World of Warcraft celebrated quite the milestone last year in 2019 with it’s 15th birthday. Over time World of Warcraft (or WoW for those of us who have been in-game since launch) and its landscape have changed quite a bit, but there were many gamers who craved the old school feel of the game when it originally launched. This thirst for nostalgia caused many gamers to leave the game.
Canceling their subscriptions they jumped on over to private servers to play to their hearts content on what can be best described as “vanilla WoW”. Blizzard was not liking the fact that subscribers were jumping ship to play on non-sanctioned servers. Blizzard took it upon themselves to set the way-back machine to 2004, and launch a companion game to the main WoW game and dubbed it WoW Classic .
This did return the game to its original pre-Burning Crusade state which some players had been wanting for some time. However, was this the right step for Blizzard to take for an already established MMORPG juggernaut like WoW?
While the number of subscribers is no longer disclosed, as Blizzard does not think that sub numbers illustrate how healthy the player-base is, you can certainly see the positive impact WoW Classic has had financially for the game. Although, it is important to keep in mind that Blizzard had 33 million monthly active users as of the close of the third quarters 2019 (this does include all Blizzard titles to include WoW, Overwatch, Starcraft and Diablo) as displayed with the Activision Blizzard Third Quarter Results.
In reviewing the stats made available by SuperData WoW was ranked the third top grossing game for its launch month of August, and wrapped up the end of the quarter in the fifth spot for top grossing PC titles. Just for grins, let’s say half those users were paying WoW subscribers at $14.99 a month, that would be a large chunk of change for Blizzard at $247,335,000.00 USD. These are outstanding numbers to see for a game that just celebrated a big anniversary.
Looking at numbers is great for the company that puts the game out, but what is it that hooks the player to play the “throwback” edition of WoW? Many players wanted to play a version of the game that did not have the improvements to the leveling system as they felt the original way leveling was more pure.
While grinding a character to the next level can be fun, the process is very time consuming, which may turn some of the newer players back to playing the more up-to-date version. Once you are able to get past the initial shock of how long it will take you to level a character in WoW Classic you will be greeted by an old friend. This is the version of WoW that many were introduced to, especially those of us (I include myself in this group) that have been playing since launch. The landscapes are shown in their unaltered forms prior to any cataclysimc events, or being invaded by any number of evils. The sense of nostalgia is warming, and the community of players is there to welcome you back with open arms. You do get some of this in the newer versions of WoW, but it is just not quite the same. One example is I don’t see many players outside of WoW Classic engaging in trade outside of the auction houses. This might be something I am observing, and not seen on other servers, but this is one observation I have had.
The one question I have that was not answered by Blizzard: Will we see Wow Classic expansions? I am thinking that if this positive trend continues then absolutely we will see some expansion goodness. Only time will tell as the videogame industry can be volatile at times, and should they not see further increase in revenue, this may slow development of more WoW Classic goodness.
In the meantime I am pulling up a chair at the Lion’s Pride Inn in Goldshire, and going to keep on playing hoping that this edition of WoW keeps on going. It has been a resounding success for Blizzard, and sure does bring a smile to the most hardcore WoW players face.