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World of Warcraft’s three million missing players will come back, says lead game designer

World of Warcraft

World of Warcraft’s subscriber base has taken a thoroughly reported hit over the past couple months, having spiked around the release of the most recent Warlords of Draenor expansion before falling again sharply.

In the space of a month, over three million subscribers seemed to have evaporated into thin air. That still leaves Blizzard with around seven million players, which is more people than you could ever sit down and name, but it’s an unprecedented tumble for the record-breaking MMO.

Lead game designer Ion Hazzikostas reckons the dip is cyclical however, and that those players will be coming back aaaany day now.

Speaking with VentureBeat, Hazzikostas remarked on the cycical nature of these matters, with particular attention paid to the changing lifestyles of World of Warcraft players.

“Players aren’t necessarily viewing World of Warcraft as a year-round lifestyle so much as a game that they love,” says Hazzikostas, “where they’re going to check in, see what we’ve got, play the content in a patch, go off, play some other great game that just came out, and then come back when we have something new to offer them. And to some extent, that’s OK. We don’t want to prevent people from enjoying the game that way.”

“Part of the cyclical nature is that, yes, when we have a large upsurge, it’s not surprising that there’s a bit of a dip after that,” he concludes.

That large upsurge saw World of Warcraft’s player numbers rocket to over 10 million subscribers, though it was followed by an equally sharp decline to 7.1 million. The game remains the world’s most popular subscription based MMO, and that’s unlikely to change any time soon.

Besides, it’s not like Blizzard are wanting for a new rising star. The developer’s little known side-project Hearthstone is gathering up new players like a big player snowball rolling down a hill made of new players.