100 Million And Counting: World of Warcraft’s Total Account Numbers Over Its 13 Year Dominance

One of the first known screen shots of World of Warcraft and its development on the Warcraft III engine as posted by Dave Wilson’s Twitter account. Thankfully, this was before we all got the real version in 2004.

After 13 years of loot, dungeons, raids and expansions, it’s no surprise that World of Warcraft has been an avid part of the gaming community. With all the notoriety and success Blizzard garnered from their infamous MMO, the term “build it, and they will come” has never been more evident. Reported in 2014, Blizzard announced that over WoW’s lifetime, over 100 million accounts had been created. While the game peaked at 12 million of those at one time in 2010, the feat of generating that much traffic and awareness to the world of Azeroth is one that stands above many others in an ever-increasing competitive market. While that number is now three years old, Blizzard has no longer announced its current active player base. Originally spawning from the strategy game Warcraft, WoW began and how it was shaped is really what set it apart in a limited MMO world. Racking up numerous awards along the way and helping to define the genre, WoW succeeded and still does today where others often fail. Still looked at as the “industry standard” for MMOs, those that are currently in development often take what has worked in World of Warcraft and try to replicate its successful avenues. Without WoW, we would probably not have the MMORPG’s that we do today.

As revenue quickly began to roll in from the post-launch success of WoW in late 2004, word of mouth quickly spread about the game as well as numerous positive reviews. Reeling in new player’s daily, WoW saw its total number of active subs break the 6 million mark in less than a year. Soon after that, and with the launch of the game’s first ever expansion pack The Burning Crusade in 2007, Blizzard saw that number grow to over 8 million. Beginning to etch its name in video game history and with the launch of expansion number 2, Wrath of the Lich King, World of Warcraft’s popularity in the MMO and gaming community was higher than ever before. Reaching the 10 million sub level in the beginning of 2008, nearly everyone had taken note of the success Blizzard had created. Peaking in 2010 at 12 million active players, WoW has since continued to trend downward. While the previous 4 expansions have led to spiked numbers in active subs, they all have quickly leveled out to less, steady numbers with the lowest reported sub numbers coming in 2015 at 5.5 million. While WoW may not be the power house that it once was, it still holds numbers that no other MMO has ever touched. With new games announced and released that many hope will “de-throne” World of Warcraft, none have been able to replicate what Blizzard created all those years ago.

The log in screen for the expansion Cataclysm that was present during the 12 million subscriber mark in 2010 -one that Blizzard has yet to replicate during any time of the MMOs lifecycle. 

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Beard-clad, pirate-at-heart storyteller from the Pacific Northwest.
Currently Playing: Overwatch, Zelda: Breath of the Wind, Planet Coaster, Astroneer, SMITE, World of Warcraft (Private Server)
Top 3 Favorite Games:Dragon Age: Inquisition, Fable: The Lost Chapters, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

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