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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About The Author

Amunet, also fondly known as Memtron, is an organic life form best known for its ongoing obsession with Blizzard Entertainment's numerous properties. To that end, Amu has authored hundreds (thousands?) of the most popular World of Warcraft guides, editorials, and Top 10 lists on the planet. When not gaming and writing, Amu is busy chasing after her three children in a perpetual loop of ongoing disaster.

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