No game company will tell that they are on the decline, no company will say if players are leaving. So how can we know when a game looses its potency?
Wolfshead has used the tool Alexa to determine the use of the official World of Warcraft webpage, and looking over the last 22 months there has been a decline in the use of the webpage. So, does this mean that the peak has been reached? Is the largest MMORPG on the market ready for retirement?
The use of this tool is quite fascinating, and good effort on Wolfsheads part on trying to think outside the box. But what has he really found?
The use of the american World of Warcraft webpage has declined.
As Tobold commented, thats only one segment of the WoW player base. The European playerbase might be different, and who really knows whats going on in China.
All MMORPGs have fluctuations, simply cause very few people limited themselves to one playstyle during their "playing career". Due to change in game design, a change of RL situation or perhaps a wish to explore the game in a different way (or all three) a player will change. It is very possible to spend years beeing a casual gamer, then decide to go hardcore. Just like someone who has never tried RP before decides to give it a shot, and someone who spent all their time playing cuts down to a bare minimum. If it is one thing that is predictable about MMORPGs and their users is that it is not static...
The use of a webpage doesn't tell about the use of a game. Since WoW was launched, a massive quantity of other online foras have emerged. If you want news, sites such as MMO-Champion or WoWInsider will be just as updated. If you have questions about your character, go to the Elitist Jerks forums rather the the official forum. Then there is ofcourse the many bloggers, tweeters etc etc. It is very possible that what Alexis.com is charting, is a change in where players find their information about the game.