I have said it before is other similar threads...Take the best of each expansion, and weed out the worst. One of the good parts of Vanilla and TBC is that there was not the hellish dead zone that we had at the end of Wrath and now Cata. Why, because end game content required linear progression, and many players were stuck in lower tiers. So return to the linear model, but mix in a little bit of LFR and debuffing / buffing as time passes. In other words, keep end game content active longer. Lets just say an expansion had 5 raid tiers:Launch: Level your toons, run normal 5 mans for gear. Run Heroic 5 mans and obtain crafted gear to prepare for Raid Tier 1. Tier 1 raid unlocks in both normal and LFR mode. Tier 2:Tier 2 raid unlocks in normal mode only. Players gear for T2 by running T1 normal and HC. Tier 3:Tier 2 unlocks LFR mode, and buff or debuff is applied.Tier 3 unlocks normal and HCPlayers gear for T3 with T2 normal and HCTier 4:Tier 3 LFR unlocks and buff or debuff is appliedTier 4 Normal and HC unlocksPlayers gear for T4 with T3 normal and HCTier 5, Final RaidTier 4 unlocks LFR mode and buff or debuff is appliedTier 5 unlocks normal and HCPlayers gear for T5 with T4 normal and HCAfter a while, unlock T5 LFR and begin buff or debuffGuilds could progress at a quicker pace if they wanted (or were able), but as each new tier opened, the previous tier would get easier, but not be skippable alltogether. LFR mode would ensure that earlier tiers raids would still be populated, so no toon would be "stuck" in a lower tier. And every toon would see all the content. Of all 9 of my max level toons, I have 1 of them that has seen every raid while it was current. I have 5 toons that have completed DS, that never set foot in Firelands. It is just "wrong" that my latest toon, a prot pally, never did a normal 5 man dungeon, never did a first tier 5 man heroic, or a troll heroic. I dinged 85, loaded up on crafted gear, valor BoE's, and AH gear, and went directly from questing to HoT's. 2 hours later, I was in LFR, and in under 5 days /played, I had completed my gear from DS normal. In less than 8 hours play time after hitting 85, I am "done" with this toon. Guild mains are done with DS Heroic, no one is going to pug more than 1 or 2 bosses in HC mode, and I have every slot BiS pre-heroic.
In its press releases over the past 6 quarters Blizzard has stated that most* of the sub losses have been in the East, mainly China. I'll assume that they are telling the truth.Folks China is 8-9 months behind us. They won't get MoP till late Q2 of 2013. Whatever their reason for quitting it has nothing to do with a lack of new content. So get off that hobby horse. Further given the economic conditions over there its highly doubtful many will ever come back after being gone for so long unless there is a boom over there in the next year or so. *S.W.A.G. about 2/3 rd's of the losses but ymmv.What I see is a smaller but steady deterioration in the non Chinese player base. Some of it is lack of content related to be sure. Some of it is just plain old burnout. Some of it is economics. But whatever happens no more than a million can come back. That would be almost all of the non Chinese drops and is probably unrealistic. So don't be overly disappointed when fewer folks come back than you may be thinking will show up.
I dont think blizzard are to worried at the moment. Especilly with sales of diablo. And Pandera will more than bring back the gamers to warcraft. but I wonder if this only covers the us server or does it cover the european servers as well with this subscription loss
The Pandas and pet battles might appeal more to an Eastern audience. What will put people off of buying another expansion is the lack of variety in the realms. Some players will get bored quickly having played a lot of the content in the Beta and will new players want to join or rejoin a disjointed community--- the know it alls and the lazy wannabees with just a handful of happy players. There are too many non- subscription options for gamers. It is also possible that Warcraft has had it's time and bolting on new continents and raids, however good, will never bring back the players. It essentially an old game with a bit of dressing. ,
I quit two months ago after several other 2-3 month breaks. Was not pleased at all with the current state of the game. To be honest Mists doesn't look that appealing either. Seriously considering not ever playing again.