View my post at http://2p.com/8192201_1/WoW-Subscribers-down-by-800000-Will-Warlords-of-Draenor-save-it-by-theophay.htm
Once again, we see WoW’s subscriber count dip to a new low. According to Times, It now stands at 6.8 million, down from 7.6 million from the last quarter. To put into perspective, the last time WoW stood at this low was in mid-2006, one and a half year since its release. However, it was quoted that this decline is seasonal and expected, since the expansion (Mist of Pandaria) is nearing its expected life cycle. Furthermore, a new expansion will be released that is supposed to bring people back to WoW.
The question is: Will it do so?
From my previous article: The Death of WoW, I have shared reasons on why I believe that WoW is dying: From a gameplay perspective and from an overall perspective such as analyzing Blizzard as a whole.
Check it out here.
This article will seek to justify whether Warlords of Draenor (WoD) will truly save it, and what is next for Blizzard.
While WoD is set in the past with Orcs generally portrayed as the ‘good guys’, the game has been improved with many features such as a level 90 jump and a visual improvement for the entire game.
With many features in place, there are good grounds to claim that Blizzard can effectively bring back the old gamers, and even bring in fresh faces who are willing to give WoW a shot.
That being said, I do not deny that there will definitely be a jump in the number of subscribers once WoD is released, but there is a good chance that the numbers will fall short once again in the next year. Here are some of the reasons why:
The gameplay for WoW has been the same throughout. Even if you change the storyline a little, people are going to come to realize that they’re doing the same thing throughout: PvPing, PvEing, questing and adventuring. I’ve mentioned previously that the repetitive gameplay is one reason why I felt WoW was dying. Introducing new dungeons can solve this issue, but only temporarily. There is still a need to revamp gameplay, such as introducing new battlegrounds, or new ways that players can engage in PvP.
WoW seems like the best choice in a MMORPG of the past, and rightfully so. WoW faced very weak competition, and Blizzard was at its peak a few years ago, with a very nice MMORPG and with strong entrants such as Warcraft 3 and Diablo 2. However, the gaming environment is different now. There are many new entrants that give WoW a run for its money, such as Elder Scrolls Online, and even new genres such as MOBAs like DotA 2 and mobile MMOs. WoW faces competition so stiff that it becomes more questionable whether the model that became so successful would apply now.
Many people would now ask: What’s next for Blizzard, especially so now that it is rumored that WoD seems to be WoW’s final expansion.
Change of Gameplay
With all else said, it would be refreshing if Blizzard chooses to revamp the gameplay of WoW. They will have to do it in such a way that the original gameplay will not be affected, but there is a taste that the expansion will be different. The changes should not only focus on the visual aspects, but involve more things a player can do other than exploring new regions. Players now hunger for more things to do even after they have attained level 90.
Focus on other projects
It would be surprising if Blizzard chooses to cash out of the WoW franchise. But I would not take it as a major shocker. After all, there is evidence that the gaming world is now moving towards a new form of gaming. Major entrants are now MOBA and Mobile gaming. Blizzard has definitely picked up hints of this shift, and has therefore released major game titles like Hearthstone and Heroes of the Storm to cash in on this shift. Would Blizzard shift all its resources to these games? Unlikely, but I would not be surprised.
Blizzard definitely has much to do for WoW, and I would argue that WoD is not enough.
Blizzard can be said to be the ‘Apple of Gaming’ and consumers look out for more radical entrants, as compared to small improvements of gameplay. Such is the standard that Blizzard has set for itself. Either Blizzard has to suit up, or face major disappointment.