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World of Warcraft

Blizzard will price World of Warcraft level 90 boost at $60 to avoid "devaluing" levelling

Garrisons are the headline feature of Warlords of Draenor, released later this year.

Warlords of Draenor is about as inclusive as WoW expansions get: each copy comes with a magic wand to wave at one of your characters and bring them right up to level 90.

It wasn’t a surprise to learn that Blizzard would be selling an identical boost via WoW’s in-game store, but the price turned heads: $60.

Blizzard have assured players that they’re not running a “profit maximising” scheme - but instead ensuring that WoW’s levelling zones don’t become NPC-only wastelands.

“In terms of the pricing, honestly a big part of that is not wanting to devalue the accomplishment of leveling,” lead encounter designer Ion Hazzikostas told Eurogamer.

“Leveling 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.”

Hazzikostas pointed out that Blizzard would be better off slashing that price by half or more if they wanted to make a fortune selling level boosts - but then “hardly anyone would ever level a character again”.

Rather, the WoW dev team’s intent is to allow players an avenue for boosting alternate characters - without buying a second copy of Warlords of Draenor.

“It's tremendously awkward to tell someone that you should buy two copies of the expansion just to get a second 90,” said Hazzikostas. “That's odd. So we knew at that point we were going to have to offer it as a separate service.

“It's just to allow people who want to purchase additional level 90s, maybe they want a second or third alt and they don't have time to level it themselves because they have a family or etc - it’s to allow them to do that.”

This is hardly the first time a many-levelled character has been valued so high - eBay has long been testament to that. Time is worth paying for. But maybe Blizzard could have considered other artificial bottlenecks that weren’t so pocket-emptyingly monetary. What do you lot reckon?

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Dog Pants's picture
829

I don't go for it. I can see their point about not wanting to make it an arbitrary decision, and I believe them that $60 isn't the optimum price, but it's just all too convenient to charge a big wad of cash to get a character straight to endgame. Indulge me while I analyse out loud:

Why do people want to jump straight to 90? These are most likely people who are raiding who want to play alts but can't be bothered spending hours and hours going back through all that content again. Someone who isn't playing end game would presumably want to actually play the game they've bought, and on top of that can still level another character to 90 with WoD. So it's for people who want two or more alts.

We're talking about the hardcore then. So this is trading time spent playing alts on the zones with time spent raiding. Where are these people going to be most valuable to the game? I would suggest it's doing public dungeons/raids and making up the lower end organised raid groups, since they're not essential to new players levelling and probably wouldn't be filling the Barrens anyway as they'll be power-levelling as fast as possible.

I would suggest that it's in Blizzard's interest to have hardcore raiders with level 90 alts then. They feed the in-game economy and keep the part of the game which requires other people populated. It's not like they're losing the subscription fee by speeding the process (unlike first-time players), because they'll still be paying it regardless of what their character is doing.

What about the guys who already levelled a bunch of alts? They're going to be pretty upset that someone else can just pay to emulate all the hard hours they put in. I don't know if it would be enough to force them to leave, but bad feeling from those guys would probably filter down through the raiding guilds. I'm not sure how much Blizz care about that, but my guess is that's what they're talking about when they say they don't want to devalue levelling.

My conclusion (or conspiracy theory, if you prefer) is that they want to take some of the grind out for the hardcore (a group whose boundaries are being expanded every time they simplify the process and which matches up with recent news of getting rid of currency grind), but they want to make some money while they're at it, and they've priced it high to appease the existing raiders.

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Belimawr's picture
383

going to 90 isn't jumping to end game, you will still have to do the 10 levels to cap in WoD, since that is when it is targeted at.

as for the price, Blizzard knew people would just buy a second account and transfer the free level 90 over, so the $60 price tag while it seems arbitrary, it removes the need to dick about with people making new accounts and transferring over chars to do it causing bloat in the database.

but then if they had sold it for $10 or $20 nearly everyone would of used it as why play all the old content when you can jump past it all for next to nothing. so it would increase the number of people taking it up so the lower price point would probably get them more money on the long run.

where with the $60 price tag it will make people actually think about it before going for it, meaning it will probably be relegated to people who are desperate to change class for example to fill a gap in a raid group or the people with more money than sense.

but in the long run the $60 price tag will discourage a lot of people and the people who aren't discouraged by it would have only done it with a second account anyway and in reality blizz could of made more money by forcing people to buy a second account up to WoD for the free level 90 then transferring it over to the old account.

so I do think they have found a reasonable balance as a lot of people complaining about the price are saying it is too expensive and if anything that just shows it is working to limit the amount of people using it as they are actually having to think about the price.

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Dog Pants's picture
829

There's 100 levels now? Blimey, I'm more out of touch than I thought. I can see what you mean about making something people would have done anyway legitimate, but I'm under no illusion that this is anything but a business decision first.

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Tim Edwards's picture
310

90 now. They're adding 10 more in the expansion.

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Belimawr's picture
383

there is no doubt it is a business decision, the free 90 with the expansion so new users can go straight to the new content and play with their friends, rather than being forced through 90 levels to get to the new content and making it so they either have to do it alone or their friends need to start a bunch of new alts.

the problem came because on the back of that due to being able to transfer chars between accounts you own you open it up so people can create and transfer level 90 chars at a price, so then it comes down to do you just leave it so people make a bunch of new accounts and then transfer the char across accounts or do you facilitate a way that is probably much easier on blizzard's servers.

so really once the free level 90 was included with WoD you opened up a door that allowed people to technically buy level 90's anyway, so in reality blizzard is actually losing money at $60.

as if you assume the battle chest is often around $10, mists is around $20, WoD is most likely going to be $40+, so your already at $70 then you throw in the character transfer at $25 making it $95, so your actually looking at a saving of about $35 due to the way blizzard is offering it.

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Dog Pants's picture
829

Ah, I did not know you could transfer between accounts now. That suddenly makes a lot more sense. Of course it also needs to be more financially viable than buying a character off ebay.

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Shriven's picture
1318

Just one very easy step to buying in game currency from Blizzard.

Not a fan.

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Belimawr's picture
383

really it's not that different to what people were doing with RAF and SoR, as people were exploiting those to get free character boosts.

as for buying currency in game, if you look at the likes of EVE where you can actually buy ingame currency (since you can buy a game time token then sell it for credits) is it really that damaging to the game, if anything in the likes of EVE it has helped the game as it has made it a lot harder for "gold sellers" since they have a legitimate market to combat and it also gives certain players the ability to play the game without paying a subscription, it's most likely the reason Wildstar is looking to do a similar system.

to be fair WoW already did a trial with this when you could buy the pet in the blizzard store then stick it on the AH, so in a roundabout way you could buy gold, the problem was the experiment failed as a small pet doesn't carry a lot of value so it ended up selling on the AH for less than the gold sellers were selling for. so really if you want the first step to buy gold you need to go back to when they added that pet, as it was blizzard sanctioned gold selling just in a roundabout way.

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