It’s been a full 6 months after the release of the latest World of Warcraft Expansion, Warlords of Draenor. Things weren’t looking to good for Blizzard when they revealed their latest subscriber numbers which shows a massive 3 million subscriber decline to 10 million. We’re not too concerned as we feel this was pretty normal considering previous expansions and Wow patches. But to easy your troubled mind VentureBeat recently published an interview with lead developer Ion “Watcher” Hazzikostas. In this interview, they discussed the decline of players, where Warlords of Draenor has succeeded, and where the expansion has failed.
Garrisons were one point of discussion — in particular, how they have impacted the playstyle in Warlords and how Watcher believes that they have helped many players due to requiring minimal effort to maintain. Also important, Watcher discussed how the game has always gone in cycles. This is quite accurate; the end of a patch always sees a dip in subscriptions, while new patches and new expansions tend to see much larger rises in subscription gain. The success of the WoW Token also appears; Watcher mentions that these tokens have not created a drastic change in subscriptions, which he considers to be a success.
Additionally, the discussion touched on some of the new features that players will encounter at the launch of patch 6.2. With no known launch date just yet, Watcher has termed this to be one of the largest patches in terms of content, with the introduction of shipyards, Mythic 5-person dungeons, Tanaan Jungle, and an entirely new raid tier.
Finally, Watcher mentioned some of their approach to class balance and class-based changes in the game. Despite removing many abilities from the game in Warlords of Draneor, he mentions that the game has not been dumbed down in any way. Also important, much of the player base has aged with the game – Blizzard has acknowledged that many are now professionals or have families, and cannot commit to the grindy nature of the game in its original form.
Overall, it seems like Blizzard has considered Warlords of Draenor a success, and the interview was certainly insightful to how the company perceives the expansion. Additionally, it gives very good insight into how the company has changed and grown, and the direction we can expect the game to move.