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Blizzard Talks Titan, WoW Subs Loss to Star Wars: TOR

In November 2010, Blizzard saw around 12 million subscriptions to its highly-popular MMORPG, World of Warcraft. A year later, the company saw only 10.3 million, a sizable drop. So far Blizzard hasn't released numbers for December 2011 and January 2012, but there's indication that the numbers dropped even more once Star Wars: The Old Republic crashed the PC gaming scene towards the beginning of December. Have many WoW gamers jumped ship and donned a Jedi robe and lightsaber instead?

"Of course people are trying Star Wars - our development team are trying Star Wars! I'm one of the few people who's still playing it actually, but yeah we've seen a dip in subs," reports senior World of Warcraft producer John Lagrave. "It certainly has to at least be attributable to The Old Republic, but it's also attributable to people who want to wait and get Mists of Pandaria, so it's not surprising."

Since the launch of Star Wars: The Old Republic, Blizzard has offered an aggressive promotion to get players back into Azeroth. Called the Scroll of Resurrection, current active members can send the virtual scroll to previous subscribers who in turn receive a free upgrade to Cataclysm, seven days of free game time, a boost to level 80 for one character and more.

Earlier this month Blizzard announced that it laid off approximately 600 employees worldwide although the reduction wouldn't have any impact on the development of World of Warcraft. The company determined this was necessary after conducting a review of its business based on current organizational needs. Approximately 90-percent of the affected employees will come from departments not related to game development.

Yet despite the layoffs, Blizzard is still hiring talent. It's also pulling members off the World of Warcraft team to work on the super-secret Titan MMOG. On Monday the Orange Country Register asked Blizzard how it plans to manage two MMOGs now that Blizzard has been reduced by 13-percent worldwide.

"There are people that had worked on the 'World of Warcraft' team that now work on that team [Titan] where we've had like a slow trickle of expertise," said game director Tom Chilton. "Meanwhile, we've also hired people in and trained them up over the last four to five years to take the place of some of the people that have gone to work on the other games."

Chilton added that it's possible the movement of development talent to project Titan could accelerate in the near future. "It's hard to say though," Chilton said. "I do believe there's room for us to have two highly successful MMO games. I don't feel like there's going to be a time where we just say 'OK, everybody on the WoW team, pack it up you're moving over to the Titan MMO.' I don't see that as being a realistic probability. I think we're going to try to staff up both teams and actually end up with two large, strong MMO teams."

Finally, there has been mention that the "trial" version of World of Warcraft could be extended beyond the level 20 limit, the amount of gold the player can carry and so on. Will the game go free-to-play? Probably not... at least, not in the foreseeable future. After all, EverQuest finally caved in after 13 years and went F2P last week, so it's not entirely impossible.

"There's a fair amount that you can experience up to level 20, because you really get most of the core systems in by that point," Lagrave told Eurogamer. "But we can absolutely say, 'Hey, why don't we make it level 40?' 'Why don't we make it level 60?', do we let you at least experience the old world? It's all possible. Right now, no, but that's all absolutely on the table."

  • memadmax
    When Aeon came out, alot of people left then came back.
    Warhammer, same.

    They'll be back.
    WoW will never let you go!
    Reply
  • rantoc
    WoW now is 8 bosses over and over if your mostly intressted in PvE, its frankly boooooring! Considering they get about 120MIL $ each MONTH from the subscribtions alone i think the end content is way to small.
    Reply
  • franky4ro
    i played wow a lot but what swtor has is the heroic areas that are basicaly right smack in the middle of the regular quest/road...it is awsome...it never gets boring:D
    Reply
  • beetlejuicegr
    WoW is the first love, you may cheat on her eventually but you always return to her :P
    Reply
  • alidan
    rantocWoW now is 8 bosses over and over if your mostly intressted in PvE, its frankly boooooring! Considering they get about 120MIL $ each MONTH from the subscribtions alone i think the end content is way to small.
    everquest, in its prime, only a small fraction of the most elite guilds made it to the end game durring an expansions endgame... i believe it was something like 4 guilds across every server beat the end game content. at least till seeds...

    in wow im just guessing that the end game content you are talking about was at least hard to get to and beat, but you have to think of everyone else, how many really make it to hat point. there is a reason there is so little content at the absolute top, because few make it that far.

    beetlejuicegrWoW is the first love, you may cheat on her eventually but you always return to her
    i played everquest sense it came out, so i have some insite on this.

    untill you hit the end game, that game has you, and there is no letting go.
    once you hit end game group... the game turns into a grind fest that can burn you out faster than any other mmo (you have to re level from 50-51 several thousand times to even come close to killing end game content) because the grind in eq isnt only about gear, but alt advancement. once you hit the end game from the most recent expantion, the game loses its magic... and its so easy to burn out on it...

    once you burn out on it, the only thing that can bring you back is a new expantion... however the problem is that even that may not be enough, and your need/want to play the game dies.

    mmos are an addiction, but its also one of the few where treatment is overdoseing.
    Reply
  • demusernames
    "I'm one of the few people who's still playing it actually"

    Really subtle ^^

    TORtanic is sinking. F2P within a year.
    Reply
  • Goldengoose
    Guild wars 2!
    Reply
  • kartu
    Hard to justify loss of first 2 million subscribers with SW:TOR isn't it?
    It's an old game, people got bored.
    Reply
  • namecnassianer
    Perhaps because of the siphoning of the original (and best?) development talent to Titan, combined with the continuing insistence on mind-numbing low-probability RNG rewards, World of Warcraft has become formulaic, predictable and.... not fun. It is a waste of both time and money.
    Reply
  • officeguy
    I think we're going to try to staff up both teams and actually end up with two large, strong MMO teams."
    If WOW is losing its people, how can he honestly says they will have 2 strong MMO? Especially in 3 to 4 years when Titan actually comes out. Correction, this is Blizzard. Titan will be out in 4 to 6 years.
    Reply