The Future Of WoW

At times like this, just before a major content patch comes out, I like to take a look further into the future through my imaginary crystal ball. What comes next, and what comes after that?

Patch 4.3 is right around the corner. It will probably come out in two weeks. The patch will introduce new content: several dungeons and raids, renewed Darkmoon Faire, etc. It will keep the players busy for a few months, and it will keep us busy, since the new patch will surely bring a boost to the AH traffic. However the boost won't last untill the next expansion, so as always, the last couple of weeks will be about selling all the junk what you are left with. I'm already selling a few mats that I know I won't use before the Xpack (for example pyrite and truegold stocks), and I advise everybody to look through their stash for mats that you have too much of.
Before the Xpack no other major patches are expected. Surely, there will be minor patches and hotfixes, but no content, and definately nothing that would bring a boost to the AH like 4.3. However, these minor patches can still bring changes to items that would change the market, so this doesn't mean that you don't have to be on the lookout anymore for patch notes.
The Xpack is expected to come in Q2 of 2012 as speculated in many articles on other blogs, and seen in an old leaked Blizzard product plan. We all know what the Xpack holds for the average player. On BlizzCon, they introduced the new features, and there were many followup interviews and articles all around the blogosphere. We covered the basics as well. What we don't know is what the Xpack holds for us, the "businessmen". Surely, with the new mats and items, we will have to acquire all the new recipes, and start buying all the new mats, while selling the new items. Xpacks have come out before, and we all know how to "level with it". Though the recipes itselves, the sets, the weps, all the items, are still unknown. We will have to learn a whole new set of items.
With the new Xpack, renewed subscriptions are expected. Players will come back and they will start to play more, which again is good for us.

This I'm sure was not brand new info for most of you. So what is there to add?
Based on the last several months' budget riports, interviewes, announcements and such, we can safely say that WoW has began it's downfall. Subscriptions peaked late 2008/early 2009 around 11.5-12 million. Ever since, the game has been in a slow but steady decline. One might say it was inevitable. Nothing can last forever. The game itself is very old, around 7 years. It is still the most subscribed MMORPG by far, which is quite an accomplishment considering that it's 7 years of lifetime makes it almost antique in the MMORPG market (and in the video game market on general as well).
The future of the game is debated and speculated about on many forums and blogs. Most people think that after a long decline, it will be forgotten as every other game, which I'm sure they are right about, the only question is how long this decline will be? Blizzard stated in many conference calls as well as press releases that there is still a lot of opportunities in the game. They say that this decline is expected on the end of every Xpack, and that christmas and the new Xpack will get the subscriptions back on track. This might be true on some level, though I personally doubt that the game will ever reach 12 million subscribers again. Cataclysm didn't help it, so I'm not sure why MoP (still funny) would, and we've seen christmases before.

This doesn't mean that it is time for us to sell everything, or leave the sinking ship. All this means is that the recent decline in realm activity that everyone is experiencing may not be temporary.

3 comments: on "The Future Of WoW"

  1. The real question is, what are you going to do with your 10 million gold once WoW starts to really suck?

  2. I'm stockpiling like crazy right now. I have purchased about 1 million in raw materials (7 characters with banks and guild banks packed to the gills) to use up and sell when the patch hits. I'm working toward a complete sell off though and then I'm jumping out of the AH game until the expansion (I'm guessing this summer or so based the timeline I've seen on MMO champion).

  3. the decline in subscriptions is the same bump in the road that happened at the tail end of all of the expansion packs. People start to take breaks from the game. They are burnt out, casual players drop out for the next big thing (RIFT for example).

    7 million + subscriptions is nothing to shake a stick at. Things will change when blizzard finally announces their new MMORPG, that might truly change the stakes because everyone will want to see what the masters of the genre will bring.

    A minority of people hate the idea of running around in panda suits. But then that minority tends to be the loudest. The majority generally don't say a word. They speak by either playing or not playing. And either paying their 15 dollars or not paying. When MOP hits, and the subscriptions continue to drop, if they do that is, then we will know the true future of WOW.

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