First and foremost, let's keep things in perspective. Eight million or so are playing WoW right now, and that's still at least seven million more than the next MMO. That should put things in perspective from a playability standpoint. And let me also add that I know of a site that covers WoW stuff all day, which employees a boat load of bloggers -- and the hits to that site, which I have some knowledge of, have leveled off at quite a sustainable level. Granted they are not what they used to be, but there is clearly a helluva lot of interest.
From a business perspective, no business in the history of humankind has discontinued a product when it's bringing in $105,000,000 a month. So that pretty much ends that debate.
Now turning to the future, there's going to be an expansion announcement at BlizzCon -- that expansion will need to have a course change if Blizzard wants WoW's population to grow. Things like new models, new gameplay options (and devices -- I'm looking at you iPhone pet battles), new ways to be social and virtual, and new things that are not just more run of the mill WoW expansions.
It's possible for Blizzard to do this. If any company could, it'll be Blizzard. But they need to get it right. I don't agree that the last two expansion have been terrible; I feel that Mists has actually been pretty good. But Cataclysm, yeah ... that wasn't a very good expansion, I think we can all say. In the long run I predict that it'll have been necessary, as the redesign of levels over 10 years old (including alpha + beta stages) was very important. But the issues with Cataclysm left a bad taste in the mouths of lots of folks, and Mists was not the golden goose to bring them back. Blizzard can still find that and return to Wrath's heights. They just need some new ideas, and given their hiring and refocusing on WoW post-Titan collapse, I be they have a few floating around.
On a side note somewhat, it's those ideas that has me excited to go to this BlizzCon for the first time in a long time. That and Olivia pretty much has to bring me cookies if she wants into our party.
What are the sites that WoW Insider writers use for research?
We use a lot of Wowhead and Wowpedia for the vast majority of our research. Our lore writers and editors have all the books, and those get referenced a fair amount. We also use EJ to double check finer points of theory before posts get published, or at least check the grounding of the theory if it's a new concept.
Preferred coffee, go.
It depends on my mood:
- If everything is okay and I just want some coffee, then it's dark roast with a bit of cream
- If I need a jolt, it's two cups of straight black
- If I'm feeling saucy, it's a caramel apple spice from Starbucks (or whatever that thing is called)
- If I'm crabby (like I was last night over the Twitters), then it's two cups of black with a shot and a half of some Bombay Sapphire
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