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

Saturday, 9th 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 10 months 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 10 months 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 10 months 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 10 months 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 10 months 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 10 months ago
  7. DarkElfa

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

    #7 10 months 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 10 months 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 10 months 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 10 months ago

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