Can Blizzard continue to please fans as World of Warcraft gets older?

Albert Sheng • August 30, 01:00

Can developers at Activision-Blizzard keep their fans excited about World of Warcraft forever? Probably not, but that’s the challenge the team is faced with.

World of Warcraft has been a sterling success for Blizzard, now Activision-Blizzard, for many years. The MMORPG took its entire genre to new heights when it was released in late 2004, and it’s still chugging along more than 15 years later. But for how much longer can it go?

There have been missteps along the way. Not all of the game’s many expansions have been equally well-received. Original expansions The Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King were largely celebrated. The fourth expansion, Cataclysm, was released to a mixed response, and that mixed reception seems to have become the norm.

Legion seemed to mark a potential return to form for World of Warcraft. Many players were happy with the game’s new features and its progression of the original Warcraft storyline. But the very next expansion, Battle for Azeroth, failed to find such acclaim.

The most recent expansion, Shadowlands, has been a particularly mixed bag for Blizzard. Players and critics alike were initially pleased with the game’s release, but a slow drip of support in the months since has soured many long-time players, some of whom are looking elsewhere for their MMORPG fix. Final Fantasy XIV has seen a steady uptick in players, and there are other competitors as well. With so many great games on the market, players have a lot of choices, and can check the best prices on GAMIVO to find them.

So how does Blizzard weather this latest storm?

One solution has been the launch of World of Warcraft Classic, an opportunity for players to experience the original World of Warcraft campaign all over again. It was a simpler time for many older players, and that nostalgia went a long way.

But Classic has now given way to The Burning Crusade, prompting some fans to ask for yet another relaunch of Classic servers so that players can level up from scratch again. Thus the cycle repeats itself, as Blizzard finds itself struggling to keep up with player demands.

It’s easy to just look towards the next potential expansion for answers. There are no signs of World of Warcraft’s development ending, and multiple expansions are likely already in the pipeline. But will players continue returning if they don’t feel these expansions will be supported for long enough, or given enough content to justify the monthly subscription cost?

That question will continue to be asked for as long as World of Warcraft remains active. The problem for Blizzard is that there may soon be fewer players around to do the asking.

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