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Blizzard rules out free-to-play World of Warcraft

"It's not something we're currently considering."

Blizzard has ruled out making massively multiplayer online game World of Warcraft free-to-play.

With the current trend for free-to-play coupled with WoW's falling subscriber numbers, some have expected Blizzard to bite the bullet and make its gargantuan MMO F2P.

But, speaking with Eurogamer at BlizzCon last night, key WoW developers insisted such a move was off the table.

"We didn't make the game to be free-to-play," production director J Allen Brack said.

"We would have to rework the game pretty significantly in order to make it free-to-play. It's not something we're currently considering."

While World of Warcraft remains a subscription-based game, it is in part free-to-play. The first 20 levels of the game are free as part of the Starter Edition - a feature that was seen as WoW'S first step on the road to full F2P.

This week Blizzard boss Mike Morhaime announced WoW had shed another 100,000 subscribers over the last three months. It now has around 7.6 million subscribers.

While subscriber numbers have reduced steadily over recent years, World of Warcraft remains the world's most popular subscription MMO nine years into its life, and Blizzard said it was investing more resources into its ongoing development than ever before.

"Player response to the content has been good, and we saw increased engagement that has contributed to maintaining relatively stable subscribership quarter-over-quarter," Morhaime said.

"We'll continue to invest heavily in World of Warcraft to deliver frequent, high-quality content to our players."

He added: "But in terms of the content and developing, we have more resources focused on developing content for World of Warcraft than ever before. So we expect to continue having a long and happy life."

Brack told Eurogamer Blizzard hoped the recently-announced expansion, Warlords of Draenor, would help boost subscriber numbers, but for the most part developers focus entirely on creating compelling content, leaving business concerns to the publisher.

Warlords of Draenor lets players revisit Draenor circa Warcraft 1-3 via a time travel mechanic, and lets you instantly level a single character to 90 in an attempt to encourage lapsed players to get back into the game.

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