At the recent ActiBlizzard (or is that Blizzivision) financial pow-wow, Mike Morhaime said that World of Warcraft is still sitting at 11.5 Million subscribers - the same number it had after the release of Wrath of the Lich King back in 2008. The question that raises is: still at 11.5 Mil, good or bad? They haven't lost any substantial numbers, despite so many people finding things to be unhappy about: Content is too easy, content is too hard, pve to pvp transfers are going to ruin the game, pet stores are going to ruin the game, my class is nerfed but his/hers is OP, blah blah blah.
Another piece of information that came out during that meeting is that 70 percent of people who try the game do no progress past level 10. Which means that those 11.5 million subscribers make up 30 percent of what they could have had. You just know the bean counters started twitching when they heard those numbers.
The general feeling is that the game has been simplified for the Wrath expansion. With that, Blizzard managed to bring in and keep 11.5 million subscriptions up and running. Cataclysm is going to try hook the new players with a revamped starting zone experience. But then what? Will the simplification of the game continue in Cataclysm? What kinds of changes will Blizzard have to make to bring up their numbers? Or will a phased starting experience be enough to hook new players?