Blizzard has confirmed that there will be no sequel to their immensely popular massively multiplayer online game (MMO), World of Warcraft, any time soon.
In an interview with IGN, executive producer J. Allen Brack revealed that Blizzard is concerned that a sequel to the game wouldn’t work out. On the topic of other MMOs which have attempted to make a sequel, Brack stated that “Virtually all of them have been very significant failures and I think we’re very conscious of that – not just small failures, either.”
Blizzard released their Quarter 2 earnings call on August 4, which showed a 1.5 million subscriber loss for WoW since Quarter 1. That puts the number of active subscribers at 5.6 million which is still a healthy amount.
World of Warcraft was launched in 2004 and within a year the MMO had 5 million subscribers. The game’s explosive popularity took it up to 12 million subscribers by the end of its Wrath of the Lich King expansion in 2010.
Since then, the player base has been continuously declining, only briefly rebounding when new expansions have been released.
Earlier this month, Blizzard announced Legion, the next expansion for the game. The announcement was presumably in an attempt to curve the declining subscriber statistics to their favor.
The revelation has had mixed responses from players. While some are excited at the idea of new content, others are questioning why the previous expansion was so short.
@ChrisLong193 Like many things, it's one of those "is it worth it to provide a whole new world" in what would previously have been an X.2
— Jeremy Feasel (@Muffinus) August 6, 2015
With World of Warcraft is approaching its eleventh birthday, even with periodic upgrades to the game’s engine, the graphics are becoming noticeably dated. The big question is, will the continued expansions be enough for WoW to sustain itself in the years to come?
Then there’s also the question of the paid subscription model Blizzard uses for WoW becoming outdated. For an eleven year old game, the $15 per month price tag on a subscription can be prohibitively expensive on a platform with free-to-play alternatives. Blizzard recently introduced the WoW token, which allows players to pay for their subscription with gold — a great idea for existing players — though it doesn’t do much for people just starting out in the game.
While WoW 2 isn’t on the table right now, not only is Blizzard planning for Legion, but the expansion following that one as well, says Brack.
We were completely dedicated to the Warlords of Draenor expansion and now the Legion expansion. We’re even thinking about the expansion after that – we’re already talking about what comes next.
It’s likely that Blizzard will be able to keep the game going for a few more years, provided they continue to release compelling content and find ways to revitalize the game for its veterans.
But at some point, WoW 2 will have to become a reality, or the franchise will end up losing out to a MMO that can deliver better graphics and live up to the expectations that the original World of Warcraft created.