World of Warcraft back over 10 Million Subscribers

This week Activision-Blizzard had something called an Earnings Call, and while I won’t pretend to understand exactly what that is (other than an opportunity to gloat about how well they’re doing), there’s one interesting tidbit of information that stuck out to me: World of Warcraft has over 10 million subscribers again.

This reminded me of a post I wrote back in July of 2013, A Look at World of Warcraft Subscription Numbers, where, in response to a post on another blog, I discussed the latest subscription numbers and the trends. It’s not very often I take the time to look back at predictions I made on this blog, which is probably a good thing for my confidence because boy was I wrong in that post.

In the 2013 post I predicted, in one model, WoW would hit 652k subscribers in the first quarter of 2015. Assuming the 2014 Q4 subscription numbers hold fairly steady for 2015 Q1, which is a reasonable assumption, that means that my first model had a relative error of 1,434%.

*cough*

Historic World of Warcraft Subscribers

You can see after the 34th quarter where my predictions started to deviate from the actual data.

The huge spike at the 2014 Q4 marks when Warlords of Draenor dropped, and apparently over 2 million people subscribed to WoW for it.

I’m very glad I was wrong, it means World of Warcraft will be around for a long while yet, but it’s interesting to follow up on my predictions and see how poorly I did. Maybe I’ll check in on this issue again in a few years and see where we stand then.

WoW Insider is Dead, Long Live Blizzard Watch

So unless you’ve been living under a rock this past week or so, you’ve undoubtedly heard that AOL shut down WoW Insider. The news was not taken well, and even got WoW Insider trending on Twitter.

Good news is that a lot of the crew that brought us WoW Insider has started a new site, Blizzard Watch, they’re off to a good start, and I suggest you check them out if you haven’t already.

The launch of their new site (feature some but not all of the previous WoW Insider staff) has garnered a lot of attention, initially crashing their new servers. Since launch, 2472 patrons have pitched in to contribute $12,880 per month (as of 2015-02-05T19:00), and while I’m surprised if they keep this support up indefinitely, it’s a good start and shows how much the community cares about where they get their Blizzard and World of Warcraft news. Even Google Now noticed how popular it was with old WoW Insider readers

Google notices Blizzard Watch

The final shut down of WoW Insider has come, as I understand it, after several budget cuts which meant WoW Insider had to cut down on the staff and content (which is why we no longer saw class columns on the site). Funding a blog is no easy task, pretty much every blogger I know runs at a deficit, despite ads on the site. I’ve mentioned in the past (The State of Blogging) that this blog costs me more than it earns, and I’m fine with that because I enjoy blogging. I know a lot of bloggers share in this sentiment as well, very few of us are in it for the money (or the lack thereof).

As you may have noticed this blog falls into periods of neglect on and off where I don’t feel like writing (usually because I’m not playing World of Warcraft), so I appreciate how difficult it must be for these writers to keep at it so long. Add to that the pressure of needing to keep to deadlines set by other people, and financial pressure, I definitely tip my hat to these writers.

So keep an eye on Blizzard Watch (@BlizzardWatch on Twitter), I’m sure we’ll continue to get great things for them.

P.S. If you want to help support your favourite sites but can’t contribute directly, please consider adding them to your ad blocker’s white list.

Garrisons May not be the End of the World

As promised when I posted that I was in the Beta, I’ve been doing some snooping around to see what’s what and give us a peak at what to expect come November. The only request I got was to explore garrisons, which is great because that was what I was planning on doing anyways! So I’ve been poking around the beta between classes and down time (understandably, the beta sees a lot of maintenance and down time) and I think I’m starting to get the hang of this garrison thing.

I’ve got good news folks, I don’t think the sky is falling.

It seems that garrisons will be more augmenting a characters profession rather than substituting them, and possibly filling in some holes if you don’t have access to a particular profession. The way it’s headed now though, a player isn’t going to be able to dominate the Auction House with just one character using the garrison.

On the beta if you create a character on the Level 100 realms you get to skip right to the “give me my garrison” part with no effort, and they basically just throw a bunch of levels, blueprints, followers, and supplies at you to get started.

I think I introduced everyone to my facourite Ford, right?

This weekend I plan on moving my monk over to a levelling realm so I can find out how long it’s going to take to get your garrison started, I’ll let you know how that goes.

The garrison, at level three, offers three different sizes of plots to build on, assuming you have the blue prints, in addition to a few extra plots that only hold certain buildings.

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An Interesting Development

So there was an interesting announcement out of Blizzard yesterday, apparently they’re going to be releasing some names that have been parked with old characters. Specifically any characters that have not logged into the game since 13 November 2008 will have their names forfeited letting anyone snap them up once 6.0.2 hits live.

I know that reclaiming old names isn’t something new, you can already petition to have unused names released on a case by case basis. I’m not sure what the current requirements are, but I’m guessing the character in question will have to be thoroughly abandoned before a Game Master will give its name to you.

The date they chose is the release date for Wrath of the Lich King (yeah, that came out over six years ago now) so basically if a character hasn’t been played since The Burning Crusade, that name is now up for grabs. It’s a good date in my opinion, I mean if you haven’t played a character since then, it’s thoroughly been forgotten. Plus, the character isn’t being deleted, it’s just loosing it’s name. They’ve also given us plenty of warning, so if you are particularly attached to a name you haven’t used in six years, you can still save it.

Originally I didn’t think this would free up many names, but then I remembered that this game came out in 2004 (wow), and now I’ve had to revise that. This is going to free up a lot of names, especially the simpler and more generic names. I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of them get snatched up again though, I know several people are planning on swooping up as many names as they can when they’re released.

The Godmother over at Alt:ernative Chat speculated that this may be a draw for old players with lapsed subscriptions, but I don’t agree. People who haven’t played in six years aren’t very likely to care about character names, and I don’t think this will bring them back.

No, I think this is just a logistical issue, Blizzard is running out of names. Think about it, especially since we’re no longer allowed to use characters outside the Latin alphabet, there’s only so many possible names. I think this is simply so new characters can be added to old servers.

Still, good move by Blizzard, I’m sure there’s a lot of people excited about this.

Warlords of Draenor and the World of Warcraft Gold Survey

So I realized something this week, the release of WoD is going to clash with my annual gold survey. The release is set for November 13th, and I know I usually have the survey right before this, but 6.0 is going to land before that, and that’s going to screw up some of the numbers possibly. It might also mean that I get less responses to the survey. Could also mean I get more responses since interest in World of Warcraft will be at an all time high.

I guess I have four options:

  • Run the survey at the beginning of November per usual
  • Run it in October
  • Run it in December
  • Skip it this year

I really don’t want to skip it, but delaying it or running it early isn’t ideal either. And I don’t know what the pre-WoD madness is going to do to the data. This is going to require some thought, but I guess I’ll have to decide soon.

Apparently I’m in the Beta

So I got home at the end of the summer to find out I was selected for the Warlords of Draenor Beta. Cool. Wish they had sent an email though. Not that I would have had the time to play any sooner.

Anyways.

So after a few false starts (lots of maintenance) I finally fired up the beta to find…myself overwhelmed. Keep in mind that I haven’t played really since summer of 2013, school and all that.

The first order of business was to check out that whole ore thing.There was like 400 of the new ore on the Auction House. And there wasn’t a buy out option. So, on that note, if anyone has any of the stuff laying around, I’m going to be trying to get my hands on some to do some number crunching, so if you want to help, drop me a line.

Next I went to check out these garrisons everyone has been raving about. Luckily when you start a character on a level 100 realm on the beta is plops you right there, nice and easy.

WoWScrnShot_091114_223537

I probably laughed harder than I should have at “Garrison Ford” but it was late, everything is funnier past midnight.

By the looks of it they’re not all set up yet because right now Ford (the garrison supplier, not the drunken crack smoking tumour riddled mayor of Toronto) lets you cheat and just throws your first couple of upgrades at you, and gives you a bunch of free stuff.

WoWScrnShot_091114_223748

I was a bit overwhelmed to be honest, this garrison is a lot more complicated than my farm back in Pandaria. I decided to not take a crack at it yet, I’m going to get some sleep now, and then poke around this whole beta thing this weekend.

Anyone have any suggestions or requests?

Europe Bound

It seems I’ve been doing more life updates than actual WoW posts here lately. Probably because I’ve stopped playing. Again.

So I’ve mentioned this on Twitter already, but I figured I’d mention it here as well.

I’m going to be working in Belfast (Northern Ireland) this summer! Also going to be spending ~week in the Netherlands, visiting family.

Been kinda hectic getting all the paperwork done, and I still have to drive down to Toronto to get my finger prints and all that done for my Visa. This was all short notice so hopefully all the paperwork can be completed in time.

I’ll probably be tweeting a lot on the trip (@Xsinthis) but I’ve also got a Tumblr account now (The Teetotaller Engineer) where I’ll probably be posting a lot. I’ll have to set up a system of tags or something for my trip so people can track my original content. Right now my Tumblr is pretty much all reblogs. Feel free to follow me.

The Free Character Boost Dilemma

So apparently “dilemma” has two m’s in it, I can’t believe I’ve gone my whole life so far without typing or writing “dilemma” before. Well, I suppose I might have wrote it but spelt it wrong.

So I’m in a bit of a pickle, the level 90 boosts have come and I am completely unprepared. I have no idea what to boost. Here’s my current roster.

Character Status 2014 03 11

Not sure why I bothered blacking out my character names, but whatever.

I really like healing; my top four characters are all ones that can heal, and have healing as their main spec (in the case of my priest it’s both specs). This makes me lean towards getting a Shaman because this would give me one of each healer 85+.

The Priest, Paladin, Warrior, Hunter, and Death Knight are all out of the question, because it’s really not worth it to me to waste this freebie on 5-10 levels. I’m also not really interested in the free profession if I chose a 60+ character because levelling professions are easier than characters, and I’m not exactly hurting for professions either.

The other options is a Warlock, which I think I would have some fun with, but it would be my first pure DPS class I’ve ever played at max level. I don’t know if it’s really my thing, when I OS DPS I’m pretty bad at it.

Maybe I should sleep on this. Again.

Time is Money (The Math Behind Character Boosting)

So we got a surprise today (well, at least I did, I’ve been kind of busy lately and haven’t been paying much attention to what’s been going on in World of Warcraft) in the form of pre-orders and character boosts.

A lot of people claim the $60 price tag for the level 90 character boost is too much, but is it really? Levelling takes a long time, especially if you don’t enjoy the process, and it could be well worth your time to make the purchase.

Lets do the math.

Effect June 1, 2014, the minimum wage in Ontario is going to be $11/hr. CAD, or ~$9.90/hr. US (I miss the days when the CAD was worth more than the USD). This means that if I were to take a minimum wage job, I’d need to work a mere six hours and four minutes to pay for the character boost. Lets call it 7 hours.

Now, I know there are a lot of speedy levellers out there, but I doubt anyone can do 1-90 in under 7 hours. So considering how much time you’d have to spend levelling a character, it’s probably not a bad deal.

Not to say that you’d be using the time you’d otherwise be spending levelling to work at minimum wage, but it’s a good baseline. Any increase in how you value your time, and any increase in how many play hours it takes you to level, will dramatically improve the paid character boost.

Lets look at this another way. Everyone has some instinctual idea of what their time is worth, and that changes depending on your needs. Some weeks doing absolutely nothing on a Saturday except talk to friends on Skype and watch TV is well worth the time even though you have a Finite Elements Method assignment due Tuesday, or you could be using that time to work. Or blog. Or clean your room.

I digress.

Lets use another example: gas. A lot of people (e.g. my dad) will go out of their way to get a good deal. According to some internet research, the Jeep my dad drives gets about 16 miles per gallon city, and 23 miles per gallon highway. Or about 14.7 L/100km city and 10.2 L/100km highway. My dad will sometimes drive 17 km (round trip) out of his way to get a “good deal” on gas.

According to the internet gas was about 130.9 cents per litre today. That 17 km round trip brings him to a gas station that is 1-1.5 cents per litre cheaper than normal. If he fills up 90 litres of gas, he saves about $1.35 on gas. Assuming an average driving speed of 80 km/h, he values his time at $4.61/hour if he gets highway mileage (given the route it’s pretty close to it).

Now he doesn’t do this when he has better things to be doing, but I figured it made for a good analogy. Plus, I’ve always wanted to do that math.

Now I’m not saying we should all just skip the levelling process entirely, and realistically we’re not going to spend all our new found free time working, but it does provide us with a baseline to say “yah, this could be worth it.”

I have a Tumblr Now

I decided to see what this whole Tumblr thing is all about so I decided to start my own (Tumblr) blog.

You can find me at TheTeetotallerEngineer.tumblr.com

This won’t have anything to do with gold making or WoW (in general), it’s going to be more of a person blog, and a place for me to spam funny .gifs and stuff.

Teetotalism refers to either the practice of, or the promotion of, complete abstinence from alcoholic beverages. A person who practices (and possibly advocates) teetotalism is called a teetotaler (also spelled teetotaller; plural teetotalers or teetotallers) or is simply said to be teetotal.

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