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Starym

World of Warcraft on Game Pass: How Would It Work?

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Probably the biggest and most talked about and asked for (WoW-related) topic of conversation after yesterday's bombshell Microsoft to buy Activision Blizzard news has been how WoW will actually work with Game Pass. While nothing has been announced officially, we wanted to take a look at how exactly this could work, what the best case and the most likely scenarios might be. From the official Microsoft announcement it's clear that most, if not all Activision Blizzard games are coming to Game Pass:

Upon close, we will offer as many Activision Blizzard games as we can within Xbox Game Pass and PC Game Pass, both new titles and games from Activision Blizzard’s incredible catalog. - Phil Spencer, Microsoft Gaming CEO

The "as many as we can" part stands out there, as there are probably too many variables with all the Activision Blizzard games to just instantly say "all of them are coming", but World of Warcraft certainly stands out as unique looking from the outside. WoW's subscription fee puts it apart from all the rest, and it's definitely the biggest question mark when it comes to Game Pass integration, as it's pretty safe to assume most if not all other Activision Blizzard games will be coming to it eventually. With WoW, it's not as simple as saying that it is or isn't coming to Game Pass, as there are actually quite a few ways it can be implemented on the platform.

The first thing to mention is that we're talking about the PC Game Pass specifically (for now at least, console WoW is a whole other topic), and so far there have been no games on there that require an additional payment in order to play (at least that I could find). This leaves us with three potential likely outcomes when it comes to WoW on the platform, so let's take a look, starting from best to worst case from a player perspective.

55684-100-million-gold-bank-alt-account-

1. WoW Is Completely Free on Game Pass

This would be the holy grail for both current and new players. The game would be playable with just the Game Pass subscription alone, without any additional fees - you would get the new expansions for free and wouldn't have to pay any additional subscription cost.

I have to say that while this one would be really great from a player perspective, it really seems very unlikely, as the sheer amount of money WoW generates from its subscription would be a huge thing to give up, especially after the $70 billion spent. For context, the Game Pass currently costs $9.99 a month (with the first month for $1), which is actually significantly cheaper than WoW's cheapest subscription, as the 6-month one comes out to $12.99 per month. Game Pass is quickly becoming something that makes less and less sense not to have for gamers in general, so it's a pretty good assumption that a lot of the WoW playerbase has it/is going to get it at some point even without the WoW sub being free on there, so I really doubt this one is happening, unfortunately. If this were to happen, however, it would be a HUGE move by Microsoft and would grow WoW's playerbase a tremendous amount, as the game would become a lot cheaper for those that don't have Game Pass yet, and completely free for those that already do.

My main concern here would be that this model, due to it losing Microsoft a LOT of money by default, would encourage heavier microtransactions in the game, and since the WoW community is generally not fond of these already, might cause problems. I doubt we'd see new types of purchases becoming available (like actual pay to win stuff), but the current offering (mounts, pets, toys etc.) would get a lot bigger. Personally I wouldn't mind this at all and it would be the best outcome, but again, I very much doubt it will happen.

2. WoW Subscription Stays, but Most Likely Discounted

This one might be a little weird but it's the one I find most likely. WoW expansions would still be free so you wouldn't have to buy them, but there would still be a subscription fee - just not the same amount we have today. Since you'd need to pay both the Game Pass and WoW subscriptions, I think there would be a significant discount on the WoW side, up to 50% probably. The two subscriptions added would be bigger than WoW's alone is today, but not by much, and the value would still be pretty huge as you'd either be getting access to all the other games on Game Pass if you're not a subscriber already, or you'd be getting a discount on the WoW subscription (and free expansions) if you are.

The problem with this is that there's nothing like it on the Game Pass at the moment (that I could find) and would require a new payment option for the platform. The idea of having to put an * next to the "play hundreds of games for free" might be too much for Microsoft to bear just for WoW, however, so this would definitely be the weirdest option. It's not like there's no precedent for it though, as plenty of non-gaming subscription services have additional payment options to access more content, most notably with video streaming services with sports events and some movies. I do think it's unlikely that Microsoft simply keep the existing subscription and put WoW on Game Pass anyway, as there might be some community outcry there, so this would be a solid middle-ground solution.

3. No WoW On Game Pass

The simplest option, Microsoft simply decide it's not worth the headache of having a subscription-based game on a subscription service. Nothing happens and WoW's payment model remains the same.

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While I'm sure there are other permutations and options, these 3 are the most likely, and if I had to guess I'd go for number 2, despite it being the most complex and tricky one. I really don't see Microsoft giving up on the giant amounts of money coming from the WoW subscription entirely, but they may surprise me. The idea of WoW suddenly becoming 50+% cheaper AND players getting the entire Game Pass library along with that is certainly a tantalizing one, not to mention what it could do for the game's population, so let's all hope I'm wrong!


What do you think will happen with WoW and Game Pass? Is there a more likely scenario that I missed?

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4. Wow + Game Pass for pc for 15-16 $ a month. The current options to pay just for Wow at it's current sub fee and just Game Pass at it's current sub fee remains as options as well. Basically if you have active Game Pass sub you can play Wow with 50 % discount. We still pay for expansions.

Edited by Cheatcho

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If by some insane reason it would this will mean the game will probably end up F2P fill whit store *filtered* to buy, and this will ruin the game.

 

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Uncommon Patron

I think the first option is what will happen. Yes...Microsoft will see less revenue compared to the current subscription price but it would more than likely be made up by attracting new players.

Option two is a way too convoluted...in my way of thinking...and would likely deter many people from participating.

This buyout is largely to enhance the attraction for Game Pass so option three is very unlikely.

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50 minutes ago, Cheatcho said:

4. Wow + Game Pass for pc for 15-16 $ a month. The current options to pay just for Wow at it's current sub fee and just Game Pass at it's current sub fee remains as options as well. Basically if you have active Game Pass sub you can play Wow with 50 % discount. We still pay for expansions.

I agree there but how is that not exactly No.2? 😄

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Is ESO not a subscription based game already on game pass? It's been awhile since I played and not since it has been on game pass so I'm not sure how it works anymore. But im sure you still need to pay for the DLC.

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I am excited about the acquisition, it was becomming a bit of a mess and I don't think Act/Blizz could have dug themselves out of it. I hope they keep the sub and use proceeds from the sub for more content. I worry that if it gets bundled into X Pass or PC Pass, it will not be pulling enough $$$ to keep up the regular content pace or quality.

I even wouldn't mind paying for patches. Maybe- make WOW part of X pass but you have to buy x pacs (35$) and Patches (10-15$) if you want. I just want to see them keep the content up.

I am sure they would not have bought this without a plan to make tons of $$$$ off it. They probably already know exactly how they are going to roll it out and have calculated exactly what it should make, then compared it to the cost of buying the studio. The numbers worked out right so they bought the studio. Most business is determined by calculations. They really got it for a steal too.

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2 minutes ago, Ken007 said:

I am excited about the acquisition, it was becomming a bit of a mess and I don't think Act/Blizz could have dug themselves out of it. I hope they keep the sub and use proceeds from the sub for more content. I worry that if it gets bundled into X Pass or PC Pass, it will not be pulling enough $$$ to keep up the regular content pace or quality.

I even wouldn't mind paying for patches. Maybe- make WOW part of X pass but you have to buy x pacs (35$) and Patches (10-15$) if you want. I just want to see them keep the content up.

I am sure they would not have bought this without a plan to make tons of $$$$ off it. They probably already know exactly how they are going to roll it out and have calculated exactly what it should make, then compared it to the cost of buying the studio. The numbers worked out right so they bought the studio. Most business is determined by calculations. They really got it for a steal too.

It's not really about the money...not directly anyways. It's about opening up access to and improving on markets that Microsoft doesn't really have a large presence in at the moment...especially mobile.

Pretty sure Microsoft won't have a problem supporting WoW with a $9.99 a month sub fee. Especially if this deal attracts new players and brings back old ones.

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They should really just make it F2P with all the micro transactions that border on necessary dude to gold inflation and legendary gear now costing gold it feels really scummy.

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21 hours ago, Ken007 said:

I am excited about the acquisition, it was becomming a bit of a mess and I don't think Act/Blizz could have dug themselves out of it. I hope they keep the sub and use proceeds from the sub for more content.

So far, they haven't done so, despite the sub+shop model. I think it's better not to expect too much. WoW is in a weird place where they are well-monetized and yet somehow underfunded. Despite different revenue streams, one of the most consistent pictures we get of them is that they are underfunded and have to cut costs constantly. They often cut content for an expansion in order to make a next one and so on.

Logically, WoW isn't even in the center of this acquisition. They have bigger franchises there, that may matter more in the long run, some players are treating it as if this game is all that matters here. Perhaps not much will change, and will be business as usual.

Edited by Arcling
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Isn't there already a 12.99 / month version of PC Game Pass with some extra benefits? Couldn't Microsoft add WoW to that instead of to the 9.99 / month version?

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29 minutes ago, Arcling said:

So far, they haven't done so, despite the sub+shop model. I think it's better not to expect too much. WoW is in a weird place where they are well-monetized and yet somehow underfunded. Despite different revenue streams, one of the most consistent pictures we get of the them is that they are underfunded and have to cut costs constantly. They often cut content for an expansion in order to make a next one and so on.

Logically, WoW isn't even in the center of this acquisition. They have bigger franchises there, that may matter more in the long run, some players are treating it as if this game is all that matters here. Perhaps not much will change, and will be business as usual.

The reason they are well monetized but seem underfunded is probably because they are not spending the money right, or at least- not in the right areas of game development (that's why we don't "see" the effects of it). I agree with you that WOW wasn't the center here, it was COD and mobile. They now have Halo and COD, plus Overwatch. That's why I was worried if they just dump WOW in the game pass that they might not support it as much. I guess it depends on how they view it's potential.

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16 hours ago, Starym said:

I agree there but how is that not exactly No.2? 😄

Option 2 says the expansions will be free for us. I am saying we will keep on paying for them. It's a variant of 2 for sure.

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I think what is also very likely is just that the Game Pass price will be raised in general to, lets say, 15$/€ (instead of 10$/€), with the argument that there are so many new titles inside the Game Pass. Existing Game Pass users will probably accept that, because a lot of the Act/Blizz franchises still have a big name, and WoW users will also accept that they have to pay 2-4$/€ more each month, because they get the rest of the Game Pass for it. As i think (personal opinion/estimation here) that the actual amount of users paying for BOTH subscribtions at the moment is rather slim (every single friend / person i know said like "nah, i wont pay two subs, either one or the other - i will get game pass after quitting WoW" and vice versa), i think Microsoft will not even lose out on money with this step. Maybe even profit slightly, as both user groups will pay sligthly more. And still both user groups are feeling okay with that, because they get more (at least they think - a lot of WoW players i know dont even have time to play other stuff xD But just having the theoretical option to play other stuff would satisfy them).

Edited by ShiftyBro

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ESO is on xbox gamepass for base game only (i.e. purchase xpacs, etc). I would love to see a 1-50 for free on gamepass, then sub to current xpac range.

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I can't tell what will happen with wow, but am more interested in your opinion on their other games. 

 

Heroes of the Storm and Hearthstone are essentially free games, so i could see them being added. But Starcraft 2, Diablo 3 and Overwatch are games people paid for. 

Did microsoft make bought games such as this part of Game Pass in the past? Its gonna suck having to sub for Starcraft, but if that makes them add content to the game's excellent Co Op Commanders mode me and many more might be willing. 

Edited by Mishmish

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31 minutes ago, Mishmish said:

Heroes of the Storm and Hearthstone are essentially free games, so i could see them being added. But Starcraft 2, Diablo 3 and Overwatch are games people paid for. 

I'm not sure I would group Diablo 3 in that list. A ton of players got that game (and the expansion) free or discounted through various Blizzard promotions to start with, so the player-count numbers are way inflated from what the sales numbers are.

Also, it's not a hugely popular game, you can even see that with the way Blizzard releases "content" for it. New armor skins each season is the most meaningful content they've put out for it since RoS and while the Anniversary event is nice, it's not really new or meaningful content, at least in my opinion. 

I just say this because I know in my circle of gamers, there's only 2-3 of us who might even consider playing D3 for a few days when a new season comes out, and that's out of around 50 gamers who mainly play Blizzard games like WoW.

Diablo 3 just seems to be out of touch with what players wanted when it released and what they want now, and Blizzard did not do a good job of pricing the content. 15$US for a new old class and tileset after the original game shipped with dozens of tilesets, FIVE classes, AND the campaign for 60$US? That's not good pricing or a good deal. Neither was the expansion, frankly. That's why I am one of the many players who hasn't paid for a single D3 product, yet has the whole library in my bnet launcher since Blizzard couldn't sell them individually and gave them to me (and others) for free with another purchase.

And, if you don't believe me, here's an article from RoS launch also condemning the high price of the expansion: https://www.forbes.com/sites/insertcoin/2013/12/20/diablo-3-reaper-of-souls-when-is-an-expansion-just-overpriced-dlc/?sh=381e274e293b

Edited by ORCSMASH

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23 minutes ago, Mishmish said:

Heroes of the Storm and Hearthstone are essentially free games, so i could see them being added. But Starcraft 2, Diablo 3 and Overwatch are games people paid for. 

Did microsoft make bought games such as this part of Game Pass in the past? Its gonna suck having to sub for Starcraft, but if that makes them add content to the game's excellent Co Op Commanders mode me and many more might be willing. 

Probably the same thing that is happening right now. Nothing or not much. Those games that are dead will stay dead, while they invest in those currently profitable and upcoming titles, that show any promise. Besides, it can take a year for this deal to finalize, so we might not see any major changes until then, and even then, corpo is a corpo. SC2 had any active development ceased, it looks like HotS is in similar state now (they unlocked every event skin), and their playerbases have stagnated, or they are likely losing them as well.

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23 hours ago, Waynewaite said:

Is ESO not a subscription based game already on game pass? It's been awhile since I played and not since it has been on game pass so I'm not sure how it works anymore. But im sure you still need to pay for the DLC.

You don't need a sub for the base game at least, which is what I was talking about. Lots of games have additional paid DLC etc. I was just talking about having to pay to play at all.

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7 hours ago, Cheatcho said:

Option 2 says the expansions will be free for us. I am saying we will keep on paying for them. It's a variant of 2 for sure.

Ah sorry, missed that, you're right!

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On 1/19/2022 at 12:18 PM, Antimagic said:

If by some insane reason it would this will mean the game will probably end up F2P fill whit store *filtered* to buy, and this will ruin the game.

 

MTX and wow coins to buy raid content already exists.... F2P would not ruin the game. Probably attract more playerbase. 

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On 1/20/2022 at 12:44 PM, Mishmish said:

I can't tell what will happen with wow, but am more interested in your opinion on their other games. 

 

Heroes of the Storm and Hearthstone are essentially free games, so i could see them being added. But Starcraft 2, Diablo 3 and Overwatch are games people paid for. 

Did microsoft make bought games such as this part of Game Pass in the past? Its gonna suck having to sub for Starcraft, but if that makes them add content to the game's excellent Co Op Commanders mode me and many more might be willing. 

Most of what is on PC Game Pass are paid games in various stages of their lifecycle. They have a selection of Day 1 games (generally MS published, but not always), Indies of all stripes, EA pass is part of gamepass as well. Yakuza series, FF non-mmos, Halo, Wasteland 2&3, Ark, MK11, Mass effect legendary, etc, etc.

 

Their biggest upcoming day 1 is Total Warhammer 3. Pretty much everything Xbox/MS first party is day 1 on GP

https://www.xbox.com/en-US/xbox-game-pass/pc-game-pass#pcgames

 

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imo it's most likely going to be no subscription (covered by your gamepass money) but you have to pay for expansions. The same way everything else on Game Pass works. Bit blown away that wasn't an option listed considering, you know, that's how everything else on Game Pass works

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