Wow! WoW Will be Free?

The universe of Massively Multiplayer Online Games (MMOs) is slowly, but inevitably, moving towards the free-to-play with microtransactions paradigm. With big players such as Atari and Codemasters publishing Dungeon and Dragons Online and The Lord of the Rings Online with the free-to-play model, Blizzard has soon realized that the next big installment to their World of Warcraft (WoW) universe has to be free-to-play. Or, their next big MMO game. (World of Starcraft perhaps?)


WoW’s lead designer Tom Chilton commented on these newer models of MMOs suggesting that the monthly fee might deter newer players and might even cannibalize some of their subscribers:-

I feel like they’re doing that to compete with other games that are on a similar subscriber level to what they were at. I imagine that when one of them went free to play it cannibalized some of the other subscribers. I can definitely imagine that being the case with World of Warcraft. If another game comes along and blows us away it may not make sense for us to have a subscription fee. Or even further down the line, when we have another MMO out.

As we can clearly make out, this is an idea that has been bouncing around their heads for sometime now, but they have yet to push it through. Hopefully, we might get to see a new MMO from Blizzivision (Blizzard + Activision) that does things right, is epic and is free to play!

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  • Eric

    I was have to say that the characterization of DDO as free is not entirely a correct one. While you can do low level stuff for free, to get some of the more useful items you have to buy tokens (I forget the actual term in the game…been a while since I played it) and other things that need to be unlocked via a purchase. I can see Blizz dropping the fees to upgrade to the new expansions since they do make a buttload of money on the subscriptions…but other than that, I would totally disagree with your assessment.

  • manny

    runes of magic (the wow clone) is f2p, so it's eating their player base

  • With the increased competition it sounds like they have little choice but to switch to free to play model. The casual gamer simply is not interested in paying a monthly subscription fee.

  • prawny1

    It is my belief that warcrafts subscription based approach has detered casual gamers since it’s launch.

    The new level capped/limited function trial version is a step forwards but I think blizzard should make it so when you purchase an authentication key you can play time unlimited untill you have completed all content in that expansion,

    Advanced gamers could level up a character to complete expansion packs pretty quickly, where as casual gamers will probably only play a few times a week/month and take a fair time to be ready for the next installment.

    It has always annoyed me that these games can be purchased from a store when the client is available free online (store vesions usualy need to download 8-9gb of additional data anyway), so all you are really paying for is the 30 day not so free trial.