•   Thursday, December 2, 2021
World of Warcraft

WoW: Record start & massive losses - Shadowlands at under 2 million players

WoW Shadowlands has been divisive since its release at the end of 2020, with some players liking the new features and others not liking Torghast, the Pacts, or the Maw. Nevertheless, the hype was extremely high at the launch of the current expansion and Shadowlands became the fastest-selling PC game of all time. However, disillusionment soon set in and many players turned their backs on WoW. Player numbers have been steadily declining since the launch of Shadowlands and have apparently reached a low point. At least that's what various numbers suggest, which the streamer Bellular has collected from various sources and prepared.

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Shadowlands - off to a great start

WoW: Record start & massive losses - Shadowlands at under 2 million players (2) Source: Ballular

No matter what numbers you look at, the launch of Shadowlands was a huge success. Whether it was active players, boss kills in the new raid, PvP matches, or M+ dungeons completed, the numbers were consistently higher than the previous two expansions. The new story, the promised departure from the endless grind, and the elimination of unloved features kept many players coming back to WoW. Of course, the record numbers of ten years ago could not be reached, but in this day and age that would be more like a miracle. No matter how you look at it, the launch of Shadowlands was a success for Blizzard. Read also these interesting stories 1

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Patch 9.0 - the numbers are dropping

As expected, the numbers dropped over the course of patch 9.0, as Shadowlands also saw many players drop in at the start of the expansion, play the story, look around a bit in the endgame, and then move on to other games. This has been the case with every expansion in the past and surprised no one with Shadowlands. However, this drop-off was much more severe than in Legion or BfA, for example. This can be seen in several numbers - for example, the ratio of characters who defeated the first and last bosses of the raid. While both Shrillwing and Denathrius were defeated by comparable numbers of guilds, the difference between the two was higher than it was in previous expansions. There are two reasons for this.
WoW: Record start & massive losses - Shadowlands at under 2 million players (3) Source: Ballular For one, a disproportionate number of players returned with Shadowlands. Many of the returning players are not, by their very nature, hardcore players. They play a little here and a little there, but they don't have much ambition to necessarily raid to the end on normal or heroic.

The second reason is more worrying for Blizzard. While many voices were still very positive at the beginning of Shadowlands, this changed visibly in the course of patch 9.0. Players realized that Torghast and the Maw offer rather little long-term motivation and that the Anima Grind, while optional, is still very annoying. Also the pacts, their balancing and the severity of a short-term change voted players rather negative. It is safe to assume that with the large amount of negative voices, there were also many who turned their backs on the game because of this.

In short: Patch 9.0 looked very promising, which is why more players than usual came back to WoW (buy now 14,99 € ). However, patch 9.0 did not deliver what it promised, which is why more players than usual left the game during the patch.

Patch 9.1 - players have lost confidence

WoW Patch 9.1 set out to prove to critical players that WoW is still a great game. For many players, that obviously didn't work. True, some adjustments put many remaining players in a positive mood - for example, the changes to Torghast, the addition of more Anima, and the new raid is also quite popular. On the other hand, there were also adjustments that quite openly show that Blizzard did not understand what the majority of players want - recognizable, for example, by the return of the (almost) endless grind of Catalogued Research, the random factor of the Shards of Domination or the rather manageable continuation of the campaign.
WoW: Record start & massive losses - Shadowlands at under 2 million players (4) Source: Ballular

In addition, however, there is apparently another point. The players have lost confidence in Blizzard and WoW. Because in the past, with the first big patch, many of the players who had quit in the meantime came back. Also with patch 9.1 some players came back to WoW - but the amount is much more manageable than in past expansions. Despite record numbers at the beginning of the expansion, WoW in patch 9.1 is now already lower in many number categories than in patch 8.1, the first content patch in BfA.

And the subsequent drop-off is now already noticeable in some places as well. With patch 9.1, PvP activities, boss kills or completed M+ dungeons shot up again for a short time. Just a few weeks later, however, a drop-off can be seen once again. This loss was also to be expected, but it is more severe than in past expansions.

WoW Shadowlands - less than two million players

WoW: Record start & massive losses - Shadowlands at under 2 million players (1) Source: Ballular All these numbers also indicate that WoW now has less than two million active players. While this number can't be read that accurately, it can be roughly calculated. For example, the arsenal and other tols can be used to determine the amount of characters who have joined a pact and logged in at least once in the last month.
In patch 9.0, that was over six million. Today, just over three million of those remain. Assuming that the average player has about one and a half to three twinks, that brings the player count to well under two million. But as a reminder, this number is only roughly calculated and doesn't have to be accurate.

Fun fact:

If you look at the numbers of active characters and boss kills in the raid, you'll find that only 10 to 20 percent of all players go raiding in some form of organized play. 10:35Blizzard's
Downfall | How a Company Dismantles Itself in a Few Years Blizzard

WoW dies - and can still be revived at any timeAs

a conclusion, one must draw that a larger part than usual is not satisfied with the course of the expansion and early canceled the sails

.

So if the developers don't learn anything from this and just keep doing what they're doing, WoW could really be heading towards the end slowly but surely. However, even if some people on forums claim otherwise, the developers at Blizzard are not complete idiots and are just as capable of recognizing this. The only question is whether they find the right solutions to satisfy the players again.


Because one thing the past numbers also show is that WoW players will forgive almost anything if the developers have something to offer them. Legion became extremely successful, even though it followed one of the weakest expansions of all time. And the record numbers at the launch of Shadowlands also showed that even after the disaster that was BfA, a large portion of players came back to Azeroth (or rather the Shadowlands). So the signs for a new success à la Legion were given - only Shadowlands could not meet the expectations.

If the developers manage to pick up the players again with one of the upcoming patches or the next expansion and deliver good content, we will probably see high player numbers again.

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