World of Warcraft is a beast. A beast to be reckoned with. For over a decade Blizzard’s top MMORPG has been dominating the gaming world. With over 12 million subscribers at its peak in a few years ago, and enough money to last a lifetime, the long-term growth of the franchise is slowly coming to a halt. So it looks like the next steps for World Of Warcraft might be moving towards the option of free-to-play.
According to Geek.com:
The rumor first appeared after dataminers combed through the upcoming Patch 6.1 and found files referring to a new “Veteran Edition.” The information suggested that this mode, like WoW’s existing free trial Starter Edition with its level 20 cap, would allow players limited access to the game without paying. Restrictions include another level cap, a money cap, and chat channel limitations. Some speculate that “Veteran” also means lapsed players could return to their old accounts and characters without paying. They could go on quests, order pizza, and /dance the night away like in the good old days.
Due to its staggering success, World of Warcraft is actually one of the last MMOs to embrace free-to-play. Smaller F2P MMOs have exploded across Asia while larger ones, realizing they could never compete with WoW, have opted to use the model as an alternate revenue source out of necessity. Even something as seemingly surefire as Star Wars: The Old Republic, the MMO follow-up to BioWare’s acclaimed Knights of the Old Republic series, went free-to-play after a year and never looked back. WoW changed the MMO game when it launched in 2004, but in the years since, F2P changed it again.
A shakeup like this would also help keep WoW more relevant as subscribers slowly decline and Blizzard shifts its attention to newer products like StarCraft II, Hearthstone, and their upcoming multiplayer online battle arena Heroes of the Storm. The latest WoW expansion, Warlords of Draenor, was well-received when it launched last November, but after five expansions how many more can they crank out? And after working on their ambitious next-generation MMO project Titan for seven years only to cancel and retool it into the multiplayer shooter Overwatch, World of Warcraftis the sole MMO Blizzard can count on, so they have to keep it healthy.
Even if World of Warcraft were to shut down tomorrow, it would still be one of the most spectacularly successful video games of all-time in terms of profit and pop culture relevance. Don’t forget, there’s still a Warcraft movie coming out next March, if it does end up seeing the light of day. If it does go free-to-play, we’ll just have to wait and see if that means its best days are behind it or still ahead.”
I’ll tell you what – my brothers were huge fans of this game when it first came out, and I know that to an extent they still are fans. But if Blizzard decided to open this up to free-to-play, you can bet that I will give this a try. My only hesitation is that I didn’t want to have to buy the full game to test it out. And unfortunately my friends are not gamers, and my brothers live in other states. So that leaves me wondering what the fuss is about. I like the idea!
What say you fellow gamers? Worth the buy and try? Or wait for the possible free play?