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The Queue: Eagerly awaiting the PTR

Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Alex Ziebart will be your host today.

We're all expecting the PTR to go live some time this week, which means I have a very important task ahead of me today: replace all of my blood with Monster energy drinks. It's part of my PTR ritual, you know?

adalon asked:

With the looming threat of SWTOR, what do you think the odds are of WoW going free to play in the near future?

I don't expect WoW to go free-to-play for a long, long time. World of Warcraft still has a huge playerbase propping the game up financially with subscription fees, and both its developers and its audience are notoriously conservative/old-fashioned. WoW has very few microtransaction options currently, and it's always a big mess when they add a new one. Taking the game free-to-play would also require a lot more work than just flipping a switch. When games go F2P, they usually take a good, long time retrofitting the game to the F2P model. WoW being as big as it is, the transition would be an even more significant investment.

Plus, while SWTOR is sure to put a ding in WoW's door, I don't expect the game will be any sort of WoW killer. As a guy who's going to play SWTOR, I don't even think it's Blizzard's biggest competition yet. It's weathered worse. Certainly not big enough to justify a change to its tried-and-true subscription model.

However, I do suspect Blizzard's next MMO may do away with the subscription model, or at least have heavy microtransaction elements. The subscription model is in serious decline in the current MMO landscape, and companies like Valve (Team Fortress 2) and Riot (League of Legends) have proved microtransactions aren't just for waning or failing games. Let players pay what they want.

Maccabeus asked:

Are we ever going to hear a developer response to the class suggestion forum topics? I'd really like to know their reactions to the communities thoughts on their respective classes.

Blizzard said very clearly in those threads that they would not be replying to them. We're unlikely to see a blog post full of reactions from the devs, either. Those threads were only there to gauge players' thoughts on their class. The developers will keep that stuff in mind for future development. You know, like that new expansion they're announcing at BlizzCon.

Muse asked:

In Wolfheart, the characters briefly discussed the night elf at the tower of Theramore, "Pained". Was there a comic or a book about her, or is it a foreshadow that she's going to be in the next one?

Pained hasn't been a headlining character in any sort of media. She's just been the strange, silent Night elf hanging out with Jaina in Theramore for the last seven years. Her mention in Wolfheart is likely a strong hint she's slated to appear in the upcoming Jaina novel, yeah. I'd guess Jaina was intentionally sidelined in Wolfheart specifically so it didn't interfere with her own book.

Rhylon asked:

If Arthas turned Sylvanas into a banshee, like every source says, then why does she still have a body? Every other banshee I've ever seen in-game has been incorporeal. And why does her body hold up so much better than all the other undead - shouldn't she be bent double and rotting like everyone else?

First, she went and dug up her body so she could put it back on. Second, she doesn't have a horrible, crusty, doubled-over model because she's an NPC faction leader and thus doesn't need to worry about character silhouette like player characters do.

Have questions about the World of Warcraft? The WoW Insider crew is here with The Queue, our daily Q&A column. Leave your questions in the comments, and we'll do our best to answer 'em!

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Queue

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