Blizzard have recently released stats for WOW that show that 70% off users have never reachedÂ past level 10, this does not come as a huge surprise. Blizzard have aimed all of their marketing at getting users to sign up for the 10 day trial, from glitzy celeb endorsements to heavy online advertising.
The result of this has been a flurry of users signing up but with no real conversion to full subscriptions, having played WOW for over a year it is abundantly clear why. To reach level 10, regardless of your class is a relatively easy task with dozens of easy fetching quests fighting low level enemies and simply traveling from one town to another. However once you hit level 10 you hit a ‘grind wall’ from this point on the game seems to throw an endless stream of higher level enemies and even more fetching quests.
There is an acceptance that all MMORPGS have a level of grind, and even console RPGS. The key difference between an mmo and console rpg is that a user is often tied in to long periods of subscriptions and have expectations of the game providing entertainment and engaging content.The grind aspect of WOW is unavoidable and the 70% drop off rate is certainly a reflection of that, I only reached level 20 in the game before hitting the point where it became too hard for me to level up any further.
This is a sign of a greater problem with the current breed of MMOs, the level of time it takes a user to reach the top levels is no longer feasible as more and more users are working and do not have the hours to put in.This new audience are simply not the ideal players to keep consistent worlds going and are causing the ’servers’ or ‘gameworlds’ to have a greater % of casual players who are causing the more hardcore players problems with guilds and group quests.
The lesson to be learnt here is the management of in game communities and to find a better way to integrate new players into them, that way they have the needed in game support to reach the higher levels and from a company perspective convert to full paid subscriptions.