Blizzard Entertainment had the largest Q1 online player community in its history, up a double digit percentage year over year despite no major launches in the quarter. As expected and consistent with our experience following prior expansions, we saw a decline in the World of Warcraft subscriber number. Subscribers ended the quarter at 7.1 million. World of Warcraft’s revenue performance at constant FX has been more stable, driven by continued strong uptake on value added services, and price increases in select regions, which partially offset subscriber declines, particularly in the East. World of Warcraft remains the No. 1 subscription-based MMORPG in the world.
This was a very interesting read. Thanks for taking the time to put this together, as it obviously took a lot of work. I'll try to respond to what I can.
Regarding pruning: we actually see a lot of conflicting feedback here, even in this thread. Players want their CC effects back (even niche ones like Scare Beast), but feel that the game has too much CC. Or they want burst damage toned down, but want us to give back abilities that contribute to burst (such as Colossus Smash for Fury).
For example, this thread makes the argument that, due to pruning, players don't have enough options to respond to something another player is doing, which leads to predictable gameplay. It also makes the argument that classes have too many defensive cooldowns, too much mobility, too many CC breaks, and too many interrupts. Don't those two arguments contradict each other? If not, why don't they? Honest question; if I'm just missing something here, I want to know about it.
Don't get me wrong -- we're very open to feedback about which abilities you feel shouldn't have pruned, and what you feel is missing from your class. Just be aware that if you feel like you're missing another CC or defensive ability, you're essentially asking for us to put more of those in the game.
I also think it's dangerous to make the argument that niche options add a skill element. There was an example given of a Priest using Mind Soothe to eat Spell Reflect. That's definitely a good trick that a skilled player would use, but I would stop to question what exactly it is about that trick that makes it stand out.
At least in my opinion, the difficult part in that example is recognizing that Spell Reflect is active and quickly casting something unimportant. Mind Soothe made an obvious choice, when it was available. Now that it isn't, you have to think about the potential repercussions of whatever spell you cast being reflected. Doesn't that actually add more skill to dealing with Spell Reflect? Again, honest question.
I'll also stress the importance of remembering that there are a lot of people who play this game, with a lot of different playstyles, in a lot of different communities and sub-communities. That's not just a PvE vs PvP thing -- it happens even within the PvP community. While a multi-rank 1 Gladiator might like having a few niche abilities they only use in specific circumstances, an entry-level PvP'er could be turned off by having to learn so much about other classes they've never played. A nerf to a class that's over-performing in Arenas could make them completely undesirable in RBG's. The challenge to our designers is in finding ways to accommodate all of those players as much as possible, which often means making hard decisions to make the game better for one group but potentially less enjoyable for another.
Now, having said all of that, let me try to get one final point across: we agree that PvP in WoD is not the best it could be. We think we made a lot of great changes, and we've seen a lot more people trying out PvP in this season, but there were certainly a few missteps. Perhaps more importantly, there were some very valuable lessons learned for the future.
I wouldn't expect any huge, game-redefining changes in Patch 6.2, but that doesn't mean we aren't listening and acting on your feedback, and taking it to heart as we make our plans for what comes next.
So, let me try to give a little more insight into how we're approaching PvP design going forward.
There's a ton of great feedback in this thread, and as I tried (but seem to have failed) to get across in my first reply, we do actually agree with a lot of it. We agree that there's still too much CC. We agree that survivability is too strong for some classes (which includes things like the number of defensive cooldowns, self-healing, etc). We agree with a lot of the concerns about the gearing process. We agree with a lot of the concerns about burst damage and offensive cooldowns.
To put it another way: we know that World of Warcraft PvP can be better than it is right now. We're actively working on some ideas that we're hoping will help a lot. But there's only so much we can do in a content patch. At the end of the day, the gameplay experience in Patch 6.2 should be overall very similar to the experience in 6.1. We can improve on it, but we're not going to make the sort of massive changes we made with 6.0 and the launch of Warlords.
I'm saying this not because I don't think you should expect any fixes or improvements in 6.2. We've already made several PvP-focused changes on the PTR, and I know of at least a couple more that are still in process (or at least being considered). I just don't want to give the expectation that we're going to be able to address all of these concerns in a content patch.
The discussion happening in this thread has been super helpful in aligning our thoughts and goals for the future. I'm looking forward to being able to discuss what those thoughts and goals are in more detail, once we've gotten a bit more nailed down and are ready to share them.