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[Column] World of Warcraft: Should Azeroth be F2P to 60?

SBFordSBFord Associate Editor - News ManagerThe Land of AZPosts: 16,643MMORPG.COM Staff Uncommon

With Mists of Pandaria looming on its horizon, World of Warcraft will likely continue as the #1 MMO on the planet for a good while yet. Still, it seems prudent for Blizzard to contemplate ways to keep it on top, one of which is opening up new F2P elements and expanding the real money marketplace. See why we think so in our latest edition of the WoW Factor.

Here’s what I’m proposing, nay betting, Blizzard will do in time: Instead of a straight up “freemium” hybrid model, Blizzard should open up all of WoW’s 1-60 content for free, populating the now long-stagnant lower level areas, and monetize it with various cosmetic and convenience items. Hell, the monetization is already there with the plethora of extras you can buy on Battle.net, so why not add in a “Bazaar” to the UI and let people spend their Blizzard monies, perhaps even what has been earned in Diablo 3, on WoW trinkets and baubles to fluff up their experience? And then, once players have hit 60, offer them reduced price upgrades to further expansion content, and require subscriptions for anything Outlands and beyond. You already give players unrestricted access to the 1-20 game, why not add the last 40 levels and help keep the lower half of the leveling content populated?

Read more of Bill Murphy's The WoW Factor: Should Azeroth be F2P to 60?

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Associate Editor: MMORPG.com
Follow me on Twitter: @MMORPGMom

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Comments

  • palulalulapalulalula vukovarPosts: 655Member
    Only over my dead body! Dude are you ok? You want trolls like me to contaminate Azeroth?? No F2P for wow!. F2P is for weak
  • TheLizardbonesTheLizardbones Arkham, VAPosts: 10,910Member

    Given that buying four expansions is going to cost something like $100 or more, it certainly wouldn't hurt them to get people into the game and playing through a lot of content for free. I would think that initial cost is a huge hurdle to get people to jump over.

    I can not remember winning or losing a single debate on the internet.

  • The_OddlerThe_Oddler WestmallePosts: 23Member
    I would check it out once more when it goes f2p (even if it's just the original game, no expansions.)
  • sammandarsammandar San Antonio, TXPosts: 523Member
    Originally posted by palulalula
    Only over my dead body! Dude are you ok? You want trolls like me to contaminate Azeroth?? No F2P for wow!. F2P is for weak

    *sigh

  • Method01Method01 VejlePosts: 128Member

    Why should a game with close to 10 mil subs go f2p? I know you mentioned it's only to lvl 60, but i really don't think Blizzard are that desperate to make it f2p up to lvl 60. 

  • NoizMchnNoizMchn Atlanta, GAPosts: 29Member

    It was kind of said in the article already but, if people are paying for a sub AND buying stuff in the cash shop already, why would they not just add more stuff to the cash shop and keep charging subs?

     
  • sammandarsammandar San Antonio, TXPosts: 523Member
    Originally posted by lizardbones

    Given that buying four expansions is going to cost something like $100 or more, it certainly wouldn't hurt them to get people into the game and playing through a lot of content for free. I would think that initial cost is a huge hurdle to get people to jump over.

    I don't agree with that logic though. Why would F2P 1-60 get people in if the F2P 1-20 hasn't already. It reminds me a bit of SWTOR devs, who believed that their payment model was the reason they were losing so many subs, when in fact it was the lack of content and poorly executed game as whole, amongst other things.

    Case in point, I think WOW is just getting "old"; as the years pass by I believe it is getting harder and harder for more players to justify paying 15 bucks of month for what WOW has to offer; especialy in a market where more games are switching over to a hybrid B2P/F2P model.

    Though I do expect MoP to bump WOW's numbers a bit, I don't think it will stop the "bleeding". Not only do I think that MoP will be the worst selling WOW expansion since "Vanilla", but I think that shortly after MoP releases, WOW's numbers will continue to sink.

    In lieu of the continual loss of subs, Blizzard may very well experiment with a hybrid payment model for WOW, but I don't think that will solve the problem. If Blizzard wants to stop the bleeding, instead of just throwing out more of the same (MoP) or changing their payment model, they need to do some major content and gameplay restructuring. Question is... is it too late.

  • TreekodarTreekodar jlkjklPosts: 524Member

    If WoW is F2P till level 60 AND you can use the AH, then you'll see an even more screwed up economy with botters going on a 24/7 rampage because "You can just make a new account".

     

    Eleanor Rigby.

  • ElizabetheElizabethe HunzenschwilPosts: 4Member Uncommon
    Never!

    Heil and kill!

  • RoxtarrRoxtarr Freeland, MI, MIPosts: 1,122Member
    Do they need to? With 9.1 million people paying monthly, I say no.

    If in 1982 we played with the current mentality, we would have burned down all the pac man games since the red ghost was clearly OP. Instead we just got better at the game.
    image

  • palulalulapalulalula vukovarPosts: 655Member
    Originally posted by Elizabethe
    Never!

    Thats my girl! :)

  • WhiteLanternWhiteLantern Nevada, MOPosts: 2,732Member Common

    As that would amount to about a weekend's worth of leveling, and then there still wouldn't be much you could do (like the current f2p to 20), I don't see what it would matter.

     

     

    It really has no pro or con over what is currently there.

    I want a mmorpg where people have gone through misery, have gone through school stuff and actually have had sex even. -sagil

  • fenistilfenistil GliwicePosts: 3,005Member

    Hihihi so basically just turning WoW freemium, expanding cash shop to freemium & f2p level and just calling it diffrently?

     

     

  • ZeprimusZeprimus Southern MN, MNPosts: 40Member

    I don't think it'd be a terrible idea - if anything, it could be a nice way for people who played the game at launch and left to see all the changes Cata made to each classic zone.

    But, like people have said, it wouldn't really matter too much - unless people started going level 60 raids, or spending a lot of time in BRS, Scholo, and Strat, free to 60 would still feel like a trial.

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  • GrrlGrrl B-Town, CAPosts: 364Member
    Hmm nah. Not worth it. There's already the trial and most of subscribe aftewards so there's no point for 1-60, really. It'd be nice to have a marketplace though.. for vanity items for a gamergirl like myself. I wouldn't mind sub and pay extra stuff - that's how much I love WoW ;D
  • purewitzpurewitz Casselberry, FLPosts: 487Member
    WOW needs to either go F2P or die a slow painful death. As much as some people may not want it, F2P  & B2P are becoming the standards of MMO business models. P2P is going going the way of the dinosaurs. In the beginning P2P saved people from having to pay by the hour to play a game, but people don't want to pay a monthly subscription any more in today's world economy. Alot of people also don't want to throw away money on something they might not like, because they don't have the money to lose.
     

    When we get back from where we are going, we will return to where we were. I know people there!

  • RodentofdoomRodentofdoom NottinghamPosts: 273Member

    If F2P is Honey

    and WoW is a shit sandwich

     

     

    Then sure it will taste sweet, but it will STILL be a shit sandwich.

  • bfpiercelkbfpiercelk LeRoy, NYPosts: 48Member
    Originally posted by purewitz
    WOW needs to either go F2P or die a slow painful death. As much as some people may not want it, F2P  & B2P are becoming the standards of MMO business models. P2P is going going the way of the dinosaurs. In the beginning P2P saved people from having to pay by the hour to play a game, but people don't want to pay a monthly subscription any more in today's world economy. Alot of people also don't want to throw away money on something they might not like, because they don't have the money to lose.
     

    Riiiiiight...

    There are nearly 10 million subscribers to WoW alone, not counting the number of people that still pay subs to LotRO, TOR, and others.

    I hope you're not an analyst, because you are terribad at it.

  • nixiumnixium ManchesterPosts: 21Member
    I would prefer x levels (perhaps 20 per chunk) purchased with relevant skill caps and unlocks chat channels, trade in AHs, join guilds after first purchase, and so on. But no time limits or restrictions once levels are unlocked, past the starter edition.
  • LumbralesLumbrales Vila do CondePosts: 7Member
    I still wouldn't play it. ^^
  • lotapartylotaparty taxila canttPosts: 514Member
    bc was the best expansion .this game doesnot appeal to me now :((((

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  • lotapartylotaparty taxila canttPosts: 514Member
    Originally posted by bfpiercelk
    Originally posted by purewitz
    WOW needs to either go F2P or die a slow painful death. As much as some people may not want it, F2P  & B2P are becoming the standards of MMO business models. P2P is going going the way of the dinosaurs. In the beginning P2P saved people from having to pay by the hour to play a game, but people don't want to pay a monthly subscription any more in today's world economy. Alot of people also don't want to throw away money on something they might not like, because they don't have the money to lose.
     

    Riiiiiight...

    There are nearly 10 million subscribers to WoW alone, not counting the number of people that still pay subs to LotRO, TOR, and others.

    I hope you're not an analyst, because you are terribad at it.

     

    less than 10 million to be precise

    image

  • MothanosMothanos ArnhemPosts: 1,860Member Uncommon

    9.1 million players, not subs.
    Asia do not pay subs, they pay 1 cent per hour.
    over half the population is from asia.

  • IllyssiaIllyssia LondonPosts: 1,524Member
    WoW should shift to a free to play model after Panda. It is the only way for the game to survive long-term. 
  • TheLizardbonesTheLizardbones Arkham, VAPosts: 10,910Member


    Originally posted by sammandar
    Originally posted by lizardbones Given that buying four expansions is going to cost something like $100 or more, it certainly wouldn't hurt them to get people into the game and playing through a lot of content for free. I would think that initial cost is a huge hurdle to get people to jump over.
    I don't agree with that logic though. Why would F2P 1-60 get people in if the F2P 1-20 hasn't already. It reminds me a bit of SWTOR devs, who believed that their payment model was the reason they were losing so many subs, when in fact it was the lack of content and poorly executed game as whole, amongst other things.

    Case in point, I think WOW is just getting "old"; as the years pass by I believe it is getting harder and harder for more players to justify paying 15 bucks of month for what WOW has to offer; especialy in a market where more games are switching over to a hybrid B2P/F2P model.

    Though I do expect MoP to bump WOW's numbers a bit, I don't think it will stop the "bleeding". Not only do I think that MoP will be the worst selling WOW expansion since "Vanilla", but I think that shortly after MoP releases, WOW's numbers will continue to sink.

    In lieu of the continual loss of subs, Blizzard may very well experiment with a hybrid payment model for WOW, but I don't think that will solve the problem. If Blizzard wants to stop the bleeding, instead of just throwing out more of the same (MoP) or changing their payment model, they need to do some major content and gameplay restructuring. Question is... is it too late.




    It's a time investment. Getting to level 20 takes a very short period of time. Getting to level 60 takes a good bit longer. It increases the amount of time to get familiar with game systems, game lore and more time to get to know people in the game. Granted, getting to know people in the game is a double edged sword, but for the most part, I liked the people I played with in WoW. People who are more invested are more likely to continue playing the game past level 60, especially if they know other people who are going to do the same.

    Your last sentence is the reason they'll be pressured to do something to get people into the game. They are finally starting to lose a substantial number of long term players. They need to get more people into the game and lots of free content is a way to get that done.

    I can not remember winning or losing a single debate on the internet.

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