1. #1

    Idea for Future Payment Model for World of Warcraft

    We can see that many MMO’s on the market are arriving. Many use the classic payment method of monthly prescriptions for game time. Games like this include World of Warcraft, Tera Online, EVE online, etc. Some games only need to be purchased and the rest of the game is free, but also support an in game store where players can purchase in game items, experience boosts, etc. A game that falls into this category is Guild Wars 1 and 2 . Some are straight up free from the get go. Games that fall into this category include Star Trek online and Star Wars: Knights of the old Republic along with famous MOBA titles like League of Legends and Dota 2 (coming soon).

    There’s no doubt that the Pay to play model may be a dieing breed in the coming years. Blizzard may have to start making changes on how they present World of Warcraft in the coming years as other mmos and genres evolve over time. The main purpose of this thread is to delve deep into one suggestion that I have as a future payment model for world of warcraft.

    The suggestion is that WoW could become a hybrid between the pay to play model and the buy once and play for free model at the same time. Here is a rundown on how this model might be organized so that it can satisfy players who are currently playing world of warcraft and players who do not pay or who have never played it before.

    • Players still pay for World of warcraft, Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm, and Mists of Pandaria
    • Players are opted to either pay the same $15/month or not pay at all
    • An in game store is added to the game. Allowing the purchasing of ingame items (pets, experience/honor boosts, transmogrification points(see below), etc.).
    • Transmogrification and Haircuts require point currency to transmogrify gear and obtain a haircut.


    No Monthly Subscribers are allowed:
    • Access to content that player currently owns. (i.e. vanilla wow and xpacs)
    • Access to Dungeons, Heroic Dungeons, Scenarios, and Looking for Raid
    • World PvP, normal battlegrounds
    • Must pay point currency to transmogrify gear or get a haircut


    Monthly Subscribers are allowed:
    • All content non subscribers have
    • Access to Challenge mode Dungeons
    • Access to Normal and Heroic Raid content
    • Access to Arenas, Rated Battlegrounds, War games
    • No need for point currency to transmogrify gear or get a haircut
    • Access to weekly events (i.e. Fishing Extravaganza)

    Things To note:
    • A challenge to this payment model is how would we organize these changes to WoW without impacting any change to players who are currently paying for WoW right now?
    • Another challenge is how do we keep the non-subscription wow entertaining and fun without the accessories that the subscription wow has.
    • How do we encourage new players to subscribe to WoW while they level? Should the list above change a bit for this encouragement? For example, should players who are not subscribe not have access to guild perks, but still allow them to be in a guild?
    • What other kinds of items should be included in the in-game store?
    • Obviously some things like experience while leveling might come in conflict with items in the in-game store. How would we address this problem?

    I would love to hear anyone's ideas and thoughts on this proposal on how Blizzard can change World Of Warcraft's payment model to a more open and free system. As you can see the ideas posted above are just bare and minimum. I would like to see each of these ideas in more detail as this thread ages.

  2. #2
    Bloodsail Admiral Tsundere Pejo's Avatar
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    A few things to note: We already know a majority of the playerbase does not do Normal and Heroic raid content and Challenge modes are currently not very popular. I think, other than Arenas, the PVP parts as well are low in use as well. So your future model is where a majority of Blizzard's current playerbase - who currently pay $12-15 a month - will no longer need to pay and they get it for free where the minority will have to pay? I'm no economist but there may be a few flaws with this plan.

  3. #3
    So in essence it is the same as the current free trial, except you can level to level cap?
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  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Pejo View Post
    A few things to note: We already know a majority of the playerbase does not do Normal and Heroic raid content and Challenge modes are currently not very popular. I think, other than Arenas, the PVP parts as well are low in use as well. So your future model is where a majority of Blizzard's current playerbase - who currently pay $12-15 a month - will no longer need to pay and they get it for free where the minority will have to pay? I'm no economist but there may be a few flaws with this plan.

    Good point, the model could be moved around so LFR is included in the subscription model. My main focus while designing this model was for newer players and how Blizzard could encourage them to subscribe instead of the not subscribing.

  5. #5
    There is no financial reason at all to offer non sub content beyond trial for Blizzard when they can hold several million subs.

    While corporations want to sugar-coat it, F2P models are only there because they fail to compete in subscription market in any reliable manner. Reliable as in, the diminishing subs are not stable enough to warrant the cost and F2P model could alleviate it

    Good example of this is EVE, which is sub based MMO that has roughly 200 000 subbed players playing and they are doing just fine as it's a stable number that has increased slowly over time excluding the time when they did poor real money decisions in game. That was hiccup that caused no real long term damage though.
    Last edited by Wilian; 2012-12-10 at 12:50 AM.
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  6. #6
    Mechagnome mypally's Avatar
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    My main focus while designing this model was for newer players and how Blizzard could encourage them to subscribe instead of the not subscribing.
    They already have this, its called the free trial. I'm going to say the most successful mmo of all time shouldn't make sweeping changes to their payment schemes.
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  7. #7
    Agree with what Pejo said. Reduce content non-subscribers are entitled to and increase importance of items they can buy from in-game shop. If it ever went this way :P

  8. #8
    Bloodsail Admiral Tsundere Pejo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wilian View Post
    There is no financial reason at all to offer non sub content beyond trial for Blizzard when they can hold several million subs.

    While corporations want to sugar-coat it, F2P models are only there because they fail to compete in subscription market in any reliable manner. Reliable as in, the diminishing subs are not stable enough to warrant the cost and F2P model could alleviate it
    Or they realize that subscription market is already oversaturated. It is extremely difficult to get people to try new games when they have an investment in another, even if they're not entirely happy. By going with the F2P model, they open up their market to a larger playerbase which can cause word of mouth to advertise their game. People are more likely to try a game if they do not need to drop the one they're playing now so quite a F2P games want to slowly ween you off the game you're playing now. The problem with sub and B2P games is people feel they need to get their money out of it, which means all of their attention. There is quite a bit more to this but yea - main point is that it can be very difficult to get into the sub market which is why most game studios are investigating other payment methods.

    Edit: I agree that it is not the time to do this but it is interesting to look at how Blizzard could change their payment model if they wanted. They've already starting doing this in the aspect that you now get BC and WOTLK when you get the original game. Also allowing for people to create any race are ways they're playing with the payment model. They are offering more to the players who are new to the game, by lowering their limits (monks are still behind this lock). These are excellent changes. Many have brought up different ways for them to monetize expansions such as selling them more as a DLC for each patch or the ability to buy everything at once. I don't think they'll do this but it is definitely interesting.
    Last edited by Tsundere Pejo; 2012-12-10 at 12:57 AM.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Pejo View Post
    Or they realize that subscription market is already oversaturated. It is extremely difficult to get people to try new games when they have an investment in another, even if they're not entirely happy. By going with the F2P model, they open up their market to a larger playerbase which can cause word of mouth to advertise their game. People are more likely to try a game if they do not need to drop the one they're playing now so quite a F2P games want to slowly ween you off the game you're playing now. The problem with sub and B2P games is people feel they need to get their money out of it, which means all of their attention. There is quite a bit more to this but yea - main point is that it can be very difficult to get into the sub market which is why most game studios are investigating other payment methods.

    Edit: I agree that it is not the time to do this but it is interesting to look at how Blizzard could change their payment model if they wanted. They've already starting doing this in the aspect that you now get BC and WOTLK when you get the original game. Also allowing for people to create any race are ways they're playing with the payment model. They are offering more to the players who are new to the game, by lowering their limits (monks are still behind this lock). These are excellent changes. Many have brought up different ways for them to monetize expansions such as selling them more as a DLC for each patch or the ability to buy everything at once. I don't think they'll do this but it is definitely interesting.
    Not trying to be a dick or whatever, but what you said basically is "they realize they can't compete." While it's true that people don't want to leave their investments in other games, having a F2P model or going F2P isn't the strategy against this - a free trial is the strategy. Even WoW started out with and still has a free trial, and the only reason so many things come with it and this and that has evolved for the free trial and starter edition models for WoW is just because WoW is so big now that buying everything would be ridiculous if they didn't cut it down for newer players. The same thing that would keep people from playing any other new game - having to pay and sub right off the bat - would stop WoW from getting new players - having to pay for the game and four expansions and a sub right off the bat.

    When a game goes F2P it's a different situation than starting out F2P. Like with Swtor - they thought they could compete with the other sub based games and have a sub model at release. They still had a free trial, though. But then, they had to go F2P because they couldn't compete. They had a free trial to let people try the game before playing it, but the game was actually not good enough to make enough money to justify being sub-based, so they had to go F2P.

    Blizzard isn't close to going F2P. I'm not sure what the main point of the thread was, unless it was just "this is what I think Blizzard should do in the very far future when they have to go F2P." Blizzard has a starter edition and free trials to allow new players to experience it before investing a huge load of money and subbing, not because they are experimenting with or thinking about going F2P.

  10. #10
    I am Murloc! Airwaves's Avatar
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    If you really want to play a "f2p" game it ends up costing a lot more then sub games. Anyone who thinks other wise hasn't played a f2p game.
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  11. #11
    Elemental Lord Arbs's Avatar
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    WoW makes them alots of money = there is no reason they would have to change the payment model.

    WoW isn't even close to a F2P model, the most that could ever happen is the Trial is boosted to lvl 30 or 40.
    Last edited by Arbs; 2012-12-10 at 05:29 AM.

  12. #12
    There is no reason for Blizz to change WoW to f2p until they drop to what 100k from current 8-9mil subscribers.. OPs suggestion is a type of limited access or extended trial if you wanna call it, basically lvl to cap but some content like most of the raid, dungeons and battlegrounds being locked until you subscribe or buy a limited time pass.. Age of Conan has a similar thing going for about 2 years now

  13. #13
    Scarab Lord Mokoshne's Avatar
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    why would they go free to play when they are raking in the cash from subscriptions? doesnt make sense
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  14. #14
    Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic is not an MMO, so I don't know why you included that in your list.

  15. #15
    1. Market is oversaturated BECAUSE of WoW.
    2. They'd lose cash if they'd use this system. You'd only punish people who do PvP as most players don't care about Raids/HC Raids/Challenge mode. So giving everyone else the game for free is pretty much a groin shot against the PvP community.
    3. What could be possibly gained from changing to this system? F2P isn't the holy grail, in fact it hurts the players more then it helps but most aren't able to recognize it. Because if you want to play competively you usually end up paying more then for an subscription game, it just FEELS like less.

  16. #16
    Dreadlord Harmonious's Avatar
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    This would be not work, it would mean a large majority of the player base, myself including, would no longer have to pay anything for what they do in the game. This wouldn't make money it would only loose it, a lot of it at that.

    Wow works fine as it is, the reason being is that it has such a large player base, I can't see it ever falling below 5 million active subscribers, and even then that would have to happen of the course of 3 or 4 expansions, nothing Blizzard could do would cause it to loose that many subscribers faster than that.

    If anything in my opinion Blizzard could hike the price up a bit and still nearly all active subscribers would remain, sure people will complain but let's be honest though, hardly any of them will protest with their wallet and stop subscribing.

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