Yup. World of Warcraft is dead. As a door nail. Doomed. Toast. Gone. History. Spent.
Ok, not really…but when the servers came back up and it was reported out that the boost to 90 feature was indeed available in the in-game store and it cost $60, yeah, minds were lost. The blogosphere, WoWnews sites, Twitter, Facebook, verily the Sochi Olympics were postponed to denounce the horror of Blizzard charging such an obscene amount of real world hard earned dollars for this service!!!
Like I said…WoW is clearly dead.
Alright, I’ll stop. Though you would consider it to be the case based on some of the commentary you see. Now personally, I stated via Twitter that Blizzard is the dealer, and we are the addicts. We’ll take whatever they dish to us and we’ll like it. Of course I was then ridiculed for comparing Blizzard to drug dealers, when in fact that wasn’t exactly my analogy. On Monday mornings many of us state Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts are our dealers, and we the caffeine addicts flock in droves to reap the rewards of the delicious java brewed by some part time barista. No one thinks I’m comparing Starbucks baristas to some seedy alley way meth dealer, so why would you think I felt that way about Blizzard?
I digress from the specifics of that argument, and circle back to my focus…the analogy of Blizzard dealing out delicious digital content and we as addicted gamers to said content. Its true. Argue against whatever shame inducing thoughts or feelings you may have about this, and accept it. Blizz can and in fact does do what they please and we accept it. We always do! Don’t get me wrong, we are the consumers and can help shape what direction they sometimes go. We can do our best to provide criticism and feedback and some times Blizz will heed that advice and alter products and services.
Someone asked on twitter if this was a service that should have been made, my reply: No. The point of the game is to go on an adventure in this expansive world. Instant level 90 negates some of that adventure, potentially all of it. There are a few points and counter points though the essence of this question. Is boost to 90 at a cost of $60 worth it. First lets tackle…
$60 = 15 Grande lattes at Starbucks (~$4 ea.)
$60 = 7.5 Sweet & Sour Chicken combo w/ pork fried rice and 2 pieces of beef teriyaki (~$8 ea.)
$60 = 1 stick – Kingston 4GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 Desktop Memory (~$53 ea.)
$60 = 17 gal of regular gasoline (~$3.35 per gal)
$60 = 13lbs of bacon (~$4.5 per lb)
$60 = 12 Imported draft beers (~$5 ea.)
In terms of playing a game, $60 seems like a lot, but compared to some real life costs it really isn’t. To be fair, how much time is involved with leveling to level 90? Does it take a week? A month? well, in WoW terms I think Blizzard may feel it takes 4 months of game time. $60 = 4 months of WoW ($15 ea.)
Now, I am going out on a limb here because I have no real data to suggest what I am about to say is true…but I think its a safe limb. I bet Blizz has data/evidence that shows it DOES take the average player 4 months to level to 90. Why? Because they didn’t pull $60 out of thin air. They chose that price for a reason, and personally I think thats the reason! Give up on getting Kung Pao Chicken take out for a month, get a free level 90 instead.
Second objection to tackle…Most people have leveled to 90 multiple toons, THE ADVENTURE IS DEAD.
Wait, “most” people?! really?! Because I have 2 level 90s. I’ve been playing for 9 years, no interruptions. I have TWO. I do not think MOST people are sick of leveling. Perhaps the most vocal players are sick of leveling. Perhaps the majority of hard core players are sick of leveling. Those are statements I can fathom, but the blanket statement that most of ALL the WoW players are sick of leveling…I do not buy it.
The majority of the game’s content is in leveling. The OVERWHELMING majority of the game’s content is in leveling. I will say this one more time….THE MAJORITY OF THE GAME’S CONTENT IS IN LEVELING. Now, its not by coincidence that this is the case. With each new expansion, previous content is now leveling fodder. It becomes absorbed into the vast chasm of “old content”. Sick of leveling are you? Then really you are sick of the previous expansions. How many players flocked to level Pandarean when MoP came out? If the issue was leveling itself, then newly leveled Pandas would be rare, and Blizz would have usage statistics to show this. Sorry, I don’t buy this as a valid reason for the service, especially given that plenty of new content has been made specifically for leveling purposes. Older content has been revamped for leveling purposes. The design thought here is refresh it for existing players to go back and not be bored with it, but also ensure new players have good challenging content in which to fall in love with the game. New players aren’t jumping in saying “Man…I can’t wait to end game raiding, have to level faster!” Just no.
There are so many fast ways to level a toon now. I mean really fast. I’ve seen folks brag at how they got to 90 within a weekend. Is that true or accurate….I don’t know. I just think if you really want a level 90 Blood Elf Warlock that badly, you could power through whatever leveling process you so choose fairly quickly.
Third item to discuss…Boost to 90 is pay to win feature.
Well….no. Mainly because the new level cap will be 100, so any player will still have 10 more levels to manually level or themselves. Also it doesn’t mean they come fully geared, so again a player has to go earn their gear through dungeons, raids, etc themselves.
Now there have been some other items thrown about:
Quick leveling negates learning to play your class. Well, what if I am paying to get a second end game Hunter? I already know how to play that class.
Buying a 90 gives you a competitive advantage. But, it doesn’t. You still have 10 levels to go. You still have to earn your gear.
I know there are other points to be made for and against this feature being of any value. Personally, I will use the free single use boost to 90, but will not pay for this feature. I am also someone who doesn’t buy pets, mounts, or other cosmetic items (I have purchased a few of them, but not all. and did so only when they went on sale for relatively little expense). Ultimately I think this service and its cost are really about one thing and one thing only…making money. Blizzard has players willing to pay to skip leveling for a number of reasons. Blizzard will make money on this. So whether its worth it for a player to pay $60 for this isn’t relevant, it will be worthwhile for Blizzard to offer the service.
I’m ok with this. I’ve said it before, and Im sure I will again. I want my derive/product providers to make money. The more successful they are, the more likely they funnel that success and profits back into the products and services I enjoy. Blizzard, Apple, Honda, Razer, are all examples of products and services I use that have shown continued improvement based on their success.
So go for it Blizzard. Charge $60 for a level 90 character. Charge $100 for a special transmog outfit so your character looks like Chris Metzen in game. Charge whatever for any service anyone is willing to pay for in game. Just make sure you put those profits back into your products, and I am pretty much willing to take whatever you pour into my coffee cup.