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In its first full week after launching on Aug. 26, World of Warcraft Classic has taken Blizzard Entertainment’s massively multiplayer online game to heights on Twitch that it, and the platform for that matter, have never seen.
Not only has the game generated a massive amount of hype, but its 47.1M hours watched total is more than any game has produced in a week this year or last year. Prior to this past week, there have been five occasions in which a game had generated more than 30M hours watched in 2018 or 2019.
Two of those 30M+ weeks came from Dota 2 during The International, one from Fortnite during its prime in the summer of 2018, and the others from Apex Legends during its release in February.
As one might expect, Classic’s strongest day of viewership came right after launch. Monday night the game peaked at more than 1M concurrent viewers on Twitch, but on Tuesday, WoW as a whole recorded 11.7M hours watched, as numerous high-profile streamers played marathoned the game during 24+ hour long streams in an attempt to clear as much of the game’s content as they could before needing to sleep.
Zack “Asmongold” (last name unknown) led the way with a 24-hour stream that generated 3M hours watched, followed by Chance “Sodapoppin” Morris, who racked up 1.9M hours watched for a 29-hour stream.
Following launch day, viewership decreased overall as streamers took breaks from the game to sleep and take care of their bodies. As the days wore on, the game began to see fewer hours of airtime that coincided with a decline in viewership, but the game managed to eclipse 5M hours watched every day.
While top streamers such as Morris, Asmongold, and Michael “Shroud” Grzesiek saw their peak CCV for the week come on launch day, each also saw steady average viewership statistics as the week progressed on days that they streamed despite some erratic schedules that resulted from marathon sessions.
Meanwhile, esports organization Method’s channel held consistent viewership following launch day with an average of around 20K CCV for 24-hour coverage from launch day through Saturday. With WoW Classic being less about the esports related element of WoW, Method notably saw a decline in viewership compared to the events that it put on for world first raid races that the organization has broadcast.
While Method’s stature as the top raiding guild in retail WoW is inarguable, the differences between Classic and retail WoW make it such that entertainers like Morris and Asmongold are more intriguing to watch than individuals who are known for their expertise in retail WoW.
Additionally, Method’s stream was hindered by the fact that not only were influencers preferred by Twitch viewers, but Method also failed to achieve world first on stream. Peaking out at the week’s highest viewership for any streamer on Twitch (320K), “JokerD” [real name unknown] was the first person to hit the game’s maximum level of 60.
On top of that, after JokerD hit 60, a guild of private server players known as “apes” became the first guild to defeat all of the raid bosses in the game as well over the weekend. Though Method is the most prominent name in WoW esports, this past week on Twitch showed that Classic is about more than just being good at the retail version of WoW.
Method produced figures on Twitch that were strong compared to many other channels, but in terms of the standards that it has had with growth across the past two raids in WoW, Classic’s release didn’t quite match up.
Where Do We Go Now?
After one full week on Twitch, many games tend to see a dip in viewership, and WoW Classic will be no exception. The massive viewership that the game saw on the first two days following launch was so strong that there isn’t any way it will manage to hit 45M hours watched again this week.
As influencers like Asmongold and Morris take a more conservative approach to streaming the game, with fewer hours of airtime and less time spent marathoning the game in 24-hour streams, Classic will likely see a fall off. However, viewership so far for the game hasn’t seen that much of a dip since Thursday. In the past five days, WoW has maintained more than 5M hours watched on Twitch per day, and the lack of “world first” speed racing doesn’t seem to be affecting it.
While JokerD managed to generate strong viewership for a very short period of time as he hit the game’s max level before anyone else, there hasn’t been much in the way of viewership for the speedrunning, esports-related part of Classic. With personality streamers being the meat and bones of Classic viewership, there is reason to believe that Classic could see continued success as long as streamers who are known to play a variety of games like Grzesiek stay around to play the game.
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