Sure Sounds Like Blizzard Wants To Take WoW F2P

By Nathan Grayson on August 24th, 2013 at 11:00 am.

Only a couple short years ago, most pasty, naked, Earth-dwelling flesh creatures (aka, humans) figured World of Warcraft would forever remain the final bastion of subscription MMOs’ heyday. Now, however, it’s screaming “mayday” as subscriber numbers plummet, proving that no institution is immortal and I should never be allowed to rhyme things. Recent comments from Blizzard suggesting a free-to-play conversion might not be that far off, then, shouldn’t come as much of a surprise – especially since the slowly deflating MMO titan recently added a microtransaction store.

Speaking with Polygon, lead design Tom Chilton sounded more open to the idea than ever, all but guaranteeing that it’s in the cards (but not those cards) for the future:

“For Blizzard it makes sense [to go free-to-play] at some point.”

“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.”

Which is an important point, because we really never do hear much about freshly F2P MMOs after the initial megaton boost to player counts. I figure that can’t bode particularly well, because otherwise developers would simply keep on bragging. But, on the other hand, even a good many first-gen F2P-ers are still at least existent, so it’s not like the switch is a morphine drip before the bitter end.

As with all things Blizzard, this one will come slowly and with beard-stroking, brow-furrowing consideration. That doesn’t always yield optimal results (this is, after all, the company that spat out Diablo III’s auction house), but I doubt it’ll be a slapdash hackjob. And to be honest, I’m kind of interested. I don’t think I’ll ever go back to WoW in any major way, but it’d be neat to return for a quick visit. Check in on all my old haunts. Maybe level a new class for a bit. Would you consider sneaking back into WoW for a spell if Blizzard bulldozed its pay wall?

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73 Comments »

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  1. Jorum says:

    F2P is a big draw for gamers like myself with kids and lots of time-commitments.
    I simply can’t play regularly enough to make monthly sub worthwhile.

    • Hyoscine says:

      Exactly my feelings.

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      Phinor says:

      But most F2P games are designed to work exactly the opposite way. If you have the time, you don’t have to pay for anything but it takes time to accomplish anything in the game. You can also pay to skip grinding, get boosters and unlock stuff, obviously meant for the busy people.

      That’s one of the main reasons why I prefer subs to F2P. F2P pricing is almost always tuned so that you basically pay more than a month’s fee every month, way more even. Unless you have infinite time and can spend hours and hours playing the same game every day. In which case you’d get more bang for your buck with subs anyway. Just my opinion, but I really think subs are the best choice in either case. Obviously something like GW2 model works too in some cases.

      • Bluestormzion says:

        I have always felt exactly the same way. In my first F2P game, I played and spent when I wanted to. Then I realized that I’d spent 45 dollars on the game in one month. If it were a 15 dollar a month sub, then I was free to go to town on it, things would have been fine. I swore off that game cold turkey (a shame, I had a lot of fun) and made it a point to never ever EVER pay microtransactions ever again.

        • Christo4 says:

          Isn’t that pretty much your own fault for not paying attention to what you pay?
          Yeah some F2P games are built to make you buy stuff and there are the hellish ones where you have to buy with real money if you want to have any progression, but you can never say that it’s the game’s fault for paying 45$ in one month, it didn’t put a gun to your head and made you pay, it’s all on you hombre.

          • Sakkura says:

            So F2P saddles you with the weight of a responsibility that you avoid with a subscription model.

            I really think old-school subscription has some serious advantages. But the game has to offer a lot of quality, polish, content and FUN to convince players to go with it. WoW managed to do so for about ten years.

        • Dachannien says:

          It’s just like spending money in real life (although I guess you are technically spending money in real life in F2P, too). You figure out what you need, prioritize what you really want, and avoid throwing away money on niceties you can’t afford.

          For me, that means I stick with permanent items, like unlocking content, carrying capacity, or maybe mounts or pets. Any sort of consumables, like XP bonuses, are right out.

          • ludde says:

            This is why I loathe free to play. When I play a game, I don’t want to micro manage my real world assets – I just want to play and have fun.

            Not to mention that it often comes out a lot pricier.

      • Sparkasaurusmex says:

        On the other hand the good thing about F2P is that you can pay nothing. I’m not sure that WoW offers enough to be a good F2P, though. Hopefully they will add some ideas from LOTRO (namely the musical instruments and ABC music). With the right activities F2P can work for me….but to me a F2P game is just that- free. If I feel like I have to spend money to have fun it is not free anymore. A one time thing is okay, but I’m not going to spend monthly payments on a game even if they are in small increments.

      • ScubaMonster says:

        The problem isn’t the actual F2P idea in itself, it’s how companies usually implement it. But there are mmo’s that do it quite nicely. An example of a horrible F2P system is SW:TOR. Quite honestly, F2P usually only becomes a hindrance in a lot of games if you’re hardcore, which doesn’t make up the majority. The best solution is to offer some sort of F2P and a subscription model, though I think GW2 hit the nail on the head with buying the game and no sub afterwards. And I don’t buy the BS that you can’t run servers or add content without subscriptions. GW2 has content updates on a regular basis, far more than most subscription mmo’s.

      • SeismicRend says:

        You’re absolutely right Phinor. F2P games are more costly for any adult. Unless your time is worth nothing. In which case you probably play MMOs.

    • fdisk says:

      Same here, exact same boat. I don’t have enough time to pay and I feel guilty paying a sub and not playing the game. I still love playing WoW and I would love to jump in from time to time to play it if it didn’t cost me anything.

      I’m happy to continue to buy the expansions, it’s the monthly fee that kills me. I personally have only actually spent money in one F2P game, I always play the rest without spending a cent, it’s all about self-control.

      If I do like the game enough do I will spend some money on it, I can definitely see myself spending money on WoW for extra bag and bank space. I like the LOTRO model where you have to pay for zones, that way I can play a zone at my own pace and as soon as I don’t spend money until I get to the next zone. Personally I find that to be a fair model and the reason why LOTRO is the only F2P game I’ve spent money on.

    • Marsha124 says:

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    • bstard says:

      F2P is probably the most successful psychological trick sales introduced into gaming. You’re being ripped of, you overpay, all due to this tricky way the game addresses your personal felling of achievement. Dopamine, dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. When you play2free, I suggest you stick up two notes: one with the month sub price, the other you use to track the expenses of the ‘free’ play.

  2. Noburu says:

    I think anyone could see this coming. Even if they are making more than enough to sustain the game right now, they have stockholders to appease.

  3. Granitas says:

    It’s already now a casual game compared to what it was before the Panda patch, so this makes sense. Still not interested in going back, though. Life’s too short to just play one game when there are so many fantastic games of all kinds being released now.

  4. Kinch says:

    I think WoW’s problem is not the business model but the game itself – it stopped being unique and doesn’t meet people’s expectations anymore. After all, it’s a really old game.

    Going F2P would surely bring in new, mostly younger, players. At the same time it might alienate some of the current subscribers and scare away the ‘old schoolers’. I, for one, would not return because the game’s a rinse and repeat grindfest for more and more loot.

    • Sparkasaurusmex says:

      I contend that it was never really very unique to start with. I think it was the “easiest” MMORPG to control and it had the most accessible graphics, but mechanically it offered nothing that wasn’t already in MMORPGs of the time.

      • Premium User Badge

        Foosnark says:

        Exactly. WoW was never particularly original or unique, it just did EverQuest much better than EverQuest did. It was smoother, more polished. And EverQuest itself was also not particularly original or unique.

        The reason for WoW’s longevity hasn’t been brilliance, but being solidly decent at what it did — and that was multiplied by social factors and comfort, basically. But eventually guilds break up and people move on, and the routine gets old.

        The market doesn’t always choose the best thing to popularize, but once something gets a foothold it can hang on pretty well (see Betamax vs VHS).

        • pistolhamster says:

          Yes, WoW did what it did very well for nigh on a decade. I quit in 2010 after going in and out of the game for 5 years. That in it self is quite spectacular a commitment I’d have to say. So bravo for that. The end times for WoW might be near as it plummet into F2P. But just look at how the games market has evolved since my debut in 2005 when it released in Europe 2005.

          I don’t think I will ever come back to a subscription based game though. Those days are over for me I think.

      • malkav11 says:

        And I would heartily disagree. The MMO market prior to WoW expected you to level by repetitively killing the same monsters over and over. People talk about WoW being a grindfest, but I assure you that pre-WoW MMOs were a thousand times as grindy and repetitive. The move to primarily quest-oriented levelling was a massive, massive revolution.

        Later on, WoW’s “vehicle” tech and phasing tech have done wonders for their ability to deliver variety, meaningful story beats, and actual world change through questing and as far as I know both of those were first done in WoW. (Though GW2 makes much more extensive and elegant use of a system that’s very similar to WoW’s “vehicles”.)

    • Ajh says:

      You forgot to add that there’s a vocal minority screaming abuses at new players to keep fresh subscribers out. This happens way too often in WoW.

      Old character models don’t help either.

      What you end up with is a game that LOOKS old, even when the new environments are beautiful (Just start making one of the vanilla races to see what I mean.) with a toxic community. There are guilds like my own that take new players and help them, but they’re fewer and quieter than ever before.

      So you have current players leaving for new things and new players leaving because no one has fun with an old game where people are jerks.

      I’m not sure free to play would be a great move for WoW. I don’t think they’ll do it anytime soon either. I’m glad they added some vanity items to the store. I hope they add more. People paying for pretty armor skins doesn’t bother me one bit.

      On the other hand I play Star Wars as free to play. I actually adore the current cash shop/subscription models that games like Star Wars and DDO have. It lets me go online when i’m not terribly active and hang out with my friends, or if I am playing a lot I can subscribe for a month.

  5. Artificial says:

    If I was still playing WoW, making it F2P would definitely have been the final straw for me. The F2P model just does nothing for me, especially in MMO’s. I don’t want to be asked to buy things at every opportunity, it spoils the whole experience.

    • Hyoscine says:

      But you’re *not* still subscribing, so you can see why they might want to court a different audience?

      • Artificial says:

        Yeah, I’m not saying it’s not a good idea, there will definitely be aa whole new audience out there who may spend a bit of money here and there if it does turn F2P. I just meant it was a bit of a shame that that’s the route it’s going to take. It used to be such an amazing game.

        • ItzCrooK2UxD says:

          I hate to necro something a month old, but F2P is genius. It does more than get a few players to spend a few bucks. And it doesn’t have to hide things behind pay walls. Just look at Rift.

          The entire game from level 1-60 is 100% free, don’t have to spend a dime. But like me, I don’t care for gear grinds, so I go to the Rift store, that believe it or not does not prompt you to open it every 10 minutes, as a matter of fact if you wish to ignore it you NEVER have to even open it. Players can not purchase best in slot gear, but for a couple bucks you can get some decent gear (I say decent, but when I was buying gear during leveling it was quite rare that I found a piece that was better than the pieces I bought with cash, at the level 60 cap that isn’t always the case). There will always be someone who has an easier time parting with a few bucks than COUNTLESS hours grinding, and that’s what the F2P market appeals to. People who work 40+ hours a week, or have kids, and realize its more cost effective to spend upwards of a hundred bucks on a set of gear, because grinding that same set of gear out could take hundreds of hours.

          In a little over a month I have spent roughly $500 in the cash store in Rift (leveling gear, mounts, XP pots, Exp Dungeon gear for when I decide to raid and PvP gear), but I also would NEVER pay a fee to play a game that I already bought once, not because I can’t afford it. Clearly I can. Its just the principle. I bought the game, but if I want to play the game I bought I have to pay a recurring fee. The concept is as ridiculous as buying a TV and it not turning on until you put $0.50 for the day.

          Subscription based games are dying because games of equal quality are available for free. Its not to say that WoW isn’t/wasn’t a powerhouse for a time, but it is to say that if WoW in its current or a future form is going to remain relevant it needs to be 100% free. Free to download, free to play.

          There is a reason why the free to play trend has become so popular…it makes money, from those who have it to spend, in exchange for either an advantage or saving time.

    • Ajh says:

      What about the options of Cash shop / Subscription? Where you can pay a subscription fee like normal or buy all the unlocks in the cash shops? Most of those give you cash shop credits each month for subscribing too, so you can buy little bonuses with your subscription.

  6. Rezze24 says:

    I still find it funny when ever a new MMO is announced that people normally shout out “F2P or bust”. I can understand gamer’s wanting shit free, but don’t they take a look and see that every MMO that is currently F2p is generally shit? GW2 had such a massive hype train to end up a niche title that no one is excited for, it failed to retain all those people who rode that train. WoW might as well go F2P since they already drove out the majority of hardcore raiders after Lich King. They have seen with their cash shop that a fancy new mount brings in millions within days.

    I just don’t see any quality F2P MMO’s to get behind to think F2P is the right way to go.

    • lordcooper says:

      “F2P or you’re going to go bust” seems a little more apt.

    • Christo4 says:

      I think that it’s mostly because MMO’s other than GW usually charge box price+subscription, after which most of them turn F2P.
      In mmo’s like wildstar or TES:O you pay 35$ box price for a mmo that you may or may not like in which you also have to pay 15$ each month, in 6 months paying 125$ and then when the game turns F2P, won’t you kinda feel cheated?
      I think that’s the problem with those mmo’s and other similar ones. Eventually they all turned into F2P and even if i don’t play mmo’s, if i paid over 100$ on subs on one of those games i would have felt cheated when it turned F2P and i think most people felt that way which is why when someone announces box price+subs people say F2P or bust.

    • aliksy says:

      GW2 is a niche title?

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      FriendlyFire says:

      GW2 niche with 3 million copies sold in the first few months (I forget how many exactly, I think 8)? Damn, I’d love to make a niche failure of a game then.

      The game’s still busy enough to have a ton of servers (and you still get bumped to overflow servers during large events, so they’re not half-empty!), there’s new content every month and they keep working on the game continuously. ArenaNet delivered on just about everything they said they would.

  7. killmachine says:

    i may return just to play some high level pvp and maybe even farm for some super rare mounts, i don’t know. i’m pretty sure though that i won’t go grind instances just to get a daily reward to buy some piece of armor to get ready for raiding. mostly i just do the pvp stuff, either in battlegrounds or maybe even some silly open world pvp.

    but i don’t know for how long i will stay. from time to time i hop into the game (free starter edition) and very quickly come to the conclusion that i don’t want to level any more characters.

  8. lordcooper says:

    They’d have to pay me above minimum wage to play this.

  9. I Got Pineapples says:

    It is worth keeping in mind this is pretty much their stock response every time some interviewer asks them about going F2P.

    That said, shouldn’t we also be considering the idea that F2P is dying? I mean, every single major upcoming MMO is going subscription and the ones that have gone F2P were kind of Niche-y or flawed to begin with, F2P comes across more as one of those ideas that games journalists got really excited about than an upcoming new paradigm.

    • malkav11 says:

      Not really. Yes, new MMOs coming out are trying to make the subscription model work, but that’s been the traditional starting point for (western) MMOs’ business model that only a couple of them have sidestepped. The only subscription MMOs that have stayed with that model are WoW, and a couple of pretty niche-y MMOs (most notably Eve, though you can get subscription time in game if you’re flush enough with isk), Every MMO that -doesn’t- cater to a particularly dedicated niche audience and isn’t WoW has only survived through F2P.

      I pretty much guarantee that Wildstar and The Elder Scrolls Online (to name a couple of high profile titles) will be taking that route sooner or later and probably sooner.

      • Sakkura says:

        WoW has stuck with subscriptions, so any similarly popular MMO would be able to do the same thing. The reason they haven’t lately is that the post-WoW MMOs have all failed to sustain anywhere near the same player base because most people found them lacking. Sooner or later there’s going to be a new hit MMO, and then subscriptions are a serious option.

        • malkav11 says:

          WoW has been a crazy blockbuster hit, a blue moon sort of thing that’s not a realistic goal for anybody else. Probably not even for Blizzard. Those “other MMOs that were found lacking” are the realistic average success level for the genre.

          Yes, eventually another WoW might happen (or something even more popular), but it would still be that one game that could sustain subs, not the genre.

          • Sakkura says:

            It’s just ridiculous to suggest that the success of WoW is impossible to replicate. Sure, the AVERAGE MMO isn’t going to be as successful as WoW. But not all games are average. There will be another major hit sooner or later.

          • Deadly Sinner says:

            There are many reasons that WoW is as big of a hit as it is. Quality is only one of those reasons. Making an amazing MMO will not guarantee WoW numbers. And I don’t know if you have noticed, but despite its current popularity, those numbers are waning.

            If subscription MMOs that are not already established can be done, why is Mike Morhaime, President of the gigantic outlier that supposedly proves that they can be done, saying that Titan is unlikely to be a subscription MMO?

            Source: http://www.polygon.com/2013/8/1/4580084/blizzard-working-on-new-direction-for-titan-project-unlikely-to-be

          • Svardskampe says:

            Currently: Dota2 / MOBA-genre is the new WoW. WoW didn’t cater to the “MMO-audience” as that is indeed quite a niche market. It catered to the so-called “casual player’. The one player that dedicates its time to one single game and only plays that. Skyrim was temp. this game the majority was attracted to, and now it is Dota 2 or LoL. Dota2 is topping the charts of having at any point in time 4x the most active players than the second game on the list in steam.

            Just checking: Apparantly Garry’s mod is 5th…That is high for such a game which is that old….

          • malkav11 says:

            I am not saying that WoW’s success is impossible to replicate. I am saying that it is an unrealistic level of success to target out of the gate and certainly an unrealistic standard by which to judge the MMO market at large or what makes sense as a business model for the average MMO. Another MMO may someday be that successful again or more, and who knows, maybe it won’t even come from a company with Blizzard’s resources and virtually unlimited development schedule (i.e. pretty much just Blizzard and Valve), but I doubt it’s going to be soon, and it would be just as alone at the top as WoW has been.

    • Deadly Sinner says:

      So, is Everquest Next not major, or did it change to a subscription model when I wasn’t looking? Same with Firefall and Phantasy Star Online 2.

      Free-to-play has been around for a decade and shows no signs of slowing down, no matter how much you may not like it.

  10. Ianuarius says:

    I would consider trying World of Warcraft out for the FIRST TIME if it was free to play. Back in the day I bought every single game Blizzard put out… up until WoW. While I can’t say I’d be really intrigued, I might just check it out.

    The new Everquest on the other hand might be the first commercial MMORPG I will give a serious try.

  11. Taeryc says:

    Oh god no. I’ve spent so much on WoW already, and I’ve never even purchased anything beyond a singular pet. Damn you, transfers and faction changes and race changes, ahhhh!

    Going from experience with League of Legends, them doing this would make me spend even more money.

  12. Premium User Badge

    drewski says:

    It seems like every MMO is bleeding subscribers or players except Eve. They must all be going to LoL and DOTA2.

    • Archipelagos says:

      That would be great news. MMO communities should improve drastically in that case.

  13. Shadowcat says:

    Oh no. What hilariously large number have subscriber numbers plummeted to?

    Yeah, I’m sure it’s down by a significant proportion, but don’t try to tell me they don’t still have a crap-ton of people paying to play this thing.

    • Sparkasaurusmex says:

      I’m sure they also have a crap-ton of servers and employees and their subscription base is coming close to alarming returns for ActiBlizz.

      It’s not really important how many “crap-ton” of people paying to play there are. How many NEW ones are there?

      • Shadowcat says:

        Okay, I found an official statement from May this year which says their current subscriber count at that time is (the hilariously large number) 8.3 million.

        The lowest monthly cost seems to be $12.99 (per month with six-month subscriptions), so their WOW revenue as of May this year was approximately one hundred and eight million dollars every month.

        Oh woe, oh woe. You cannot even attempt to tell me that their monthly operating costs are putting a worrysome dent in those figures.

        I’m sure they can still be very profitable with a tenth of the current subscriber base.

        • Sparkasaurusmex says:

          I’m not saying they aren’t making money, I’m saying that doesn’t matter. It’s about growth, not stagnating profit. I know it seems grotesque, but that is how corporations operate.

  14. aliksy says:

    I would consider playing WoW for, like, historical reasons. Like a sociologist doing field studies or something, I’d go in to see what it’s like. I don’t have much interest in an old-timey gear game.

    • Sparkasaurusmex says:

      That’s not really possible because the “historical” WoW would be many patches ago, and the game no longer exists in the same way. Though perhaps there are emulated servers running old builds?

      • skyturnedred says:

        There are vanilla servers etc. and I would love to play on those. My best memories from WoW was the constant uphill battle as a feral druid, needing to constantly prove my playstyle as viable to everyone everywhere. When my guild allowed me to tank in Molten Core, I was so proud of myself.

  15. Moraven says:

    See this same questioon every year with the same answer.

    They are adding two items, exp boost for an hour and less coins which they made 1)easier to get 2) halved the required coins to purchase loot roll tokens.

    This will probably appeal more to the Asian markets that already pay as you play.

    But with Heirloom gear, its already stupid easy to level up. Not sure who this exp boost is targeting when they already made it easier to level up characters.

    Sadly this makes the 1-60 content obsolete as people outlevel their zones. The remade zones are pretty good.

  16. HisDivineOrder says:

    I’d probably go back, check up on my hunter and my dk and then leave again. Still, I’d go back and check in on them. Thing is, I think Blizzard has waited too long on this one. They waited until everyone was sick of it before doing it. If they’d done it when there was still some love left, they’d probably have locked people in for years again.

  17. Lemming says:

    Blizzard don’t need to think about going F2P until they go <3 million subs. To do it now would reduce their revenue not boost it. The microtransaction store isn't an indication of moving towards f2p if they are already sub-based, it's just an indication of extra revenue via microtransactions. The two processes aren't indicative of each other, they are just often seen together because if you are F2P, how else could you make money otherwise?

    Let's not forget, WoW is still a success. A drop in subs from 11 million to 8 is still a success compared to other MMOs by a wide margin. They've got a game chock full of content that would keep you busy for months even at a relentless pace, so there really isn't as much pressure as some would have you believe I would think. The vocal hardcore that finish top-end raiding in a week and demand more are most certainly not the majority of their subscriber base.

    • malkav11 says:

      Yep. Mind you, I’d love to be able to play WoW without subscribing – I’d dip in a lot more often – but it’s still the 1000-lb gorilla and it’s that for a reason.

  18. Captain Joyless says:

    “are still at least existent”

    Jesus bro. Try “exist” next time. “Are existent”? Yikes.

    • Trithne says:

      Oh my. I hope this is some sort of pointless satire, because “Are still at least existent” is the *right* way to say that.

      • TsunamiWombat says:

        I would have said “Are at least still existent” but that’s just pedantry at that point, either is grammatically correct

  19. nimzy says:

    It’ll be a bittersweet day for sure, just like the day Valve made Team Fortress 2 free to play with an “in your face, suckers!” to everyone who actually bought it. In total I think I spent $500 over several years playing World of Warcraft, so I’m sure there would be at least some sore feelings.

    • Nevard says:

      Wasn’t TF2 going free to play a pretty massive spike in activity for them?

  20. SeismicRend says:

    Imagine if they opened six new realms, three for pve and three for pvp, each set in a vanilla, BC, and WotLK patch. How much subscriber interest do you think there would be in classic progression servers?

    • Nevard says:

      Almost none, people would try it for a month and then never look at them again

  21. Etherealsteel says:

    WoW could totally be F2P, they make a sh1t ton off selling mounts,pets, name changes, faction, server, or race changes which is all automatic. However if they continue this subscription then they should lower the price to $10 a month, this is possible and people would be more inclined to come back. Blizzard has very deep pockets, so even if WoW went down to 1 million Subs they’d still be profitable.

  22. racccoon says:

    Blizzard decision to go FTP is a good move, how many people really have the time to play like they did when wow came out. I personally was a bad raver of wow, it was kind of sickening to hear nothing but wow wow wow! I tried it one day and got hooked into playing it, I couldn’t stop playing, I got so held up in the game I believed in my character and raged at my attackers seeking out my revenges amounting huge amounts of cash through the auction houses and play, play, playing it. I ended up in hospital with a Pulmonary Embolism (blood clots on the lungs) I couldn’t breath. it was due to sitting down playing wow for mental long periods of time. I would play like 12 -14hrs minimum. when I came out of hospital I stopped playing so hard and gradually dwindled out of it, yes wow was a great game but wow wasn’t worth dying for, I think with FTP in action it would bring in more people and allow you to freely choose when you want to play and not be forced into playing,
    Subscription is an hot area, were you feel you need to keep using it to make it worth while money wise, you get dragged into playing for long periods because of it. The thought of so many people who have had these health problems and not really been open about them is the part were blizzard dev laughs at all the money they taken away, blizzard have not seen the problem to peoples lives they caused by having subscription in place. I’m very surprised that wow has not done this FTP sooner. FTP is a good thing it helps people have choice for there time to play and not feel obligated to play by the subscription..

  23. afarrell says:

    WoW as the west knows is it almost certainly not going F2P until the subscriber figures ‘plummet’ below numbers that any other MMO would sell their kids for. What Morhaine is saying there is what Blizzard has already said, that Titan won’t be a subscription model.

    WoW in Asia is already pay-as-you go, and unsurprisingly the only place that the microtransaction shop is planned for.

  24. huldu says:

    Personally I don’t like f2p mmos. There are some that aren’t too bad, but most of them are just obvious cash grabs. With a full subscription game, like WoW, you’ll pay that $15 a month and get access to ALL content, no strings attached. Everyone plays on the same page, you don’t buy boosts, gear, crafting crap and so on. In a f2p game you might have to pay to access certain content or pay to do more dungeons/pvp runs per day. The point is playing a f2p will cost you a lot more time and money than a subscription based game ever would. What I mean with “cost more time” is that, if you’re trying to play *certain* f2p games without spending any money you’re in for a grind.

    Now there are many variations of f2p games, most are using terrible cash grab ideas while others are “better”. The worst part about many f2p mmos is that they do have a subscription model but it’s the worst possible kind. It just doesn’t encourage you to subscribe at all(like rift for example). Then you have really good ones, like lotro/eq2, that gives you full access to the entire game like any regular subscription game.

    The best would be to run a mmo with two different versions of the game, like eq2 is doing. One for subscribers and one for leechers. The leechers in a f2p game is what gives them a bad name/community.

  25. Tomatoboxer says:

    Be careful when using terms like “pasty” to describe all humans. Some of us have darker skin, too!

  26. sdancer says:

    One perspective is that the rather hasty move to sub+F2P that SWOR pulled off has so far worked better for that particular game than the pure subscription model. Player numbers appear to be way less free-falling now than they were 3 months after release, and hey, lots of new content even if much of that is hats.

    DDO, which was one of the first major games to take the jump, also still seems to be profitable enough to keep running.

    As for WoW, the game is comparatively ancient and probably nearing its planned end of life, if that hasn’t already passed. Getting new players is bound to be running into a wall of “dude, that game is 9 years old!”. By now it’s looking more like Final Fantasy XI which was kept running well past its nominal shelf-life, and Blizzard are likely very afraid of pulling a XIV (or pretty much every other MMO sequel, as if that had ever worked). In that light, I’d consider an F2P move to be a sign of impending much-maligned “maintenance mode” with Blizzard trying to milk whatever it can from the player base while putting the finishing touches on its hopefully next big thing.

  27. Teek says:

    F2P can be a pretty great way to open up a game to new audiences, but it’s also been the harbinger of some of the seediest pricing schemes I have ever seen. I hope, if WoW does become F2P, that it does so like TF2 did, since both were immensely popular and profitable before they made the switch. So no point currencies, no minimalists game functions for free players, and looting, crafting and trading as alternates to the game store, which WoW can easily adapt. Use transmog armor and weapons as a big draw, maybe heirlooms and remodeled old gear as well. Maybe even allow players to submit their own designs and get a portion of the sales, like Valve does.