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WoW Token from World of Warcraft
Image via Blizzard Entertainment

Is World of Warcraft coming to Xbox Game Pass?

It certainly looks that way.

“Will I get to play World of Warcraft with my Game Pass subscription?” is something Game Pass subscribers have been asking since the Microsoft Activision Blizzard deal was first announced.

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Now that the acquisition is finally going through, players are more excited than ever over the thought that their Game Pass subscription will let them enjoy one of the most popular MMORPGs on the market.

Will gamers be able to play WoW on Game Pass?

Will World of Warcraft come to Game Pass?

Probably. Even though neither Microsoft nor Activision Blizzard have made an official statement about this topic, it makes little sense not to link it to WoW in some way, shape, or form.

One thing we do know is, according to Xbox’s official news channel, that Activision-Blizzard-King games won’t be coming to the subscription for at least a few months.

Does it make sense to include World of Warcraft in Game Pass?

Yes and no, it’s more complex than that.

Here’s the thing: WoW is a beast of a game. Since its launch in 2004, it has retained its buy-to-play and monthly subscription model. Even when the game saw its worst player drop in history during the Shadowlands expansion in 2019, Blizzard firmly held on to their monthly subscription. 

With that said, the gaming industry has changed significantly in that period. Most MMORPGs can be played for free, while subscription services, like Game Pass, offer access to hundreds of games while costing less than a WoW monthly subscription. 

With that logic, bringing WoW to Game Pass makes perfect sense. Being part of Game Pass would also boost WoW’s player count, which has been steadily declining since the release of the Wrath of the Lich King expansion in 2008.

That said, the subscription model has ultimately kept the game going for almost two decades. By including the WoW subscription in Game Pass, Blizzard could lose a lot of funding needed to keep this MMORPG relevant. At the same time, the WoW player base has been complaining for years about how the game isn’t getting better while the prices remain the same.

Changing World of Warcraft’s subscription model?

Even though Blizzard has hinted that they considered making World of Warcraft free-to-play, they never crossed that line. The mandatory subscription simply makes this studio too much money for it to be dropped without good reason. 

Despite this, looking at Blizzard’s recent releases, it’s clear that they are no strangers to implementing free-to-play strategies. 

  • Overwatch 2 saw a boost in players since going free-to-play, despite all the backlash. 
  • Hearthstone still retains some interest with regular updates and content releases.
  • Diablo 4, besides being a buy-to-play title, also has an optional battle pass.

Not to mention, Activision titles, like Call of Duty’s Warzone, have found great success with their free-to-play model.

Many fear that making WoW free-to-play would simply ruin the game, as Blizzard would find other forms of monetization that would probably upset long-term players.

Could we see a Game Pass tier just for WoW players?

Sadly, we think a more expensive Game Pass tier is the only logical solution. As much as we would like to see a World of Warcraft subscription included in the current Game Pass model, it makes little sense profit-wise. 

We believe that once Activision Blizzard games finally arrive on Game Pass, players will have to fork over an extra few bucks to upgrade to a higher Game Pass tier that includes the best these studios have to offer, including WoW. This is also what the WoW community seems to agree on.

At the same time, we think WoW will keep its current subscription model separate from Game Pass because changing it would upset its core player base. 

As much as we would like to see an active WoW subscription suddenly appear on Game Pass one day, we think that day won’t be coming any time soon.

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Image of Max Miceli
Max Miceli
Senior Staff Writer. Max graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a journalism and political science degree in 2015. He previously worked for The Esports Observer covering the streaming industry before joining Dot where he now helps with Overwatch 2 coverage.
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Aleksandar Perišić
Staff Writer at Dot Esports. Aleksandar has been gaming ever since he can remember and has been writing game reviews long before he joined Dot Esports. He loves MMORPGS, Nintendo and Indie games. He also steals gifts on Christmas but then gives them back when everyone starts to sing.