F2P World Of Warcraft Not Something Blizzard Is ‘Currently Considering’

F2P World Of Warcraft Not Something Blizzard Is ‘Currently Considering’

The subscription-based MMO is a dying breed, one that would surely be consigned to gaming’s museum for extinct business models if not for World of Warcraft. Developer Blizzard persists with asking users for regular monthly payments, a system that has worked — and continues to work — despite slow, but steady user attrition. Still, you have to wonder if a transition to free-to-play is on the cards? Well, wonder no more.

Eurogamer’s Wesley Yin-Poole reports that a move to free-to-play is unlikely, according to WoW production director and vice president J Allen Brack. While Yin-Poole suggests adapting the game to the model is “off the table”, my interpretation of Brack’s statements is that Blizzard isn’t ruling it out, it’s just not something it wants to do right now:

“We didn’t make the game to be free-to-play,” production director J Allen Brack said.

“We would have to rework the game pretty significantly in order to make it free-to-play. It’s not something we’re currently considering”.

There are several MMOs that were built for a subscription business model, yet found a way to transition to free-to-play. If Blizzard wanted to make WoW micro-transaction based, I have no doubt it would find a way.

Blizzard rules out free-to-play World of Warcraft [Eurogamer]


  • To be honest, i wouldn’t want WOW to go free to play. I don’t want the crap that comes with free to play to come to WOW. The current system is fine as it is

  • I don’t really mind paying monthly. I haven’t played it in over a year though thanks to my distinct hate of leveling up (I just want end game). But I just wish they’d piss off the character transfer cost. I might still be playing if I could have transferred my characters around a bit to have them all on the same server as my friends. But it still costs (haven’t looked in a year… but this is Blizzard so presuming) something like $60 – $80 per transfer and that’s just for ONE character to change realm and faction. So would have cost a lot to transfer a 5 characters to my friend’s server

    So I never expected free to play and wasn’t surprised

    • Paid realm transfers have been $25 since they were introduced. Before that you could only transfer from overpopulated to underpopulated servers.

      • yes, looked up the specific pricing. $25 for a realm transfer which doesn’t include a faction change, so plus $30 for a faction change. Making it $55 per character to enable me to play with my friends for an automated process.

        And considering each time a new MMO comes out, the reason my mates have hung around WoW is due to the social aspect of it which they’ve enjoyed and didn’t find in the other games. It would be nice to make it easier to maintain this. Hell I’d be happy to pay it if I could transfer all my characters.

        • The price isn’t to cover the costs involved, it’s to serve as a disincentive, pretty much for the reason you gave – to preserve community, realm identity and social connections as much as possible. But that’s an aside really.

          If your account hasn’t been active since before 4 March 2012, you’re eligible for a Scroll of Resurrection from a friend. As a recipient, you’ll be given a character boost on one character to level 80.

          I can appreciate you don’t like leveling, but worst case, the process is pretty quick these days. Heirlooms can be upgraded to work through to level 85 now and you can breeze through the whole process just in dungeons or PVP if you want. My last 3 characters were all leveled to max through dungeons alone after level 15.

  • Thank god it didn’t go or not planned for F2P. Seriously, I hated the community in F2P MMO so much, it’s almost always a cesspool of troll and toxic players with no sense of accountability and responsibility. Mess something up, offend too many people, ninja the whole guild bank? no problem, new account.

    Don’t start with Micro-transition, oh dear lord that is a such a drain on time resource for creative team, locked boxes, ridiculous restrictions, cosmetic gear that could have been included in the game. I can accept some deviation, but games like Neverwinter, SWTOR, Rift, not to mention the throng of Asia MMO that are basically just cash shops Inc.

    So in short, TLDR; Phew….

    • People are like that anyway. And F2P doesn’t mean free. It means free to PLAY. You still need to BUY WoW and the relevant expansions to play properly.

      Plus Blizzard ALREADY do micro transactions in WoW.

    • You must have been playing on a different server to me. I play/have played a really wide variety of MMO’s, both F2P and subs, and the community for the most part is the same. I swear there were people in WoW who only spent their $15 a month to sit in Goldshire or the Barrens chat (or most city chats) and be “toxic”.

      I still think so far that LotRO has the best F2P model so far, but Rift may be a better one (Not sure, haven’t played it enough since the F2P switchover to decide yet).

  • I disagree with sub games being a “Dying” breed, I mean yes they’re definitely fading thanks to people realizing there are other viable options that are usually more suited to MMO games, but never the less there are reasons to take a sub model over other models, the reason it fails so often is that regardless of how great a model it is it requires a fair number of users to support it and it’s the hardest model to pull people in with, but once you get the numbers to back it you can start capitalizing on the income and release content that makes the game worth the fee, but you need the users and also the developers to deliver on that.

    it’s an unappealing model when it doesn’t work, and it doesn’t work when it’s unappealing, if people got over their obsession with it being a dying model you’d probably see it work more often. and keep in mind I’m not saying it’s the best model, just that it’s perfectly viable and will never be gone completely, personally I like paying once for a game and then again maybe for substantial content DLC, the only other thing I want to see costing extra is frilly bells and whistles.

    but WoW could go F2P easy, they already have the store system for it all they need to do is shift around some content production to a more marketable area, the reason they won’t do it is because they currently have the most expensive model for any player of MMOs, they have a sub fee, a buy in price, you have to pay for content expansions and they sell in-game stuff in a store (although the prices are all but micro), they’d be fools to give that up until they absolutely needed to bring people in. not to mention it’d probably be bad for the game since they’re working with a more stable and predictable income meaning it’s easier to plan their developments, one thing to be said about F2P is it’s highly unpredictable, you never know how much someones gonna spend or if they’ll spend at all.

  • Sub model isn’t dying. That perception stems from the dozens of fluff pieces written about F2P developers in the past couple of years. So many examples of developers using the media as an advertising platform for their new IP, many of which contain grand statements about the death of subscriptions the glorious F2P future.

    Journalists love it because it’s a sure fire way to get page views. F2P developers adore it because it’s free advertising. The subscription model will make up a smaller portion of the market in the future, but dying? Please…..

    • I wouldn’t say it’s dying, but it’s definitely in decline. There have been a number of high budget, high profile subscription games in the last 5 years that have been forced to go F2P or shut down. Personally I’m a fan of the hybrid model – subscriptions still exist if you want them, and if you don’t you can get a pared down experience for free.

  • He basically pulled a Microsoft and went “Oh you don’t want to play WoW for free? Fortunately you are able to do that for the first 20 levels”. Sigh.

  • Seems like their sub losses are tapering off, too. In previous years the big news has been about them losing 1.3 million subs, then 700k subs, then 300, and the most recent announcement was 100k. 100k out of something like 7.5mil? Even if the tapering continues at that rate (and it probably won’t – it’ll level out), they’ll live quite comfortably.

  • I haven’t played WOW for the past 3 years not because of the cost of the subs but the way in which they are costed out. I can’t be sure if I buy a 1 month sub that i will be able to play at all in this time. If i could buy 100 hours to use over a period i would still be playing. Each month sub is say $20 and that gives about 720 hours of time if you played non stop. Assume you can use even 1/4 of that (180 hours) id be happy to pay $30 for that if i have 1 year to use it. Until this happens or my kids grow up and leave home i won’t be coming back. In saying that i still wish i could jump in and have a run so a dying model no but a transformation would be good.

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