Death Knights, Warlocks and Druids of Azeroth, spare a moment for your fallen comrades at arms. Activision Blizzard has just announced that 1.3 million World of Warcraft players left the game between January and March this year.

The vast majority of these warriors have disappeared from the East, despite efforts to keep them engaged with the game through recent updates.

The loss of 1.3 million subscribers equated to about 14 per cent of the game's world. There are still 8.3 active players in the MMORPG, but Activision Blizzard expects that number to continue to drop over the next year.

Free to play: a Blizzard's greatest weakness

While overall subscriber numbers have been on the downward trend since 2011, the sudden drop experienced in the first quarter of this year has largely been put down to the rise of free to play games.

What's more, the trend is unlikely to stop.

""And while we do believe further declines are likely, and we expect to have fewer subscribers a year than we do today, World of Warcraft remains one of the most successful franchises in the history of entertainment," Activision boss Bobby Kotick told investors.

Still, 8 million paying subscribers is nothing to sneeze at, and Activision Blizzard is promising to continue to support the game, committing "valuable resources" to the game to keep current players engaged and offer incentive for lapsed players to start playing again.

With more uncertainty about the next generation of consoles, it's looking to be a tough year for Activision, even with a new Call of Duty game on the cards.