Blizzard: Free-to-play WOW 'possible'

Lead designer Tom Chilton says the multiplatinum MMORPG champion could abolish monthly subscription plan by adopting microtransaction system.

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The microtransaction-based Free Realms recruited 3 million users less than seven weeks after its launch, inviting players to its casual family-friendly world to buy accessories for their postmen and chef characters. However, its revenue has yet to match World of Warcraft's, which had more than 11 million subscriptions by October 2008. Despite its extraordinary commercial success with a traditional subscription model, WOW lead designer Tom Chilton said the dominant MMORPG could go free-to-play in the future.

How much for the Sword of a Thousand Truths? Multiply the cost of one truth by 1,000.

In an interview with VideoGamer, Chilton said, "I certainly think it's possible that we could do some kind of microtransaction stuff. Whether or not World of Warcraft ever goes the direction of, I guess like Anarchy Online has gone the direction of going free-to-play with microtransactions. Whether we ever shift to a free-to-play model is really too hard to say at this point."

If the game adopts a free-to-play model in the future, it won't be the first premium MMORPG to switch to a microtransaction-based revenue stream. In June, Turbine announced that the struggling Dungeons & Dragons Online will abandon its subscription-based system later this summer.

Chilton declined to comment on the subscription model for Blizzard Entertainment's upcoming top-secret MMOG. However, the WOW developer-publisher has said that the game will be an entirely new IP unique enough as to not compete with World of Warcraft.

Discussion

385 comments
tommynooky
tommynooky

I think you should have to buy the base game after the trial, have to pay for expansions and keep all the other stuff aside from the game its self, cost.

Arghyeeho
Arghyeeho

Usually, premium MMOs only do this when they're suffering... Is there something you're not saying, Blizzard? Microtransaction-based models usually only make enough to maintain the servers.

jiimo0
jiimo0

that would be awesome! i have wanted to play for a long time but i'm not alowed to spend money on MMORPGs

DarthArthas12
DarthArthas12

i would like wow to go free to play but without the microtransactions

Cwagmire21
Cwagmire21

I find myself going back to WoW only when I have extra time to play (during the summer mostly) because I can't warrant paying the monthly fee when I have classes since I barely play - however, this would definitely bring me back - depending on the "microtransactions" I guess.

The_AI
The_AI

That would be pretty awesome. O_O First DDO, now maybe WoW.

starduke
starduke

They should just lower the price of the monthly fees. I'd never get it now, becuase I think $15 a month is too much to pay to play a game I already bought. However, if it was $5 to $10, I might get it and play it. Then again, I might just stick to my single player games, and the games with free multiplayer online play.

deathismycure
deathismycure

@Bananargh - It isn't because people can't pay that they want to put it as free-to-play. It's mostly because it will attract more users, and they probably could make a few realms 'free-to-play' and make you pay for certain stuff. Like instead of gold for a mount, you pay $1.99 or $.99 that kind of stuff. They won't go free-to-play completely like Dungeons and Dragons, unless their subscriptions start to dwindle fast and they have nothing else to do but go free-to-play. We'll see, I'm waiting for Star Wars: The Old Republic, and will pay for that for sure. It looks amazing.

ThaDirtySouth
ThaDirtySouth

The majority of people who quit probably didn't quit because "they couldn't afford it" Bananargh. I personally quit because all the end game content was cleared within a few weeks after hitting 80. The game was getting easier and easier after BC released then it just became a run of the mill "cater to bad players" type of game with the release of WoTLK. Make all the "fights" idiot proof so every player can participate and make them feel like they're getting their money worth.

Bananargh
Bananargh

God dam! Just because some people can't afford to pay doesn't mean make the game free. ****!

tASE1
tASE1

People have probably stopped playing WoW or discarded it as a game to play just on hearing this news. Free to play is just a nice way of putting "Free to get pwned, pay to pwn" in most F2P games. And if you decide to pay for stuff that you would normally get at 15$ per month, you will probably end up spending MUCH more than 15$, because they will make it last 1 day (such as 1 day pets) or make it lock down on you if you don't renew (like extra bank slots, keep on paying or your items are locked in the extra slots). So it's either going to be a very aggressive Item Mall, like mounts only available in IM, can't level up past Lv20/30/40/etc.. unless you buy some BS IM stuff, or it's going to be very advantageous IM, like buying Legendary quality items, armor sets, profession stuff and/or having access to raid instances. Either way, it's is going to ruin WoW as we know it and love it. @losecannon16: Who gives a F*** about private servers, if Blizzard is ready to shoot itself to get rid of a pale copy of WoW that is just full of Polish and Czech people (that I never want to see on official servers because they are R*T*RDS, dealt with them for 3 years, trust me), then Blizzard should just shoot itself out of business while it's at it. It's like DRM BS we are getting cuz some people don't wanna pay 30$ for a CD with 1 good song on it. Don't give us sh*t with your problems, deal with it without involving the legit people.

tASE1
tASE1

And if there is ever a free-to-play-wow, the servers will get flooded by spammers, fools and kids, and you will get a major increase in latency, there will be a much bigger "vapor" player base, with people coming in to play for just 1 week and then disappearing. I feel Blizzard is getting desperate, maybe the economy is hitting on them, but they shouldn't sabotage themselves just cuz they can't handle problems everyone have to deal with, I say it should just keep going, lower the monthly fee if you have to, but don't do anything stupid like free-to-play. Think of something new content wise, not new let's-f*ck-ourselves-up wise.

tASE1
tASE1

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

loosecannon16
loosecannon16

if they do such, private servers will be history, a good manouver against it.

feliscele
feliscele

@vengeance00 That would really make me laugh...ah, Guild Wars...

vengeance00
vengeance00

i'm surprised gamespot hasn't found out that WOW lost 6 million of it's subscribers after shutting down it's china servers because china and blizzard had a disagreement and china no longer allows it in their country.

S3RAF1M
S3RAF1M

This would be great, my Wow is eating dust, and it takes a lot of time, free 2 play owuld be the wright thing to do, and keep the servers runung, it wolud be unforgettable if servers would go offline... i would never buy another Blizz game again if that happend, And i allready decided 2 starcraft 2 and diablo 3. And Warcraft 2 battle.net Edition :) .

Im_single
Im_single

No subscritpion, woa. I could see a huge jump in subscriber base if that did happen.

Tyrael696
Tyrael696

it would be great that wow came free-to-play i always love wow but only because i have to pay i dont play it (not enough gold) but ones is free ill play

DiscGuru101
DiscGuru101

This is a long way off... Think decline of WoW.

xxyaremkoxx
xxyaremkoxx

i really hope that there will be a free to play WOW

jmaxdeathscythe
jmaxdeathscythe

i actually dont want to see this happen. i think they best thing they could do is to lower the monthly cost, but not go to microtransactions. then it just gets into how many real dollars are you willing to pay for your gear, not how much time are you willing to spend. Cause I know for sure - ain't no way I'm gonna be buying my gear. Keep the playing field level

kwijibo_8
kwijibo_8

@J0nGalt 500000 Subscribers? did you mean 500,000,000? cuz one of the red links says more than 11 million subscribers...

lbptoady
lbptoady

Free WOW sweet, I like the game but 15 bucks a month really sucks. Hoping late 2009 or early 2010.

James00715
James00715

As a former WoW player, I can tell you WoW is really starting to decline. There are virtually no queues on any of the servers anymore. The new content is mostly just new raids. Just more bosses to kill but no major change to gameplay. The formula is getting old and with the economy people don't want to be tied down with another monthly payment. Free to play is still far off but don't be surprised if they lower the $15 per month by the end of the year.

shufflezoom
shufflezoom

makes me feel bad about tossin 500 yen a year!!!!!!!!!!

WolfGrey
WolfGrey

Sorry everyone but i know few great f2p games that easily match WoWs gameplay and world.Rappelz, and a few on aeria games.Imagine Online surpasses it in originality easily.You dont "need" the micro transactions typically to be honest.They are just there if you want them.

AndreasRoeder
AndreasRoeder

It's a ******** joke. World of Warcraft died mid-TBC.

ZenTsu
ZenTsu

Blizzard to go f2p =/ ... we'll just have to see how it goes, but i doubt they will ever do that until something (maybe aion) takes there crown. I think they would probably cut subscription fees by 30-40% before they ever consider the f2p option.

J0nGalt
J0nGalt

WOW will go Free play when it has 500,000 subscribers and there is a new big dog in town. Until then don't get your hopes up.

BigBill904
BigBill904

I agree though the subscription caused me to leave, it would be bad for users and the company if it goes F2P. However WOW has made more than enough for Blizzard to still be waist deep in cash with or without changes

Petrovsk
Petrovsk

F2P games are the burnt-out stars of the MMORPG world. Of course WoW will go F2P "when it has to." I don't see that happening for a while.

Excedra
Excedra

thats VERY good news

YoJim8obaJoe
YoJim8obaJoe

still dont understand the appeal of WOW,it just the warhammer world gone soft

abosh1
abosh1

well i spose that could be better news for people who dont play as often, or as 'hardcore'...

volney81
volney81

Free to play games always have some way of convincing you to spend money in some other way... gear... abilities... extra content and so on. Some, myself included, would find that getting nickled and dimed for that kind of stuff is much more painful than the subscription ever was. Oh... and Starcraft 2 and Diablo 3 are never coming out... after 3 Blizzcons of Starcraft content you haven't figured that one out yet!? =\

Deoxys0125
Deoxys0125

I personally think that abolishing monthly fees would be an incredible idea, because WoW is a delight I haven't had the pleasure of trying yet (although I have tried similar things like Dark Age of Camelot, and a Runescape membership), yet if this game is as addictive as I've heard it is (it was all my friend used to talk about in primary school, and apparently his aunty plays it until after 2 o' clock in the morning!), then a pay as you play system would be a lot more profitable for Blizzard, as many or all addicts would end up paying at least twice as much as the monthly fees.

dye2010
dye2010

A pay as you play system would be awful, you would always be thinking about what time you logged on and your limits. That would just ruin wow for me.

Anti_Chaos
Anti_Chaos

Hell, I'd play again if it were free. Even if it was "pay as you play," based more on hours then on months, then I'd join again. Yes, there'd be more n00bs, but there'd also be plenty of people who can't afford to pay $180 a year for a game. Also, you'd have more people who sign on for about and hour, or run an instance, and then sign off. You wouldn't need to play all-day everyday (which I used to) because you wouldn't have to feel like you'd not get your money's worth if you didn't. It's a great game, just expensive as hell, upkeep-wise. And most of all, you'd be able to keep your friends. :D

toastisgood
toastisgood

If there's a fee,it should be based on time actually playing(pay as you play).Either that or they will probably have some sort of extra content with the monthly fee. @Wolfie600 Yes without a monthly fee there will be more noobs :D

shnickerman
shnickerman

I really like WoW but I can't keep the money up with no job lol plus doesn't blizzard have enough money already?

KhanhAgE
KhanhAgE

It's basically, "We could do it. But we like money". LoL. Just kidding. I love Blizzard. When is Starcraft 2 and Diablo 3 coming?!

Wolfie600
Wolfie600

Blizzard will have even MORE cash when Diablo 3 releases.. Just axe the subscription fees so i can go back into WoW. The only downside? MORE noobs :).

Lone_Wolf94
Lone_Wolf94

See i think all company that have mmog Try the P2P, and then a free type with additional stuff to buy,and then decide what they like most, and.... what brings in the most profit.

maliGGs
maliGGs

why cant they just make it pay as you play the greedy pigs. i understand that there are administrative costs but i think they'd still have them easily covered, and be able to drive to work in gold and diamond encrusted lamborghinis.