Battle for azeroth – the official thread – page 253 – scrolls of lore forums

But, 2016 also has a problem, because that’s when Overwatch came out. I bring this up because 2018’s discussion and analysis sections make it very clear that Overwatch is in decline. One of the assumptions I have to make when making these evaluations is that I can sufficiently pick out the net effect caused by World of Warcraft, and that requires other Blizzard titles to be relatively stable – here, with no other releases to influence the data, as there were in 2016 – in the quarter before Legion’s launch, that assumption is violated, so take some of what I say with that in mind.

Again, I think a brief discussion on deferred net revenues is worthwhile. When you purchase a subscription, an in-game item, or when you pre-order, the money is not initially recognized as revenue until Blizzard has actually earned the money.

In software, this is something that normally happens over time. Before your money is earned, the other side of the entry to record cash received is not revenue, but a liability account called "deferred revenues".

It’s not always quite this simple, and the earnings process with a subscription based MMO runs into a lot of issues like the earnings process for things like microtransactions, pre-order bonuses, and of course, the initial purchase of the game, which have to be recognized over their expected useful life – and that estimate changes on events like when a customer chooses to unsubscribe. (Specifically, when you unsubscribe, a number of deferred revenues related to you are ‘released’ – and so for a period, depending on how much time you have left, GAAP revenue attributable to you will increase)

Obviously, there’s no way these two numbers are calculated in the same way, But the October number of 35 million lines up with what Blizzard had said the number was (…-sales-numbers). I say this again to highlight the outsized effect that Overwatch is going to have on the calculations. That being said, Overwatch isn’t a subscription model, and so its revenues will be accounted for as product sales.

One last complicating factor: The supplementary schedules are not the same. ATVI is reporting more and detailed information, and it makes a difference. Look at the Q1 with Activision, for example, and you see an enormous effect on deferred revenue attributable to Call of Duty: WWII, compared with an absolutely paltry effect on Blizzard’s operating results.

When we go over to the 2018 10Q, on page 52, the decrease in net revenues for both periods is attributable to lower revenues from Overwatch, but they are offset (only in the description for the six months ended June 30, 2018, NOT the three months ended, which indicates that this effect is isolated to Q1 2018) partially due to higher revenues from World of Warcraft "primarily due to revenues associated with in-game content delivered to customers upon pre-purchase of World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth".

Over on page 49, we have, in regard to overall changes in deferred net revenues: "The increase [in deferred net revenues] was partially offset by lower net deferred revenues recognized from Blizzard of $145 million, primarily due to a net deferral of revenues for World of Warcraft, primarily driven by revenues associated with in-game content and the timing of expansion releases, as compared to net deferred revenues recognized in the prior-year period from World of Warcraft: Legion, which was released in August 2016."

Engaging in the sense that Blizzard honestly is demonstrating self-reflection and inner struggle in the Horde that has culminated up to this epic cinematic. They have told us in Q&A’s that both factions would be having deep self-reflection, but so far we’re seeing far more of that among the Horde than the Alliance, who now feel like there isn’t as much a story being told as it’s just the races uniting against the Horde.

And yes, I would absolutely love that kind of dynamic in the Alliance. I want a diverse cast of characters with their own different ideologies and themes because that makes for a better story than characters who are very interchangeable and feel almost no different from each other. I’m sorry you dislike that, but if it makes you feel any better, I would gladly trade places because there is now a growing worry that the Alliance only exists to help supplement the Horde story rather than have a story of its own.

The fact that both High Kings were good people aggravates this. But the Alliance does have something that is better than the Horde currently: because Anduin is this inexperienced young king, Blizzard has managed to give other leaders voice as his advisors. I loved seeing Velen and Genn interact with Anduin, and this expansion in particular I loved how they made each character assume a role, as Anduin is little more than a figurehead to rally the nations: Genn is the political face of the Alliance in Kul Tiras. Halford Wyrmbane is the leader of the Alliance war effort. And we’re seeing more middle-rank racial leader having roles now.