When Blizzard put all characters below level 10 on easy-mode and added the tutorials in patch 3.3, I thought that was because they were expecting a huge influx of new players for the holidays. But I was wrong. CEO Mike Morhaime stated in the quarterly conference call for investors yesterday that only 30% of all Trial Accounts make it past level 10. This would account for the priority of making the beginning of the game new player friendly, over other development we veteran players would like to have seen. He goes on to say that the changes to the leveling game in Cataclysm will be good for retaining new players while giving better replay value for the rest of us.
Now, I know what you're thinking. How many of those trial accounts are scammers, so of course they don't make it to level 10? Good point. I don't know the numbers, though I'm sure Blizzard could just look at how many of those accounts made character names by facerolling. However, the account thieves aren't strapped for cash and have been known to not only purchase full accounts to do their evil bidding; but will also reactivate lapsed accounts, slap an Authenticator on and farm/scam away. So the 70% may very well include a large percentage of potential subscribers by process of elimination, since the scammers can afford multiple accounts.
As I've said before, the pre-level 10 changes we already have help us introduce our loved ones to the game. And I think we're all looking forward to the new starting zones and leveling experiences we'll find in Cataclysm. Particularly now that we've had a taste of the new quest mechanics in the Love is in the Air quests, such as PIlfering Perfume and Hot on the Trail.
[via Digital Spy]