communications relay login

World of Warcraft Expansion Breaks Sales Records

The record was short lived, but WoW shows it's still AAA

By Silek Fri 18 Dec, 2020 6:26 PM - Last Updated: Fri 18 Dec, 2020 7:27 PM
It sounds hard to believe that a 16 year old game's newest expansion could become the world's fastest selling PC game of all time, but it's absolutely true.

At least it was, for a little while.

Cyberpunk 2077 might have been quick to surpass Shadowland's single day sales record of 3.7 million units but developer Blizzard isn't shedding too many tears. Single day sales numbers like Shadowlands, are a vindication not only of successfully steering an aging MMO into the lives of yet an even newer generation of players, but also in the confidence players gave game designers in pulling off what they had been promising to fans both veteran, and potential. It's no secret that one of Blizzard's biggest challenges to bringing in new players was the massive amount of content and lore that they had been producing for so many years. Designers were aware of the 'intimidation factorMorgan%20Day
Expert Game Designer at Blizzard, Morgan Day
' inherent to their product, and promised Shadowlands would be a salve to that bruise on it's culture.

Speaking to Geek Culture, Expert Game Designer at Blizzard, Morgan Day stated, “We look at new expansions as an opportunity for new players to jump in and feel like they can engage with and not feel like if they’re many, many years behind. World of Warcraft has been around for a while, but we also don’t want to build a wall so high that you feel like you have years of engagement to be able to catch up.”

For troops on the ground, this is realized by certain mechanics employed to help newer players get up to speed and enjoy end game content sooner.

At the new starting zone, Exile's Reach, players will have the option of starting their character at Level 1. Additionally the level cap has been reduced from 120 to 60, and players will receive an experience boost to reduce the the time it takes to level and catch up with others.

Day goes on to explain that the new area will not just be another starter area, but with built in tutorials and guidance, it will be an area where a new or returning player can become acclimated, and ready to engage with the world.

Day continued, “In terms of developing that experience with new features or technology, we very much put a large amount of focus on truly new players. What if this is someone who’s never played a PC game before? Can we teach them how to move around the game world and interact with NPCs and fight creatures? And it wouldn’t feel like a WOW experience at the end of that part of the story if there wasn’t a big bad up in the scary castle. So (for dungeons) we were concerned if players couldn’t progress in the story if they didn’t complete the dungeon. So we actually created NPC characters that will progress through the dungeon with you and might even fill some roles for you. We were trying to make sure that no matter who you were, you could complete the dungeon with other players. But also, you could also do it by yourself if there weren’t people around.”

With this rush of new players and popularity, it would be easy to think that an expansion may have breathed new life into an aging juggernaut, but the fact is WOW had been enjoying a record number of paid subscriptions for months before the Shadowlands release and continued this trend after. More people are playing 'year to date', than in any other period in ten years.

For any player who may have missed out on an opportunity to get started out in World of Warcraft, or any of the veteran players who may have hung up their swords long ago, right now might be the best time to get back into a game that holds fond memories for millions of gamers around the world.

Do you currently play, or have you played before and plan on going back to Azeroth? Have you ever been tempted to pick it up? Let us know in the comments below.

Sat 19 Dec, 2020 9:10 AM
Thanks for this great article, Silek! Thumbs up

I played World of Warcraft on the German server Sen'jin from Christmas 2005 to summer 2011 so the last expansion pack I actively took part in was "Cataclysm" which I didn't like very much. Anyways, playing this game was an experience I don't want to miss in my life, although I absolutely have got no ambitions to return. I remember WOW as very time consuming with raids lasting three, four or even more hours - not to mention the planning and preperations beforehand in order to be successful.

But - as I have stated before - I loved running around as a Retribution Paladin fighting hordes of undead, monsters and villains. I also loved these epic moments, e. g. defeating the Lich King Arthas for the very first time, doing the hard modes inside the Ice Crown Citadel, clearing Naxxramas on a Friday night together with friends and guild mates, farming rare items like the "Crusader" enchant for hours or even days, doing daily quests in Storm Peaks, etc.

Memories...! Smile
Sat 19 Dec, 2020 1:52 PM
When WoW came out I was playing a different MMO that I continued playing for years. I never picked up Warcraft, but this expansion has got me tempted to get it.
Sat 19 Dec, 2020 2:52 PM
After a the talk about it, I've jumped back into WoW again, though I've been going through Battle for Azeroth rather than Shadowlands. Going to jump forwards tonight to it and come back to the older stuff later.

Never thought I'd end up back in WoW, (played up to about 6 months after BC originally) et here I am.
Sat 19 Dec, 2020 6:56 PM
Great article! The game came out on in the US in my birthday in 2004 and I’ve been playing ever since. I just wish there was a lifetime sub like STO has lol
Sun 20 Dec, 2020 6:17 AM
It indeed is a great release and definitely I'm personally enjoying it more than Battle For Azeroth.

I'm happy to also say that UFP's WoW Guild, Lunarfall in Europe - Magtheridon, has also seen an active return to raids in Shadowlands. This was our 2nd week in raiding. I've also been speaking with many UFP Community members on their interest and the best part is, you can join our guild if you just want to be amongst UFP members. We still do plan on running variety runs such as Dungeons, Transmogs, etc. If you're also a UFP member looking to restart/start playing WoW again do strongly consider joining us in Europe - Magtheridon. You can PM me regarding any questions on this.

Amazing article Silek!
Sun 20 Dec, 2020 2:07 PM
Mentioned User Mack

It was all the chatter on our forums that drew my attention back to WoW in the first place. Looking into it, it was clear to see there wasn't just an uptick in interest across the UFP, people were coming out in droves all over.

It seems like this new expansion is a home run according to all the numbers.
Sun 20 Dec, 2020 2:42 PM
I was very skeptical of the expansion when it was first announced as it seemed to me like they were doing away with years and years of built up lore and taking the game into a different direction artistically, probably for the very reason of bringing new players in.

A month into the expansion, however, I can say the gameplay is solid and the new systems are much improved over BfA. The new zones, although still not making much sense to me lorewise, look amazing and the storylines are quite interesting and sprinkled with good humour. Obviously, all of this is made so much better by us getting the guild and raiding team back together.

All in all, I'm very impressed with the expansion so far!