Have you ever heard the phrase; "television killed the radio star"? Or maybe this one; "The Burning Crusade killed World of Warcraft!". While television may have killed the radio star, The Burning Crusade has not killed World of Warcraft. In fact, World of Warcraft has grown: to nine million subscribers.
From all evidence, the growth is coming from the western market, contrary to what many MMO bloggers have been posting. The Burning Crusade has not launched in China yet, where WoW pulls in a few million of the current total user base! The ten million mark is not that far off, and TBC's launch in China may just be the spur to get it there. I firmly believe, and have for some time, that World of Warcraft will hit ten million by year's end.
This falls in line with what I've been reading and seeing lately. A lot of casual gamers are completely digging the extra ten levels of content, new zones, extended professions, and more accessible end-game content. Most raiders seem to have fallen off the horse as their "perfect" 40-man guilds disintegrated upon TBC's launch. It has been a hard road for them as they restructure, regroup, and realign for the 10 and 25 man content.
So, wouldn't raiders quitting in frustration decrease the numbers? No, because raiders make up a very tiny minority (just shy of 2%) of players. Casual and core gamers have and will continue to make up WoW's majority. Building the game around them has once again proven to be successful. It is a pleasure to read some of the reports from friends that have returned to WoW.
Actually, the more I read about The Burning Crusade, the more I want to play it. And I will play it. I have some time off coming up and I plan to give the TBC 10-day free trial a whirl.