Blizzard has revealed that only 30 per cent of new World of Warcraft players make it past level 10.

That's the tipping point at which people either stay or go, which make's the game's 11.5 million subscriber base all the more impressive.

In an investor call following the release of Activision Blizzard's financial results, Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime said the game had a stable subscriber base of 11.5 million players - the same figure announced in July 2008.

Mindful of that dropout rate, Morhaime restated WOW expansion Cataclysm's goal of bringing the existing 'old' world of Azeroth up to "current design standards". That add-on will be released sometime this year.

He also announced that the closed beta for Starcraft II would begin this month, with thousands of players expected to take part across the world, while the revamped Battle.net platform would be released to allow the RTS sequel to be made available digitally as well as in boxed form.

He had a few words on the current situation WOW is facing in China, too - claiming operating partner NetEase was running the game "normally right now" and that the suspension of new registrations was linked to a public holiday, rather than yet another political row over content.

However, he did admit that while the company was hopeful that expansion Wrath of the Lich King would be released there soon, that and prior expansion, The Burning Crusade, had been submitted to the authorities for checking.

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Robert Purchese

Robert Purchese

Senior Staff Writer

Bertie is senior staff writer and Eurogamer's Poland-and-dragons correspondent. He's part of the furniture here, a friendly chair, and reports on all kinds of things, the stranger the better.

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