Is WoW dying?
There’s been a bit of buzz lately about “subscription” numbers, and censii, and impirical analyses involving the cost of pizza at the Pizza Hut in Nanjing. Common wisdom has it that as gold sales increase the cost of a slice of pepperoni pizza increases. And when sales drop, pizza prices drop, and that indicates a drop in players buying gold, and ultimately a drop in number of players. Okay, I’m making the last bit up. (But it does mirror in a way the pizza ordering skyrocketed at the Pentagon on the eve of the first Gulf War. Or was it donuts? You get the idea.)
But, whether or not you like pepperoni or sausage on your slice of pizza, or thin or thick crust, is World of Warcraft dying?
Censii numbers are interesting. But are you going to trust the Government on that? Or a collection of players dutifully submitting CensusPlus data back up the line? I’ve gone through two phases of running CensusPlus myself. Mostly out of curiosity. Are most players really Night Elf Hunters? Yep. But on PvP servers it was Rogues. A while back I returned to a mid-20’s character on a PvP server. Took him to Redridge where he got jumped by a jumping jack level 60 Orc Rogue. Without a damn thing better to do with his time. The Census revealed a nearly flat chart, until you got to 60, where it then jumped to 4,000 some players. Sharks swim. If you aren’t swimming with them, your shark food, or detritus sinking to the bottom. This was over a year ago. Was the server dead? Hardly. Dead to me? Perhaps.
Spring forward to today. I was in Winterspring last night. Winterspring is mostly empty of players anyway. What fool grinds out to 60 in the old world anymore? But back when we were, before the Burning Crusade even came out, it was empty. I was gathering Runecloth, and that was also getting me a little Timbermaw Reputation so I can leatherworking patterns to make stuff for characters that aren’t 60 yet. Wouldn’t you know it, a level 70 Nelf, but of course, Hunter was farming there too. His gun must have been faster since he always managed to tag the Chieftain. I got the Chieftain a few times. And at +25 rep, he’s a real prize. (What am I doing wrong? Is +1/+5 and the occasional +25 rep the only way to grind Timbermaw rep? No beads dropped either. And the “totem turn in” item was only good to me once I reached Neutral with them. I’m still unfriendly. Enough to pass through, not a rep point higher.) So this level 70 Hunter was working on his Timbermaw Rep.
Anyway, Winterspring has always been empty in my experience. Going back well over a year. The Plaguelands were always busier. And they show occasional signs of life. Like the *deleted* thorium gatherers. (Wait. *I’m* a Thorium gatherer sometimes. Nonetheless, a plague on them. Let them stay home and sip chicken soup from sippy cups and watch “Lost” reruns. I need, no, really, need more Thorium to craft some more gear for Honorus and Halcyon. And the up-and-coming Winkydink.)
So, the high-end lands have always been bleak. Still are. No change there.
Now I’ll admit the old “end-game” instances are pretty much dead. Except I got a tell the other night asking if I wanted to tank AQ20 for fun and shards. And our Human characters are going to make a pointed effort to get keys for Stratholme and Scholomance. People are hitting them anyway.
But that didn’t kill the game, these dead former end-game instances. Folks just skipped right over through the Dark Portal into the Outlands. The rare level 60 PvP set I’d put together for Msaker, all the work I put into it, lasted, oh, a couple of quests and an instance run before I started trading it out with green upgrades. Most places will be empty of people, until you hit the level 70 hang outs, like the Elemental Plateau and other farming spots, as well as Shattrath City, and Goldshire where they climb to the roof of the inn and duel out front in the dust.
There’s just as many new characters as ever, doing the same things people have been doing since forever. Goldshire is busy as ever. Elf bones line the road in the Wetlands. Somebody is always looking for group to find the flightpoint. The Auction House carrys a wide variety of goods, sellers and enchanters and jokesters populate the channels to the point of silliness.
Is WoW dead because their subscription numbers aren’t increasing?
Are you dead because you reached maturity and stopped growing? Hardly.
Relax. Roll a Night Elf and enjoy the trees of Teldrassil. You’ve got plenty of adventure left in you.