The undisputed King of the MMORPG realm is clearly Blizzard’s wildly popular World of Warcraft (WoW).
Although the iconic game first went live years ago, it still boasts an impressive number of players around the world. Blizzard has also rolled out numerous expansion packs for WoW, with the latest DLC dubbed Mists of Pandaria.
Like other MMORPG video games, World of Warcraft finds it challenging to keep subscribers paying and happy. Just recently, we learned the online world had lost approximately 1 million subscribers.
Blizzard has been trying to stem the loss and lure more players by debuting a free-to-play starter version of the game. The goal of the starter version is to get players hooked and then have them pay to advance their characters beyond level 20.
World of Warcraft producer John Lagrave recently told CVG that allowing newcomers to play for free to level 20 gives them “a good sense of what our game is.” However, some industry watchers now wonder aloud whether or not the game should be free to play above 20.
“You know, we looked at it lots, we looked at whether Level 20 would give you a good sense of what our game is, and we think it does,” said Lagrave. “There’s also a lot of things in the game that are special that we want to reserve for our paying customers.”
It should be noted that WoW competitor Star Wars: The Old Republic recently went free to play after a massive subscriber exodus. As of now, Blizzard does not intend to expand the free to play model with World of Warcraft beyond level 20. However, Lagrave did acknowledge that Blizzard had “slid some of the pay-four features in the first 20 levels.”