A Possible Future Where World of Warcraft is Free

In a PC Gamer interview Blizzard said that it may, at some point, consider making World of Warcraft free. Blizzard’s Tom Chilton said the company is open to considering different subscription models for the MMO based on a number of factors including external or internal competition in the MMO space. This could include the other secret MMO project the company is working on, serious competition from another company or a change in the space itself.

"At some point, it may not make sense for us to have a subscription fee," said lead designer Tom Chilton in a PC Gamer interview. "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."

Blizzard is already experimenting with different subscription models in regions like South Korea, where World of Warcraft takes a back seat to its other game, StarCraft. The company recently announced that WOW subscribers would get StarCraft II for free as long as their WOW accounts remained active. Certainly a smart way to drive WOW subscriptions.

One thing is for certain; if Blizzard ever did decide to use some sort of free to play model it would have a dramatic and profound effect on the entire MMO space. When a game as good as WOW goes free it’s tough for competitors with lesser game experiences to expect players to pay a fee.

Source: Gamasutra

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  1. 0
    Adamas Draconis says:

    I tried WoW once. After about an hour of idiots, spammers, and language that would get you kicked out of a navy bar. I said ‘F*(K IT’. I enjoy DDO and like Turbine’s model.

    Hunting the shadows of the troubled dreams.

  2. 0
    jedidethfreak says:

    I would have tried WoW a long time ago, but for the monthly fee.  Then, I started playing Guild Wars (with no fee) and Star Trek Online (bought a lifetime sub).  Now, even if it did go F2P, I probably wouldn’t play it.

    With the first link, the chain is forged.

  3. 0
    sharpshooterbabe says:

    IF and WHEN it goes free, I will definitely be playing WOW all the time. I just can’t see myself paying $15/month, every month or however long to play the game. & in this economy everyone is still hurting. Everyone says we are out of the recession, but we’re not. Certainly not me & others around me.



    "It’s better to be hated for who you are, then be loved for who you are not." – Montgomery Gentry

  4. 0
    hellfire7885 says:

    The game is already crawling with n00bs, spammers, idiots, channers, and other jackasses from the bottom of the internet septic tank. A montly fee does nothing to keep them out. I wish I could count how often the free trials are abused by spammers.

  5. 0
    BCD303 says:


    L. I missed out on playing that game and its just too out dated to start playing now.

    i agree i hope it doesn’t go free simply because the level of maintenance and security will drop as blizzard loose a financial interest. I play a lot of online games and love that my fees to towards security, management of the game content and dispute resolution.

    Look at other free to play games where the hacking is total out of control and the game becomes no fun to play.

    But in saying that I hope it doesn’t become free until there is something else. I wish they would just remake Ultima online

  6. 0
    jedidethfreak says:

    Maybe you haven’t noticed, but WoW is crawling with griefers and riff-raff.  A monthly fee does nothing to discourage that, and going F2P wouldn’t change anything at all.

    With the first link, the chain is forged.

  7. 0
    Thomas P. says:

    I hope Blizzard never uses a "Free to Play" model for any of their games.  I see the $15 a month as a small barrier to entry to keep the garbage out.  If the game was "F2P" the amount of spammers would skyrocket, as it would be a "oh I got banned, time to create a new account for FREE".

  8. 0
    SbEguy says:

    I don’t see why you would be surprised that they haven’t gone free to play already. Why would they go free to play with an option for microtransactions, when they already have both? I mean, millions of people pay the subscription fee and in addition, hundreds of thousands of those more than happily pay 25$ for a reskinned mount and will doubtlessly pay for the next useless thing that comes along. Why would Blizzard possibly want to suddenly make less money by dropping subscription fees unless the game starts hemorrhaging subscribers?

    The other option you presented would make a lot more sense, since they claim that the new MMO will be different enough from WoW that many people would subscribe to both simultaneously, so giving people a package deal with a full sub fee + 50% off for the other sub or something would be one option. Or they could even make the other game with the DDO model so people have options as to how much/if they are willing to spend on it.

  9. 0
    nightwng2000 says:

    I suspect the "F2P" model will probably be closer to the Dungeons & Dragons Online model.  I’m surprised they haven’t done so already.

    Or, a 2 games for 1 subscription fee model may very well be possible.  View it as getting one free for subscribing to the other if you wish.  It’s still the same thing really.  Just certain different restrictions on how to keep both accounts active.


    NW2K Software


    Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as http://groups.myspace.com/pfenl

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