Mists of Pandaria scores low on Metacritic
World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria continues an ongoing trend of falling scores at Metacritic.com. Guild Wars 2, however, is doing well. While there is no way to prove the notion, this may be due to WoW continued business model of a monthly subscription fee.
Editor's Note: While I understand that a game scoring low on Metacritic is not "hard news" per se, this piece is intended to wag a finger at games journalists who paid extra attention to Resident Evil 6's Metacritic score - a motion that I feel was brought on due to Capcom's bad press this year.
World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria currently has the lowest Metacritic score of any WoW expansion as it receives low scores by professional game critics and Metacritic users.
Mists of Pandaria, released on Sep. 25, 2012, is currently holding a Metacritic score that is significantly lower than the scores held by previous expansions Cataclysm, Wrath of the Lich King and The Burning Crusade. Mists currently holds a score of 83/100 from professional critics and 4.4/10 from fans. Both of these figures are a slip from Cataclysm's score of 90/100 from critics and 5.1/10 from fans.
Meanwhile, Guild Wars 2, the free-to-play title from NC Soft and considered by many to be WoW’s direct competition, enjoys a significantly higher Metacritic score of 91/100 from critics and 8.3/10 from fans. The successor to the first Guild Wars, Guild Wars 2 saw a rise in critic score, 89/100 for Guild Wars, and a small drop in fan score, 8.2/10.
One factor of disgruntled customers may come from its continuous business model of a monthly subscription fee. The MMORPG market, which stands for Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game, has been adopting a free-to-play business model over the last few years. Not all MMORPG games have embraced this new model, but many of the well known and highly played games have. Despite this growing trend in the market, Blizzard shows no signs of transferring WoW to a free-to-play model.
Blizzard Entertainment has been struggling to keep subscribers since Sept. 2010. The company saw World of Warcraft's subscriber base hit an all-time low at the end of the second quarter 2012 when the number of subscribers fell below 10 million. Michael Morhaime, President of Blizzard Entertainment, said that the majority of this subscriber decline came from Eastern regions.
Earlier this year, Blizzard Entertainment offered fans a chance to receive a free copy of the then upcoming Diablo III PC game and a guaranteed spot in the Mists of Pandaria beta test in exchange for a 12-month subscription commitment. Accounts that were created on of before Oct. 18, 2011 were eligible to enroll.
World of Warcraft will be celebrating its eighth anniversary this November.