Content of the article: "Warcraft started to decline before WotLK, not Cata?"
Most players use subscription numbers to gauge whether content was received poorly.
The following graph is commonly used as evidence that Warcraft started to decline in Cata.
Fewer subs = bad, sure, but the gross rate of sub changes per quarter is more relevant.
In my humble opinion, the bulk of the player base was losing interest near the end of TBC.
Prior to and through TBC, the amount of new players joining far exceeded the HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of existing players leaving. Bot farms were just starting to inflate the numbers, but the overall rate was clearly positive ~+10% each quarter.
Around WotLK's release you would expect a similar if not higher rate with new and returning players anxious about the content. Yet the sub rate dropped and the overall number of subs stagnated.
You could argue that this is just a limitation of using subs to measure content quality. Due to the unprecedented success of WoW, the market was just saturated. Essentially everyone that wanted to play WoW was playing WoW and no additional content could have brought in more players.
I think there's some truth in this, but there's numerous other indicators that people were just tired of the same old thing and just hanging on. For example, search data, dev interviews, etc.
RMT interviews mentioned that near the end of TBC, the number of subs being created by gold sellers was getting larger while the number of buyers was dropping.
Note that I'm NOT commenting on the quality of expansions. IMHO they're all subjective to the player. I enjoyed WotlK about as much as Vanilla. Just interested in what others think.
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