Legion-e1439750124699

Over the past couple of months, even years, World of Warcraft hasn’t been doing too well for itself. With subscriber numbers dropping and rising back up when Warlords of Draenor launched, only to fall even further to a 9-year low, you could say things are looking dire, but are they as bad as they look?

Some would say yes, considering, and as of late Activision Blizzard announced that from this point on, they’ll no-longer be reporting subscriber numbers, instead they’ll be discussing the health of the game and its community.

Speaking with Polygon, executive producer J Allen Brack echoed this statement, saying that while subscription numbers have taken a dive, the game isn’t half as successful as it was in the past.

“One of the problems that we have as a team and that I think the community has as well is this perception that there’s a direct relationship between the number that we announce and the health of that community, and the health of that business,” Brack said. “That’s not really true. I wouldn’t say that World of Warcraft is necessarily half as successful now as in previous times.”

In an effort to ensure players return to the game and stick around much longer, the developers have introduced the new Level Boost token which immediately gives players a boost to a much higher level, for example, in Warlords of Draenor, players could instantly become a level 90 character. The same goes for Legion, the game’s next big expansion, where players will have a token for a level 100 character.

The only difference this time is that players can try out different classes before activating their level 100 token.

Another thing the developers are doing is trying to cut-down the time between expansions, one of the things many have attributed to the loss of subscribers. One of the ways they’re doing this is by launching smaller patches which add new content, for example, a patch named 6.2.3 will add dungeons from 2010’s Cataclysm, as well as new rewards, and other things.

“We think that’s going to help,” said Brack. “It’s not entirely new raid tiers. It’s not entirely new raids. But the challenge we have is if we work on, like, a patch 6.2.5 or 6.3 or something like that, that just pushes the expansion back even further. That’s the push-pull we have.”

“Legion is still speeding up our expansion release schedule quite a bit,” Brack concluded. “We definitely want to continue to shrink that time.”

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Faster expansions is something that they've been talking about for a while now. I think that would help, but maybe smaller episodic story advances would be interesting. Something each month for those who are interested in following the story-line. I'm not sure that the instant level 100 will bring about longer subscriptions. It seems that only encourages players to try a new class, and if they didn't like it, cancel unhappy. But I think that WoW can give players returning some help starting out in the new areas. Not everyone will have a heroic raid gear set and breeze through… Read more »