In the past two years, quite a few MMOs have been making the transition to F2P with, apparently, great success. Recently, En Masse Entertainment
celebrated TERA surpassing the 1.4 million user mark just a month after making the switch.
Last year, BioWare's Star Wars MMO The Old Republic was struggling to maintain a stable player base. In 2012, the game sustained a 400K drop in players from February to March, just a few months after its official launch. The losses were heavy enough that by August, BioWare and EA were already considering making a switch to free-to-play. The transition was finalized in November last year.
Now, SWTOR is reporting that over two million new accounts have been created since the F2P change. "Since launch of the free-to-play option we have had over 2 million new accounts created and have thousands of new players jumping in every single day," said BioWare executive producer Jeff Hickman in the SWTOR "State of the Game #3" blog post. "This means more people to play with, more growth for your guilds, more Warzone matches, and more ways for players to continue to advance their characters."
I'm not trying to be a jerk or anything, but that's just how it works.
That doesn't mean 2 million people are now playing the game. I imagine 60% at least didn't bother to come back after they realised what a mess of a WoW clone it is.
One of the mistiques about wow is that if you work hard enough you can be an epic player.
But f2p often ends in p2w... not in the wow formula...