Crying Wolf: WoW Subscription Losses

Sensationalized stories about WoW subscription losses and predictions about the death of the game, are sillier than the little boy who cried wolf.

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The news on every World of Warcraft related site lately is simple; the game is down to 7.6 million subscribers. The world is surely ending, the game is dying, abandon ship. At least that seems to be what the general tone of these news reports are. The comments section is no better, filled with remarks of the same general caliber. Despite these doom and gloom takes on the matter, this reported decline in numbers is not really as bad as it looks, so do not start looking for a new game just yet.

The End of an Expansion Blues

Whenever subscription numbers drop, every news, blog, and forum out there likes to cry wolf. By this I mean they all immediately decide that the numbers drop is the death knell of World of Warcraft. Despite this doom and gloom motto sung by the massive, this drop in numbers really isn't that surprising, especially if you consider the events surrounding it.

At this point in WoW, we have come to the end of an expansion. While many players have not finished all the content available, a massive majority have. A new expansion, Warlords of Draenor, is on the horizon, but that is a long way off. In Mists of Pandaria, new content is no longer rolling in. For now, things in game are stagnating and that is never very much fun.

Players get bored, get tired, and decide ultimately to cancel their subscription and take a break. Some of these players may make it a permanent break, but many will return to World of Warcraft with bells on, after the newest expansion is released. It is a common practice we have seen at the end of nearly every expansion, yet despite this, the lagging numbers still manage to cause chaos.

A Drop in the Bucket

Even if we pretend for a second that all 200,000 of the subscribers that have been lost never come back, is that really such a big deal? With sensational headlines like “WoW Down to 7.6 Million Subscribers!!!!!”, you would think this is a huge deal and all hope is lost. It makes us feel like losing those 200,000 is something that World of Warcraft can never recover from.

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When we sit and think rationally about it, that 200,000 really amounts to nothing more than a drop in the proverbial bucket. Those headlines making a big deal about World of Warcraft being “down” to 7.6 million subscribers, are forgetting that the game still has 7.6 million subscribers. That is 7.6 million people who are paying money to play this game.

Sure we can focus on the loss of 200,000, but we also can't forget about the remaining 7.6 million that are still playing and paying to do so. That is more than many games can ever hope to or will ever see in their lifetime. Not a small feat and one that shouldn't be easily forgotten. Why can't we focus more on the positive instead of the negative?

World of Warcraft Lives

So while some may sit around and talk about the downfall of World of Warcraft with this loss report, I am just going to sit back and smile. You see, we have been here and done this before and so far, World of Warcraft has kept on kicking. I refuse to buy into the hype every time a loss is reported, even if it is considered to be a significant one. If 7.6 million active subscriptions is an indication of a “dying” game, then many other MMO's are also going south.

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I am not saying that we shouldn't say anything bad about World of Warcraft, I am saying we should stop making a mountain out of every mole hill that pops up along the way. If WoW subscriptions drop to under a million players, then that might be cause for concern. Until that point, I think it is safe to say that World of Warcraft's years are not yet up.

While I know all men and games must eventually die, WoW is not yet ready to be put out to pasture. The game still boasts a thriving community full of active players, myself included. In my opinion, as long as several million players are still hanging onto the game, World of Warcraft will live on. The long drawn out speculation every time the numbers drop even a tiny bit is totally unnecessary and also getting old. Remember, no one really liked the little boy who cried wolf.

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