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Role Playing (Games) The Almighty Buck Games

Blizzard To Sell Level 90 WoW Characters For $60 253

An anonymous reader writes "After their online store accidentally spilled the beans last week, Blizzard has now confirmed plans to let players pay $60 to boost one of their World of Warcraft characters to level 90, the current cap. At Blizzcon a few months ago, the company unveiled the game's next expansion, Warlords of Draenor, currently in development. When it comes out, they're giving every player a free boost to 90 in order to get to the new content immediately. They say this was the impetus for making it a purchasable option. 'It's tremendously awkward to tell someone that you should buy two copies of the expansion just to get a second 90. That's odd. So we knew at that point we were going to have to offer it as a separate service.' Why $60? They don't want to 'devalue the accomplishment of leveling.' Lead encounter designer Ion Hazzikostas said, '[L]eveling is something that takes dozens if not over 100 hours in many cases and people have put serious time and effort into that, and we don't want to diminish that.'" On one hand, I can appreciate that people who just want to get to endgame content may find it more efficient to spend a few bucks than to put a hundred hours into leveling a new character. On the other hand, I can't help but laugh at the idea that Blizzard will probably get a ton of people paying them to not play their game.
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Blizzard To Sell Level 90 WoW Characters For $60

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  • Wut? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Wednesday February 26, 2014 @05:38AM (#46343649) Homepage

    When it comes out, they're giving every player a free boost to 90 in order to get to the new content immediately. (...) They don't want to 'devalue the accomplishment of leveling.'

    So... buy WoW, create lvl 1 character, buy expansion, instant level 90? Sounds to me like you don't have to accomplish much...

  • by RogueyWon ( 735973 ) on Wednesday February 26, 2014 @06:52AM (#46343961) Journal

    Pay-to-win isn't - quite - what's on offer here. Blizzard haven't yet gone that far.

    If you've played WoW for any time, you'll know that the game only really "begins" once you hit the level cap. Certainly, there isn't much point in comparing yourself to other players until you hit the maximum level. What Blizzard are selling here is the opportunity to skip the extended tutorial/storyline hybrid that comes before the game starts in earnest.

    Genuine pay-to-win would be the sale of any kind of advantage, be it gear, increased access to instances (such as a waiver on weekly lock-outs) or any kind of character power-boost or income-boost once at the level cap. So far, Blizzard have not gone in that direction (though many other MMOs do). I think Blizzard still understand that would be a step too far for the player-base they've built up and would likely kill their cash-cow. MMOs that do use that model tend to have relatively short lifespans, while WoW is still going strong after the better part of a decade on the basis of a subscription model.

    In fact, the pure subscription-model is by no means as dead as many people seem to think. There was a real worry, after the disaster of the initial Old Republic launch, that the model was no longer viable in a world of free-to-play-pay-to-win. But the re-launch of Final Fantasy XIV late last year was extremely successful (and remains successful several months after launch) on the basis of a subscription model with no microtransactions at all.

  • Re:Value (Score:5, Informative)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Wednesday February 26, 2014 @09:36AM (#46344807) Journal
    One confounding factor: There already exists an illicit(but ill-controlled) market for assorted paying-to-not-play-the-game services. The Chinese Gold Farmer is the stereotypical classic; but if you want it and somebody can either grind for it in a country with lower wages and costs of living, or hack accounts for it, it's for sale.

    $60 is a value likely chosen to be high enough to pad Blizzard's pockets, and discourage truly casual purchase(which would mean that Blizzard basically wasted their time with the lower-level content, and now has to scrounge up enough 'epic level' new content to satisfy everybody, not just the powergamers); but also chosen to be ruinously low for any non-Blizzard seller who has to work, rather than just twiddle numbers on the server, to provide the product.

    It isn't my game; but my understanding is that people generally loath the famer-for-profit guys, so they may be delighted to see Blizzard blow them out of the water with economics, rather than comparatively feeble attempts at banning.

Each new user of a new system uncovers a new class of bugs. -- Kernighan