World of Warcraft lead designer Tom Chilton revealed in an interview with Polygon at GamesCom 2013 that the long-running mega-popular Western MMO will go free-to-play at some point in the future.
Chilton also noted that the MMO needed casual-centric features to maintain its longetivity, stating, "We would have been in bad shape had we not (added new casual features in Mists of Pandaria)," adding, "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."
Blizzard will be careful about a future transition to free-to-play, however.
"For Blizzard it makes sense (to go free-to-play) at some point," Chilton explained, "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."
The 5.4 update of World of Warcraft will be arriving on the 10th September, which will add many new features and a game-changing campaign development as Garrosh wages all-out war with the Alliance and Horde.