Here we go again!

The recently datamined info found on World of Warcraft’s public test server turned up an item, the Enduring Elixir of Wisdom, that offers a 100% XP buff from killing monsters and completing text. It seems like the kind of thing that would come from a cash shop – which Blizzard’s community manager didn’t exactly deny – and when a cash shop comes along, free-to-play is next, right? Right?

Take another look at Zarhym’s words: the Elixir is potentially “a way for players in certain regions to make purchases directly in the game.” As we’ve long known, the tendency for Asian players is not to buy subscriptions as we do here in the West, but to play in Internet cafes, purchasing time as they go. That’s why F2P “started” in Korea and Japan before migrating to the U.S. It was simply the better model for those regions.

If I had to guess, I’d suppose the Elixir – and any other cash shop boosts that might come along – is designed primarily for those players, and those are the “certain regions” Zarhym’s talking about. But adding an in-game cash shop takes time, effort, and money, and I’d be surprised if Blizzard was going to go to all that trouble for just one item, for only one, albeit significant, part of its customer base.

So let’s suppose Blizzard adds the Elixir and other (we’ll assume) non-gamebreaking items, as well as the usual plethora of mounts and other services, to an in-game cash shop that it makes available to all its players, worldwide. Now is it going free-to-play?

I’d say that it increases the odds by a not-small amount, but it probably still won’t be for a long time coming. 8.3 million players is still a lot, and it’s going to take a bigger drop than what we’ve seen to force Blizzard’s hand and make the momentous switch. Plus, with a new expansion likely coming next year, and the bump in player numbers that usually comes with it, we probably wouldn’t be looking at F2P until 2015 at the absolute earliest.

It’s entirely possible, however, that the Elixir, and whatever else comes after it, is Blizzard’s way of testing the waters of a F2P cash shop, both from a technology standpoint and a community reaction standpoint, to iron out all the kinks and make sure they present it in a way that’s palatable to its player base. Only after they’re 100% sure that everything is as it should be would they even consider turning the switch all the way.

Blizzard has always been willing to borrow concepts from other games and implement them in World of Warcraft. Eventually, they’ll probably take the big concept of free-to-play and make it their own, but they can afford to do it at a their own pace and make sure it’s done right.

By Jason Winter

52 Readers Commented

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  1. Pat Mustard on July 31, 2013

    Never liked free to play – nothing is free in this world so they are forced to squeeze money out of you in various other ways. At least with a subscription you pay x a month, end of, f2p is tapping you left right and center. It makes a 2 tier game with those playing for free playing a skeleton of the game while those willing to spend big enjoying the full content. WoWs overarching problem is its age not subscriptions.

  2. anip on July 7, 2013

    WoW already have a Cash Shop… it’s on their website where you can buy their special “pets”

  3. Sara on July 7, 2013

    Hmpf.
    I’ve heard a lot of ruckus from this game; that being P2P was in the long run cheaper than some F2P games out there, that you actually had access to all the content instead of having to pay to get more. Where does that stand if they start to add micro-transactions? Sure, its an Elixir now, but what else are they going to add to it? If people pay every month for it, I think it should stay the way it is. Aren’t they milking enough money from WoW or are these the last efforts of getting all the cash they can before it all goes to hell?

  4. Trenix on July 7, 2013

    Micropayments is the worse thing you can do, especially for a game that’s currently buy to play and pay to play. I highly doubt this means it’ll go free to play, this is just another attempt for activision to get some more cash from their brain dead customers. I really don’t care though, MMORPGs will die soon enough. MOBAs will be the new thing, being that you’re participating in an ongoing PvP battles from the start.

    PvE is repetitive and time consuming, usually intended to keep amateurs from getting into raids and PvP. The problem is that they’ll still get there anyway, so this whole waste of time is for nothing. I personally think Panzar has the potential of being the new League of Legends.

    • Spocksarek on July 7, 2013

      I don’t like MOBAs or PvP. I only play PvE. I play for the RPG experience. I don’t expect WOW to go F2P. I never liked it and would not play it even if it went F2P. I may have been mildly entertaining during WotLK, but it went to Hell during Cata.

  5. ExHuman on July 7, 2013

    F2P or P2P: still not interested
    I would rather play W III Frozen Throne

  6. VelVanity on July 6, 2013

    WoW WILL eventually go f2p..no arguing over that..theyve already said theres only 3 exp packs left and that’s it. Once last exp pack hits and after a week and everyones done beat all the content in it..and them knowing theres not another exp pack coming…population is gonna drop..and quick…

    • ThcMonkee on July 7, 2013

      I don’t know if that is true or not, but let’s say that your info is a fact. 3 expansion packs scale over at least a 3 year time period. Considering that one pack came out quite recently, we are talking about another 4-5 years. Unlike most games, WoW does not rely on novelty to stay a float, in fact, novelty is an enemy. It’s players are faithful to it because of nostalgia, despite all other games that have copied and improved on literally every aspect of WoW. Everything that Blizzard adds to it, outside of the more-of-the-same method, is a huge gamble with a risk to alienate it’s fanbase. It would gain absolutely nothing by moving to F2P because it’s content, engine and gameplay does not scale well with time. With each passing year WoW only becomes more and more outdated. When ever that might be exactly, it certainly will not be any time soon, I am willing to bet that Blizzard will shutdown World of Warcraft in the same state that it is now; Old-school, loot-focused, grind-heavy, instance raiding, pay to play MMO.

  7. kahosdark on July 6, 2013

    WOW a la actualidad solo lo juegan personas que se quedaron estancados en la pre historia por tanto no evolucionan en lo que es este tipo de juegos…. otros juegos salieron f2p por que no hay gente ajajaj el negocio a hora son los f2p. Wow no tiene buenos graficos ni tiene buena jugabilidad ni buena historia lo unico que tiene son jugadores que no aprecian lo que realmente tiene un juego antes fue lo maximo por que era novedoso… a hora solo es comun -.- y pagar por un juego asi mensualmente estaria loco … yo pagaria por calidad no por nostalgia a que fue lo mejor en su tiempo

  8. ThcMonkee on July 6, 2013

    I honestly don’t care. Even from a standpoint of someone who loves F2P model and everything that it stands for, WoW turning to F2P simply isn’t a big deal as it would have been 1-3 years ago. World of Warcraft is outdated in every possible way, while still a good game it’s strongest attribute right now is nostalgia and inertia.

    The transfer would certainly receive it’s due media coverage, but considering the upcoming F2P games and the ones already out, F2P simply doesn’t need World of Warcraft.

  9. kahosdark on July 6, 2013

    que es lo que se busca en un juego….
    que sea gratis
    que tenga buena historia
    que tenga excelentes gráficos realistas
    que tengan habilidades extraordinarias
    que tenga pvp dinamico
    entre otras cosas y a la actualidad hay juegos que tienen eso y muchos mas

    WOW fue bueno en su tiempo por que era novedad….. a hora es historia pero no deja de ser un buen juego tiene sus medallas xD

  10. zakena on July 6, 2013

    tbh the players of WOW are in a nutshell . if WOW goes f2p the competition goes up. Nerds who think they are pro will realize what pro is when the actual f2p players who spend hours grinding and work hard to earn everything ingame begin to play.

    the only qq i see is sub players afraid if f2p does happen we will loose the upper hand of their so called ” Talent”

  11. kahosdark on July 6, 2013

    realmente wow a mi parecer es un juego que ya esta muriendo xD…. en sus años fue un excelente juego pero ahora hay mejores… lo digo por que hay juegos parecidos que wow… pero son inigualables en graficos jugabilidad historia etc en cada actualizacion lo unico que cambia es que ponen mas mazmorras y cosas aburridas… por que no cambian para mejor… es aburrido tener mas de 30 skiles y solo usar 4 -.- y apretar las mismas 4 teclas al mismo tiempo -.- y saltar como loco para esquivar ataques -.-…. will war linage etc me parecen mejores, pero a mi parecer quien se lleba el premio es tera online y aion f2p… WOW silk road imperio Mu etc fueron xD…..
    yo los he jugado todos hasta lvl 20 de ahi aburren xD pero Tera online y Aion excelentes

    que prefieren un playstation 1 o un playstation 3 xD es obvio verdad.

  12. Jasin420 on July 6, 2013

    WoW is the only popular MMO to hold out going free to play. SWTOR, DCUO, ect have gone F2P and have done well. Makes you wonder if the people at Blizzard are just greedy.

    • Game Of Drones on July 6, 2013

      Oh god. You got it so wrong. Blizzard are not greedy. SWTOR DCUO, Rift, Tera, every single one failed and went free to play just because they didn’t have enough players. Server upkeep probably cost them more than they were making. So they have to bring new, fresh players to play the game otherwise it would fail. Come on, who hasn’t spent a dollar on a shitty item in any game store?

      WoW has 8 million subscribers. 8 freaking million. That is 3 times the people that live in my country. 8 million people that pay 15 dollars a month. Why should they go free to play when they are still making 8 million x 15 = 120 million a month. Again, Why should they go free to play when they are having baths in dollar bills? Not counting they money they making from selling the game, not just 30 day game cards.

    • Chawmba69 on July 7, 2013

      Blizzard might be greedy but they have been known for 9 or 10 years that there games are p2p and they’ve been praised by mmo makers that this is what makes a good mmo. Blizzard might make WoW f2p but its unlikely in this time of age people are dedicated and enjoy paying money for the success they play.

  13. Paxaterz on July 6, 2013

    WoW F2P? HAH!

  14. Chawmba69 on July 6, 2013

    Stop posting “WOW, gonna be f2p its not gonna happen any time soon. Blizzard is having 3 more expansions and making a lot of money by making wow p2p. I hate to be a hater but its kinda getting on my nervs alittle bit and also blizzard is not a f2p company they only did that to hearthstone because why pay money for a card game when all of them are free. WoW is a good game that has a amazing player base and generous people to pay 15$ a month. So once again WoW will never go free to play… we got rift.. be happy :/

  15. Game Of Drones on July 6, 2013

    This article is wrong. 2015 is wayy to early for WoW to be going F2P. When you have a cow, you are gonna milk it till it gives milk. 8 million subscribers is still a lot. And still leading.
    And Blizzard won’t even think F2P unless the numbers drop below 1 million. And again, think. 1 million people that pay 15 bucks each month is still a lot. That’s still more that half the subscribers other paying mmo games have.
    We really cannot say when WoW will go free to play. Their next expansion could be the best so far and bring back those 4 million subscribers more they had during the WotLK period. Or it could be the worst expansion so far. And they could lose 7 million. But if they keep this steady pace WoW might not even be free to play even in 2020.
    Maybe they would even make WoW 2.0 with better graphics. You never know.

    • Dalash on July 6, 2013

      There won’t be a wow 2.0 they released a couple of leaks some years ago about their thoughts and ideas for the last expansion when they get to that, the fact that they will fight the real bosses, the gods, such bosses as sargareas and ect.
      But since they are making the new MMO of theirs it is limited on how long wow will go on, i can agree in some points of your arguments of not going free to play, though i strongly think that when “Titan” Comes out wow might go free to play, in order to hold many people there aswell as advancing to the new MMO of theirs.

      • Game Of Drones on July 6, 2013

        Agreed. I think it’s their best option for WoW to go free to play when Titan comes out. And Titan being the new money making game for Blizzard. That way they will have two very very large playerbase games. New players coming in for Titan, veterans from WoW going to Titan (and some staying) and new players coming for the f2p WoW.

        But knowing Blizzard Titan has a minimum of 5 years before being released. I read an AMA on Reddit from an ex blizz employee who had played Titan and said that the game and the idea behind the game were amazing. Even he was astonished the first time he played it. But Blizzard recently scrapped the entire project and started all over. And remember, we waited for Starcraft 2 12 years.

  16. Narroc Matahari on July 6, 2013

    I think you all got it wrong watch wow not go F2P and just open a cash shop for more then just pets like this item.
    There down right greedy… You pay for subscription… you pay for expansions… you pay for pets and mounts. Why should they go f2p… no just slap it to the players and make them pay for more. Money Money Money…. why kill the cash cow lets just milk it more.

    • jonathon82 on July 7, 2013

      I agree with you. Thats probably what the doing is just expanding the cash shop they already have with xp potions and what not. that was the fist big turnoff for me is when they stared selling mounts and pets that you couldnt get in game but you still were paying a sub. then…The Pandas. I havent even looked at the game since the last expansion. They better come out with some serious badass expansion for screwing most of there long time players over with Pandaria…

  17. Padsoldier on July 6, 2013

    Well, that sounds definitely interesting. I’m afraid though that creating a non-P2W F2P MMORPG is impossible, I really do hope Blizzard manages to achieve that. I’d love to play WoW on official servers (private servers are great as well but 3.3.5 after a couple years is kinda boring), but I’m really afraid they’ll screw this f2p transition (and terms) up like EA did with SW:toR.

    • Mercenary on July 6, 2013

      It’s possible,
      take a look at Tera.
      The only things you can buy are cosmetics and other things that do not affect stats.
      Plus experience boosts, which only make you level faster, which shouldn’t be considered p2w.

  18. Obamu on July 6, 2013

    lol the private servers are better IMO, donate and win, atleast its rarer to pay to win than most free to play games in my experience.

  19. longtimegamer on July 5, 2013

    WoW could pay me to play and I wouldn’t come back to play it. Game died with the release of Cataclysm they simplified the game so much its not even worth doing the free trial. Blizzard tried to please everyone at once and ended up driving more than 50% of its customer base away. I will never play another Blizzard game as long as I live (same goes true for Perfect World games), a bad company can not be trusted and I will not put money, time, or computer space to a product made by that bad company.

  20. Deathisnear24 on July 5, 2013

    If WoW goes F2P I personally won’t care. They took everything fun out and made it THE themepark mmo. I’ll gladly take Rift over pandas anyday. Why play WoW (the current) version when you can play BC WoW but better (Rift).

  21. Velizor on July 5, 2013

    I DONT WANT IT F2P ITS GOING TO RUIN THE GAME ! ;-;

    • golgo28 on July 5, 2013

      Blizz already ruined WoW when they released MoP.And the constant nerfings to content because most of it’s player base bitched about shit being to hard.And the community was already full of trolls and flamers.The only difference is if it went f2p fanboys would just use it as the scapegoat for the games shitty community.Honestly though even if it went f2p I still wouldn’t come back to it till they learn to stop making the game a casual game.And returned to it’s hardcore roots.When groupd had to learn the dungeons and raids in order to win.But with so many great f2p mmos out there only a fanboy would play WoW.

      • RyuKaiser on July 6, 2013

        I don’t mind learning dungeons and the like, what I do mind is 20 – 40 people having to do the EXACT correct thing at the EXACT correct time or you wipe. Vanilla WoW was boring as hell, I never even lasted to see Ragnaros die, I was done with Molten Core a looooooong time ago.

        What I would like to see is dungeons that fit the occasion. Make a 5 man that can drop the best loot for that dungeon… then a 15 man that drops it higher, or drops more than 1 of that item. Make the 15 man harder. That way those that don’t have a giant guild can still get geared up and have fun.

        Unfortunately though, most “hardcore” players want to have the best gear, they don’t want to share. It’s not about the challenge, it’s about lording over everyone else with their gear score. Thus they get the casual content, since they can’t accept not being the bestest best in the entire game.

        Worse yet are WoW players on any breed thinking WoW was ever “hardcore”. It wasn’t. You want hardcore? You play FFXI. You couldn’t do JACK in that game without a party, and heaven help you when you fight the bosses…

        • LogicFail on July 6, 2013

          So let me get this straight.

          You think everyone should be able to get everything regardless of skill level?

          Kind of defeats the point of rewarding people for doing something difficult.

          If I played through a game on easy mode and unlocked EVERYTHING, all secrets, all bonuses, everything, would that make sense?

          In an MMO a player’s reward should be equal to the difficulty of their achievement.

          There is NO reason why a player who is bad needs the best gear. It’s obvious these bad players are only playing content in that game that is of their level, otherwise, they would’ve gotten better gear already.

          Your ideas cater to people who whine because they want to have the best items without doing the work. Your vision of what needs to be is a world where people fight level 50 Monsters with level 80 Gear, why, because they deserve to have the best gear also even though they don’t need it. They simply want to feel like they are good too.

          What’s the point of having the best gear if you’re fighting monsters you can beat with gear half that level? Until these bad players, or players who don’t want to take the time to actually make groups and fight monsters, fight high level monsters, there is NO NEED for them to have the best gear.

          Best gear should be for people who need it, and earn it, otherwise the game is a handout to satisfy people who want to feel cool without trying because they are lazy and/or aren’t good enough.

          PARTICIPATION BADGES FOR EVERYONE. YOU ARE ALL WINNERS!!! Such mindset has caused many problems for this generation I would argue.

        • LogicFail on July 6, 2013

          Level 50 Monster hits you for 1 damage.

          You, with the best gear in the game even though you did not complete ANY of the high level content, attack.

          Level 50 Monster takes 9,999,999 damage. Monster is destroyed. 1 hit kill.

          Such is the achievements of those who want handouts. They don’t care about the game they just want to run through it and feel like winners who are the best.

          USA society has promoted this kind of behavior, the idea that we are all winners, and the result is people who play games and expect to be the best, and when they realize they can’t do something and hey aren’t the best, they demand the content be made easier instead of accepting, “Hey, I’m not that good. Oh well, I’ll focus on content that I find challenging that I can beat.”

          • Von on July 9, 2013

            He never stated a universal logic to be applied to everything. He gave out an idea. You are taking what he said and twisting it into a “logic” that you then apply to a ridiculous situation that has nothing to do with what he specifically said and went along with it. No where in the comment did he say that he wants everyone to have level 80 gear he only stated that you should be able to get some of the best stuff offered by a dungeon by simply completing and giving bonuses etc to people who do the larger raid version.

            There is also something in this that bugs me. This is a conversation about how you should only get the best rewards from doing the hardest content. Technically YOU don’t need the best gear then if you beat the hardest content just to obtain them.

      • Dalash on July 6, 2013

        +1

    • Allwynd on July 10, 2013

      WoW is already ruined and a piece of shit, if they make it f2p it will at least be a f2p piece of shit

      if you want to play real WoW, find a x1 XP rate Vanilla WoW 1.12.1 private server (i know a good one, but i dont think that im supposed to advertise it on here)

      • lolattheragers on August 25, 2013

        Lol, i LOVE these comments you guys make. Completed one sided with no evidence to support any argument. You simply state a troll comment that no one wants to hear because you are so heavily opinionated towards one side, that you fail to see how illegitimate your comment is. If you THINK wow is bad then thats purely your opinions and saying its a ‘piece of shit’ would be one way to degrade the most successful MMO in history, that has paved they way for a huge majority of f2p games. Rant over

        p.s. l2comment properly everyone is sick of seeing this bullshit xx

  22. Skullheart on July 5, 2013

    I think if WoW were to go f2p,they wouldn’t let any secrets or loopholes through.They’d keep it a very well kept secret just because they know how much of an audience they have.So I say we all just sit back and let them be.If they decide to go f2p,good for them.If not….good for them.

  23. unmarked on July 5, 2013

    making wow f2p will cause a whole new breed of flame wars and shit storms.

    a apocalypse

  24. LOLZ on July 5, 2013

    MOUNTED , IF THIS HAPPEND I WILL SHIT BALLS

  25. NewBlizzardMMO on July 5, 2013

    I think this article should mention Blizzard IS working on a new MMO. I forget the name. So, whatever they do with WoW, it’ll likely impact this new MMO in some way depending on how things go with WoW.

    Blizzard may find people won’t want to play their new MMO. The Warcraft Universe is a very casual place even though the Warcraft games were not. If Blizzard makes another traditional MMO, a click to attack and wait game, I don’t think many people are going to pay for it, at least, not as many as WoW, or maybe not even 50% of that.

    • TheGamer on July 5, 2013

      I think you’re talking about the Titan MMO Project

      • NewBlizzardMMO on July 5, 2013

        Thank you I had forgotten the name. I hope we hear more info about it.

        • MrSnitches on July 5, 2013

          They actually had to recently restart that project, as the engine (and probably the mechanics and “special” features) were outdated.

          • Retributi0n on July 6, 2013

            Honestly I think Wildstar played a part in them restarting. With what Wildstar has to offer, they probably realized they needed to up their game a bit.

    • Dalash on July 6, 2013

      It’s called Titan 😀

      • Deroni76 on July 6, 2013

        It’s NOT called Titan. Titan is just the codename. The actual name of the game has yet to be revealed.

        • Chawmba69 on July 7, 2013

          Um…. they erased titan on there projects…. its no longer happening… x.x

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