Blizzard has drastically changed World of Warcraft‘s subscription model.
While the monthly costs of World of Warcraft won’t change (it will still set you back $14.99 a month) you will now get significantly more content for your monthly subscription fee. Specifically, you get access to the base World of Warcraft game as well as all of the content associated with every WoW expansion through Legion. In the past, players had to buy each of these expansions on top of paying the monthly fee. Naturally, this means you can no longer buy the game’s Battle Chest (which included the base game and all expansions).
At present, it doesn’t appear that this new model will include content associated with the upcoming Battle for Azeroth expansion. That expansion will still retail for full price when it releases on August 14th. There’s no word on whether or not Blizzard will eventually roll Battle for Azeroth into this deal or when they may do so.
There doesn’t seem to be an official word on why Blizzard decided to make this change, but it’s not too hard to make some educated guesses. In the modern age of “games as a service,” the idea of forcing consumers to pay the retail price for new content releases on top of a monthly fee is kind of a stretch. Many already wondered how Blizzard was able to get away with that model for as long as they did. Given that World of Warcraft isn’t exactly as popular as it once was, it seems that the studio is hoping that this new pricing structure will bring some players back into the fold as well as attract new subscribers.
So far as that goes, it’s hard to fault this new model. We’ve already talked about how the upcoming Battle for Azeroth expansion is going to add some significant new pieces of content to the game, so now is a pretty good time for people who have walked away from WoW – or never played the game in the first place – to give it a shot.
Still, we’ll see how effective the pricing change proves to be in the long run.