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!