World of Warcraft, the hit game by Blizzard… ok. You’ve heard it all before. You know this. So you also know that Blizzard’s habit for the last few years has been to announce new expansions to World of Warcraft at the BlizzCon convention. On top of that, you probably know that BlizzCon is coming up in November this year. So with all of that said, why in the World of Warcraft is Blizzard busy announcing the new expansion now, at Gamescom?
We can’t actually answer that, although we could hazard some very interesting guesses. One of them is rather less interesting than most, but also rather likely; the truth is, Blizzard ended up with a lot of disappointed fans over their last two expansions. World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria and World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor saw a significant drop in the World of Warcraft subscriber base. As Forbes is reporting, subscriptions to World of Warcraft are down 44% to only 5.6 million; a far cry from the game’s lofty heights.
So it may come as no surprise that Blizzard wants the word out early… and that they’re rushing to release the details that fans want to hear. After all (as The Inquisitr has previously reported,) they saw huge backlash from their decision not to allow flying mounts in World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor, a decision they stuck resolutely to… during the entire six months their subscriber base was drying up. They announced that it would be gone for good. And now, according to a report from CinemaBlend, Blizzard is announcing the death of that particular idea within days of Legion‘s announcement. Yes, denizens of Azeroth, flying mounts will once again be allowed in the World of Warcraft.
The reason for the decision was actually a rather simple one; that flying mounts ruin players’ sense of the world. That it feels smaller, less dangerous, less interesting. And there’s merit to that. But Blizzard forgot the cardinal rule of subscription-based gameplay here, which is: thou shalt not make the game less fun… and players agreed that the removal of flying cut down on their fun. For a change, World of Warcraft subscribers expressed their opinions with their wallets, and Blizzard seems to agree that a 44% drop in their customer base is worth listening to.
While few details are available, Blizzard has indicated that flying mounts will be made available in World of Warcraft: Legion. Flying mounts, they say, can be activated through a special achievement, which will be made available (or at least visible) shortly before the release of World of Warcraft: Legion.
What’s actually required, and how difficult it is, is still up in the air; but Blizzard isn’t likely to repeat their previous mistakes and make it too hard on players. After all, they’re hoping that World of Warcraft: Legion will help to restore the game’s dwindling playerbase, and one of the best ways to entice old players back is with shiny toys and their favorite mechanics.
[Image courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment]