The downward spiral of World of Warcraft

Alberto Statti

At its peak World of Warcraft was the biggest game in the world with a staggering 12 million subscribers. That number has been reducing at a rapid rate hitting 5.5million last year, based on the last quarter reports of 2015. Although the game is still making huge profits, $212 million in the last quarter of 2015, its popularity is clearly declining and there are many reasons for this:

Poor quality expansion packs

There have been 3 expansion packs released for World of Warcraft in the last 4 years, all of which need to be purchased by players that are already paying a subscription to Blizzard. This seems to have angered a lot of fans who believe these expansions haven’t offered much in the way of added gameplay, and aren’t very good value for money compared to the base game and earlier expansion packs. The content provided is scarce and they lack uniqueness making fans feel they are receiving a rehash of old content.

Subscriptions are outdated

In today’s economic climate people aren’t so keen on paying subscriptions for a single game, you wouldn’t want to have to cancel your favourite game because you were having a tough month. The micro transaction format is much more popular nowadays and brings in significantly higher revenues. Blizzard seem to be heading in this direction with its newer releases and could considering changing WOW to a micro transaction or free to play format in order to revitalise the game.

Parental concern

When World of Warcraft first launched it was perfectly acceptable to let your child play online with his friends and talk to them via a headset. As time has passed parents have become savvier to the dangerous of the internet and the abuse that can be flung around while playing online. A raid that is going badly can result in a lot of anger and aggression, and language that is definitely not PG friendly. This had led to many parents stopping their children and young teenagers from playing the game.

Game play changes

There have been many game play changes over the years some have been welcomed and some have not. Blizzard have altered a lot of the class specification in an attempt to make all classed equal, but this has taken away from the uniqueness of each class, and the reason you felt drawn to be a certain class to begin with is taken away. This lack of distinctiveness leaves the game feeling bland and lacklustre.