Is Blizzard Entertainment’s popular MMORPG World of Warcraft heading into the realm of free-to-play? According to the company, fans shouldn’t hold their breath.
During this weekend’s BlizzCon, production designer J. Allen Brack addressed rumors that Blizzard was seriously considering transforming WoW from a subscription-based adventure into one that was free for everyone. Brack explained that this couldn’t happen without making some changes to the core game itself.
“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,” Brack said.
According to the folks at Forbes, CEO Mike Morhaime also shot down free-to-play rumors.
“We’ve always taken the business model on a case by case basis. In the case of ‘WoW,’ 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,” he said.
Although World of Warcraft reportedly lost approximately 100,000 subscribers over the past few months, Blizzard still has around 7.6 million people ready and willing to pay for the experience. Since the company is still making a lot of money from Wow, the subscription model will reportedly remain in place.
Curious players who want to experience the game without forking over a monthly fee can check out the so-called Starter Edition of World of Warcraft. As Morhaime pointed out, this allows gamers to play through the first 20 levels without any unwanted stress on their bank accounts. However, some features available to subscribers are presently limited.
Free-to-play rumors weren’t the only things discussed at this year’s BlizzCon. Polygon reports that Blizzard also announced the upcoming expansion pack Warlords of Draenor. This is the fifth official expansion released by the company since the game’s 2004 debut.
“Warlords of Draenor gives players a chance to take a commanding role in one of the Warcraft series’ most crucial conflicts. This expansion also includes features that make it easy for anyone to jump right into the action, whether they’ve played WoW at some point in the past or are just setting foot in Azeroth for the first time,” Morhaime said.
Not only does Warlords of Draenor raise the game’s level cap to 100, it also introduces a handful of new character models. The pack includes new bosses, quests, five-player dungeons, battlegrounds, and a brand new player vs. player area. Look for the new content to arrive next year. This should give you plenty of time to warn family and friends.
Are you disappointed that World of Warcraft isn’t adopting a free-to-play model?
[Image via Blizzard Entertainment]