But what if WoW didn't have a subscription rate at all? What if it were free to play, either from the outset or for players who'd subscribed a certain amount of time? My guess is that a lot more players would feel free to drop out for real life, for waning interest, for all sorts of reasons. What if there were a lifetime membership plan? Would you still feel obligated to regularly log in and bang out your money's worth, or would you feel more likely to take a break when you felt like it?
I'm interested in how this whole bang-for-your-buck dynamic plays out at your house. I sense a fair amount of angst amongst gamers over the cost of a gaming computer and the cost of their WoW subscriptions, but I don't hear anything even remotely resembling that among TV owners who pay for cable or subscription services such as Netflix or Hulu Plus. How would you compare the value you feel you get from WoW against the value you get from your other entertainment expenditures? How would that balance change if you no longer had to pay to play WoW?