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Blizzard revealed World of Warcraft’s surprising subscriber count

world of warcraft

At the Game Developers Conference, Blizzard reportedly revealed some major details about World of Warcraft including its subscriber and player counts and it’s shockingly good news.

The GDC allows developers to share important news in an environment with other professionals instead of catering to consumers, but it has been a cornucopia of news this year. One of the most shocking news stories from the GDC panels was Larian Studios CEO Swan Vincke announcing Larian’s departure from the Baldur’s Gate franchise despite the third entry’s runaway success. Baldur’s Gate isn’t the only iconic RPG franchise that revealed some big news, though.

Blizzard developers also discussed World of Warcraft at the event and revealed some major details on the long-running MMORPG. During a panel, Blizzard talked about its relationship with players. While fans might think that World of Warcraft no longer has the hype it enjoyed in its heyday, the subscriber counts suggest that it’s more popular than it has been in a long while.

World of Warcraft subscriber count revealed

Blizzard stated in March 2024 that World of Warcraft had 7.25 million subscribers, the highest number the game has had since the release of Shadowlands in 2020.

While it’s unclear how this tally fit into Blizzard’s overall presentation on the game, the number is a surprise regardless of context. While the 2020s peaked with Shadowlands, the game experienced a drought of active players throughout The Burning Crusade Classic and Wrath of the Lich King Classic. 

Meanwhile, WoW Classic’s initial launch boosted the active subscribers to over 8 million, higher than even Legion’s launch in 2016. The nostalgia certainly played a part in the success, but it’s clear the magic didn’t work a second time with TBC and WOTLK Classic. Though this was likely a disappointment for Blizzard, the game has clearly recovered since then and is seemingly on strong footing.

Is World of Warcraft still worth playing in 2024?

Opinions are mixed regarding whether World of Warcraft is worth playing in 2024, but players can try the game for free up to level 20 if they’re uncertain about becoming a subscriber.

World of Warcraft has changed significantly since its initial release in November 2004. With its 20th anniversary fast approaching, Blizzard wants to lure newcomers and lapsed fans alike to Azeroth. The free retail version allows players to see if they want to buy into what Blizzard has been cooking lately. 

It’s worth noting that for all of World of Warcraft’s faults, one of the things that fans highlight as a positive is they only have to pay for the subscription to enjoy the game. Microtransactions do exist, but not to the same extent it does for other multiplayer games, such as Blizzard’s very own Overwatch 2.

While World of Warcraft is far from dead, and one could likely build a mountain from the number of failed “WoW killers,” the game does need something fresh to bring it back to its glory days.

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Written by Gab Hernandez

Gab Hernandez has a particular love for video games that give players control over the narrative direction, such as Divinity: Original Sin 2 and Disco Elysium. Gab spends just as much time playing games as they do gushing about them online to anyone who will listen. Their work has also been seen on TheGamer, Gfinity, and Wargamer, and you can follow them on Twitter / X at @HardlyWorkinGab.

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