is known for having a little bit of something for everyone. The massively multiplayer online game has player-vs-player (PvP) modes, player-vs-environment (PvE) dungeons, and raids.
PvP is split into several different game modes, and PvE can be done in five-person groups or in large-scale raids. Finding any one specific element of the game as a catalyst for esports is difficult, and maybe impossible, and as a result, .
Part of the focus going toward the “arena” game mode, where 2-3 players team up in a fight to the death against another group of players, and the other part of Blizzard’s focus went toward organizing PvE dungeon races (raids), where teams of five compete side-by-side to complete a dungeon as quickly as possible.
With the , viewership on the official Twitch channel suggests declining interest in both the Arena World Championship (AWC) and Mythic Dungeon International (MDI) events.
While both spring seasons started out strong, the weekly events each garnered smaller and smaller viewership totals each week throughout the season. The AWC’s opening weekend, Feb. 8-11, racked up 517K hours watched averaging 11K concurrent viewers, including re-runs. Meanwhile, the beginning of the MDI in at the end of March accrued 837K hours watched with an average of 22K CCV, including re-runs.
The two live sessions of the MDI opener averaged 41K CCV and 37K CCV. That outperformed the AWC side which had more hours of coverage averaging 14K, 17K and 18K CCV for live sessions. Including re-runs, the AWC’s first weekend of action had 52.7 hours of airtime while its PvE counterpart only had 37 hours of airtime.
Though the MDI drew the stronger opening weekend of the two esports, the AWC had more hours watched for its finals. Live coverage of the PvP spring finale averaged more than 22K CCV, but the MDI finals averaged less than 15K.
WoW is known for being a game divided between those who enjoy player-vs-player combat and people who prefer to test themselves against the environment , and if anything, the division of viewership between the AWC and MDI supports that premise.
While each form of WoW esports has been given its own opportunity to shine under Blizzard’s organization, the fragmentation of its interests by Blizzard, and more importantly WoW’s fanbase, has created a pair of esports series that likely attract different kinds of viewers.
Because of the fragmentation, neither esport is able to generate significant viewership that would make it comparable to any top-level mainstream esport like , , or .
In fact, the peaks in viewership for WoW as a whole on Twitch haven’t come from Blizzard organized esports at all. Instead, the biggest spikes in viewership for WoW on Twitch have come from the and esports organization .
As Blizzard , dedicated grassroots efforts to make it a highly-watched game for competitive raiding has proven to be more attractive to viewers, and interest in the launch of WoW Classic this fall has also stolen the attention of many fans.
While Blizzard is no stranger to pouring resources into esports efforts, like the for instance, it isn’t the company’s esports that are cultivating an audience for WoW. It’s the and community-driven content by influencers that are giving the title its reach on Twitch.