Boom Goes The Dynamite

[World of Warcraft] It just keeps on going and keeps on growing.

IRVINE, California – August 29, 2005 – Blizzard Entertainment®, Inc. today announced that World of Warcraft®, its subscription-based massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG), has reached more than one million paying customers in North America. This brings the total population for Blizzard’s critically acclaimed game, the largest MMORPG in the world, to more than four million paying customers.

It’s a behemoth now, steamrolling over rival MMOs like they are made of Dereth.

– Ethic

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I own this little MMO gaming blog but I hardly ever write on it any more. I'm more of a bloglord or something. Thankfully I have several minions to keep things rolling along.

18 thoughts on “Boom Goes The Dynamite”

  1. Yeah, and I had to go buy a still priced $50 WoW just so I can could the CD key and make a new account. Arg…gotta love pirates!

    BTW, I’m a female Gnome mage now if anyone cares. I used to be a Troll Shaman (level 57) but I went off to college and gave the account to my brother so I doubt I’ll be playing my troll anymore. Plus, I don’t think Shaman was really for me anyways. It’s not nearly all it’s cracked up to be. Broken? Perhaps. Fun and entertaining? Not IMO. The Mage’s sheep ability is more fun than any Shaman ability…well, maybe Shaman’s Jesus ability, but that’s about it, and who uses that anyways?

  2. Okay – that said – we’ve all spent a lot of time expounding on what Bliz’ has done wrong with WOW. What I’ve got to ask and have been wondering about a good deal, is what about WOW is bringing these numbers in?

    Are we all simply ignorant n00bs that love to be ganked? Or has Bliz’ hit upon something that simply *works*. If that’s the case – what is it? Where do you get 4 meeeleyun paying customers (at 14.95 a pop) in an industry full of pretty decent MMOs?

  3. Ever wonder about those “other” dimensions?

    This is it. Finally, Bliz cracked the code opening the portal to this nth dimension. It’s what the geeks, the nerds, the hackers, the power gamers, the entrepreneurs, the closet RPers, the closet PVPers, the heroes, the maidens, the X-ers, the modernized baby boomers, the quiet, the loud, the you, and the me can all play together, simultaneously, daily, infinitely, and get a boatload of pleasure from it without feeling ashamed that you spend more of your “offtime” playing a game than hanging out with your kids because your kids are playing it, too. This is secretly what we’ve all been waiting for, and boom, it’s here. Sure, it’s not perfect, but, then again, neither is real life.

  4. “Or has Bliz’ hit upon something that simply *works*. If that’s the case – what is it?”

    Fast leveling, tons of quests, good artwork and dialogue (its not realistic like EQ2 but it fits the cartoony, wry humor of the game perfectly), unique zones, minimal down times.


    This is a funny (some fowl language if that bothers you) write up that is relevant to this discussion. Like I said in the comments section of what psyae is linking to, I think it’s just the “right game at the right time”.

    Now we just need to find a game that taps the female market and the numbers may even double or triple in the next few years. What I think will work as a game that female consumers would play: Games with a more social, less hack and slash all day aspect. There’s my 2 cents! If you play WoW, this is funny too:

  6. Also, hitting several continents is good for you. I mean, if your game is not available in Asia, you are missing most of the world’s population.

  7. The game appeals to a group of players that were not playing before. That is the simple explaination.

    The fact that other MMO’s aren’t being steam rolled is an example of this.

    AC2 was dead on launch as with the Matrix. The only game that I have seen seriously affected is EQ2 which I believe is a much stronger game than given credit for.

  8. *that’s* a good point. Other MMO’s are still going while WOW grows. The only regular way to do that is to grow your customer base beyond it’s normal target audience. That said – something has to bring those new people into the game.

    What is it? I doubt marketing has anything to do with it – is word of mouth enough to grow 1 million US subcribers? MMO’s – even WOW are different animals than even the most popular PC or Console game out there. They require a time commiment, and have a ‘geek quotient’ that some have a hard time getting over. Interesting that so many have taken the leap.

    I haven’t played EQ2 – but have heard a lot of WOW players (and long time EQ1 *fanatics*) say that EQ2 is just doesn’t work for them and they seem pretty bitter about it. I’ve looked into EQ2 but it just…feels wrong to me. Maybe that’s just the SOE aura coming from it – who knows.

  9. WoW is just plainly different from all previous MMO’s. It was designed that way. There for it draws in new kinds of players. This is good and bad. And I question its sustainability.

  10. Is it? To the average game consumer all they see is an MMORPG…two things to get over there – Online and RPG. Some heavy hurtles for folks used to Street Fighter clones and 1stPShooters. Going from prospective buyer/player to happy subsriber is a leap at $50 for the game and $15 a month is a leap.

    I think Bliz probably agrees with you regarding sustainability – which is why the last few copies of all the major PC gaming mags included trial installs of WOW. The gaming community is larger than ever (and growing more console based everyday) – keeping an ongoing thing like WOW viable means they’re going to be farming new subscriber drops like a 39th level Warrior looking to get his first mount.

  11. [ Going from prospective buyer/player to happy subsriber is a leap at $50 for the game and $15 a month is a leap.]

    Yes I can’t type today…or think straight…I blame WOW.

  12. I’d love to see some numbers showing how many WoW subscribers are first-time MMO players. I bet it is pretty high. That said, it is also quite attractive to veteran MMO players that have grown tired of grinding for 2 years to get somewhere. Many of those same veteran MMO players have gotten married, hatched kids, and garnered full-time jobs making them busier than they used to be. Right game at the right time for many people.

  13. I’m a “frustrated powergamer” myself. That is, if I were 15 years younger, I’d be one of those hard core raiding dude complaining about having nothign to do. I would have had my level 60 two months (at the most) after launch and would have come over with my EQ1 raiding guild.

    Instead, I’m a Dad with 4 kids and my mage hit 60 after 20 days /played. (started at end of March, hit 60 last weekend) I have yet to do an instance higher than Black Rock Depths, and I’ve only been just past the arena in that. I’m rank 2 PvP, with no rush to get promoted much faster. Molten Core? Zul’Grub? Blackwing Lair? I’m glad that they are in game, but lord knows when I’ll see them.

    The guy who convinced me to buy WoW had been playing for a month longer than me. He’s got a level 30ish mage and plays every few weeks…and actually enjoys the game, he just doesn’t have much time to play.

    For both of us, the monthly fee is nothing…it’s the time that’s the limiting factor.

    WoW, for me, is pefect. And there are a whole lotta “me” out there.

  14. Ethic I agree WoW is a completely sustainable based on its core players, and I would say that number is very large, larger than any other game out there by far. BUT it is not sustainable at its current level. Over 4 million players seems like far too much but I could be wrong.

    The benefit that WoW does have is these are PC players and not Console players. If they were console players I think you would already see numbers dropping.

  15. I tend to side with Marc. I’m basically in the same boat, and know a handful of others there, as well. The nice thing about WoW is that it caters to the casual gamer with a family who doesn’t have 5+ hours of game time per day available, and it ALSO caters to the hardcore gamer who can pump in 8 hours a day or more, hitting the highest instances, and going for the highest pvp rank. What’s amazing about WoW is that both types of players are playing the same game at (more or less) the same time, and both enjoy it.

    If Blizz leans too heavily toward powergaming content, and slacks off on the Quest-a-day content, it might lose casual gamers such as Marc and myself. If Blizz doesn’t keep grinding out new instances and battlegrounds, it might lose console gamers who have to have their daily fix. Regardless of the bugs and flaws in WoW, I’m still thoroughly impressed that Blizzard has pulled this off so successfully, and I can’t wait till I can clone myself so that I CAN do those high level instances and get the uber gear!

  16. yup – in the same boat – love the game – but have a greek tragedy of a commute, a career, two kids, and a wife that is jealous of her time with me :)

    Right now WOW is pretty much the only thing I take the time to play – and I’m not bitter about that at all. The fee is nil sweat and I have two full accounts – one for me and one for my oldest son. I think that treacherous balance between casual gamer and power-gamer is *thus far* been managed fairly well.

    As far as seeing what number of WOW subscribers are ‘casual gamers’ is interesting as to *me* a casual gamer is someone that will sign up – play casually for about 90 days and then cancel their account. That’s turn over that Bliz has to make back up with new subs and speaks to the sustainability issue.

    I’m thinking more and more are like Marc and Psyae said – frustrated gamers that have made a hard purchasing decision and alloted their time to WOW. These are likely late 20’s to 30+ somethings with a PnP background and the disposable income to throw at the game.

    What I want to know is what Bliz’s profit model looks like. How many subscribers = Profit and how they plan to manage to maintain the numbers they need to stay a *growing* and thriving endeavor – not just sustaining.

  17. I’m going to echo the remarks made already… I think the mad sucess of WoW is the fact you can put in as much time as you want. Other than the high-end instances that usually will take you 4-6 hours of straight play to complete in a raid, the game is built more towards a casual playstyle. I mean, the rested feature alone is such a sweet thing for people. It’s almost like you get rewarded for -not- playing. To a point.

    I think the fact that you can solo 75-90% of the content, and that most quests do not have a time requirement (I say most, as some do) lends itself to fitting better with the ‘casual’ player.

    People have lives, and if they feel they can not make progress without being a powergamer, they tend to leave. WoW upset that paradigm, and thus they are reaping the rewards. Anyone… and I mean -ANYONE- can get to lvl 60 in this game in time.

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