Layoffs, Leaves, and the Story

Article says most of it, but sounds like most are coming from the Activision-Blizzard side after the merge, this comes on top of the RIOT layoffs. No mention of who was laid off (upper/middle management :rofl:, QA, Devs, Writers, Customer Support, Etc) but Im sure we’ll find out more in the coming days.

Also of particular note, Mike Yabarra and Allen Adham (chief design officer and cofounder) are leaving. No one that I’ve seen yet has gone into particular whys to all this. I have little to no doubt its directly related to the merger, expectations, and directions from Microsoft in some way, shape, or form.

Although we never heard much from Adham day to day, he was there from day one which could be a big loss, but guy probably deserves to retire. We heard a lot from Yabarra and could be a positive development? Yabarra was said to have left after seeing the merger through, so sounds like was part of his plan for a while. I have doubts Metzan would want to take the reigns but also few people at Blizzard in general come to mind as folks wanting or ready to take over. Holly perhaps?


Now I wonder how long WoW will remain profitable. Also, goodbye any hope for a HoTS revival.

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Clearly Microsoft sees profitability in Blizzard, or else they wouldn’t have spent 68.7 billion in acquiring them and Activision. Heathstone I think has become the bread winner but WoW still rakes in a substantial amount.

Most sourcing says there are a 134mil subs/players which is insane and I doubt any of those numbers are real or only counting characters. Those and others state 1.3 mil daily players though seems a lot more realistic, one sourcing states about 9 million monthly players. Note, WoW peaked at 12 million during Wrath and the last sub number given was 5.5 million in 2015, expected to decline. So 9 million seems overly generous. So even if we run conservative/perhaps more realistic numbers of 4 million a month - 4,000,000x$15= 60,000,000. Over a year thats 720,000,000. Thats nothing to laugh at and doesn’t count paid services like server transfers, mogs, and mounts or even expansion purchases.

So unless we get another Shadowlands level of an abysmal expansion, they’ll be making a profit for some time. If it will be enough of a profit for the shareowners and number crunchers might be a different story down the line.


The entire industry is being hit with a wave of costcutting layoffs.

I love WoW to death. but let’s not joke around here, I’d be flabbergasted if the total number of active subscriptions was above 500k, with monthly active players above 200k. The “steady-state” of a profitable MMO is a few hundred thousand, it was destined to fall below a million years ago.


I’d say why should we even trust your numbers but given there is little to no sourcing or methodology for any of these, minus the Statista 4.5 mil I was using and skimming off the top, your guess is as good as most of theirs :rofl:

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We all know it is not enough to be profitable, you also need near infinite growth potential. So while we know Microsoft will support WoW for 3 more expansions, who can say what the future holds? They might end up ultimately deciding WoW isnt bring enough of profit for future major development.

EverQuest 1, a mmo that’s still pumping out content and has a smaller but still profitable player base these days sinks that notion


We will see won’t we? The fact Microsoft just axed what would potentially be Blizzard’s only new IP in almost a decade doesn’t inspire confidence that they wont do the same if WoW doesnt preform up to snuff.

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I think it’s a good thing. Let’s be honest here, blizz’s story writing has gone to the craper lately, and it does seem like it’s targeting more of the upper employees. Looks to me like they are trying to make better changes

Between Retail and the different flavours of Classic I think WoW is probably still floating somewhere between the 1-2 million mark at least. Which does make judging the overall health of the game a bit awkward.

But it’s definitely still the big money maker out of Blizzard atm. Hearthstone fell off ages ago, OW2 and D4 never really recovered after their initial drop offs, and everything else is just on life support.

While it might be in the development portion of the company (probably at least some beyond Ybarra), should keep in mind that there are tons of positions in companies like that that aren’t just game development. And with a merger, well, a lot of those positions start to overlap. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen pretty big layoffs at Blizzard, so stack that on top of a merger and you get a big number like this.

I think the survival game they’ve been working on was canned, could be they refocus more heavily on WoW as the flagship again, but we’ll see.

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It’s looking like the Worldsoul saga is meant to wrap up the Light and Void narratives (possibly, maybe the Arcane/Order one), but I was really hoping we’d see closure on all cosmic fronts before it all gets cancelled. Doesn’t bode well for seeing the Fel and Life arcs finished out. I wanted to see all the planes of the forces, maybe the Zereths, and see where the First Ones hang out.

I mean, even if they do year and a half expansions or whatever, that would put WoW as having been around for 25 years… that’s a long time, particularly with a playerbase as constantly, vocally displeased with things no matter what the expansion is. I don’t think them shutting down the game or stopping active dev after 25 years would be a doom and gloom mentality, there’s only so many places they can go, and people didn’t react super well to the cosmic stuff in SL.

I think that unless the entire Worldsoul Saga somehow produces three SL-level expansions in a row, there will still be more than enough of a playerbase to justify continuing to putting out expansions. Hell, if they’re happy with how the saga is received, they’ll probably announce another full trilogy.

As a rule, MMOs eventually transition into a limited-support “maintenance mode” at some point, where content either cuts off entirely or slows to an absolute trickle and they just continue to milk the players too stubborn to leave. Even in the most pessimistic case, WoW is three expansions from that point, but I think realistically it’s at least five or six.


So two big things.

Axing an undeveloped game is no where near the same as axing an existing and long-lasting one. There is literally no room to compare. Project: Titan got axed a decade ago by Blizzard themselves, and it meant nothing negative to existing IPs.

What it did do to existing IPs was free up labor from Titan that went back to WoW, and others turned those assets into Overwatch. It’s not uncommon in any gaming-related company to cut off developmenting IPs to refocus on existing ones, and we’ve seen both Blizzard and Microsoft do exactly that in the past.


Add in that this new IP had been in development for 6 years and Blizz wasn’t confident enough in it to say anything more than “this is a thing we’re doing”? No title, no mention of gameplay features, nothing? Yeah I’m thinking cancelling the game was probably the right call.


While MMORPGs are not the hottest thing for a while now, the genre is full of games that are around the age of WoW or even older still having regular content updates and active playerbase.

Of course, how profitable it is, it varies on case by case. But if the game is having a positive status on the company that runs it, no reason to stop.


“If Elite Dangerous can survive, so can WoW!”

I don’t know enough about Elite Dangerous to even know if this is meant to be mocking or not. What?

My frame of reference is mmos with subscription models and/or microtransactions. You know, the actual relevant thing.

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