I just noticed on twitter a report that WoW’s subs dropped substantially again.
This follows a predictable high peak after the expansion release in November, but the news here is that in 5 months not only they completely lost all the subscriptions they gained, but they are also now at an all-time low since release, and of course there isn’t going to be an expansion to change things again anytime soon.
I don’t follow WoW, but I had a passing interest in the expansion and followed just enough to realize it was doing very bad design mistakes on almost all levels possible. In particular they went for a busywork style of play that required you to complete a few daily tasks. That’s fine, as a way to try to keep retention, but this also means they reduced the game to JUST a formula. That gets old very quickly.
So: the short-term good, long-term bad kind of design. WoW has gone downhill in game design since after Wrath of the Lich King. Cataclysm was a good idea, but all the good game design that the game had aplenty has been systematically siphoned out ever since.
This to say: WoW isn’t leaking subscriptions because it’s old, or even because of (mostly shitty, if you exclude FFXIV) competition, but because the WoW of today is even WORSE than the original WoW. Not only this game was unable to progress as every MMORPG is required to if it wants to continue to exist, but it went backwards.
The simple fact that the expansion brought back so many players, and none of them stayed, is the sign of how bad the game has become. People WANT to play and love WoW, but what’s left of it is an empty shell.
For the record, another MMORPG also working hard to go backwards is now Guild Wars 2. Good luck with that expansion, too.