Through The Mist: Hot Fixes and Mists of Pandaria Sales Numbers

mists of pandaria sales numbers
Through the Mist is a regular column from Luke Le Page covering everything World of Warcraft. If you’d like something covered in a future column, drop us a line!

This week has seen some a number of changes to pre-raid gearing for this expansion. Justice Point items (pre- raid blue items) have had their ilvl increased to match that of their pvp counterparts AND they have had the reputation requirements removed. Epic items, which had a faction requirement of revered, have been lowered to honoured.  The blue post can be seen in the list of 5.05 hotfixes

This is all great for the casual players except for one minor problem. The ilvl requirement for joining the random dungeon finder to run heroics, which required ilvl 450, now requires 435 ilevel, which players should have prior to reaching level 90. I was at 449 when I dinged. So basically Blizzard have made the items more accessible but also pointless as players can run heroics for higher level items without spending justice points.

There has been quite the negative reaction to Blizzard’s return to the reputation grind by the general community and it appears Blizzard have been listening. There are a number of changes in the works, though they are not yet finalised they could include increased reputation gain on alts when a main characters has achieved exalted reputation; a list of ideas being tossed around can be found here –

This week also saw the release of Blizzard’s initial Mists of Pandaria sales numbers which you can see in this press release. While it does not give a whole lot of detail in regards to the sales breakdown, I am quite interested to see how digital sales compared to box; it does give us the ball park figure of 2.7 million sales. I will leave it to the guys in the podcast to analyse this as they seem to have a better grasp on these things than I do. (Methinks the author is being too kind – Ed.)

We also saw the clearing of all gold challenge mode dungeons. MMO-Champion have an excellent rundown of the numbers on their chart here. It also saw the completion of Mogu’shan vaults by Exodus and if I am not mistaken the first raid was cleared the day it went live.

We also saw the start if Arena season 12 – while I do not personally arena I will try and keep up to date on the happenings to relay via this column.

Lastly I wanted to mention an addon I recently downloaded for pet battles. Petjournal enhanced has all the features that I wish Blizzard had included. It allows you to sort pets by level, rarity, type  and specialisation as well as offering you the option to filter pets by the zone that you are in to make identifying uncaptured pets easy. I have to say that since downloading this I have already captured a number of pets I had no idea existed. So if you’re into pet battles check it out.

WoW Subscriber Numbers – The Rollercoaster

Given all the MMO News over the past month, one piece of news slipped under the radar for me.

Thanks to my colleague Simon I’m now aware that World of Warcraft subscriber numbers dropped to 9.1 million, down from 10.2 million at the end of the first quarter of the year.

That’s a big drop, even for a behemoth like Blizzard, but I see it as part of the rollercoaster ride that WoW still has to complete over the coming years. There’s obviously Mists of Pandaria coming up in a matter of weeks, and my money is on a lift in subscribers. That said, it’s a case of diminishing returns in that it won’t boost the subscriber numbers up to their peak, instead providing a needed climb on the rollercoaster before the next drop.

Aside from the realities of an ageing MMO, WoW faces the broader challenge as a subscription-driven game in a challenging economic environment world-wide. Still, I still can’t see WoW going F2P for quite a while, unless its numbers drop a few more million. Even then it’ll probably come down to what the break-even point is as far as subscriber numbers, as well as whether Titan has any firmer timelines as you’d expect a big migration to that from WoW players, depending on the genre it ends up being.

In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if Titan itself becomes a subscription service, with a ‘free’ WoW subscription bundled in. Sounds a bit old-school for an MMO still a long way off being released, but you never know.

Overall, it’s hard to see the drop to 9.1 million subscribers as being too catastrophic (yes, I thought about using the word cataclysmic) at the end of a content cycle. If I were a betting person I’d predict numbers will break 10 million again once the expansion drops.As a WoW subscriber that isn’t at all excited about the Monk class or Pandarians, I’m still damn pumped to be playing the new content when it’s released.

Most importantly of all: what do you think? Are you pumped or indifferent about MoP? What do you see subscriber numbers for the game doing in coming months? Do you want to sign up for a Titan / WoW subscription bundle now or do you think I’m certifiably mad?