The lights are on
Blizzard's flagship MMO has made it nearly impossible for many newcomers to have much success with a subscription model, forcing them to go free-to-play. But could be the dominant MMO be headed towards the same fate itself?
Polygon posed the question to World of Warcraft lead designer Tom Chilton, who said it wasn't out of the question, but says Blizzard has reservations about if free-to-play games can have long-term success.
"For Blizzard it makes sense [to go free-to-play] at some point," Chilton told Polygon. "But a lot of the risk is in making that transition. You hear stories about developers going free-to-play and getting double the number of players, but you don't always know it works out that way and how long it stays that way. We really don't know what the rate is before people drop off and lose interest."
How much life do you think WoW has in it before it must abandon its subscription model?
[Source: Polygon via GameSpot]
Our TakeBy the time World of Warcraft goes free-to-play, will people even still care? Sure, abandoning your hard-earned character is tough, but Blizzard probably won't go free-to-play until necessary. By then, new MMOs, like Blizzard's own Titan, could be knocking on our doors, making people move on to newer pastures.
Email the author Kimberley Wallace, or follow on Twitter, and Game Informer.
I would love if it went completely free to play! I would definitely start playing it in my free times!
Having never played WoW but knowing friends that do, I don't think it will happen anytime soon. Even if Blizzard changed over, it wouldn't benefit them thanks to the others MMOs out there if the goal would be to raise player numbers. With even more competition on the way, I suspect WoW will continue to lose more players over a long period of time, but will be fine for quite awhile.
I probably won't care but a good fried of mine spent a significant amount of our high school lives playing WoW hah he would probably flip. But I thought it pretty much had a "Free" version that was just as bad as SWTOR.
how is this surprising? They pretty much announced their intentions when they put that store in game with the transmog items and the lesser charms...
I don't get Chilton's point. He fears people will lose interest if they go F2P? Or that it's a possibility? I know plenty of people who would still play WoW if they dropped the sub fee, myself included. Look at SWTOR, I was big on it at first, then stopped playing due to the sub fee. Once they dropped it, I immediately came back. Stopped playing for a while, but I still keep coming back at least two three times month. I'd be back more if my friends weren't so obsessed with LoL. However, with WoW I just stopped entirely. At this point if they went F2P, with a micro transaction store, and a sub model, their numbers would be redonkulous.
it's past it's prime you either have fans or empty rooms.
I have been playing on private servers only due to the fact that you must pay the subscription. I would gladly play on retail servers if it went Free to Play.
I definitely won't be joining in, spent too much time not having caught up in all the series lore to care.
I think it would actually benefit the game greatly to go free to play. Take on a model similar to The Secret World or Guild Wars 2, buy the game, play for free get game content on a regular basis for a small fee. It's working for both the games I mentioned as well as DC Universe Oniline. Plus, I bet there will be alot of subscriptions happening. One of the few reasons I never got into WoW was I couldn't afford the monthly fee for how little time I would spend playing the game (probably no more than five to ten hours total during any given month).
Well if it goes F2P. I may pick up WoW again. I most likely sink money into it for some perks and such. Yet once done. I'd be happy to keep a pot of those perks to keep playing even free and maybe another time paying again. Yet really doing 15 bucks and having to pay at least a full game price for an expansion. I am sorry but that is asking way too much at times. I mean throw in a few months on top of buying an expansion. THEN, I may not complain as at least my money is going to playing time as well. That is all I am saying.
The subscription model is the way of the past. Get with it Blizzard.
I must say i am the perfect audience for this idea. i am a casualgamer who played all the time when having a subscription. but only one or two month a row, than my chars are maxed and i really don't care about endless raids for months just to do it all over again with every update. so i like hopping in, do stuff, hop out. but with the monthly subscription i feel like getting ripped off when i just wanna play every now and than. BUT when its free2play, i can see myself going online, do some stuff, see some microtransaction thing coming up for lets say 4€ (maybe a nice mount, or cool looking robe) and i would buy it. so those approximatly 100 million euros/dollars per month, which they would miss out by making it free2play could come in buy lots off microtransactions...
I don't think it will happen, not now, at least. There are still a lot of people playing, a lot of guilds doing progress and being paid fot it, many arena tournaments with a huge first prize and so on. So no, this is not the case.
Going free to play only stands to draw more people in. I think it would be a brilliant move.
I'm honestly surprised that WoW is still going as strong as it is. I remember reading the Gameinformer issue when the game first came out and was being reviewed right next to Everquest 2. Going F2P would probably bring in new players for a while, but I'm guessing that another one of the big MMOs will eventually take its place at the top.
I don't think Blizzard knows that if WoW went f2p, the number of players would skyrocket, I would come back, my buddies, my guild, the cool people I met, would all come back.
All in all, I think Blizzard will be making that choice real soon.
Yes, just do it Blizzard.. Make WoW alive with F2P players..
They'll continue with a subscription model until it stops being profitable, and not a minute sooner.
I'm honestly surprised it is still around.
I played initial release through 15-manning UBRS, then cut off until BC. Played through heroic content, then stopped until WotLK. I kept doing that through Cata and MoP. Played the 7 day trial and when the trial was over, I remembered why I cut it off over a year ago. $15 a month is too much for nostalgia.