Blizzard CEO shoots down rumors of possible F2P future for WoW
With BlizzCon in full force, plenty of juicy news tidbits are coming out of the two-day convention celebrating everything Blizzard, including one in particular: the monthly subscription fee isn't going away anytime soon.
More raids, new zones to explore, and level cap of 100
BlizzCon is off to a rousing start this year, having kicked off with an exciting announcement: a brand new expansion for MMO juggernaut World of Warcraft. It's called Warlords of Draenor, and it's set to finally raise the level cap to 100, with brand new raids across seven different zones, additional rewards, and a new PvP zone for your player-slaughtering pleasure.
When it rains, it pours, and the BioWare Austin team behind Star Wars: The Old Republic has been caught in a veritable monsoon of crappy circumstances. Just a few weeks back, an EA earnings statement revealed that the MMO had lost about a quarter of its subscribers during the last financial quarter. Execs said it was simply free trial players cycling out of the game, but BioWare announced yesterday that it had laid off some of the SWTOR team.
After months (years?) of rumors and whispers, it's finally official: Bethesda just announced that it's developing "Elder Scrolls Online," an MMO version of its much-beloved role playing series. Just scanning the press release's subject line sent butterflies fluttering through my stomach: can Bethesda take its superb single player universe online successfully, or will this prove to be a proverbial arrow in the knee for the series?
So, did you know that Worlds.com invented massively multiplayer gaming and has a pair of patents to prove it?
It came as complete news to me, even though I wrote a column on massively multiplayer gaming back when the genre was just beginning. Apparently, Worlds.com created some kind of branded virtual spaces that used avatars and scalable chat, got somebody in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to rubber stamp its nonsense applications, and now is going to sue the entire MMORPG industry into submission, starting with NCSoft, possibly because it has less frightening lawyers than Blizzard.
"It's going to happen whether you like it or not," the virtual worlds developer said of gold farming. "People will always find the path of least resistance, if you stop them buying your gold then they'll buy that gold from somebody else who is gold farming."
"Trying to stop that happening is literally like telling the tide not to come in - you will fail."
"If you don't build that into your system then you're not going to be able to compete with the gold farmers and that will ruin your in-game economy, which will in turn ruin your game. At the very least having the recognition that virtual economics is a discipline and is a very important integral part to being a virtual world," he added.
Fraser-Robinson listed Eve Online as a game that -- rather than stomping out real money transactions only to have them return in greater force – arranged its economy with the help of an actual economist.
"I think that's absolutely essential going forward… because wherever humans are in communities and whenever they are bartering there is a market and there is going to be a market place. If you let that go with no regulation and no recognition then very, very crazy things will happen."