As you may have noticed, Blizzard are coincidentally at this weekend's gigantic Blizzcon event, where they've so far shown off lots of very exciting stuff involving orcs, demons, aliens and - most exciting of all - playing cards. They also pooh-poohed any idea of World of Warcraft going free-to-play any time soon, with the quite concrete exclamation that WoW "wasn't designed as a free-to-play game".
It wasn't a completely mad idea, considering WoW's steadily falling subscriber numbers (well, there are only so many people on Earth), coupled with gaming's current obsession with free-to-play. Speaking at Blizzcon, however, CEO Mike Morhaime announced that (thanks PCGamesN ), "we've always taken the business model on a case by case basis. In the case of World of Warcraft, the first 20 levels are free. It wasn't designed as a free-to-play game. I don't see that type of transition happening in World of Warcraft, although we are always looking for new ways to make the game more accessible."
Eurogamer also spoke to production director J Allen Brack at the event, who supported the pooh-poohing by stating that "we would have to rework the game pretty significantly in order to make it free-to-play. It's not something we're currently considering."
So there you go. Barring something drastic like a mass exodus or money suddenly losing all meaning, I'd say we can expect to pay to play WoW for quite some time. In related news, there's a new expansion on the way - we've collected everything we know about it here .