1.3 Million Players Quit World of Warcraft


The number of people playing World of Warcraft has dropped by 1.3 million in the space of three months, a 13.5 percent decline. Activision says the growth of free online games has hurt, but has promised to release new content more frequently.

The figures cover the first quarter of the year. According to the company’s CEO Bobby Kotick, further declines are likely and he fully expects to finish 2013 with fewer players than at the start of the year. However, he says the game remains highly successful (eight million subscribers still remain) and indicated Activision remains fully committed to it.

The company said most of the decline in players came from Asia. That’s despite specific attempts to appeal to that market such as the release last year of the Mists of Pandaria expansion pack.

Kotick said that “It’s important to note that the nature of online games has changed, and with the environment becoming far more competitive, especially with free-to-play games.”

It seems Activision and WoW developer Blizzard have a two-step plan for trying to slow the decline. Firstly it plans more frequent content updates so that existing players stick around longer.

Secondly, it will look at ways to make it more enticing and less hassle for lapsed players to return. Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime didn’t give any specifics but talked about the need to “adjust our approach to player behavior and preferences.”

34 Responses to 1.3 Million Players Quit World of Warcraft

  1. As a former WoW subscriber I can only offer my own views, warning: I may geek out. At it’s height of 12 million subscribers there was variation in the various character builds, had an emphasis on crowd control abilities and tried to build teamwork when in multi-player instances (whether that be dungeon, raid or PvP). Over time Blizzard simplified the mechanics to attract more and younger subscribers but I felt it stopped being about knowing and using the abilities your class of choice had available and more become a very pretty button mashing mechanic. When I started playing WoW there was a strategy to taking down bosses but when i quit it felt like it had become “just run in and beat on it, it will die eventually”. Up to and including the Lich King expansion the story was always front and center and tied the whole world together. Just using the WotLK expansion as an example; from the moment you landed in Northrend his presence was felt in every quest you did, every dungeon you explored and every piece of lore and story you came across. Cataclysm on the other hand was five separate new zones that didn’t seem to have anything to do with each other or tie together as a whole. There was also a lot of recycling old material to make it shiny and new and high level. I can’t say whether what made me leave continued into Pandaria for I stop caring before that expansion was even announced.

    Oh and people found new ways to excel at being jerks to other players but that may have only been on my server.

    • Oh I agree with you 100%. While I did stick around thru the launch of pandaria, I had 6 85s that I “had” to get to 90. Before I quit only 1 of those 6 even made it, the others just patiently waited in Stormwind for me to get them out into the world. But it never happened. By the time I had that one 90, I was already burnt. All the dailys were pretty much required if you wanted anything worthwhile. Thats not counting friendships and what not. I enjoyed raiding and spending time with my friends, but it got to a point where that was not enough anymore.

    • Agreed! I stopped playing when they simplified the game. All of the players from the beginning had to work months or even up to a year to achieve max level and much of the top gear and items. Now, you can reach the top level in practically less than a week if you want. You don’t have to save money for months to be able to afford the 100g mounts like the beginning players had to do. It was a fun game because it was a challenge. Now that it’s catered to all the players that don’t want to spend a long time building their characters (which gives a major sense if accomplishment), it is no longer any fun.

      • really up to a year to achieve level 60? lmao ya right. more like 3 months at the most.. and while they did nerf the talent trees raids in MOP are MUCH harder than they ever were in vanilla. If your in a raiding guild the game is still very much fun and worth while.

    • WoW was my very first MMORPG and, being a tabletop gamer, I can tell you that I expected a whole lot more. The game was beat on it until it dies from the beginning, the instances were WAY overloaded with “mobs”, what I call enemies and, if you moved a single centimeter further than face-to-face from the initial encounter with the enemy groups, you were swamped with another group. The game DID NOT encourage teamwork, it encouraged “group or die”, which has since become the mainstay of MMORPGs. In fact, WoW was NEVER an MMORPG, simply an MMOCG! The game does not encourage anything other than combat, whether that is PvE or PvP, and it’s so far over the top with the combat as to turn people off to the game. The “quests”, which are little more than tasks, established the four main quest types for many of the MMOs that have since been developed, and they’re limiting and maddening. I left the game perhaps a week before Burning Crusade came out, having explored the last available square centimeter of the game. LotRO is, by far, a much better game, and I believe TESO is going to expand on the story aims, though it will not visit story completely, when it comes out.

    • The people being jerks is on every server. I was a raiding for years and I still have an active account though I rarely play anymore, mostly because the friends I played with have stopped. WoTLK was by far my favorite xpac for WoW followed by MoP. I wish them well in the future game dev but if Blizzard (screw off Activision) doesn’t find a way to make it more interesting for older players they are going to lose to other MMOs every time.

    • I didn’t play WoW for very long after it opened but it sounds exactly like what happened to DAoC, (my longest MMO ever stuck with,) and why I quit playing it. I think MMOs need to stop repeating history. People stick with P2Ps because of how they are; good games with a great story and interesting, fun game play. Sure, new material is needed but dumbing down games for people who don’t want a challenge really screws them up. The younger kids should be in the F2Ps anyway since a lot of them just want to troll around and bother everyone else’s fun time. I will probably never invest my time and money in a P2P game again because of these reasons.

    • Thats the problem with most MMOs now. They dumb everything down to attract more players, but in the end everyone gets bored and leaves.

    • I agree 100% too!! I loved old school wow :( up to lich king was the best. I think cataclysm had good intentions and a chance to be good but it was wows downfall

  2. Don’t forget that the majority of people who first started playing WoW are now in their late 20s and early 30s, so the fan base has grown up and are likely moving on to more important things like family and careers. I was 23 when WoW launched and now I’m 32 and about to get married, so I have to have priorities. I still play, though.

  3. I feel the exact same way. I missed out on Vanilla and BC, but I still found it amazing how the instances worked and all the quests! I got VERY tired of having to kill 5 of these creatures then 4of this one and 8 of another for one quest. The though has run out. I have always been a casual WoW player, but I think hardcore players would feel the same. I lamented the simplification of the talent trees. What happened to being able to create a hero YOU wanted to play, customising every aspect of it’s appearance and capabilities in combat? Now you’re fitting into a cast mold of 1 of 3 for your class? Where is the challenge? There’s no more ‘Okay guys. Let’s spend 3 weeks trying to complete this 1 instance.’ Now all the bosses are ‘tank and spank’ with occasional dodging. And to the people that say, ‘Yeah, but what about the Heroics? They’re SUPER hard!’ But you’re doing the EXACT same thing you JUST did for better equipment! WHY?! Make WoW like I used to hear all my friends talk about. Like if you completed Naxxramas, that was the pinnacle of achievement! I know that they made WoW more appealing to casuals like myself, but not all of us appreciated the move. Please ‘restore to a previous save point’ Blizzard.

  4. It’s time WoW adopted a F2P model, like all the others, and not just to level 20. There are three games that are bleeding subscribers. They are WoW, DAoC, and Warhammer. Why?? The still have mandatory subscriptions. Take away the mandatory subscription, and you will get players. The F2P model has helped LoTRO, Conan, SWKoTOR, and Star Trek, just to name a few.
    Blizzard and their affiliates have made a KILLING off WoW. Now it is time to rewards their players by taking away the subscription.

  5. Why does nobody realize that this is because all the people that subscribed for a year of wow to get Diablo III for free just ended their subscriptions…. It’s like really completely obvious

    • I’m sure that there was an influx of 1.3 million subscribers when they found out they could get Diablo included. I know I subscribed for the year to get it

  6. I don’t think releasing more frequent content is going to help them if they claim to be losing people to free games online. New content means new expansion packs, which translates to paying more money to play the game.

    It’s been a long time since I played WoW, we used to be a multiple account household so that we could all play at the same time. Cataclysm was the last expansion pack we bought, by the time we were all bored so our accounts are closed right now.

    I think a lot of people are growing tired of the constant hacking and account theft that goes on, even with battlenet in place. That could be another big reason a lot of players have gone on to other games as well.

  7. Agreed, I don’t even know what Cataclysm and Mists of Pandaria were about. Gear progession got less enjoyable when they made epic-quality items easily attainable for all. Last time I enjoyed progressing a character was in The Burning Crusade.

  8. The game is too easy. The game is too hard. It doesn’t emphasize teamwork. OMG, what is crowd control? Button smashing. Face roll. Unbalanced classes. Oh man, I have to level all my toons. Dailies. Professions. No purples in heroic dungeons. Dungeon boss drops too much loot. I never win what I need. There’s always going to be an excuse.

    As old players leave, Blizz needs to find ways to entice new players to come. The only reason why I started playing WoW was because of the SouthPark episode. Burning Crusade was awesome and Lich King was better because I got to experience the mad rush to level cap with everyone else. I raided heavily till the start of Cataclysm. Having to level cap and redo everything was chore to me and I lost interest.

    I have found memories of Karazhan. I met some great friends. Will that ever happen again with the current and new content? I don’t know. The looking for raid and looking for group feature ruined it for me. Although, it was pain to PUG a dungeon or raid, at least, you made friends or enemies on YOUR server.

    • Exactly. There is a game that promises to be interesting, AND it’s FREE!!! Another game that has taken WoW players away is Allods. Why?? It is very similar in style to WoW, and it’s FREE!!

  9. I long for the days when you actually had to go out into the zones and quests for weeks to level a character instead of power leveling it in a few days. Seriously, I spent months trying to get my pally and lock mounts before people just get them through training now. Also, Blizz never addressed the jerks that would go into instances and take gear even though they weren’t there in the role of the gear they took. My favorite raid was Kara because of the storyline and design. I doubt I will ever resubscribe unless they change things back to the way they used to be.

    • You don’t even have to train for the mounts on Pally and Lock anymore, as soon as you ding the correct level…it gives you the mount. I too remember having to do those quests, and it added so much more to the character story. Along with having to do the quests to unlock the Lock pets. Remember those?

  10. I left because they threw everyone on to my server and when I go out to do anything there are 50 people all doing the same quest and I have to wait

  11. I jut leave plying WoW when i’ve seen about KUNG FU PANDA Expancion… peopple is leaving the game not because the free mmorpgs, we are leaving because it boring and challengeless

  12. I avoided WoW up until about 2011, because I was certain the game was shit, but my friends finally got me to play – Then I stopped playing after I confirmed that the “end game” everyone was boasting about was actually just shit. You max level then go beat some bosses to get gear, to get to raid bosses to get more gear, just so you can do the harder raid bosses and get better gear, so you can beat the hardest bosses for the best gear, and then keep on beating bosses for money…for…gear? Sure, there’s talents and skills and what not, but it’s the same shit cycled over and over without actually being fun at any point.

  13. It all can be summed up in your last line: too many jerks.

    LFD and LFR just became an excuse for people to be abusive. Why not, they’d never see that person again.

    There was no COMMUNITY anymore. Just individuals doing the same things over and over in the quest for “better” virtual items so they can… do the same thing over and over again. It became work, and I can’t speak for anyone else but I have a job thanks, one that pays me rather than I pay to do it.

    I think the rise in F2P games is another reason to quit WoW. F2P games have got a lot better. (I’m currently playing Neverwinter, which is fun.) And with F2P, you’re not paying every month, so you don’t feel like you NEED to play for a certain time to get your money’s worth. If you want to spend money on it, great. If not, most of the time you don’t have to do so.

    I got four toons through Pandaria to 90 and was working on my fifth, sixth and seventh plus couple of lower level alts. The proliferation of dailies in the end though put me right off. Same thing, over and over, day after day, across all those toons? No thanks.

    Often a new expansion attracts me back for a little while. We’ll see.

  14. All I can say is that all good things come to an end. WoW has had a fantastic run and maybe the end is not near, but it is on the very distant horizon. Activision ‘seems’ like they’ll stick with it? If they continue to loose 1.3 million players over any time period, they’ll start to back away. Once something no longer brings in the money, companies start retreating and will focus on something else that will bring them more money that they don’t really need but want.

    It happens all the time.

    I’m sure WoW will be around in some capacity still, but one day, the servers will close.

  15. I play Star Wars The old republic now, I like it a lot. It has a free to play but pay for more concept as do most free MMORPGs.I quit WoW at the end of the Lich King because of the GRINDING. Beating the same monster over and over to get a specific item or raiding the same dungeon over and over to get gear or doing the same pvp battles it was just monotonous. I think WoW should do that and make the game more challenging and the story better.

  16. I’ve been playing WoW since BC, and while I still have an account and occasionally log on to do a little half-hearted leveling of my few remaining 85’s, it’s more out of a vague feeling of “I’ve invested this much time in it already, I can’t quite abandon it altogether.” Maybe it’s nostalgia, or maybe it’s just the last vestiges of WoW addiction that I’ll never quite be able to shake (damn you, Blizzard!). Either way, the gameplay has definitely lost that aspect of creativity and adrenaline-boosting excitement that it used to have, along with more social aspects that made you actually want to play with other people, rather than run out of space on your “block” list.

    I’m not a big fan of free-to-play as an alternative, mainly because you’re generally getting the quality of game you’re paying for. When I have some extra time to play a game, I don’t want to spend half of it trying to find an area to quest in that isn’t bugged out.

    GW2 and SWTOR are both great games that Blizz could stand to learn a thing or two from as far as expanding on the social aspects (I love the “everyone can heal and rez everyone else” part of GW2 for example) and more focus on storyline. Also the companion character aspect of SWTOR is very handy for when you need help with a quest. I doubt Blizzard will be able to hold on to its escaping player base forever if it doesn’t consider either revamping entirely and going back to its original, more challenging model, or by introducing radically new content with its patches – not just new raids dailies and crazy-looking flying mounts.

  17. Im a Vanilla player ….. still play the game so far … but see a lot of people quitting brings me to think .. what the hell have blizz done to this game …. it use to be so much fun and the challenges were a lot harder …. now it’s just all to easy .. like it they have turned everything into kiddy play ground … no more epic pvp … there’s to much to what blizz have taken away from the game ……. if they don’t pull their fingers out there will be no more wow by the looks of things :*(

  18. I play Battlefield 3 now, no monthly sub and fifty times the fun :D I don’t think I will ever play WoW again.

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