To be honest about the sub numbers, I think one point, while not totally passed over, is quite relivent. The fact is, you only needed to buy MOP if you were an end game user and wanted to raid or do heorics. If you wanted to see and experience MOP, you simply had to roll a Panda, even if you didnt buy the expansion. Granted, you cant see all of pandaria as a level 1 or 10 or even 85 panda, but you could certainally get the feel for the new content if you wanted to level one.
On top of that, all the other changes you have spoken about and were implemented, none of that requires MOP to experience except end game content.
I am glad they did it that way, but honestly, from a greed standpoint, Blizzaed may have screwed up by not making you buy the expansion to roll a monk, at least in the sense that if people really wanted one, they would have to buy the expansion.
Seriously though, if you want a max panda or monk, you dont even have to buy the expansion untill you ding 85.
Most people here are into raiding or at least dungeons. I would expect most of the viewers here have at least one max level character ( at least 85 I mean), and therefore getting MOP was required if you want to progress.
I am not sure how many people this being able to roll a panda affected in thier decision to buy or not to buy MOP, but I have little doubt that it did have at least some impact on at least some peoples decision to buy the expansion. Why buy MOP if Im not maxed out, or if I just want to roll a Panda? The pet battles are still there, talents still change, farming is there, ect ect ect.
Just something to chew on... I think this line of thought was passed over much to quickly in peoples thinking, especially the hard core gamers. After all, the "casuals" 15 dollars a month spends every bit as well as the super uber hard core raiders 15 dollars.
Isnt this the first tiime that blizzard allowed you to roll a new character without buying the ex[ansion?
Just my $0.02
I know a few of my guildies that decided to get a new Pandaren and wait for grabbing mists until they really need to.
One of my guildie is actually only on pet battles, and will buy the xpac when she needs to go to Pandaria for more levels :O
When judging the difficulty of heroics, keep in mind that the quality of pug LFDers goes down after the first couple of weeks after the progression raiders finish gearing up. It may be less of a sleepwalk for a while after that (when queueing solo, that is).
Can't disagree more with the sentiment that the "average joe" should be able to get Gold. I certainly don't think that the group should mandatory include a full group of engineers and no healer to get gold, I think group composition should be fairly open, but I don't think anyone should be able to get a gold, let alone the "average joe" when we've just come off the fact that the average player doesn't even buy the endgame expansion.
Silver should mean something, if it's devalued by making it so everyone can get Gold if they put in the effort, then it'll go the way of normals in Cata - meaningless, which Lore covered earlier in the episode.
Personally I'm more disappointed to see that healers are mostly irrelevant to the top challenge mode groups. I grok that in a raid setting you can trade some healers for dps, but seeing on-spec healing unnecessary for all but handful of fights seems at least odd, and, at worst, unfair to players who want to do challenge modes but, you know, like to play healers. Moar dots wins again.