did contribute.

If EQ2 was released by Blizzard and WoW by SOE the success of those games would have been unaffected.

Before players can experience the gameplay and sleek design, they need to make the decision to buy the box. This critical decision is affected by Blizzard's reputation and, essentially, brand, built on their past successes.

And the success of the game is the direct result of its quality. Nothing else.

You were just telling me the success of these games was due to a lot of factors, and there's complexity, but now you want to limit it to the game quality? Don't marketing or branding or distribution mean anything to a game's success?

Try to give SWG or DAoC to a casula player. Look how HARD it is for them to understand how the game work, figure out all the workarounds and exceptions of their rules.

Yeah, I agree -- WOW definately is better for the casual player, based on how easy it is to understand and get in to, and I think features like rest state helped with this too.

27.

I haven't updated mmogchart yet as I have some new numbers on other MMOGs that I'm trying to get some confirmation/insight on before I post an update. I disagree on the interpretation that these are simply "sales" figures -- they give a breakdown of active subscribers per region that's 1.3 million, before counting Korea.

Bruce

28.

Bruce I'll be happy to discuss it,"We know for sure that in North America, WoW has 750,000 subscribers with over 800,000 copies sold"
actualy we did not know that for a fact.
what we did know (at the time you wrote it), was that 750 000 were actualy sold to customers, and that the subscriber base was 750 000, witch does not mean that the actual subscriber number was 750 000. Blizzard does not provide any numbers for curent subscribers.

on a side note I think there is an issue with the way you analyse figure from NC Soft. figure regarding personal subscribers are known. For me its a mistake to mixe them with loging per month from gaming room. a mistake to mixe to value that represent 2 differens things expecialy in a graph.

Going back to wow I do not think that Xmass introduced a significant enouph difference to explain the 18 points differences between grow of the alleged subscriber number and the grow of the max online player, expecialy taking into account the login issue that wow experience at start
:)

29.

Jimpy:
"Love it or hate it, Star Wars fundamentally changed the economics of the movie industry, particularly on the back end - how projects got made, why they got green-lit, what rights were deemed valuable, etc."

I'm not sure that WoW did it. When I heard (years ago) that Blizzard was making an MMO, I thought it was reactionary. "Everyone has to have an MMO of their own now?" There were quite a few new MMO projects announced at the time. For the record, WoW stood out for me because it was being made by Blizzard, and Blizzard always makes fun games with "slick" interfaces. "An MMORPG, eh? Hmm... maybe I'll try that one."

One place where Blizzard did have a huge market impact (a la Star Wars) was in the single-player RPG market. Diablo 1 came along when CRPG's were dead. Dead dead dead. Once Diablo 1 became a huge success (bigger than WoW), single-player RPG projects got green lights and we, the CRPG Geeks, got our appetites satisfied at last.

Diablo 1 was an "action/RPG", an RPG-lite. It stream-lined the single-player RPG to its barest fun elements, and it worked. More hard-core CRPG projects got green-lights thanks to this successful RPG-lite.

The approach with WoW seems similar. Which game magazine website awarded "Best Game of the Year" to WoW, but awarded "Best MMORPG of the Year" to another game? That says something. Perhaps WoW is an MMORPG-lite. But what does its success mean this time? Will we get more MMORPG-lite games? Or will more hard-core MMORPG's become more successful as WoW players look for something deeper?

I personally hope that the hard-core MMORPG's learn about stream-lining the game experience so that they can offer the depth we currently get from them, but also make them "slick" and quick too.

I think SWG re-invented itself recently, so maybe I should go back to see if the sweet spot has been achieved...

30.

>Blizzard does not provide any numbers for curent subscribers.

Quote from the press release:

Europe:
Over 500,000 active subscribers, and 230,000 peak concurrency to date.

North America:
Current subscriber base of over 800,000 players.

Bruce

31.

"Current subscriber base of over 800,000 players. " The base of subscription is over 800 000, how many are curently subscribing we do not know. (lets just not assume they meant subscriber when wrote subscriber base)
--
"500,000 active subscribers"
They do not specifie what they account as active.
--
Why give EU figures in terms of active subscribers, and US figures interms of "subscriber Base"? Wild guessing?: Eu release was 11-15 feb i.e. one "free" month ago => active subscibrers = boxes actualy sold and activated
US release was december ... Blizzard sofar only communicated sale figure, no server based info .

You might get enlightment from the foot notes in Blizzard press realease: "Based on internal company records and reports from retailers" (mambojumbo for 'sales' figures).


may be it's just me getting suspicious, but I wrote so many of those press release that I'm really cautious when it comes to figuring out what infos really are to be understood and what not.


PS: It really get's funy when you read french and german official press releases.

"World of Warcraft is currently played in 75% of Korean Internet Game Rooms (IGRs), the primary venue for playing games in Korea"
becomes
"World of Warcraft is currently played in 75% of Korean Internet Game Rooms (IGRs), the primary gaming source of revenue for Korea"
in french

"Current subscriber base of over 800,000 players."
becomes
"Currenly more than 800,000 subcribers"
in french, and
"Currenly more than 800,000 players"
in german.


I hope you have good inside source at blizzard.

32.

edit: *no server based info (in terms of subscribers of cources)

33.

Speaking of subscriber counts, I just stumbled across an old preview for Ultima Online:

http://www.cdmag.com/adventure_vault/ultima_online_preview/article.html

At the end is this nice quote:
"Yep – as many parallel worlds as they need. In the blink of an eye (and 28 or so servers later) another Britannia can exist – a resourceful solution to a sticky problem. But are two enough? Are six too many? Only sales will tell."

- Brask Mumei

34.

There's nothing I can say that will convince you. If you think Blizzard is lying when they saying "active subscribers", then so could anyone else. WoW could have only 10,000 subscribers, and EQ could only have 200. Who knows?

Bruce

35.

I'm not saying that they are lying,you dont (although vivendi universal is a bad exemple) lie on press release.But press realeases are putting light on some info in order to make it glow in a way most people will rememeber the glow but not the info. didn't you strarted reading the press:"more than 500 k player at all time in the game", 75% of the players in korean IGR were playing WoW, that there was without a doubt more than 1.5 millions subscribers..


I think That given we are trying to analyse the mmorpg market, we should analyse it, not follow blindly what we are lead to understand.
It's not a question of "WoW could have only 10,000 subscribers, and EQ could only have 200" Its a question of methodologie and analysis.

33% increase in total subscriber n° an 15 % increase in max online players is just to far appart, not even taking in consideration the mess we had in the first month.
anything below 10% may be, would not have been significant, but 18 points differences, noway It should be more than enough yo start questionning what our understanding of what we were reading.

>There's nothing I can say that will convince you

actualy there is,additional Info, sale figures presented as sale figure for ex. etc :)

36.

Fred L:

Can you perhaps repost and get someone to help you with the English translation?

That last post was nigh unintelligible.

I am guessing you are posting from Korea which is great. It is wonderful to have input from other areas of the world where computer gaming is very popular.

I'd just really like to be able to understand what you are trying to say without misunderstandings and misinterpretations.

Thanks,

37.

Yeah, I have to agree with Michael, Fred; your posts are difficult to read. However, I see your basic premise, which is that the subscriber counts are up higher in proportion than their peak concurrency, when compared to previous numbers they gave. Well, that may be true, but that's not particularly fishy to me. You're dealing firstly with 3 different markets; the peak time in NA is not the same as the peak time in EU. So the highest peak is still going to be driven by where they have the most subscribers, in NA; while EU has also gained subscribers, the average at their off-hour time when NA has their peak is going to be a lot less.

So even if you assume that peak concurrency is a linear relationship to overall subscribers -- something which I've never seen definitively established, because getting data on both is difficult, each game is different, and there are other factors that can influence peak concurrency as a MMOG changes over time -- the fact that WoW's isn't can easily be explained by the fact that it has such a worldwide appeal.

Bruce

38.

Another factor that certainly affects WoW is that it is very "casual" oriented and has clearly made major inroads in the casual gaming market.

Casual gamers are not playing as many hours, and thus their impact on the peak concurrent users will not bas a great as their impact on total sales/active accounts.

I have personally seen a lot of fellow "hard core gamers" use WoW as a game to get their casual gaming friends to play their first MMORPG. Thus, over time more and more casual players are trickling in.

39.

Not to mention that WoW runs on 3 year old Walmart Special computers with internal graphics and sound - no extra hardware required. Low system requirements opens up the game to many people who will not spend oodles of money on a gaming rig. This was brilliant on Blizzard's part, and no doubt has a lot to do with WoW's success.

40.

Just to add my two cents to this: I've been playing since closed beta, and have in that time gone through a couple of highs and lows in my own play times. I played every night from launch until mid January or so, and then I got a little burned out. Currently I'm playing about three nights a week, counting weekends, and I know a lot of my friends have dropped to this sort of play as well. Once you get your first character to 60, I think individual play times drop off significantly, which would effect the peak concurrency numbers, but not the total subscriber numbers.

Honestly, for a game that has been known to have server problems, a lower peak concurrency to total subscribers ratio is not exactly a bad thing.

41.

>You're dealing firstly with 3 different markets
Bruce, I am only reffering to US figures.
200 000 peak for (December)/600 000
220 000 peak for (December,January,Feb) /800 000

(for those who did not understood)
600,000 to 800,000 = 33% increase
200,000 to 220,000 = 15% increase
33% vs 15% = 18 points difference
but that just side note math.

I haven't seen so far any subscribers numbers from blizzard, they are always refering directly or inderectly to sale estimate figure.

The fact that some are trying to decode comercial info does not mean they are trying to undermine the quality of a game or its players.
ta

Samantha I'm not saying it's a bad or a good thing, ps: I'm comparing ratio ;)

42.

>Samantha I'm not saying it's a bad or a good thing, ps: I'm comparing ratio ;)
I'm not directly comparing ratio (typo, sory about that)

43.

It is interesting to note the differences in the growth of the total subscriber numbers vs. the peak concurrent users. OTOH, in December the peak concurrency for NA was 33.3% of the total subscribers in NA, and in February it was 27.5%. From what I know, 27.5% is still a fairly high percentage for peak concurrency -- I believe most MMOs settle into about 20% peak concurrency or so.

So is a drop from 33.3% to 27.5% peak concurrency a notable change? Definitely, but I don't think it's anything to be worried about. I assume they'll get closer to 20% throughout this next year.

44.

Reaching level 60 with my Hunter and feeling like there is nothing left to do is why I left. The recent patch Hunter nerf doesn't encourage me to come back either.

Why don't these games just have an open-ended level counter? At least you can level up while you wait for new skills and spells to be put in.


45.

Adam Miller> Why don't these games just have an open-ended level counter?

Why are you disappointed that you have won the game?

Isn't it better to hit 60, "win", and get on with your life, than spin your gears wondering if you have hit the end yet?

- Brask Mumei

46.

>Fred L:

Can you perhaps repost and get someone to help you with the English translation?

That last post was nigh unintelligible.

I am guessing you are posting from Korea which is great. It is wonderful to have input from other areas of the world where computer gaming is very popular.

I'd just really like to be able to understand what you are trying to say without misunderstandings and misinterpretations.>

You've obviously been underexposed to chatrooms populated by 12-year-old Americans. Now *that* is bad English (I'm American too by the way). I didn't notice half of the problems with the post till I went back and looked for them.

Blizzard is a name that sells, so no one should be surprised at the success. Korea has an enormous gaming community, and the States are shifting in that direction. Where once gamers were the unpopular nerds here, now you would be hard pressed to find a young guy who didn't play some kind of game fairly regularly.

Looking at how the Internet has blossomed and how US culture is following it to an extent, I would be very surprised if MMOGs didn't top WoW's numbers in the next 5-7 years, at least here in the States. That is assuming of course that worthwhile titles come out in that time.

47.

Samantha LeCraft

the reason why i did not directly compare (as you did) total subscriber / peak between december and (dec+jan+feb),Is that doing so I thing we are introducing 2 times an error factor.
(as Bruce mentioned we can not fully assume linearity or non changing relation).
So I only compare vector (grow factor) and notice that the aleged grow in subscition is 2,2 times biger than the recorded grow of peak player.
Considering the insufficient n° of servers @ release, One vould have expected the oposite:
for a same n°of subscriber a grow in the peak.

anyway that is almost beside the point.

"massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG), has surpassed the 1.5 million subscriber mark(a)"
"(a) Based on internal company records and reports from key partners and retailers worldwide. "
And that I'm afraid only means one thing: we are talking about estimated sale figure.
More over If you take a closer look at the other Blizz PR, you will notice that, sofar they never give out subscriber n° . only estimated sale figures (unless we are in the very special senario where n° sale= n°ofsubscribers i.e: first month).

:)


48.

Fred L.

Sorry for the late addition, but if you still had questions on WoW subscriber numbers:
[url=http://www.vivendiuniversal.com/vu/en/files/PR050310_RESULTATS_ANNUELS_2004.pdf]Vivendi Universal 2004 Q4 Earnings Report[/url]

750k NA active subscribers, 825k NA box sales, data probably compiled around the end of February. Blizzard updated their company profile to include these numbers on 2/25/05, but this report has slightly more box sales, and is dated 03/10/05, a week before Blizzard's PR claiming 800k NA accounts. We know from earlier PRs they had sold 600k NA boxes through the end of 2004 or so, and an additional ~200k NA boxes through the about the end of Feb (~100k Box sales/month), so an additional ~50k box sales/acct creations 2 weeks later is pretty much exactly what you would expect.

>So I only compare vector (grow factor) and notice that the aleged grow in subscition is 2,2 times biger than the recorded grow of peak player.
Considering the insufficient n° of servers @ release, One vould have expected the oposite:
for a same n°of subscriber a grow in the peak.<

This comparison is invalid for many reasons.
First, the "insufficient server issue" was corrected in the first 3 days after launch (doubled server capacity to 88, a month or two later they added a handful more, I believe 5).
Second, you are comparing the peak usage of the initial 600k box sales during Winter Holidays to peak usage not during a non-holiday time period.
Third, I am not sure where the 220k figure comes from, but Blizzard lists, as of 2/25/05, 250k peak NA users.
Finally, you assume that the initial launch subscribers will continue to play just as steadfast as they did at launch, which is a poor assumption. All your new signups will log higher than normal playtimes during their first few months which increases your peak usage, but the # of peak users from your initial batch of customers will have also decreased both due to less time spent playing and also account cancellations.

>"massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG), has surpassed the 1.5 million subscriber mark(a)"
"(a) Based on internal company records and reports from key partners and retailers worldwide. "
And that I'm afraid only means one thing: we are talking about estimated sale figure.
More over If you take a closer look at the other Blizz PR, you will notice that, sofar they never give out subscriber n° . only estimated sale figures (unless we are in the very special senario where n° sale= n°ofsubscribers i.e: first month).<

Actually no we are not talking about estimated sales figures. They list specific box sales and active subscribers for both NA and Europe. "Internal Company Records" could very well mean "accounts in their internal billing system," in fact I'm almost positive it does. The "Reports from Key partners and retailers worldwide" Covers Korea (Key Partners)and is most likely used to measure box sales for NA and Europe (retailers worldwide). The "estimated box sales" is probably around ~1.4mil or so, including the 560k boxes shipped to Europe if they have indeed sold out (retaining 500k subscribers from those box sales) plus the 850-875k NA box sales(retaining 800k subscribers).
Korea does not have any box sales. You have a small % who subscribe directly at ~22.50 a month and you have a large % who pay an IGR. The only numbers I've seen released for Korea are 600k game downloads and 100k concurrent users. How many of those DLs are regular subscription end users and how many are IGRs is anyone's guess, but the number of direct subscribers + IGR accts they feel most comfortable translates into your typical western "subscriber" is 200k.

The 1.5 Million subscriber count reflects active accounts, not total box sales or gross adds. However, users on their first "free" month are more than likely included in that figure.

49.

I was compelled to post after reading the comments. WoW is my first online MMOG game. I come from a background of Unreal Tournament, UT2k3 and 2k4. Most of my clan has moved to CSS or WoW.

I've been playing for 5 weeks and so far love the game. As for the lag, I only experience lag in places like IronForge so I imaging Blizzard has fixed quite a bit before I subscribed. I also wonder about lag in this gametype. Apart from the visual annoyance it has little effect over actual gameplay which is quite a difference from games like UT where lag often creates huge disparities between players.

My concern in WoW is the balance of economics and its disruption by exploiters. I know there are some who defend exploiters but imo this is a game, not wall street. I saw enough botting in UT to last a lifetime and becoming aware of the capitalist approach to WoW has made the game feel a little less beautiful and magical than it felt a couple of weeks ago. I sense that a lot of the subscribers are good natured people though and hopefully they will continue to create the games magic.

In fact one more thing, and I may be straying even farther here, I was at first concerned about the restrictions in use of language, subject matter, even 1337 names as laid out by Blizzard. In UT people came as they were and said what they wanted which added color to the game. The 1337 $P34K stuff was great fun. But now that I see the environment created in WoW, I am much happier. I'm amazed how players will anonymously stop to help eachother, even go out of their way sometimes. Not that this was unheard of in UT but players tended to be either 1337 or n00bs. I've already made quite a few friends in WoW, 1 of whom has joined my guild. Great stuff!

50.

Interesting and nice, Congratulations!

51.

Nice page

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