WoW: 64% less M+ players - the shocking player loss in numbers

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Already in our WoW article on Either raids have become too hard, or half the raiders are gone

, we noted that in Shadowland's second raid, Sanctum of Domination, over half the raiders have retreated compared to the release raid, Castle Nathria.

YouTuber Bellular's analysis confirms these numbers and paints an even worse picture of player numbers in Shadowlands. He looked at how many players World of Warcraft (buy now ) has lost since patch 9.1, not only in the raid, but also in dungeons and PvP. Results like 64% less Mythic Plus runs

already speak clear words. Even if these numbers are not comparable 1:1 with the decline in the total number of players, it is no longer possible to gloss over how many players have turned their backs on WoW and the Shadowlands content after release.

Table of Contents1

. Dungeons: 64% fewer mythic-plus runs2. That's how many players there are less in PvP3. A look at the MAUs (Monthly active Users)4. Conclusion: The disastrous WoW numbers and a little hope

Raid: 54% fewer boss kills from guilds in the first three months.

WoW: 64% less M+ players - the shocking player loss in numbers (6) Source: Bellular Warcraft / raider.io In the first three months of Castle Nathria, 44,317 guilds defeated the first boss in normal mode, and 35,814 guilds defeated the last boss in NHC - that is, in normal mode. In comparison, the Sanctum of Domination has 20,080 kills for the first boss and 16,201 kills for the last boss in NHC. Means in percent: 54.7% less raiders between one tier.

The comparison to BfA
BfA got off to a slightly worse start: 38,319 kills on the first boss and 27,233 kills over the last boss (NHC). This makes it clear how good Shadowlands' sales were. It was the fastest selling computer game of all timeup to that point.

BfA's second raid Battle for Dazar'alor also saw a severe drop in raiders in the second tier: 22,061 kills of the first boss in NHC and 16,432 wins over the last boss. This clearly shows that the second tier is significantly less popular in each expansion. Understandable, since the beginning of an expansion is always very hyped and the hype drops off rapidly afterwards.

Shadowlands' player attrition between raid tiers is nevertheless significantly higher than in BfA: in BfA, 41% fewer guilds raided, while in Shadowlands it was a whopping 51% fewer.

Okay, but what about Heroic mode?
A lot of casual players, as well as the more ambitious Heroic raiders, run through the normal mode of a raid in the first few weeks of a new raid. But doesn't most raiding take place in Heroic mode? As the numbers show, the number of raiders also slips compared to BfA: 52% (first boss) and 48% for the final boss.

The number is even worse for guilds that normally get their Der Zeit advance success in the first three months - that is, defeat the Heroic boss before the next raid tier appears. Here, compared to other expansions, the figure is between 50% and 67%. In Shadowlands, the percentage for Castle Nathria is 39.9% and for Sanctum of Domination it is 43.15% - ouch.
WoW: 64% less M+ players - the shocking player loss in numbers (2) Source: Bellular Warcraft / raider.io

Dungeons: 64% fewer Mythic Plus runs.

WoW: 64% less M+ players - the shocking player loss in numbers (4) Source: Bellular Warcraft / Best Keystone
As you can see from the graph, Dungeon Season 1 of Shadowlands (red) was slow to get going, but made significant gains compared to BfA Season 4 (blue) from the fourth week onwards. The popularity of season 1 of Shadowlands compared to BfA season 4 is unmistakable. However, it is important to keep in mind that Shadowlands' launch was incredibly strong and season 4 was BfA's last patch.

Contrasting BfA Season 4 and Shadowlands Season 1 with the second Shadowlands season reveals the downward trend we see in raider attrition in Shadowlands. At the same time in each season, 507,000 players completed Mythic-Plus dungeons in BfA, a whopping 789,000 did so in Shadowlands Season 1, while only 257,000 did so in Shadowlands Season 2 after 16 weeks.


Again, similar to the comparison between the first and second raid tiers, the drop is normal. However, while BfA season 4 saw nearly 46% fewer players and Shadowlands season 1 saw an increase of just over 45%, Shadowlands season 2 saw player numbers drop by a shocking 64%. This is especially shocking considering that Season 2 only brought Valor Points as well as the new scoring system.

There are so many players less in PvP

WoW: 64% fewer M+ players - the shocking player decline in numbers (5) Source: Bellular Warcraft / Xunamate
The player loss in PvP is similar to that of the dungeons and raids. Measured here with the number of daily games played in 3v3 in North America and Europe from August 9, 2021 to October 25, 2021. While there were 29,496 games at the beginning of August, there were only 15,171 at the end of October. That is a crash of 48.5%.

A look at the MAUs (Monthly active Users)

WoW: 64% fewer M+ players - the shocking player decline in numbers (1) Source: Bellular Warcraft / Activision Blizzard
As you can see in our overview of Blizzard's Q3 2021 financial report, Blizzard managed to maintain its monthly user base of 26 million compared to the previous month. However, Diablo 2: Resurrected was the main draw and fewer players were announced for WoW. That doesn't sound spectacular at first, but it's especially bitter when you consider that patch 9.1 was released at the end of June and the returners' subscription numbers for that patch automatically spilled over into the third quarter of 2021.

Summary: The disastrous WoW numbers and a little hope

64% fewer Mythic Plus players (trending downward), less than half as many Raiders, and almost as few PvP enthusiasts in 3v3. This is the result of a stubborn WoW development cycle that only now seems to be broken. And certainly the lawsuits against Blizzard have contributed to this.

The numbers for the fourth quarter of 2021 will be interesting, with a flood of fixes and feel-good updates to the game coming thanks to patch 9.1.5, and the Legion event's Mage Tower rewards soon to be unlocked. And then there's the test realm for patch 9.2 coming up.

We'll see if the upcoming updates can pull the cart out of the mud, but as of now, the user numbers for Shadowlands look bleak. Did you expect this much player loss? Are you currently playing something other than Blizzard's MMO? We are curious about your opinion in the comments.

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