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During an Activision Blizzard earnings call for investors in May, Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime reported that the total number of subscribers for World of Warcraft had fallen from its peak of 12 million to 11.4 million. WoW’s 11.4 million subscribers still puts Blizzard’s MMO ahead of the pack of other pay-to-play MMOs with monthly fees, but the announcement also happened to follow the release of Trion’s fantasy MMO, Rift.
According to Rift designer Will Cook, Trion would “love to take credit” for the dip in WoW’s subscriber base, but Cook feels that Blizzard’s most recent Cataclysm expansion for WoW just didn’t shake up the world of Azeroth enough. Speaking to VideoGamer, Cook described WoW as “samey.” Cook remembers that “everybody was worried cataclysm was going to change too much. And the feeling I got was that it didn’t change enough. It is the samey kind of thing.”
That’s not to say that Cook is anti-WoW. “It’s phenomenal, the phasing is great, it’s essentially the same game it was six years ago in a lot of ways. But it’s not different enough and most people I know are sort of fading from it. It’s still the raiding game and social game that kept me in it for so long, kept me re-upping, but people seem to be fading from that,” says Cook.
GamesRadar gave Rift an eight-out-of-ten score in our review. Although I haven’t personally had the time to play it much since the closed beta, I remember really loving the game’s talent system. It was super customizable, and allowed you to create lots of fun hybrid classes, like tanks who could also heal, or DPS units with lots of buffs to power-up your party. The game’s actual rift system, which generates portals that spew out mobs across the land were also great – and dispelled the concept of towns as “safe zones” with local NPCs clashing against waves of demons pushing their way into what would normally be a ho-hum hub for quest givers and merchants in other MMOs.
Did Rift lure you away from WoW and do you feel that Cataclysm didn't offer enough changes? Share your thoughts on the state of Azeroth below.
Jun 23, 2011
Blizzard Entertainment photo tour
A behind-the-scenes look at the studio that made World of Warcraft, Diablo, and StarCraft
StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm – hands-on preview
First look at the singleplayer campaign, Battle Focus, and the new Kerrigan