Few discussions on the subject of free-to-play MMOs go by without some speculation in regards to World of Warcraft adopting the increasingly popular freemium model. After almost a decade of charging subscriptions, isn’t about time Blizzard called it quits? No, not according to Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime.
“We’ve always taken the business model on a case by case basis,” the CEO explains as BlizzCon. “In the case of World of Warcraft, the first 20 levels are free. It wasn’t designed as a free-to-play game. I don’t see that type of transition happening in World of Warcraft, although we are always looking for new ways to make the game more accessible.”
Frankly, it seems like a sensible approach. Subscription MMOs have, in the past, had rocky relaunches when ditching the old model in favour of F2P, with the likes of Star Wars: The Old Republic garnering a significant amount of ill will for the way they cut off some truely random content and created a draconian system that required vast tables and menus to explain.
Blizzard’s no stranger to making big decisions that sometimes go against the grain. When Diablo III’s Auction House proved to be a complete mess, instead of throwing more man-hours into fixing something that players despised, they acknowledged the problem and ditched the whole thing. Morhaime promises more improvements to Diablo III, stating that Blizzard’s goal is to “make the ultimate monster killing… RPG”, with more end gamer options making it more fun.