Blizzard “not sure” if free-to-play is “the best model,” for WoW right now

Thursday, 27 October 2011 17:02 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

Blizzard president Mike Morhaime has admitted the subscription-funded MMO market is a difficult one “to compete in,” but considering the value players get when paying a monthly fee, he feels free-to-play “doesn’t necessarily make for a better game.”

Speaking in an interview with Eurogamer during BlizzCon, Morhaime, like BioWare, doesn’t believe The Old Republic will be the “last large scale MMO” to use a subscription business model, despite a lot of “quality free-to-play experiences,” which are competing with sub-based MMOs in the market.

“I think it’s very expensive to make these games, especially if you’re expecting people to pay a monthly fee just to play the game, he said. “And so there are very few companies that can compete at that high level with those types of budgets. Definitely if you’re not charging anybody, they’re going to be a lot more forgiving about the experience they have.

“They haven’t paid anything. So in terms of developers entering the market, I can understand why a lot of games might choose to go free-to-play.

“For us, and even for EA with the Star Wars game, I think that the value that you get for the $15 a month is just unmatched. I don’t think you can get that amount of entertainment value anywhere. I’d put the $15 up against anything.

“I think that there’s an underlying, a fundamental assumption right now, that the less you charge, the more money you make. Which isn’t true. And it doesn’t necessarily make for a better game. I mean, everybody likes free… I think that definitely, players have seen a lot of really great quality free-to-play experiences, but I’m not sure it’s the best model for us right now.”

While WoW still charges a monthly fee, those who wish to give it go before signing up can download the game for free and continue to play for free until their character reaches level 20.


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  1. Giskard

    What he means is that while 10 million people pay them 15 dollars a month, they’re not changing a thing. Because that’s a lot of money, for no work at all.

    #1 3 years ago
  2. Edo

    Greedy bastards!

    #2 3 years ago
  3. silkvg247

    I have to say I probably did get more out of wow for 8 quid a month than most games would give.

    #3 3 years ago
  4. GrimRita

    I guess for some, WoW offers ‘value for money’ but for others, it does take the piss. Addtional expansions cost money, ‘new’ content is just the same old NPCs recoloured in ‘yet another dungeon’.

    And, to top it all off, Blizzard have been taking MT’s from players for pets.

    But if you are really into this(or any game that charges) then sure, it probably IS great value for money. At least something like WoW wont be closed down any time soon, like the majority of cloned MMOs out there.

    Games like SWTWoW will find it hard to charge £9 a month unless they deliver a steady release of engaging content and even Blizzard are finding hard to keep and attract new players to its dull MMO. I read somewhere that something like 15% of those who take up the trial actually stay and pay. Not a great return if you ask me.

    #4 3 years ago
  5. endgame

    when u have losers throwing money at u why would u make them stop!?

    #5 3 years ago
  6. Lounds

    Blizzard are Coke dealers in disguise, they’ll give a free gram, then bam you’re addicted.

    WoW is coke to gamers and Blizzard is the king pin of dealers.

    This game has ruined my friendship with my best friend.

    #6 3 years ago
  7. Ireland Michael

    @6 The difference here being that one is actually a physically addictive substance that the body physically craves and can suffer severe side-effects in the withdrawal from… and the other is a choice.

    What your friend needs is a some home truths. If he’s not willing to listen, the problem and fault is entirely with him.

    #7 3 years ago
  8. DarkElfa

    That was a stupid statement Michael. Mental, Emotional and Psychological addiction can be far worse than anything physical it can manifest itself physically on the health of the addicted.

    #8 3 years ago
  9. mojo

    f2p is the worst model for any game.
    as soon as a game is f2p u know its not worth playing.

    #9 3 years ago
  10. Ireland Michael

    @8 But a person can choose to get off those “addictions” with far less long term harm than any dangerous drug can ever do to your system.

    It’s a video game. You’re choosing to play it. And it is far easier to quit a personal addiction than it is a physical one. This is a simple scientific fact

    Blaming Blizzard is idiotic. “The first step is in admitting you have a problem” A person needs to take responsibility and blame for their own actions instead of pointing the finger at someone else.

    #10 3 years ago
  11. DarkElfa

    Well, now you’re expecting people to act reasonably and with a shear ounce of personal responsibility.

    Let’s not get crazy in here. ;)

    #11 3 years ago
  12. Ireland Michael

    @11 Hahaha.

    Well, yeah, I know. But the guy was blaming Blizzard for his friend’s own problems.

    World of Warcraft isn’t comparable to a drug addiction because, even if you don’t enjoy the experience anymore, your body isn’t going to go into severe withdrawal and screw itself up just because you no longer have your “fix”.

    If it does… then ou have bigger issues to worry about. =P

    I played WoW for nearly five years, and I never felt addicted to the game. I never felt there was any reasonable argument to neglect my family or friends for the sake of committing to a guild of people whose only only sole motivating for interacting with me was so that they can get some virtual loot.

    I enjoyed the challenge of the game at the end levels, and how you actually needed to work to get your hands on decent gear to progress to higher level content, but as soon as that philosophy went out the window and it becomes a face-rolling noobfest, I dropped the game entirely.

    I don’t understand at all how people get “fixed” on this game, and I never will. If you’re addicted to it, the problem isn’t with the game.

    #12 3 years ago

    O’Connor, you really are clueless.

    So how long have you been a psychologist??

    Stop talking about things that you have no idea about. It really, really does just make you look incredibly stupid.

    #13 3 years ago
  14. DarkElfa

    @12, Well, These game developers do put an insane amount of research into how to best hook their consumers and keep them hooked. A lot of psychological research.

    These guys want us addicted. But no, it will always be the person’s own fault. They make the choice to play, knowing how it can be and if they didn’t know, it’s their fault for not doing the research.

    #14 3 years ago
  15. Ireland Michael

    @13 “There’s no doubt that some substances, like alcohol, opiates, and the likes, leave long term users with horrible withdrawal symptoms that are terrible to watch, and even worse to go through.”

    Funny, that sounds like exactly what I said.

    I never said that psychological addictions were some sort of “Oh, I’ll just quit” easy-ville thing.

    The stress alone of trying to quit such personal emotional reliances alone will obviously impact on your body, but a psychological addiction is *not* going to leave you with the kind of physical dependencies that you body goes through under the influence of things like serious drugs.

    If they’re present for a long time, your entire body tries to alter the way it works in order to accept these new substances into its system that otherwise shouldn’t be there. It becomes so used to these alterations in your body’s natural way of doing things that it starts assuming there’s something wrong with you they’re no longer there. This causes serious physical side affects. The “addiction” is simply your brain’s way of telling you “I NEED THIS THING TO FUNCTION! AND I NEED IT NOW!”

    That last part is present in psychological addiction as well (which is what the article is getting at), but it doesn’t have any of of the physical side effects, because your body isn’t depending on an actual substance.

    It’s a completely different process, and its dealt with completely differently on both a personal and professional level. Physical addictions often require weening off of due to the the risk of causing permanent physical harm to your body. Psychological addictions don’t.

    There are addictive substances in coke. There are no addictive substances in a DVD. Weening off drugs can kill you. Weening off a video game will not.

    I have sat down and discussed this subject countless times with medical professionals myself, which includes my own partner, who has certified qualifications and years of medical experiences in these subjects, and her work colleagues.

    I can pretty much guarantee that this is more knowledge and experience that you have regarding the subject.

    I’m going to have far more sympathy and respect for a man or woman who can get themselves out of a potentially life crippling drug addiction than I ever will for someone who says they can’t quit World of Warcraft.

    Comparing the two is a joke.

    #15 3 years ago

    I never said that psychological addictions were some sort of “Oh, I’ll just quit” easy-ville thing.

    No, you said: “It’s a video game. You’re choosing to play it. And it is far easier to quit a personal addiction than it is a physical one. This is a simple scientific fact

    O RLY?

    And this scientific fact comes from which study, exactly? Please bring some quotes and proofs, because I’m not really interested in the ‘reasoning’ of someone who probably has about as much of a background in psychology as a WWE wrestler.

    Funny, that sounds like exactly what I said.

    Selective quoting, much?

    And what makes it even worse, is that it’s an article that I linked to! Try taking your own advice and reading past the first paragraph.

    I can pretty much guarantee that this is more knowledge and experience that you have regarding the subject.

    From the nonsense you’ve come out with so far, you clearly don’t.

    I’d like to see you explain your views on just how much more easy it is to quit gambling, than it is to quit a drug, to a gambling addict, for example. Now that would be funny.

    #16 3 years ago
  17. Ireland Michael

    The page you linked to a gross simplification of a subject you likely have no actual personal knowledge of. You’re trying to discuss something with me just to try and “prove” me wrong, and not because you have any interest in the subject matter.

    Holding a discussion with you is like interacting with a monkey. If you actually think I’d waste my breath on this topic with you beyond that one quick post above, you’re kidding yourself.

    Anyone else? Sure.

    #17 3 years ago
  18. Ireland Michael

    @16 Now here, have some awesome music.

    #18 3 years ago
  19. DarkElfa

    On the other hand, I imagine you can as much blame Bliizard for intentionally creating Gaming crack the same way you can blame the guys who developed actual crack.

    Just playing devil’s advocate.

    #19 3 years ago

    How childish.

    Run away again, it’s what you always do.

    I take that as an acknowledgement that you’ve been caught out pretending to know about a subject that you actually have no knowledge of.


    First the game development process, then human psychology…

    Whatever next?

    #20 3 years ago
  21. Lounds

    Well my diagnosis of my friend is he’s depressed and WoW is his escapisum, he needs to escape life to be happy and WoW is this living world in which he feels he has a better presence and overall completness. I can go round and say do you wanna go out play frisbee/football, go out for a drink some where, and he’ll ignor me and say that he’s “in a raid”.

    #21 3 years ago
  22. Ireland Michael

    @21 Then you need to tell him that.

    If he’s a real friend, he’ll appreciate the fact that you care and want to help. If he’s not willing to listen, you can find better friends – ones who are actually invested in your as much as you are in them.

    Some people do just do this sort of thing simply because they really are just lazy, unmotivated under-achievers. There isn’t always a deep psychological reason behind this stuff.

    #22 3 years ago
  23. DSB

    Having played WoW for a few years, it was pretty obvious to me that for the mentally unstable people that you ran into, it really wasn’t soothing or helpful to them, it just allowed them to stay in their sluggish, sad state, although perhaps the whole pseudo-relationships that you form in a guild helped them a bit.

    Still, not as much as actually doing something about their ailments would. It’s a really bad game for people who need an excuse to just sit around and mope all day.

    I don’t meddle with other peoples problems, but I reckon a night out with some heavy partying would be a lot more cathartic than a raid in WoW ever could be.

    #23 3 years ago
  24. Ireland Michael

    @23 It’s funny you mention the “pseudo-relationships that you form in a guild” No matter what guilds I checked out, it was the lack of a sense of real friendship between the members in them that was one of the things about the game that eventually turned me off it completely.

    90% of the time, they were just people who grouped together to help each other earn some “phat loot”.

    I know such guilds do exist with people who know each other in real life, but the few people I know locally who played the game quit long before I did.

    The other guilds? Cheating housewives and lecherous old perverts. Man, I have some fucked stories from other people’s real lives from my time in that game.

    #24 3 years ago
  25. viralshag

    @15, If you don’t consider quitting a psychological addiction a “easy-ville thing”, then why would you not have any sympathey for someone who can’t quit a video game addiction?

    #25 3 years ago
  26. DSB

    @24 Well it all revolves around the game.

    The pseudo thing is obviously a generalization, and like you say there would be the “SUPER TIGHT” guilds that actually went to meet eachother and stuff. That even happened in my old raiding guild. People would travel across Europe and meet eachother, but at the end of the day, you’re building it around a game you play together, not the fact that you connect as people.

    Although I certainly did feel for my guildmates. One died in a carcrash and that certainly made the realness shine through for a minute. There were some truly great people in there. But that sort of relationship would never replace one I had with my real friends though.

    It’s like team mates versus real mates. One has a time and a place, and the others are always there.

    #26 3 years ago
  27. Ireland Michael

    @25 I didn’t say I wouldn’t have any. I said I would have a lot less.

    One rips apart your body as well as your mind. The other is a convenient excuse to do nothing to sort out other problems in your life. The guy with the drug addiction is fighting overwhelming and potentially life threatening odds to make his life better. The other… isn’t.

    World of Warcraft is only a potential enabler for other problems. Drugs are far worse than that, and affect you on levels beyond just the psychological.

    Even when your have a drug addiction, there are often psychological motives that drew you to consider them in the first place. That’s two layers of problems to get through right there.

    But some people are just losers and don’t want to do anything with their lives besides sit at home and play video games. It’s easy and comfortable, and free of that stressful little beast of a concept known as “responsibility”, that your parents are supposed to spend their lives raising you to understand and embrace.

    #27 3 years ago
  28. viralshag

    Making decent friends online that become friends in real life is totally dependant on yourself as a person. I have made some great friends over the years that I happily meet up with in real life when the opportunity comes around.

    I would also consider some of them just as valuable as my real life mates, the only difference is I see my main group of friends on a much more regular basis.

    I also just think some people are easier to get on with than others.

    #28 3 years ago
  29. viralshag

    @27, “The other is a convenient excuse to do nothing to sort out other problems in your life.”

    That sounds a lot like a reason why someone would turn to drugs or alcohol or smoking, just as much a game. You are almost talking about people trying to get over a physical addiction as if they had no idea there was a chance they could become addicted.

    #29 3 years ago
  30. Ireland Michael

    @29 Drugs have the added burden of physically addictive substance that you body can react in dangerous, sometimes fatal fashions.

    “You are almost talking about people trying to get over a physical addiction as if they had no idea there was a chance they could become addicted.”

    No, it’s just a lot, lot harder.

    Alcohol for example, is psychological. Any effects wear off, and there is no “addictive” substance in it. It’s an enabler.

    Nicotine on the other hand, does things to your body that cause long term and potentially dangerous alterations to the way the chemical in your body are processed.

    Your body not only has to adjust to any possibly psychological dependencies, but significant changes in the way chemicals and hormones in your system are being processed as well. When your body is suddenly missing that particular substance, it freaks out and thinks something is wrong.

    This is obviously really fucking dangerous. The affects of alternations in your body due to tobacco smoking alone can last for months after you quit.

    People may be aware of the addiction before they start, but the effects on the body cannot simply be “ignored”. They need to be monitored and controlled for a long time, until the effects wear off. Simply going cold turkey can be very dangerous, especially in the cases of serious drug abuse. This doesn’t exist in a psychological addiction.

    #30 3 years ago
  31. DaMan

    I wonder where you got that cocaine causes physical dependance and alcohol doesn’t. But hey, if it’s written on the interwebs it must be true.

    Fun site vg247 has become.

    #31 3 years ago
  32. Lounds

    I’m sorry but a WoW player is gonna be in denial of the fact that the game is addictive after playing for 5 years or whatever.

    #32 3 years ago
  33. DSB

    Alcohol bridges the gap. Some people are psychologically addicted, but quite a few are also physically addicted.

    It’s not coincidental that certain ethnic groups, especially those that haven’t been subjected to alcohol in their genetic history, are far more prone to addiction and far less resistant to it.

    Unless they share the same consciousness through their race, I’d say that’s quite definitively biological.

    #33 3 years ago
  34. Ireland Michael

    @31 Alcohol doesn’t cause any sort of seriously physical dependence because there are no addictive substances in it that your body will end up “depending on” to fuction in the long term. Its effects wear off very quickly.

    Nobody is addicted to ethanol. They’re addicted to how it makes them feel. You would have to drink copious amounts of alcohol every single day for a very long on end in order for your body to become physically addicted to it in the literal sense of the world. Most reactions are psychological.

    Like DSB said, it’s more of a bridge than anything else.

    Prolonged use will obviously cause damage to your body, but that’s not because of any sort of chemical fuckuppery. The substance itself is simply destroying you body on the inside.

    Snarky remarks like “Oh, it must be true cause it’s on the web. Hur hur” don’t really add anything of value to the debate. This is a proven scientific fact. Your doctor alone could confirm this for you.

    It can happen, but the quantities are huge and it’s very uncommon. Its not the cause of most alcoholism.

    #34 3 years ago
  35. DaMan

    I make snarky remarks because you’re laughable.

    Opiates cause physical dependance, because they substitute endorphines, same stuff that you get naturally from certain activities and ultimately you stop getting them, thus becoming dependent on it. Cocaine does nothing of that sort, it just stimulates your central nervous system. Chronic alcoholism leads to physical dependance in very late stages, when there’s delirium. If you call cocaine addiction ‘physical’ then alcoholism more so.

    Believe what you want, it’s not like you ‘re ever going to get it in Europe.

    #35 3 years ago
  36. Ireland Michael

    Get what in Europe?

    #36 3 years ago
  37. DaMan


    #37 3 years ago
  38. Ireland Michael

    @37 Not that I would ever want the stuff, but it’s incredibly easy to get your hands on that sort of thing not only in Ireland, but in most of Europe as well.

    Illegal drugs are not a rare source in this continent, I assure you.

    #38 3 years ago
  39. DaMan

    Ilegal drugs are not, cocaine is.

    Anyway, drugs are bad. Remeber that.

    #39 3 years ago
  40. Ireland Michael

    @39 “Cocaine is.”

    No, it really, really isn’t.

    #40 3 years ago
  41. DaMan

    Look, Whatever floats your boat. Perhaps it isn’t if you work at DEA, or if you’re Amy Winehouse (my apologies, but that just was the first person that came into my mind).

    #41 3 years ago
  42. Ireland Michael

    @41 “or if you’re Amy Winehouse”

    I’ll admit, horrible as it may be, that made me laugh.

    No, literally, any 20 – 30 something in this country knows at least half a dozen people either by coincidence or choice that could easily get their hands on the stuff at request. It really, really isn’t rare. At all.

    #42 3 years ago
  43. DaMan

    See, it sure is not ‘easy’. I know theoretically you should know better about your country, but I find that hard to believe. That you can get yourself aspirin mixed with amphetamines is very true though.

    #43 3 years ago
  44. viralshag

    No, I can tell you right now, in London, it’s not that hard to get your hands on it at all. And it really is easy. Like Mike said, by coincidence I could pull two or three numbers from my phone that, well let’s just say they have more than just a day job.

    #44 3 years ago
  45. Ireland Michael

    @43 Just out of curiosity DaMan, where are you from?

    #45 3 years ago
  46. DaMan

    Eastern Europe. It’s not the likes of Bulgaria or Armenia, second largest city.

    You should know better folks, we just have to agree to disagree. I do find that a tad bit humorous though, no offence. Even acid (and I mean lsd-25) is more common and less risk to get something else instead where I’m coming from.

    Bottom line: drugs = bad, even worse when they’re easily available!

    #46 3 years ago

Comments are now closed on this article.

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