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WoW: accessibility is the best way to provide “an onramp to the game,” not F2P – Blizzard

Saturday, 9 November 2013 21:43 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

Blizzard co-founder and CEO Mike Morhaime has said when it comes to World of Warcraft, it’s important to keep content fresh and new, but not so much that the game is no longer recognizable.

Speaking with IGN during BlizzCon, Morhaime said when creating new content for the MMO, all players whether current, new, or returning, are taken into consideration.

“I think that WoW still has a long future ahead of itself,” Morhaime told IGN. “I think it’s really up to us to continue looking at ways to keep the gameplay feeling fresh and new. Adding new things to the game. Making the game more accessible for not only new players, but also players that played WoW at one point in time, and want to come back. I think maybe an unintended consequence of adding all of this content is that when you layer in complexity and add new things, the people who aren’t keeping up with all of that feel like they’re getting further and further behind.

“When they do come back to the game, so much has changed that it doesn’t feel as familiar as we want it to. I want it to feel like coming home. People invest so much time in building up their character, when they come back, even if they took a break for a couple of years, I want it to feel like it’s familiar, that they miss it, that they want to re-engage with the game.”

Morhaime also elaborated on his free-to-play comments made during BlizzCon’s opening ceremony, stating such a change wouldn’t be as trivial as many seem to think, and that accessibility – not going F2P – is the best way to provide “an onramp to the game.”

“If I had to prioritize, it’s our active players at number one, our returning players at number two, and then probably third is players who, after nine years, haven’t tried it yet,” Morhaime said. “People are doing different things. People are getting older. Nine years ago, some people weren’t old enough to play WoW. Now they are. We want to be there to be the MMO of choice for them as they grow up.

“I think that changing it into a free-to-play game is not necessarily very trivial considering the types of things we’d have to change. I think the focus should be on accessibility, providing a free onramp to the game. But if you really want to play WoW for any length of time, I think we’ll stick with subscriptions.”

Morhaime said he doesn’t see the MMO heading to consoles any time soon, although the possibility has been discussed by the team in the past. Instead, he feels there’s an “opportunity to have some type of connection to the world from mobile devices,” bu the team has yet to figure it out.

“I don’t think consoles are necessarily our best opportunity for World of Warcraft,” he said. “In terms of gameplay, our focus is going to stay on the PC, and then we’ll continue looking at ways you might be able to interact with the world from other devices.”

World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor was announced as the next expansion to the MMO during BlizzCon 2013, and you can get caught up on all it entails, including information on the new Garrisons through our previous post.

Click through to also have a look at faction zones, and the orc homeworld of Draenor through videos and screenshots.

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10 Comments

  1. TheWulf

    It depends on what they mean by that.

    As a short-sighted person, I find WoW positively hostile compared to, say, Skyrim. It’s only mods that could make it playable, and even then they restrict what mods can do to make it tolerable. So if they mean accessibility in regards to making it easier for severely disabled people to play, I’d have to call them on that because that’s a lie.

    Of course, they could mean “accessibility” in regards to PR slang, which simply means making the game easier. And yeah, they can do that. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, either, as not everyone likes soul-sucking grind. So if removing more of the grinds and giant raids is their plan for the future, that might be a good plan.

    But in regards to the original meaning to accessibility? No. There are games out there which are much better than WoW. The first Guild Wars, for example, contained the ability to move and scale any UI element. Even better is Champions Online, where I actually got to talk to the UI designers (and they were lovely people), and I was able to tell them what makes for easier use for someone with bad sight.

    The floating arrow in CO was added because I asked for it, I told them that the way they’d redone the map would be nigh impossible for a disabled person to make out, so they’d need to come up with a better solution. And I suggested the arrow.

    Lovely people.

    But yeah, Champions Online and Guild Wars are both better examples of the true meaning of accessibility. WoW? Not so much.

    #1 1 year ago
  2. dizzygear

    @1 Personally i think all those mods in WoW make it less accessible. There are so many “must have” mods because the default UI in WoW is a POS and some other mods are simply must haves because the give a huge advantage to players without those mods. And dont get me started on all the raid related mods.

    Personally i doubt i’ll ever play WoW again no matter how accessible they make it. After Tera’s action based combat system the classic MMO combat system “press tab to target and spam what ever spells you have” just does not cut it any more for me.

    #2 1 year ago
  3. Hcw87

    @1
    What are you on about? There are addons for pretty much anything in WoW (other MMO’s don’t even have addon support nowadays, ATLEAST nowhere near the support in WoW) and there are several disabled people playing WoW.

    http://www.twitch.tv/aieron is one guy for example

    http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=3&cad=rja&ved=0CEUQFjAC&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.artifex.org%2F~bonnie%2FLIM_disabilites-26.pdf&ei=1r9-Uvj-B-S34AT59oDIDQ&usg=AFQjCNE8N7uppWpUK8Mi1MmWB7XURps1kg&sig2=feWkziExMEAJswtCT8YzNg

    ^
    A study of disabled raiders in WoW (yes the link is huge, because the original PDF isn’t hosted on the original server anymore).

    So, it helps if you actually do some research before you post.

    ”The first Guild Wars, for example, contained the ability to move and scale any UI element.” <— Again, there are addons to do this since 2006.

    #3 1 year ago
  4. DSB

    One thing that always struck me as a little cheeky on Blizzards end is how they’d take the most popular mods and make their own versions of them, and then introduce them as “new features”.

    Fair enough, I guess that’s listening to your audience, but it must’ve been kind of a let down for the devs.

    @3 Not only that, but WoW also produced disabled raiders.

    On my old server there was this one really elite guy who was kinda well known because he knew his shit, but he had this brittle bone disease, and one night he actually snapped his arm during a raid.

    To me, at least, he was legendary just for that. Blood was fucking spilled.

    #4 1 year ago
  5. dizzygear

    #3 “The first Guild Wars, for example, contained the ability to move and scale any UI element.” <— Again, there are addons to do this since 2006."

    I think his point was you should not need any mods to do something basic as that.

    #5 1 year ago
  6. Hcw87

    @5
    Installing mods is as simple as it gets.

    I’m also 100% positive that @1 plays Skyrim with mods. So i don’t get why he wouldn’t do the same with WoW.

    #6 1 year ago
  7. DarkElfa

    What bullshit. Once Wow’s subs drop to a certain percent, they’ll go F2P just like all the rest.

    #7 1 year ago
  8. Darkfield

    @Hcw87 well TheWulf obviously haven’t heard of Curse Client and while blizzard’s own ui is crap the biggest, baddest, most feature rich ui pack is no more than a few megabytes his problem with WoW goes beyond those things. WoW was the most accessible mmo out there since the launch of Cataclysm.

    @7 maybe but 10 years is hell of a long time to be the top dog even at half of the sub numbers. This game has a good 5 more years before going that route.

    #8 1 year ago
  9. GrimRita

    Love how they are saying this now about the future of WoW, when their next big MMO has be delayed.

    @7 – and even if it did, 10 years as a paid to play MMO gives it a right to switch to F2P if it wishes, unlike the recent crop of shit MMOs they had to switch in record time.

    I haven’t played WoW in years, its dull, the content isnt fresh, its just reskinned crap packaged as ‘new’, but they have fun in their MMO. The Christmas stuff, the April fools etc etc has all helped keep WoW at the top of their game.

    #9 1 year ago
  10. viralshag

    WoW will never drop the sub option. They may eventually go free to play but I think there is enough hardcore fans that will be there to the end that will pay a sub no matter what.

    Similar to SWTOR and STO.

    #10 1 year ago

Comments are now closed on this article.

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    The PS4 has sold 20.2 million units worldwide. Sony announced the new PS4 sales milestone at GDC 2015 today. It’s a hell of an achievement and salt in the wounds for Microsoft, which hasn’t updated us on Xbox One sales since it shipped “almost” 10 million back in November last year, and has fallen back […]

  • PS4 VR headset Morpheus out in 2016, capable of 120 FPS – video

    Sony’s VR headset Project Morpheus has some impressive grunt. Virtual reality and Morpheus were the heart of Sony’s GDC 2015 presentation today, ahead of its newly announced first-half 2016 comemrcial launch. SCE Worldwide Studios boss Shuhei Yoshida detailed the headset’s impressive capabilities, notably the fact that it can handle 120 FPS VR games. The PS4 […]

  • Papo & Yo developer making a VR game about dinosaurs

    Some days you write a headline and it makes you so happy that that you have to do a little chair dance, you know what I mean? Papo & Yo developer Minority Media, whom I would personally go to the wall for after they cut out my heart and stomped on it via the medium […]

  • Wasteland 2, Shovel Knight and more in big ole bunch of indies coming to Xbox One

    Xbox One owners are about to receive a pile of great new indie games. At GDC 2015, Microsoft revealed a list of new indie games headed to Xbox One. Some of these titles have already released on other platforms, so it looks like Microsoft has really relaxed the parity clause of ID@Xbox – or perhaps […]

  • Here’s an indie VR game made with Unreal Engine 4

    GDC 2015 is blowing up with indie games, VR and Unreal Engine 4, so here’s a video combining all three. Loading Human is a virtual reality adventure from indie developer Untold Games. It’s in the works for Mac and PC, and Sony has given an early green light for Project Morpheus, too, so expect it […]

  • GTA Online: Daily Objectives and Adversary Mode coming next week

    Heists aren’t the only thing coming to GTA Online next week: players can also expect Adversary Modes, new Daily Objectives and other Freemode activities. GTA Online’s Adversary Modes are new PvP modes which feature a range of competitive challenges and will unlock as players progress through Heists. Here’s a rundown straight from Rockstar: Come Out […]

  • Syndicate is the latest free game download on Origin

    The latest free title to be added to EA’s Origin service is 1993′s Syndicate. For a limited time, you can download the game for free and keep it, much like previous titles such as Theme Hospital. The isometric, real-time, tactical-action game was developed by Bullfrog Productions and released in June 1993. It is a favorite […]

  • Ancient Labyrinth DLC for Lords of the Fallen now available

    The Ancient Labyrinth DLC for Lords of the Fallen is now available for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. It will run you $7.99 and builds upon the existing lore, characters, and storyline. Have a look at some new screenshots in the gallery below.

  • Shadowrun Online gets a name change and release date

    Shadowrun Online developer Cliffhanger Productions has announced the game’s name has been changed to Shadowrun Chronicles: Boston Lockdown and a release date for April has been set. The new title was formed via the developer and its Kickstarter backers, with the goal being to let those unfamiliar with the game know by the title alone […]

  • Amazon hosting Rockstar and 2K Games sale

    Amazon is hosting a Rockstar Games and 2K Games sale with discounts Max Payne titles, Bully and more. Here’s just some of the offerings listed: Manhunt 2 PC Download $3.00 Max Payne 3 PC Download $4.00 Bully: Scholarship Edition PC Download $3.00 LA Noire Xbox 360 $2.95 L.A. Noire: The Complete Edition PC Download $6.00 […]

  • Destiny weekly reset video shows off Inferno Crucible gameplay

    We have a gameplay video featuring Inferno Crucible gameplay featured in the Destiny weekly reset for you. In it, Arekkz Gaming gives you a look at Inferno Crucible and goes over the various intricacies. You can read up on the weekly reset through the links.

  • Resident Evil: Revelations 2 Episode 2 available from today

    Episode 2 for Resident Evil: Revelations 2 is now available. If you’ve purchased the Complete Season, you’ll be able to download Episode 2 on PS3, PS4 and Xbox One. Steam players should see the episode go live around 9-10pm PST, and Xbox 360 owners should be able to download very early tomorrow morning, per Capcom […]

  • Here’s a sneak peek video for Warhammer: End Times – Vermintide

    Fatshark Games has released a sneak peek video for its upcoming Games Workshop title, Warhammer: End Times – Vermintide. Vermintide is a FPS, co-op action title coming to PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, and its set during the End Times of the Warhammer universe in the city of Ubersreik. Warhammer: End Times – Vermintide […]

  • Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare video shows Ascendance DLC early access weapon

    As you know, Xbox Season Pass holders now have early access to the Ascendance DLC Pack bonus weapons for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. Now you can watch a trailer for the weapon. The OHM directed energy hybrid weapon can switch between an LMG and Shotgun “on the fly,” and it also includes the OHM-Werewolf […]

  • March PS Plus games include OlliOlli 2, Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty, more

    March PlayStation Plus titles have popped up on the PS Plus page. Noticed by NeoGAF user skynidas, the titles include: OlliOlli2 (PS4/VITA) Valiant Hearts: The Great War (PS4) Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty (PS4) Counterspy (PS4/PS3) Papo & Yo (PS3) Sherlock Holmes: Crimes and Punishment (PS3) A notice has also been posted on the EU PS […]

  • Sci-fi horror game Caffeine will release on Xbox One, PS4 alongside PC – new trailer

    Caffeine creator Dylan Browne has announced the Unreal Engine 4 game will be released on Xbox One. The game will be published through Microsoft’s Indie Program. As previously announced, it is also coming to PC and and now PlayStation 4. Caffeine is a sci-fi horror game which stars a young boy who has been abandoned […]

  • Xbox 360 Preview program invites going out this month

    Much like the Xbox One Preview program, starting early this month, invites for the Xbox 360 Preview program will start rolling out. Select invitees will be able to join program directly from their Xbox 360. A special Xbox Live message will be sent, directing users to head over to their Settings page. Further instructions are […]

  • Tron: Legacy director in negotiations for Gran Turismo film

    Tron: Legacy director Joseph Kosinski is said to be in early negotiations to direct the Gran Turismo film. This is according to the Hollywood Reporter, which states Michael De Luca is still slated as one of the producers alongside Matt Milam, Dana Brunetti, Josh Bratman, DeVon Franklin and Elizabeth Cantillon. Plot details are still unknown […]

  • Fifth add-on pack for Alien: Isolation is available for download

    The Trigger, which is is the fifth add-on pack for Alien: Isolation, is available to download from today. In it, players will “compete against the clock” across three new maps in Survivor Mode. Set before the events of the main game, players step into the shoes of Sevastopol Station’s Ricardo who will do what he […]

  • HBO Go app now available on PlayStation 4

    Sony has announced the HBO Go app will be made available for download later today for PlayStation 4. The app works just like the PS version. Now you can watch True Detective, Game of Thrones, Veep and more through your console. Information on installation is available through the PS Blog.

  • Skyrim mods no longer restricted to 100MB in size

    Bethesda has announced a beta for Creation Kit update 1.9.33, lifts the 100MB size restriction for Skyrim mod makers. The beta is for both Skyrim’s PC launcher and the Creation Kit which will allow for unlimited file sizes. Here are the notes: Creation Kit 1.9.33 Update Creation Kit now supports unlimited file sizes for mods […]

  • Mad Max release date set for September, PS3 and Xbox 360 versions canned

    Mad Max from Just Cause developer Avalanche Studios has been given a September release date, along with the new of a last-gen cancellation. The axing of the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions were announced via Game Informer. Mad Max is the magazine’s featured game for the April issue. Avalanche, according GI, nixed development on […]

  • MGS 5: The Phantom Pain out in September, Kojima “closing the loop” on saga

    Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain will be released in September, according to an IGN Italy video, which also features Hideo Kojima discussing “With Metal Gear Solid 5, I’m finally “closing the loop” on the Metal Gear saga. The video has since been removed, but an image cap of the date is posted above. […]

  • Forza Horizon 2 Rockstar Energy Car Pack now available

    The Rockstar Energy Car Pack for Forza Horizon 2 for Xbox One is available now, alongside the free car for March. The free car is the Acura Integra Type-R, and the Rockstar pack included the following vehicles: 2014 Volkswagen Beetle GRC 2015 Subaru WRX STI 1996 BMW 850CSi 2015 Jaguar XFR-S 1970 Volkswagen #1107 Desert […]

  • 3DS firmware update kills web browser exploit

    Nintendo has issued a 3DS firmware update which fixes a web browser exploit that was being used to run pirated Game Boy Color ROMs since January as well as inject code within downloadable games. Another piece of code, per Eurogamer, changed the setting on the handheld to make it region-free. The exploit was only available […]

  • Unreal Tournament video shows updated textures on Outpost 23

    The latest footage from Epic’s new Unreal Tournament has surfaced, and it shows off the game’s first high-textured map which is called Outpost 23. As you can see from Zaccubus’ video, its the same are which Epic showed in the flythrough video from last year, only with updated textures and some new areas outside. The […]

  • Final add-on for Sunset Overdrive arrives in April

    The final add-on for Sunset Overdrive, Dawn of the Rise of the Fallen Machines, will be released in April. On April 1 to be exact. No, that’s not an April Fool’s joke from Insomniac Games either. Below, you can watch a fist-look at the new story, area, and traversal mechanic.

  • Heroes of the Storm playable at EGX Rezzed

    Heroes of the Storm will be playable at EGX Rezzed. This will be the first UK public hands-on with the online team brawler. Blizzard will also host giveaways and friendly tournaments at its stand. Tickets for all three days of Rezzed are still available, and you can purchase a pass through the official website. EGX […]

  • PES 2015 Data Pack 4 coming next week with Winter Transfers, new faces

    Data Pack 4 for Pro Evolution Soccer 2015 has been dated, and it updates the game with Winter Transfers, new player faces, and additional stadiums. The latest free update contains real-time player transfers made within the January window, and player ratings have also been updated. Additionally, a number of improved likenesses to key players will […]

  • Here’s the changelog for Dragon Age: Inquisition Patch 5

    Notes for upcoming Patch 5 for Dragon Age: Inquisition have been posted, noting improvements to gameplay and stability, and the new features outlined back in early February. Along with the new party storage system added to the Undercroft at Skyhold, players also have the ability to adjust the size of subtitles. Below you will find […]