As North American realms came back online today, after the application of Patch 5.4.7, a new option became available for a short while: Boost a Character to 90. The price was set at $60 USD.
As I understand it, this option was not supposed to go live, especially since it vanished quickly thereafter. Still, it certainly gives one food for thought.
1) Is $60 a reasonable price to bring a character up to level 90?
Obviously, this depends on several factors.
a) Do you have a lot of disposable income? If so, $60 is going to seem a lot more reasonable to you than someone who only just manages to pay $15/month for their subscription to the game. It also means that you’re likely to see fewer new-to-90 characters, which may (or may not) be a way for Blizzard to throttle the number of people who have no idea what on earth they’re doing at max level.
b) Is the character level 1 or level 60? Level 70? Level 80? Level 85? Obviously, if the character is brand-new, you’re getting more bang for your buck. 90 levels divided by $60 is basically 1.5 levels per dollar. But what if you, like me, stopped playing regularly after Cataclysm and your characters are mostly level 85? 5 levels divided by $60 is $12 per level! That’s the point where I’d be all “well, eff that, I’m going to go spend 12 hours or so and get to 90 on my own!” Actually, I’d probably hit that point around level 70 or so, but that’s just me.
That said, time is money, friend, the goblins tell us in-game. What’s that time worth to you? That’s what it ultimately comes down to. For myself, I would have expected something around $25-$30 USD. I know that I would have paid easily that much to ding a few characters to max level, but remember, this is only max-level for a short period of time! The boost-to-90 option will still be available once Warlords of Draenor comes out, I imagine. Will there be a boost to 100? Maybe, but maybe not. You’re not paying for a max-level character for Warlords. You’re paying for a level 90 and, in just a few short months (I’m still saying June 10th +/- 2 weeks), that’s not going to be max-level anymore. Does that devalue it for you, going forward? Should it? Perhaps.
2) Did they mean to allow the option to be available?
I don’t think it’s impossible that this is a way for Blizzard to gauge reaction on a price point. Most people’s reactions seem to be “that’s way too much, they’re crazy!” Could it be that they “accidentally” left the option in the build, gave people enough time to see it and then hotfixed it out? If so, then perhaps they’re crazy… like a FOX. All of this market research! Not to mention all of this buzz. And potential buzz if they drop the price later on when it actually goes live…
Then again, I’m not sure this is the case, because there were rumours of people getting a question about this in a Blizzard survey/email or something a while back. Still, nothing can prepare someone for the reaction of announcing something to the world, not even surveys and polls. Maybe this was their way of doing that. Maybe not.
3) But seriously, $60???
I keep coming back to that price point because I think it’s somewhat ridiculous. The way I understand it, and I could be wrong, is that people started talking about buying multiple licenses for Warlords of Draenor in order to get multiple characters to 90. If the average price of a World of Warcraft Expansion is somewhere in the realm of $40 USD or thereabouts, then why price the level 90 boost to be ~150% of that? If kept at this price, a level 90 boost would be the most expensive purchase you can make for your character, exceeding even the realm-and-faction transfer fee of a $55 USD, combined.
4) The conversation has changed.
Hilariously, the conversation regarding 90 boosts, say, two months ago, was the fear that people who didn’t know what they were doing would infiltrate a highly-skilled playerbase. Ignoring the fact, of course, that much of the playerbase isn’t all that skilled to begin with, the conversation on whether or not people should be able to boost their characters to 90 has now been replaced by why does it cost so much? which neatly removes a lot of controversy amongst people who were concerned that the overall level of player ability would drop. (I’m still concerned about that, because I like thinking about how things affect the overall community.) The controversy now is “if I want to buy a level boost, it should be affordable, it shouldn’t be the equivalent of FOUR MONTHS’ worth of WoW!”
Lots of food for thought. We have a lot to look forward to on this subject, as well as the pre-order and, of course, beta testing for Warlords of Draenor. It’s going to be an exciting next few months, that’s for sure.
Speaking of excitement… My newest guide, Kurn’s Guide to Being a Kick-Ass Raider is launching next Tuesday, February 25th! And don’t forget to join in the Twitter Q&A on Sunday, February 23rd at 3pm ET (noon Pacific) with the #AskKurn hashtag. :)
2 Replies to “Crazy or Crazy Like a Fox?”
I had no plans to use it when it was free with WoD so $60 makes no difference at all.
Considering the number of people that spend that much just to raf themselves up it seems on par. Besides be it progressive nerds or whatever, the slowest and most meh part of levelling is the last part. Currently I can’t even get the motivation to take my warlock from almost 89 to 90.(90 no 11)
To some degree I think you answered your own question… why $60? Because the otherwise most expensive service you can buy is that $55 combination. I suspect they sell quite a few of those $55 packages or at least the sub-sets, if the instant 90 is anything less than that, it’s likely they’ll be forced to reduce the price of other services as well even though they’re only semi-related (moving an existing, geared toon isn’t the same thing as starting a fresh one on the new server… but of all transfers, how many have been geared toons?). I’m not sure Blizzard is looking to lower prices on existing services so they had to keep the new 90 price relatively high.
Besides, people were talking about how you’d be able to buy a new account, buy all content up to and including WoD and then transfer the toon over to your main account… total cost of that is something like $100. It really only had to come in under that amount. It should be, at least in part, a cost/benefit decision for the player to level vs buy, leveling is still a significant amount of gameplay that’s had a lot of resources allocated to it over the years, making the paid 90 so cheap that it’s a no-brainer option if you want a toon at 90 doesn’t make sense.
As for the influx of noobs, I’m not sure how anyone thinks it could get appreciably worse… I chain-ran a few 5-mans on the weekend and I’m convinced that each run had at least 2 players in them who had never seen the instances, including tanks in all of them (going the wrong way, etc). There are noobs a’plenty out there and they have very little impact on my gameplay. Griefers and trolls are my main issues and paid 90s don’t really impact those populations.
Comments are closed.