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Ask Massively: Continuing dental nightmare edition

Eliot Lefebvre

Back in December, I went in with a toothache and was informed that I had two options: Either the tooth could be yanked, or it could be saved via a root canal. I picked the latter option, which has provided me with a variety of new and interesting experiences, among them getting red-hot filler shoved into my jaw, having a nerve directly squirted with numbing agent, and getting a tooth shaved down to a nub while a sharp suction device jabbed at my gums. The whole process is almost over at long last, and I am relatively certain the last step will involve throwing a rabid weasel at me.

In other news, it's time for this week's installment of Ask Massively, covering our column procedure and the continuing saga of World of Warcraft's subscriber losses. As always, questions for future installments may be submitted via mail to or left in the comments. Questions may be edited slightly for clarity and/or brevity.

J45neoboy asked: Why did we see World of Warcraft lose only 100,000 subscribers this time when previous reports were 300k-800k for the past year?

For starters, there's a simple question of interval. The biggest number came from the time between June to November, versus the space between November and February. Also, there's the fact that the game released a large patch at the end of November, which always draws players back into the game. After all, if you left largely because there was a dearth of content, more content would prompt you to return with no real ill will.

The real question is going to be where the game's numbers are sitting in a few months. Since we know that there won't be any further updates until the next expansion, and there's no sign that said expansion will be out any earlier than late summer... well, it's possible that there might be bigger drops on the horizon.
Thomas asked: What is the process for you guys deciding that a game is substantial enough to have a column on its own?
It's a combination of several factors, none of which makes the decision alone. It usually comes down to whether or not the game is big enough in terms of players or potential players, whether or not we have someone on staff who knows the game, and how new the game is. A new and well-known title with a staff writer already playing the game is pretty much a sure lock; more obscure games tend to get shuffled into more of an umbrella column.

None of these things, of course, is a hard and fast rule. Our column on League of Legends, for instance, came about as a result of the game's strong presence and the eagerness of our readers. There are upcoming games that are likely to get additional columns, but nothing is written in stone until we get the all-clear for a new column.
Looking for some advice on which class is best for soloing in Aion? Not sure who this Raph Koster fellow is? Curious about the release date of NCsoft's newest MMO? You've come to the right place! No one knows MMOs like we do. If there's anything you'd like to know about the MMO genre or the site itself, Ask Massively is here to help every Thursday afternoon. Just ask!

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