The decline in the number of subscribers for the known leader of massively multiplayer online role-playing game, “World of Warcraft” or “WoW,” showed that the competition in the gaming industry is becoming tougher as more online multiplayer games are being released online. One of “WoW’s” close competitors is the “Final Fantasy XIV,” which seems to be benefiting from the market leader’s loss of subscribers.
Before the lead MMORPG’s decline in its number of members, its game publisher, Activision Blizzard, is getting much of its income from “World of Warcraft.” However, latest reports show that “WoW’s” number of subscribers dropped by almost 44% within the first half of the year. The figures suggest that only 5.6 million active users are now left to play the once-popular MMORPG.
While “World of Warcraft” is experiencing a sudden drop in paid members, “Final Fantasy XIV” is experiencing the opposite.
Since February, the Square Enix’s MMORPG already increased by one million subscribers. Some speculated that the big chunk of the new “Final Fantasy XIV” paid members were previous “WoW” subscribers.
Why WoW is losing subscribers
Some gaming analysts arrived with several conclusions as to why the once-popular MMORPG game is losing its subscribers.
One of their explanations is that “World of Warcraft” started way back in 2004, when MMORPG is not that popular and only a few alternatives are available online. However, as years go by, free-to-play games began to enter the gaming industry. In addition, the younger generation tends to spend more time on mobile than PC games. Thus, little by little, “WoW” lost its appeal to many gamers.
Another reason is that the real storyline that hooked most “WoW” players pretty much ended with the game’s “The Wrath of the Lich King” expansion. At the release of the second installment, the number of subscribers peaked. The figures showed that gamers are not only interested in playing games, but they are also looking for a gripping story that comes with the game.
Activision’s effort to seek for other “WoW” packages that will continue the story’s progression seemed to fail because in reality, the plot had nowhere to go after the defeat of the primary antagonist of the game, The Lich King.
Meanwhile, gamers are also attracted to play those challenging MMORPGs. But, in “WoW’s” case, the difficulty of the game decreased continuously since its first release. Serious players noticed that they can no longer feel the sense of accomplishment after the character progression of “World of Warcraft” became simpler. Due to this, more subscribers became bored with the game and they left to play other games.
Gaming experts also felt that “WoW” has nothing new to offer to its subscribers. Although “World of Warcraft” released new expansions, gamers noticed that there were fewer dungeons with each new installments and the gameplays were almost similar with previous ones.
Perhaps, one of the biggest reasons why “WoW” lost many of its paid members is that more and more free-to-play games are becoming available online. It is logical to think that younger generations, who are believed to be wiser in terms of money, will go for the free games rather than be charged with monthly subscription fees.
Can “Legion” save the franchise?
Although some gaming experts believe that the decline of “WoW’s” subscribers will continue due to the cited reasons, it appears that Activision Blizzard is still doing its best to stabilize its hold of the market.
In a previous article released by The Revoluzionne, Blizzard revealed its sixth expansion titled “Legion” during this year’s Gamescom. In that trade fair, “WoW’s” game developer excitedly relates the storyline of the new installment.
According to the developer, the plot will revolve around the demons of the Burning Legion. These demons will use all their strengths to find the key that will lead them to the Dark Titan of Azeroth. The players need to act fast in recovering the legendary artifacts and weapons that they will use to find the remaining relics of the Titans. Once the gamers believed that they are ready to face the demons, they may decide to start the challenges.
Aside from creating a new storyline, the game developers of “WoW” added several features to “Legions” like the artifact weapons, the demon hunter, and a new continent called “The Broken Isles.” In this installment, another set of class orders will be introduced such as the Order of the Silver Hand.
Other features were also included in the sixth expansion like the increased level cap of 110 from the previous 100; the new honor system; the improved transmogrification system; latest dungeons, raids and world bosses; additional zones such as Broken Shore, Highmountain, and Suramar; and added creatures such as the humanoid Drogbar and the beast Moose.
Gamers who were able to watch the trailer and cinematic teaser at Gamescom felt the excitement to play the game’s new expansion. The game developers even invited their fans to have a chat with them during the August trade fair.
With all the new features and intensified preparations to market “Legion,” it seems that Activision Blizzard will not yet declare game over for “World of Warcraft.” Nevertheless, as of this writing, the game publisher has no official statement regarding the release date of “WoW’s” sixth expansion.