With their recent launch of the new ‘World of Warcraft’ expansion, ‘Legion’, Blizzard entertainment looks to spark new life into the now over decade old MMORPG. Once (and by all means it still is) the king of the genre, ‘World of Warcraft’ had up to 12 million concurrent subscribers.
Subscriber numbers peaked during the ‘Wrath of the Lich King’ expansion. Half of these users soon departed during the subsequent expansions: ‘Cataclysym’, ‘Mists of Pandaria’ and ‘Warlords of Dreanor’ all brought back subscribing players, with ‘Warlords of Dreanor’ seeing the largest increase of returning/new players.
However each expansion has been the same story thus far – new and returning players boots subscriber numbers for a period of a few months, only for numbers to fall to new lows before even midway through the expansion. ‘Warlords’ saw the biggest increase of returning players, most likely due to the marketing and presumed content of the expansion. Subsequently, ‘Warlords’ also saw the largest drop in subscriber numbers, ever.
In late 2015, Blizzard announced that they would no longer be providing or announcing subscriber numbers form ‘World of Warcraft’ directly. They said that they had felt that too much focus was being put on just those numbers.
And so with the launch of their most recent expansion ‘Legion’, subscriber numbers most likely saw an bump – but it is completely unknown how many players chose to return, or how many new players Blizzard was able to nab. And much like ‘Warlords’, content focus was on brining back iconic characters to help attract those older players.
So we can predictably say that ‘Legion’ brought back a substantial amount of subscribers.
But will it be enough to return the juggernaut to it’s former glory?
Only time will tell.