Top 3 reasons for World of Warcraft’s downfall
First I told you why I think World of Warcraft should be free-to-play, second I talked about despite those thoughts, Blizzard is killing it with their 10th Anniversary Celebration, and I'm going to conclude this trilogy with reasons why player numbers are gradually dropping.
When the subscriber rate for World of Warcraft continued to grow, we all would wonder when it would eventually plateau. We learned the answer to that question not too long ago, as the number of people playing began to plummet.
Today, some 6.8 million people remain subscribed to World of Warcraft and it’s pretty easy to pin-point why.
The desire to appeal to everyone
When World of Warcraft began its rise to the top during The Burning Crusade expansion, many people complained about being unable to see every piece of content available. Admittedly, I was one of those people. I was tired of only raiding Karazhan on a nightly basis. I wanted to explore Serpentshrine Cavern and The Black Temple.
Blizzard would attempt to address this issue in Wrath of the Lich King by making the game more accessible. Gear would be easier to obtain and every raid would have the option of being completed by ten or twenty-five players. On the surface, everybody would win: people would be able to play the content they want at the difficulty they want.
The problem was that there was no more logical reason to run a 25-man raid. It was far, far easier to keep a steady group of ten people. In addition, the incredibly easy ability to get end-game gear began to trivialize the difficulty of the game. Sure, I may have completed tougher encounters, but that was all for naught once a new patch hit and introduced equal-level gear that could be earned by running heroic dungeons until your eyes bleed.
The disappearance of a community
In the early days of World of Warcraft, if you wanted to get a group for a dungeon, you’d have to advertise it over chat channels. Sure, this meant standing in cities for what felt like an eternity, but you were running with people you knew, people you may eventually come to trust, and people you’ll most likely encounter again.
But then, everything changed when the Looking For Group tool attacked.
At first, it was awesome. I could look for heroic groups while I do my daily quests. It was the best thing ever.
Until you actually got into a group, where it became the most imprersonable thing in the world. There was no server reputation at stake, no long-term commitments to make to these random people. If a dungeon went well, you’d thank the group and be on your merry way. If it didn’t go so hot, it didn’t matter who was at fault, because you’d most likely never group with these people ever again. There was no more accountability. Heroics became a machine that we mindlessly ran because we needed gear. Heroics used to be something to do with friends.
That appeal has vanished.
There’s just more to do elsewhere
One of the drawbacks to being subscribed to World of Warcraft is that it gives you little time to do much of anything else. You’ve committed time and money to one game, do you have leftover time and money to commit elsewhere? Maybe you picked up a new job, started a family, recently moved, got new hobbies. Do you seriously want to constantly go “well, how does this affect my World of Warcraft playing time” for the rest of your life?
I didn’t think so.
People have a tendency to move on from various things in their past, one of which is World of Warcraft. With as many people subscribing during the peak, it’s a safe bet to make that a good number of those people would move on at one point.