World of Warcraft is reaching a concerningly low player count, causing Activision Blizzard to question the future of the classic MMORPG.
Blizzard's Q2 earnings call revealed that World of Warcraft has lost half of its monthly active users in the last four years. World of Warcraft currently has about 26 million players. The game peaked at 46 million monthly active users in the second quarter of 2017.
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Battle for Azeroth in 2018 didn't do much to keep players interested. The game remained slightly stable in 2018 and 2019 but didn't see any growth. Then the number of users plummeted with the release of Shadowlands in 2020. And it's been going down ever since.
Shadowlands dropped during a moment in time when a lot of people were turning to video games and streaming more than ever. So this made the decline even more concerning. Chains of Domination did little to entice players back to the classic MMORPG.
Instead, a lot of gamers have turned to Final Fantasy XIV online and some are even waiting for Amazon Games' New World. There is more competition than ever before and it seems that World of Warcraft can't keep up. One of the biggest streamers in World of Warcraft, Asmongold, has also turned to FFXIV. While he doesn't plan to ditch WoW entirely, this most likely impacted the numbers as Asmongold's followers joined him on the new MMORPG.
Asmongold has also been quite outspoken against Blizzard's initial response to the ongoing gender discrimination and sexism lawsuit. As more and more employees come forward with their own experiences within Blizzard's "bro culture," players have decided to avoid Blizzard titles like Overwatch and World of Warcraft as a way of supporting employees on strike. This includes big-name WoW streamers like Preach and Nmplol.
A lot of World of Warcraft players are not surprised to hear of the game's struggle. When Q2 player counts came out, they pointed out various issues they personally had with World of Warcraft. This includes feeling like certain additions to the game "killed" the game and the removal of clans making it "not the same."
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