Sorry about being closed last week, folks. Some heroes rolled in to town and they capitalized on my entire weekend, especially the green one. No use crying over spilled milk, so let’s get to it!
As I’m sure you’ve heard by now, The Elder Scrolls Online was recently announced. It’s long been rumored that The Elder Scrolls franchise would be making the jump to the MMO space and, BAM!, it finally has. I’m sure I’m going to draw some hate from the 17% of my readership that are big Elder Scrolls fans, but I’m not too happy about this announcement. Seriously, does everything need to be an MMO these days? “But they have three faction PVP,” you might say. That does sound kinda cool. I will give this game a shot, but as of right now I’m not really that impressed. The idea of a multiplayer Elder Scrolls title kind of takes away from what I perceive to be the point and focus of that universe. Guess we’ll just have to wait and see how the game turns out.
Neverwinter has a launch window! Publisher Perfect World has announced that Neverwinter, the upcoming Dungeons & Dragons MMO, will launch globally in Q4 2012. After taking a few minutes to look over the game’s official website, I’m actually really excited. Will it replace WoW as my MMO of choice? Probably not, but its free-to-play nature and the inclusion of the Foundry, a tool for players to build their own dungeons, will make for a fun experience.
Sony Online Entertainment announced the next DLC pack for DC Universe Online on Tuesday. The Last Laugh is a PVP focused content pack that brings with it several new PVP scenarios as well as a new weapon and two new Legend Characters. Among the new PVP scenarios announced, villain characters will be tasked by the Joker himself with causing chaos on the Watchtower, the Justice League’s base of operations. The new Legend Characters are Kilowog of the Green Lantern Corps and Amon Sur of the Sinestro Corps; they are the first Legend Characters made available that have power ring based power sets. The Last Laugh will be free to Legendary Members and available for purchase for the Free and Premium Members. It is set to release this June.
OK, now for the big news. EA announced that Star Wars: The Old Republic(SWTOR) subscription numbers have fallen from 1.7 million active subscribers to 1.3 million. A 400,000 user drop is a pretty significant number for a fledgling MMO like SWTOR, but it’s also not the end of the world either. SWTOR is still in that awkward period of the MMO life cycle where the developers get an opportunity to see how their game fits into the market and how people are playing it. SWTOR also has some major competition with WoW and several other free-to-play games out there offering very compelling gameplay experiences. It was also announced that SWTOR would be releasing a new content patch titled “Allies” sometime in the first financial quarter of this year. If you ask me, which I’m sure you are since you’re one of the 26 people that reads my article, SWTOR will likely level out between 1 and 2 million active subscribers. It is a very solid game that just needs a little more content and tweaking to existing content to stand up to WoW and really carve out its niche in the MMO environment.
Contrary to the beliefs of the vocal minority, WoW is not dying. Activision Blizzard announced during their earnings call this week that WoW has stopped losing subscribers and his holding steady at 10.2 million active subscribers. Also of note, 1.2 million of those subscribers signed up for the Annual Pass announced at BlizzCon last year. It’s true, 10.2 million isn’t quite as high as 12 million, but that still makes them the biggest game in town by a very large margin. It’s easy to look at that dip and say WoW lost 15% of their subscriber base but that would be misleading. Yes, it is a factually correct number but going by a percentage makes the dip seem worse than it really is. WoW remains the titan of the MMO marketplace and in my opinion, it will reclaim some of its former 12 million user glory when Mists of Pandaria goes live later this year.
I think that’s about enough for this week. I’ll be back with more news from MMO’s Tavern next week, so until then keep them vorpal blades swinging but not in here. I don’t like fights in my tavern.