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This Isn’t a Sign They’re Scrambling? [WoW]

So not to be a cynic, but how is this anything other than Blizzard admitting that they’ve gone as far as they can go. That’s it. WoW has peaked and the next year will solidify its decline into its Golden Years. That is the exact message I take from this.

I mean, think about it. How ludicrous is it that they would be charging extra to connect with your friends? Giving players cross-server instancing is only a good thing for Blizzard; when players play with friends, they have more fun, and probably won’t think twice about re-upping when that subscription comes due. No, this is 100% milking. You have money. You have something you’d like to do. Blizzard is ready to help.

This is how I see it: From now until years after Titan has launched and assumed dominance in the market, WoW will open up more and more paid services. Things we’d never have paid extra for pre-WotLK — I mean, really, why charge for this and not the dungeon finder itself? They’re both convenience services that keep the player happy and do very little more other than throw people into a pre-made group. Guess what? Video games have been doing that for years. It’s MMOs that have been behind the curve, and the long-past-due adoption of letting players play with their friends, despite what any newbie will surely consider an arbitrary decision in server choice, is something we great happily when perhaps we’d better be suited to breathing a sigh of relief. Whew. It’s about time. Different times, folks, different times all in the course of two-and-a-half years.

So WoW will slowly open up more and more “premium” services, and smartphone apps, and cash shop pandas, until it eventually becomes free-to-play and once again kicks everyone’s ass because yet another huge barrier has been removed from the player’s way.

Maybe that just means this whole theory is wrong. WoW hasn’t peaked, it’s just plateued. But then, is a F2P WoW on par with a P2P WoW? Is it even comparable t0 2004 when we saw the game’s birth and some even swore they’d be there until the game’s death? I wonder if they’d have foreseen the future that’s likely to come.

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  1. Stabs

    I see it as a sign WOW is trying to milk as much money as possible from its remaining subscribers before the whole project slides into maintenance mode.

    There’s more to it of course. The RealId thing is about turning “WoW players” into “Blizzard game players” and is also part of corporate America’s war on personal privacy.
    Stabs recently posted..Rift- the PvE Purifier

  2. Jason S

    Very well summarized, Stabs. Blizzard is all about the Titan project (in terms of development funding) from here on out. If they can suck some more cash out of WoW subscribers as it begins to die, they will.

    And spot on about RealID! Instead of WoW subscribers, they have RealID subscribers. Because of this, when Titan rolls along it will be significantly easier for them to shuffle everyone over to their shiny new product.

    There is little doubt Blizzard is hunkering down and planning for their future. They are taking a page out of the $oE business model, where all decisions are based on squeezing every little penny out of the customer, rather than a desire to improve upon their product.

  3. Pai

    Well, apparently it was wise of me to quit WoW early into Cata. The slide started in WotLK, and it was clear the game was going in a direction that just wasn’t for people like me anymore. And now it seems that was on purpose by Blizzard, and they’re just going even further that way.

    I think I’m retiring from ‘serious’ MMORPGs for awhile, I keep being disappointed. At least I got 6 years of fun from WoW, but everything jumps the shark eventually I guess.

  4. Vudu

    I have been talking about this for years, and for someone else to say it is just music to my ears. Project Titan has taken the lead, World of Warcraft isn’t completely ousted but alienating the normal pay to play crowd is a well laid plan to turn World of Warcraft to a F2P model. Lets face it with RealID’s ability to connect Blizzard players, WoW going F2P would be an amazing jump for Blizzard to not only advertise their own products VIA RealID friends (Achievement linking etc.) but it will also keep making money from all of those that either never played WoW or those who can’t seem to leave it. Either way they make money while selling a product they don’t even have to sell. World of Warcraft will take a top position in MMO’s the moment it steps down from its current top position into the F2P world. This being said the game will likely see at least a few more years (after the pay to play model has been dropped) with possibly a few new expansions, that will undoubtedly be test beds for prospect employee’s and or a small game development company that they already have complete control over. This leads to more people with the experience to “bring it” in the MMO development industry. Ultimately they take another top position as the most powerful and influential MMO development co. Blizzard is surely becoming the “Microsoft of the MMO industry” hands down.

    -Vudu
    Vudu recently posted..A decade of kids

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