5 thoughts on “Are you ready? Hey, are you ready for this?

  1. Caspian

    They Were the Champions
    Crazy Little Thing Called Sub
    I Want to Play Free
    (F2) Play The Game
    Save Me (some cash)
    (funds are) Under Pressure
    Who Wants to Save Forever

    I think I’ll stop now…

  2. Tesh

    I saw the announcement email this morning. I couldn’t help but laugh. It’s a smart move, but maybe too little too late.

    I do think WoW’s change is inevitable… or Blizzard offers their newest MMO F2P and leaves WoW to cruise on inertia.

    If I were in charge of the game, I’d make “vanilla” WoW (classic, up through level 60) F2P like Guild Wars (buy once, minimal item shop for cosmetics) and run the conversion when Cataclysm hits. Let subbers stay with the CAT content, and leave F2P players in the old pocket universe. They can move up to the “live” world or stay forever in the past. (But not move backwards.) This would neatly corner the F2P market, give a small bone to the “classic server” requests, and provide leverage to entice players to upgrade. (Make trial accounts even stricter for the “live” version and make it so money doesn’t make it through the upgrade process, and it might even further inoculate the live game from gold sellers.)

    The big trouble I see is that Blizzard would be playing catch up. They have their own market, but there is a different market developing in the F2P area, and they aren’t involved. The longer they wait to enter it, the trickier it might be.

    (And won’t it be a hoot if their next MMO does wind up F2P, but only gets 200K players or less? Blizzard, just another minor contender in their own shadow…)

  3. mbp

    Will Wow abandon the sub in favour of an item shop? No. Why should they they are earning buckets of money from subs.

    Will Wow add an item shop in parallel with subs? Yup most probably.

  4. Melmoth Post author

    @Caspian: Top work. ‘I Want to Play Free’ was my favourite, very good indeed.

    @Tesh: Couldn’t agree more. I think Blizzard will resist F2P as long as possible for obvious reasons, but there seems to be a slowly mounting pressure within the genre as a whole to remove the subscription as a barrier to entry, and then to provide other ways for players to spend their money with the game.

    Blizzard’s next game still seems so far off, I wonder what the market will even look like by the time they come to release it.

    @lonomonkey: Good call, seems like a fairly safe bet that it will happen if the numbers for Champions start to look good. Then again, there aren’t many other ‘big guns’ left in the market that haven’t got some form of F2P now, are there?

    @mbp: I mean, depending on how fussy we want to be about definitions, they technically already have an item shop. I think you’re right though, they’re going to resist for as long as possible – as long as the cash cow can be milked they’ll milk it. I can see a possibility in a partial move to F2P, as Tesh suggests above, with a large section of the lower level content being F2P and then requiring a subscription to access later levels and the end game.

    However, I’d guess that they’ve probably got at least a good six months or so after the release of Cataclysm before a significant chunk of the subscriber base gets itchy feet and looks to move on to something else again.

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