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Blizzard Combines  StarCraft II  And  WoW  Pricing In Korea, Ponders Free  WoW
Blizzard Combines StarCraft II And WoW Pricing In Korea, Ponders Free WoW
June 30, 2010 | By Chris Remo

June 30, 2010 | By Chris Remo
More: Console/PC

Blizzard is thinking hard about nontraditional business models.

In South Korea, the company plans to offer both StarCraft II and World of Warcraft under a combined subscription-based payment plan, while World of Warcraft's current lead designer has publicly pondered the still-theoretical notion of dropping the MMO's monthly fee at some point in the future.

During a recent press event in Seoul, Blizzard said that Korean World of Warcraft subscribers would have free access to StarCraft II as long as their WoW subscriptions are active. The company will offer this dual-game pass for 9,990 won (about $8) a month, or 2,000 won (about $1.65) for a day. The game will still be offered as a standalone no-subscription box as well, as in the West.

Blizzard likely instituted the shared subscription model to drive Korean interest in World of Warcraft more than in StarCraft II.

While WoW is the company's biggest game worldwide, the StarCraft series holds that honor in South Korea, and Blizzard may be hoping that players who are already sold on StarCraft II will take advantage of this deal to try out the company's MMO.

And in the longer term, Blizzard says it is open to experimenting with World of Warcraft's subscription model or even dropping it as a mandatory payment plan, as fellow MMO developer Turbine has done with its Lord of the Rings Online and Dungeons & Dragons Online.

"At some point, it may not make sense for us to have a subscription fee," said lead designer Tom Chilton in a PC Gamer interview.

Chilton said that such a drastic move could arise in the future as a response to external or even internal competition in the MMO space; Blizzard is known to be developing another massively multiplayer game, although no details on its setting or gameplay have been released.

"If another game comes along and blows us away it may not make sense for us to have a subscription fee," he said, "or even further down the line, when we have another MMO out."

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David Harrington
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Video game addiction is too real when it comes to MMO's like WoW. I love Blizzard and cannot wait for the arrival of StarCraft II but the way they go about their business in the MMO realm is overly vigilant. In a world in which other devs have trouble attracting a crowd WoW is cracking skulls and looking to expand with its veteran staff, craving fan-base, and arguably the most successful running video game of all time. The only game I find more depriving then the World of Warcraft is Modern Warfare both encourage hording and give a false sense of accomplishment with every flashing xp point. If they're sincere about milking WoW to its last even as more advanced MMO's takes its place (until their unannounced MMO is released) it would be the next logical step for Blizzard to take to free subscription. God help the poor whelps who get sucked into it in the process.

for those still counting...

Thats 50dkp minus

Chan Chun Phang
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@Evan Moore

Even if that is so, WoW still had to start from nothing. So that cannot be all that made WoW successful (though it may be a significant contributing factor at current point in time). Also, WoW has never been about originality, it has always been perfection of it's mechanics (no matter how flawed they are) (mechanics doesn't just pertain to gaming, it also pertains to the business side, so includes timesinks and other 'negative' factors)

BobbyK Richardson
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I love how the lead designer's comment about "no more subscription fee" has been completely blown out of proportion. he's the lead designer, he has nothing to do with the business end.

ad revenue will never reach what they can charge with subscription. Activision is all about the money, that's why they're trying to use Starcraft to push their WoW crack/cocaine.

Chan Chun Phang
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@BobbyK Richardson

True. Which is why there isn't any MMOs which exist on ad revenue alone, as far as I know. But if you can get ad revenue from people who can't or don't want to pay for the full experience, it's even more money. Then, having such a large player base would encourage more players to join in, perpetuating the cycle, and serve as a massive advertisement for the game itself so people would pay for subscriptions, or in the case of F2P services, buy expansion packs, optionals, and other misc goodies.

Thomas Lo
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The key to MMO's is to have interesting enough basic mechanics to make the game interesting, and the slowly ramping up the time it takes to accomplish things with those mechanics. Wow is basically 3 games. The leveling content is entirely different from end-game content. Tons of casuals just level up a bunch of alts.

The end game is split into two "games" so to speak. There's arena/pvp which some people like and raiding which some people like.

Both take forever to accomplish anything and have slightly greater rewards released every 6 months for the same base content for most casuals. The same heroics from 18 m onths ago can be run today for loot 3-4 tiers higher than could be bought before. Same goes for Arena content.

Now given how much money wow takes in, it would be absolutely idiotic to give up subscriptions, at least for the western audience.

For the korean/chinese audience they might have to give it up because piracy is so rampant and use a different business model, but in all honesty they are better off trying to lure the kroeans and chinese that can afford it to get subscriptions. WOW is so astoundingly better than every other MMO really that it can bide its time.

Ismael Escandon
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@ Even Moore - I said the same thing to my girlfriend who is very passionate about WoW she loves it. It just seems that they are doing exactly as you said.

Funny though when WoW came out I was already a Warcraft fan, had been for many years and I got very excited about WoW I started to play it as soon as it was out in the market a couple of months later I dropped it as I saw that it was completely pointless game and that I'd prolly never enjoy I guess I avoided spending hundreds on dollars on it. Funny though now with Cataclysm coming out I think I'm going to go back just to try out the Wargen race.

About Guild Wars - Amazing story - Great PvP gameplay ( Revolutionary really ) - PvE is severely lacking and full world instancing is horrid - But I will give credit to Anet for such passion and creativity.

Guild Wars 2 if it does manage to create that "Living world" they've been going on about two possibilities could happen here

1) They make a totally revolutionary game that other MMORPG's will follow in the future. ( I love that they say we're putting RPG back into MMORPG)

2) Break them.

min hong
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I notice wrong information on the article. You need to pay 19,800 won (about $16) to play WOW per month and get free-subscription for SC2 in Korea. 9,990 won (about $8) a month, or 2,000 won (about $1.65) for a day is only for SC2 (not include WOW). I hope that SC2 users get free WOW though. It is opposite right now.