Activision Blizzard’s press release states that World of Warcraft is down to 7.7 million subscribers. This is a loss of 600,000 subscribers, down from 8.3 million last quarter. A call about the shares purchase will take place on July 26 at 8:30 AM ET, so check back then for any more comments on subscriber numbers. The regular earnings call will take place on Thursday, August 2nd.
Methinks 7.7 million isn’t too shabby considering how old WoW is. But that didn’t stop the Chicken Littles and forum trolls predicitng the demise of the game.
One of the theories I did agree with pertaining to the loss of subscribers, or at least a small piece of that pie, was how the number of “old-timer” subscribers – the ones who’ve been around since Vanilla – have dropped due to new real-life commitments and perhaps even boredom. The ones who used to be students in the early days of WoW are now adults with careers and families to attend to, while the ones who have neither career nor families may just be suffering from sheer burnout. (Dailies, anyone?) The game may have lost its appeal to the ones who had the privilege of experiencing it at its finest, with many saying the Burning Crusade being the most awesome expansion ever. Yours truly – a Wrath baby – could only wonder what it was like back in the day and wish I had been there too.
On the other hand, maybe not all the old timers have left the game…
Wishful Thinking: Free Transfers for the Outnumbered and Oppressed
It’s been almost two months since my Whisperwind raid team moved to Stormrage and I can honestly say that I have no regrets (so far). From getting stuck at 3/12 in Throne of Thunder, we are now at 9/12. We had a rough start during the first few weeks, but now that everybody’s schedule is in sync and our ilevels have improved, getting the job done has become so much easier.
Stormrage is a pretty active, highly-populated and extremely crazy server. Yes, it has its fair share of elitist jerks and trolls and attention whores — Throne of Thunder General Chat is worse than Trade and twice as vile and distracting…
…but I can deal with all that. (Praise Baby Jesus for the Ignore Button) The only thing I really can’t stand is the horrible, horrible queue time.
The only way one can avoid being stuck in queue is to log in way before the witching hour of 7:30 PM Eastern. On raid nights, I play it safe by logging on my toon as early as 5:00 and ensure I don’t stay AFK long enough for me to get booted. God, I miss the days when I could log in 15 minutes before the raid, but if this is the price I have to pay for progression, then so be it.
But on to the meat of this post. The other disconcerting thing I discovered about Stormrage was the near-absence of Horde players. I’d do my farming in Valley of the Four Winds and it would be all Alliance where the cooking trainers and quest givers are. It was like that for several weeks until I bumped into a lone Horde while killing goats for Fatty Goatsteak. I was so shocked to see the female Tauren druid and even more so when she hugged me. He/she looked so lonely and out of place there that it nearly killed me — a Horde at heart.
And I just had to talk to him/her.
So I quickly rolled an orc and struck a conversation with that player.
(By the way, I’m concealing the second half of the toon name lest he/she accidentally stumbles upon this blog post and becomes unhappy about being featured here.)
Once a Horde, always a Horde. That’s what I am. Who do you think caused the Alliance on Whisperwind to fail in their For the Alliance raid in Orgrimmar? #BenedictArnold
Yes I confess! But moving on…
Dear Blizzard, I know you are in the business of making money and can’t (or is it won’t) always offer free or discounted transfers. But there are many, many players out there like Nomi who are stuck in dying and/or grossly imbalanced servers. They are loyal players, Blizz. They want to continue playing but are disheartened by the circumstances they find themselves in. It’s hard to keep your enthusiasm for this game when your friends have quit or moved servers or faction changed, and you’re the only one left because of financial constraints.
I know virtual realms are in the works, and as far as I know, they involve fusing select realms to function as one. Sounds like a great idea to give life back to low to medium population realms. But what about the likes of Stormrage, Illidan and Mal’Ganis? How do you plan on helping the outnumbered and oppressed on such servers? While you’re still trying to figure that one out, how about offering free transfers again to those high-pop servers, only this time they get to choose from a list of potential new homes instead of having to settle for the one destination you’ve pre-selected for them.
Please don’t ignore the likes of Nomi, Blizz. Give your players more options and we’ll gladly keep paying for our subs.
P.S. Speaking of options, when will you actually make it possible for us to mail heirlooms cross-server?
P.P.S. I believe I am the one billionth customer to ask you that heirloom question. Do I get a prize like a car? If yes, I want a pair of fuzzy dice to go with it.
When it comes to naming World of Warcraft characters, I give my toons pretty normal names, save for the airy-fairy Cloudrunner (whom I sorely miss). Lizzie, Ysabel, Louisa, Claire, Barbara — names so common in real-life that they could be the names of girls you went to school with, had sex with, and faced in court when they demanded child support from you.
Someone asked why I chose such “boring” names in a fantasy world, and I replied that said boring names would, ironically, make my own characters stand out from the populace whose idea of naming convention, if applied in real life, would result in them losing custody of their children. Remember the case of Talula Does the Hula From Hawaii? Click the link to the article and you’ll see I ain’t shitting you.
Oh, and also because I’m just too f*cking lazy to think of catchy names like, oh I dunno, Funnypiggy (whom I sorely miss too).
But I’m not here to talk about my toon names. I’m here to talk about Blizzard’s odd naming policy that restricts certain words or combination of words but let slides the most offensive ones.
Here’s an example:
Ariana is my daughter’s name. I wanted to name a character after her but unfortunately said name was taken, so I tried out spelling variations and to my surprise, “Aryanna” was flagged as containing “mature language”. I was like, WTF? Then it dawned on me that the “Aryan” part was probably the culprit.
Um-kay, so I can understand if Blizzard wants to discourage any WoW-playing Neo-Nazis out there from flaunting their support of Aryanism, but what I can’t understand is how something as nasty and vile as the T-word slipped through the cracks (pun not intended).
So yeah, Blizz, how the hell did the T-word slip past your naming system? You won’t let me use the name Aryanna, which is in fact a Greek name that means “very holy one”, but you let some idiot name his pet TWATSNIFFER! Hell, I even once had a guildie named Twatwaffle! Something ain’t right with your in-gaming censoring system! Either that or someone in your team is still stuck in the fifth grade and is getting his jollies from allowing like-minded players to take advantage of the loopholes.
Do. something. about. it. ASAP. Fix it! Think of the children!
I came home last night only to see my WoW account had been locked due to “suspicious activity”.
The first thing that came to mind was that someone was trying to brute-force his way into my authenticator-protected account. For the last few days I had been mysteriously getting logged out of the game, even if my latency was decent. I’d log back in, only to get kicked out after two seconds, and this would go on repeatedly for like several times before things “stabilized” for me.
I wasted no time following Blizzard’s instructions to change all my passwords. I scanned my PC and it came out clean. Still feeling paranoid, I ran another scan. Still nothing showed up.
I am careful with the kind of websites I visit. I don’t visit gold sellers’ and powerleveling websites even out of curiosity. I’ve heard one too many horror stories about how those sites bear keylogging software that can easily invade your computer. True or not, it’s best to play it safe and not check them out at all.
“Did you recently play WoW on a different IP?” a real-life friend asked. “A sudden IP change could trigger Blizz to lock your account for security purposes.”
“Nope,” I replied. “I always play WoW at home, using the same comp, same broadband connection, same everything.”
“You have any enemies in the game who want more than anything to f*ck with your account?”
“You kidding? I’ve made more enemies than Jeffrey Dahmer had victims. But I doubt if those ass clowns are capable of brute-forcing their way into any WoW account. They’re too busy either trolling Trade chat or ninja’ing shit from people.”
Well, I gotta thank Blizz from the bottom of my heart for being so swift to act on whatever suspicious activity they detected on my account. I’m still pissed, though, at whoever tried to mess with my account.
I swear, you bastard, if by some miracle I find out who you are I will lock you up in a basement where you will spend the rest of your natural life eating tasteless rice porridge and listening to the same song over and over and again and again ad nauseam, ad infinitum, ad whatever Latin phrase there is that means “you’re gonna be hearing the same shit repeatedly and there is no escaping.”
HOWEVER, I am not that heartless. I will allow you the privilege to select any one of the ten songs in the list that you’d have to listen to until the day you die of old age, exhaustion or self-inflicted wounds, whichever comes first. Here, you epic fail hacker, take your pick:
1. “Copacabana” by Barry Manilow (Spend lifetime incarceration bobbing to the oldies!)
2. “That’s Not My Name” by The Ting Tings (Satan’s idea of auditory overload. Pretty catchy though)
3. “Achy Breaky Heart” by Billy Ray Cyrus (If you really have no self-respect and have a passion for mullets, pick this!)
4. “What What (In the Butt)” by Samwell (I really wish I could dance like this talented son of a bitch!)
5. “Asereje” by Las Ketchup (Unless Spanish is a language you understand and speak, you’ll think you were transported to the Tower of Babel where people started talking in strange tongues and you just wanna pull the trigger to end the cacophony.)
6. “Girlfriend (Remix)” by Avril Lavigne and Li’l Mama (Hell’s national anthem, according to my brother)
7. “Baby” by Justin Bieber featuring Ludacris (I believe they play this song when they interrogate prisoners in Guantanamo. Pretty intimidating shit. If I were a terrorist, I would confess right away!)
8. “In A Gadda Da Vida” by Iron Butterfly (You’ll be begging me to shoot you in no time.)
9. “I Love You, You Love Me” by Barney the Dinosaur (aka The Anti-Christ, according to my friend Agnes)
10. Yodeling by Franzl Lang (I don’t know who the hell he is but he sure beats the living crap out of Justin Bieber, I guarantee ya! Just listen to da man!)