World of Warcraft

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MMORPGs are going Free to Play left and right! Recently Age of Conan went free to play, and even more recently City of Heroes announced it too was going free to play. Hell, there’s even talk of sony’s newest MMORPG DC Universe Online going free to play!

For good reason too! Free to Play means bigger money! Lots more people try it and get hooked on it, and end up becoming a premium member, or at the very least spend money to upgrade their character. Me for instance, I am not a big fan of monthly fees, because I am a casual gamer. What would take most MMO gamers an afternoon to accomplish, it takes me about a week. So, it makes more sense for me to slowly buy the newer content for me, as I progress up to the point to access it.

So, it’s a given! Tons of MMORPGs are going Free to Play. In fact most of them. What about World of Warcraft you ask? YES! It already has gone Free to Play – Well, Kind of anyway.

Ok, it hasn’t gone Free to Play.

What it has done however is adopt a limited Free to Play model to take the place of a 10 day trial. Now, you can play the game, and get a good feel for the game, because instead of just 10 days, you can play your character up to level 20, for free! Then, if you want to continue past level 20, just upgrade your account.

Why would World of Warcraft do this though? I mean, WoW is the MMORPG juggernaut right? The King of the hill! Other MMORPGs have to bow down to its greatness right? I mean, I will be honest and upfront here. Even I can’t deny that WoW is the most popular MMORPG on the market, and I detest WoW! Seriously, I really can’t stand the game. I used to enjoy it, and subscribed for a good many years, but then realised that the game never changed. Even the new content was the same old crap with a different name or color.

So, with it being so popular why adopt this new limited f2p/free trial model? I couldn’t say with any certainty. In fact, the only ones who really probably know are the bigwigs in charge of WoW. I can however take a wild guess.

You see, last October World of Warcraft had a staggering 12 million users. However as of January, the amount of subscribers was 11.1 million. Do the math people. In less than a year, World of Warcraft lost 1 million subscribers. So, it’s not really all that surprising that they would introduce a similar strategy to see if they could boost their numbers back up.

Will it work? Probably! As I said, I am not a fan of the game, but it’s a good beginners MMORPG. It’s not overly technical, so it’s easy to get yourself set up and gaming, even if you know nothing about gaming. So, yeah, it will probably increase their numbers! These people will try the game, get hooked, and not want to lose their spiffy level 20 character.

The big question is, will the increased numbers last? Probably not! The game has been around a long time! It’s teetering at the moment, and all it will take is one really good MMORPG to come along and give it that little nudge to push it off its throne. The upcoming Starwars MMORPG looks like it might have the power for that final nudge, however only time will tell.

As usual, I could be wrong about all of this, but I don’t think so!


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