At its prime, World of Warcraft was the premiere MMO experience, serving as virtual home to millions of subscribers. Since then, however, subscriber numbers have dropped off substantially, to the point that developer Blizzard has made some radical changes to the base experience.
One of the changes Blizzard is looking to deploy in the near future is a refocus on new and more frequent content through their expansions. In fact, the developer is reportedly looking to up the frequency of their expansion releases to one a year.
While World of Warcraft fans anxiously await the release of the Warlords of Draenor expansion — which brings with it a ton of new content, and a quicker way to hit the new level 100 cap — it’s hard to not to notice this is only the fifth expansion in the MMO’s 9-year history. And, as it turns out, Blizzard has begun to take notice as well.
According to Lead Systems Designer Greg Street, Blizzard always sees an uptick in subscribers after a World of Warcraft expansion release, be it The Burning Crusade or Mists of Pandaria. Street acknowledges that comprehensive patches help Blizzard retain their player base, but only expansion releases bring in returning and new subscribers.
And so, in order to keep those subscribers rolling in, Blizzard hopes to get on a schedule that sees expansion releases every year instead of every other year. They’ve even demonstrated that new mantra by announcing a sixth World of Warcraft expansion is already in development, even though Warlords of Draenor has yet to release.
“We really want to get to a cadence where we can release expansions more quickly. Once a year I think would be a good rate. I think the best thing we can do for new players is to keep coming out with regular content updates.”
For a developer that typically likes to take their time with releases, this is an interesting change of pace for Blizzard. Clearly, with Project Titan now undergoing significant retooling, Blizzard needs World of Warcraft to keep gamers invested for a lot longer than they likely anticipated.
For WoW fans that’s a good thing, as it means more frequent expansions, which, in turn, means more content, races, classes, and environments. We’ll see if Blizzard sticks to this new schedule in 2015.
Do you think Blizzard should increase the frequency of their World of Warcraft expansion releases? Would that help keep your interest in the MMO?
Source: Digital Spy