Obviously the World of Warcraft isn’t, and isn’t going to be, free to play, as interesting as that thought might be. But it seems that Bliz actually considered such a model (possibly ad supported,) then dumped it as being non-sustainable.
I happen to agree that a paid model is the way to go if you want to seriously develop a game. Whether of not we agree on the exact direction that Bliz takes with WoW I think we can all agree that they do a lot of support and development work so those few bucks 😉 that they pull in each month get put to use.
Here’s the clip, from Massively.com:
Blizzard’s own Rob Pardo recently dropped something of a bombshell about World of Warcraft at the Paris GDC event when he revealed in a keynote that the game was originally planned as a free-to-play experience. He also adds that, “We didn’t want to charge a subscription, but as we researched market conditions, we realized that wouldn’t support us.”
Here’s the rest of the article: WoW Originally Planned as Free to Play