The waiting time between WoW expansions is typically measured in years, but according to Blizzard boss Mike Morhaime, the mega-studio has plans to shrink that gap by increasing the frequency of its add-on releases.
Revealed during his call to investors, Morhaim said Blizzard is seeking to reduce the waiting time between expansions as a means to keep up with WoW subscribers' increasing appetites. According to Morhaime, years of playing has trained WoW enthusiasts to cut a swath through expansions at a much faster rate, leaving them hungry for more soon after the content's release.
"I think with Cataclysm they were able to consume the content much faster than with previous expansions but that's why we're working on developing more content,” explained Morhaime, adding, “We launched our first update last week and we have another update that's already in test. The response we've gotten so far from players has been very positive and we really think we need to be faster at delivering content to players and that's one of the reasons we're looking to decrease the amount of time in between expansions."
Morhaime avoided addressing the concern more frequent expansions would mean less actual content in each, adding: "We're not ready to talk about the content of the expansions at this stage but we are looking at ways to speed up the development process."
Player demand notwithstanding, it's possible Blizzard is also reacting to competition from the likes of Rift and other new online entries. Subscriptions numbers have fallen to 11.4 million, a decline of roughly 600,000 players since its pre-Cataclysm headcount back in October 2010. And although Morhaime said brief dips like this were natural whenever new competition enters the fray, one has to wonder if Blizzard is cranking up its production scheduled for the fans, or because it's no longer taking WoW's MMO dominance for granted.
May 10, 2011