Activision Blizzard boss Mike Morhaime has admitted that 70 per cent of new World of Warcraft players get bored before they reach level ten of the game.
In a financial conference call, the CEO suggested that company had to do more to draw new players into the massively multplayer online world of Azeroth.
Regular expansions have meant that high-level players get updated content to keep them happy, but new players are faced with exactly the same game experience that WoW pioneers had when the game launched six years ago.
There's no doubt that players who get beyond the level ten barrier tend to stick with the notoriously addictive fantasy role player, as 11 million subscribers and an entry in the Guinness Book of Records will attest.
"Our research shows that trial players who play World of Warcraft pass level 10 are much more likely to stick with the game for a long time," said Morhaime. "Currently, only about 30 percent of our trial players make it past this threshold. So anything we can do to improve the new player experience is a huge opportunity for us."
Morhaime says that the next update to the game should improve the churn rate: "With Cataclysm we will be overhauling the early gaming experience for players, bringing all of the content in World of Warcraft up to our current design standards and ensuring that even new players to the game will experience the best work of our development team.
"This will also provide additional replay ability for our veterans players as well. In the long run, we hope that this effort will capture more players and drive continued growth. Development on Cataclysm is proceeding smoothly and we’re making great progress due release in the back half of 2010."