“A $25 Million Dollar Mistake” or “Warlords of… Loading”
On November 13, 2014, Warloard of Draenor, the fifth expansion pack for the King-Of-The-Hill MMO launched to great anticipation, and then promptly proceeded to fall flat on it’s face. The servers were unstable, the quests were bugged, the mad rush to 100 by millions of players resulted in the great story metamorphose into rabid click-fests, and to top it all off, a DDoS by script-kiddies strained the server infrastructure even further. The servers were population-capped to deal with some of the stress, which resulted in up to 10-hour queues. I myself sat in a queue for 7 hours and 20 minutes. The fault is not entirely Blizzard’s. In fact, network technicians pulled all-nighters to stabilize the situation. But this is not WoW’s first rodeo, launch stress is not exactly unprecedented, and players flocking to starting zones is not news.
On November 19, 2014, Blizzard announced 5 free days of game for one of the most embarrassing expansion launches in the game’s history.
On November 20, 2014, Blizzard announced that subscriptions were at 10 million, a 2.6 million increase since their last reported number, much to the dismay of competitors’ 10-year quest to see the titan dethroned.
But let’s look at those numbers for a second. 10 million subscribers, at an average of $15 a month is $150 million. If 5/30 of those days in the month are free, that is a flat $25 million dollars. 5 days of game time may seem a small concession to some, but the company has lost $25 million dollars in a heartbeat to try and appease its re-surging customer base.