Friday, January 31

World of Warcraft Passes 100 Million Players, Mostly Alliance

100 million accounts have been created since launch in November 2004, spawning a total 500 million in-game characters in that time, reads the infographic on Blizzard's blog.

Each day, players team up or go solo to take part in 900 000 events provided by the game's narrative, while another 670 000 PvP (player vs. player) instances provide a chance for the faithful to test their mettle against one another.

Blizzard helps keep players motivated by dishing out 11 million achievements every 24 hours, while a virtual Auction House lets players trade or sell their characters' wares, allowing players to fund their own progress and Blizzard to keep a cut of all proceeds; that's on top of the $15 per month base subscription rate.

Nine million player-created guilds, 3 900 minutes of music, and six million words of in-game text populate WoW; the game benefits from 87 million YouTube channel views, 5.2 million Facebook likes and 50 million Google searches each year.

"Look at all these people who are into our game," the PR message goes, "maybe you should be too."

But missing from the infographic is the ultimate metric by which games of this type are summarily judged: subscriber numbers.

According to July 2013 data, "World of Warcraft" is still the giant of its genre at seven million subscribers, down from a 2010 peak of 12 million when WoW was in its pomp.

Make no mistake, WoW is still the giant in its genre, but free-to-play titles are now the norm, and popular attention has been turning to games like Dota 2 and League of Legends, part of a new, competitive, team-based genre derived from Blizzard's older games.

So what does the future hold? Well, Blizzard's certainly not so foolish as to put all its "Warcraft" eggs in one basket.

As well as expansion World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor, there's the online digital card game Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft in open beta since January 21, and making a good go of tackling Duels of the Planeswalkers; its response to Dota 2 and LoL will be Heroes of the Storm (previously Blizzard DOTA or Blizzard All-Stars), whose beta is now being readied for public testing.

And if any MMO is going to be around in another 10 years' time, who'd bet against it being World of Warcraf" once again?

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