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.