Yes, you! Who else would I be talking to? Blizzard needs you to test out its snazzy new Battle.net desktop client so it can be one step closer to global domination. If you’re interested, I’ve got all the details to sign yourself up. If not, then I’ll just pressgang you.
WoW’s latest patch will hit the Public Test Realm shortly, and with it Blizzard’s first step in acknowledging falling subscription numbers. Rather than begin the traumatic process of merging servers and haemorrhage players in the process, the WoW dev team have come up with an alternate solution: cross-server networks called Virtual Realms.
Blizzard are happy with the way Normal and Heroic raiding work in WoW, but think a valuable niche was lost when 10-player and 25-player modes were unified into a single difficulty after Wrath of the Lich King. They want to win back that space for a group they’re currently not serving - friends, family, and small, inclusive guilds.
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In January, the jobs board at Blizzard featured an opening for a producer on a “next-generation Battle.net desktop client".* All’s been schtum from the development monolith since, but recent wigglings suggest that a release for the app is on the horizon.
"Go on without me," said Sam Raimi to the men and women working on the WoW film, or ‘Warcraft’ as it insists everyone call it, like it’s Cher or something. That was nearly a year ago, and the project has since picked up a new writer in Blood Diamond scribe Charles Leavitt and a new director in Moon man Duncan Jones. The production must also have filled all the slots for catering and camera-holding too, because Warcraft is now set to begin shooting in the first three months of next year.
If your current mount just isn’t shiny and new enough, or your guild pal just got themselves a sweet new ride and you feel pressured to keep up with the Jones’, don’t feel like you’re last in the race just yet. Today sees the Armored Bloodwing dive-bomb into the Blizzard Store.
In September, Blizzard CCO Rob Pardo happily confided that the development team on the company’s Titan MMO had grown to over 100. Since then, however, 70 of those staff have reassigned to other projects, and a core team of 30 have set about making huge revisions to the game’s design.
On Monday, World of Warcraft 5.3 introduced Heroic difficulty to Scenarios and a great deal else. I mean, I’m not saying its patch notes were long, but I’d practically mummified myself by the time I’d reached the end. 5.3: Escalation is the update dedicated to fixing everything that was wrong with it, and in itself musters a pagecount Virgil would be proud of. Fingers firmly on your scroll wheels, please.
WoW’s latest update isn’t so much well-rounded as rotund, bulging with new, tangible additions to the game. If PvP is your poison, you’ll be pleased to hear that 5.3 heralds the arrival of a new Battleground in Deepwind Gorge, as well as a new arena in The Tiger’s Peak. If not, you’ve four new scenarios to choose from, all available at the new Heroic difficulty - though you’ll need a pre-made group to weather those particularly vicious storms.
Yesterday, we learned that World of Warcraft’s subscriber numbers are falling. Again. At its peak, World of Warcraft reached over 12 million subscribers; today, that number is at 8.3 million, and Activision and Blizzard expect subscriber numbers to decrease further.
What’s going on? Why are people quitting WoW, and can Blizzard halt the decline?
World of Warcraft has seen a significant dip in subscriptions over the last three months. Activision have reported a 1.3 million decline in the financial quarter ending March 31, leaving Blizzard’s MMO with a still-enviable subscriber base of 8.3 million.
World-famous guild Exodus have decided to drop out of World of Warcraft’s 25-man hardcore raiding race. In a farewell post, Guild member Killars said that the “game isn’t to blame", but rather “the raiding community".