World of Warcraft lead designer Tom Chilton sat down with Polygon during Gamescom 2013 to talk about the evolution of Blizzard’s popular MMORPG.

Chilton says that is imperative for Blizzard to rope in casual fans with new content and easier access to the game. Bringing in new players to a game that has been around for over 10 years is a difficult. You can’t just rely on new content, you have to make fundamental changes to a game so new players don’t feel like they are at a constant disadvantage. Blizzard took this route with the recent release of Mists of Pandaria, and according to Chilton, Mists has proven to be “very successful” for Blizzard.

“We would have been in bad shape had we not done that,” said Chilton, although he did admit that the changes made in the Mists of Pandaria expansion did upset some of the game’s most ardent fans.

“People who played Vanilla always say ‘if it had stayed the same, I would have the same fun now as I did then.’ But that’s not true. Audiences always evolve,” he explained.

The long time WoW players were disappointed with the lack of new content in Mists of Pandaria. While the expansion did make the game more accessible for new players, it did not give the established player base anything new to experience. Chilton assured fans that future content updates and expansions will be more focused on new in game experiences.

Chilton also broke the news that Blizzard is no longer morally opposed to eventually shift World of Warcraft to a free-to-play model. This seems to be a step in the right direction seeing that as of now, WoW, Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, and the upcoming Elder Scrolls Online are the only MMORPGs on the market that still have a subscription based model. There are other games like EVE Online that have a subscription fee, but you can pay the fee with in game currency.

“For Blizzard it makes sense [to go free-to-play] at some point. But a lot of the risk is in making that transition. You hear stories about developers going free-to-play and getting double the number of players, but you don’t always know it works out that way and how long it stays that way. We really don’t know what the rate is before people drop off and lose interest.”

How do you feel about World of Warcraft adopting a free to play model? Let us know in the comments!

Source: Polygon

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Nick C
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I’m Nick, a proud nerd and gamer. I rock my Star Wars tattoos like I’m a real Jedi, and I hope I will be making games first and playing them second in the future!