Are World of Warcraft and Elder Scrolls Online going free to play?
In a time when most MMORPGs have long-since gone free to play, there are a few that still hang on for dear life to the subscription model. World of Warcraft is the best example for this as the game has already been running for more than ten years and you still have to pay a monthly fee if you want to play it. Another such title is Elder Scrolls Online, which despite all the negative reviews, still somehow manages to hold on to a decent subscriber base. I recently heard a lot of rumors saying that Elder Scrolls Online will be going free to play soon, which doesn’t seem like a bad decision to be honest. However, several of the same sources were speculating that World of Warcraft might also be adopting this model in the near future. So, are any of these rumors true?
The Elder Scrolls Online rumor surfaced after Zenimax Entertainment decided to remove the six month subscription option from the game. This lead many to believe that the company did it because it wanted to switch the game to free to play sometime in the coming months. The official word from Zenimax is that “players preferred subscriptions of 30 and 90 days.” As a consequence, “the Elder Scrolls Online team therefore took the decision to delete the 180 days subscription.” In other words, no mention of free to play has been made yet. A better choice would be to borrow Guild Wars 2’s business mode, as in buy once and be done with it. I’m not sure what the plan is, but there is no free to play confirmation so wait for further word from Zenimax before getting too excited. The rumors were also fueled by the fact that many retailers are pulling copies from the Elder Scrolls Online from their shelves lately. The reason for this is unknown, but it may have something to do with the game’s upcoming release on Xbox One and PS4, which is bound to occur on February 24th according to Microsoft.
And what about World of Warcraft? Well, it all started earlier this week when the change log for Patch 6.1 was leaked. Among the patch notes, one can find mentions of something called “Veteran Edition” accounts. The patch notes seem to suggest that these accounts will have similar restrictions to Starter Accounts, which indeed allow you to play Word of Warcraft for free until level 20. That said, earlier today word got out that Blizzard is sending physical gifts to veterans who has been playing the game since the very beginning. This may or may not be related to the mention to veteran accounts found in the Patch 6.1 change long. There’s really no way of knowing just yet so all we can do is speculate for now. Personally, I don’t think World of Warcraft is going free to play anytime soon. I mean, why would it? Everyone is enjoying the Warlords of Draenor expansion and subs are back at over 10 million. Blizzard would be making a very poor decision if they were to make World of Warcaft free to play now, of all times. I see it happening when the numbers drop below 4-5 million, but definitely not now.