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Posts with tag conference-call

70% of trial players quit WoW before level 10

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.

Filed under: Blizzard, Cataclysm

Cataclysm release confirmed for 2010 in Activision Blizzard conference call

Just in case we weren't completely sure of it yet, Activision Blizzard confirmed in today's quarterly earnings call that World of Warcraft: Cataclysm will be released in 2010. For general Blizzard fans, another game was given a 2010 release date: StarCraft II, which will begin its beta phase within a month. As was pointed out during the conference call, it has been twelve years since Blizzard released two major titles in the same calendar year.

The Cataclysm news is in line with everything we've heard so far, including Mike Morhaime's comments during BlizzCon that the expansion has a targeted release date of 2010. Things seem to be moving along right on schedule, but remember that this is Blizzard. Things could change at any time, so I wouldn't start preparing for leveling vacations yet. Actually, you probably shouldn't do that at all. It's kind of silly.

Filed under: News items, Cataclysm

Blizzard on the Battle.net update


Activision-Blizzard held their second quarter conference call yesterday, and in addition to addressing the Starcraft II delay, both Mike Morhaime and Activision CEO Bobby Kotick shared some insight into what the revamped Battle.net will be like. The brand new system (which is currently up and working, albeit in a very skeleton form so far) will have "social networking features, cross-game communication, [and] unified account management," in addition to features that will let players "share experiences" with each other online (we'd presume that means things like screenshot galleries and leaderboards, but who knows?). Kotick also spoke up, and compared the service to that other popular online community, Xbox Live.

Blizzard is still saying the new Battle.net will come in conjunction with the new Starcraft, so we'll have to keep an eye out for them both in the first half of 2010. It'll be interesting to see what other features Blizzard adds in, and exactly what form features like "cross-game communication" take -- do they mean actual in-game messaging across games, or just status updates and messages on a social network? Kotick's comparison to Xbox Live raises some questions, too, as that's a much wider service than you'd think Battle.net would be. But then again, the guy's a CEO, and all CEOs have a tendency to overestimate exactly what their company is doing. Like most of Blizzard's upcoming releases, we'll have to wait and see on Battle.net.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Account Security

Activision conference call: WoW still at 11.5 million subscribers

The OC Register has a great breakdown of what Activision said on their earnings conference call today. Perhaps the biggest WoW-related stat to come out of the call is that the number of subscribers to the game has apparently leveled off: they're holding steady at 11.5 million. Which is nothing to cough at, but it's what we were told four months ago, and if, as Ghostcrawler claimed, the numbers are still going up, then they're going up very, very slowly. Morhaime says that numbers are growing everywhere, but that China will be a main focus of growth this year as Wrath of the Lich King releases there soon.

In non-WoW Blizzard news, the Starcraft 2 beta will start this summer and will be the "final" phase of development for that game. The new Battle.net interface will be tested then as well, so keep an eye out for that. And Blizzard expects big things there in China also -- NetEase, the company that will now be handling Wrath's launch, is already set up to run both Diablo III and Starcraft 2 out there, so it'll all be under one umbrella.

In short, there's no really bad news from Blizzard, but no really great news either -- the best news to come out of the call is that even in the slow economy lately, Blizzard is holding steady. Not a bad thing at all, but we probably won't see any spikes in player interest in Blizzard or WoW until they announce what's next on the content plate, whether that be at BlizzCon or before.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items, Expansions

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