Although most MMOs don’t have the dedicated fanbase to support a subscription model in the current age if gaming, World of Warcraft continues to be the exception to that rule. The decade old MMO still has millions of users shelling out $15 a month for access to the official servers and, although subscriber numbers aren’t what they once were, the game is still incredibly profitable. Part of Blizzard’s success can be attributed to how easy the company makes it for new or returning players to get straight to the newest World of Warcraft content.
Blizzard is constantly slashing prices on the original game and bundling in older expansion to reduce to upfront cost for new players. In the company’s latest move to appeal to new fans, who maybe saw the movie or are hyped for the upcoming Legion expansion, Blizzard will be giving away the Warlords of Draenor expansion to everyone who owns the core game.
The move to make the expansion free comes just a few months after it saw a price drop down to ten dollars. Purchasing the Warlords expansion at the ten dollar mark also included a free level 90 character boost, so that players could jump straight into the newest content. Blizzard hasn’t confirmed if the character boost will be included with the free version of the game, as well, but so far the website makes no mention of the boost.
Veteran players who haven’t returned to the game since the 2014 launch of Warlords may want to revisit Azeroth now that it’s so cheap. The expansion was incredibly well-received for its character model upgrades, new raids, housing system, and throwback to classic characters from Warcraft lore. The expansion is unlikely to win over fans who were never interested in the game to begin with, but it was a welcome return to form for early fans of the MMO.
Blizzard is in a giving mood lately and is also handing out free copies of World of Warcraft to moviegoers who see the Warcraft film at select theaters. It may seem crazy to give away a game plus its first ten year’s worth of expansions for free, but Blizzard more than makes up for that cost when new players commit to a monthly subscription. Spending money on in-game items and the monthly fee are what keep World of Warcraft profitable, not box sales.
Historically, World of Warcraft always sees a spike in subscribers right after a new expansion releases, so we expect WoW to be back on the radar this fall as Legion launches. It will be very interesting to see of the box office performance of the Warcraft film does the game any favors, as well.
Will you return to World of Warcraft or play the game for the first time this summer? Let us know in the comments.
World of Warcraft is currently available for PC. Legion is set to release on August 30.