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Blizzard To Sell Level 90 WoW Characters For $60

Soulskill posted about 2 months ago | from the kung-fu-panda-pledge-week dept.

Role Playing (Games) 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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Next Service from Blizzard (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46343629)

Pay an additional $50 for the new Starcraft III game and you can tell your friends you have completed the game without even playing it once.

Value (2)

gd2shoe (747932) | about 2 months ago | (#46343647)

[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.

I don't know anybody who values 100s of hours of their time at $60. They might not want to diminish that effort, but they have a poor way of showing it. If I played WoW, I'd be insulted.

Re:Value (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46343681)

I find this sort of good. I have a problem where I like playing games with my friends(WoW was previously in there) but I don't play NEARLY enough. I might play 2-3 hours a week. So, it would take forever to get the point where I could play the game with friends. At the time, WoW considered to get fun and more playable at level 60. But getting to level 60 takes a long time. I would give someone some money so I could play with friends and get some more entertainment out of it without having to invest a lot of time.

I guess the best way to describe myself is a casual gamer of hardcore games.

Re:Value (5, Interesting)

omglolbah (731566) | about 2 months ago | (#46343741)

Guild Wars 2 solved this issue beautifully I felt.

When you enter a zone your hp, damage etc gets scaled to the level of the area. Only down-scaled however so you cannot just jump to high level areas immediately.

This DOES mean that your friends at higher levels can play with you though,which a bunch of my friends did. Worked great.

Sadly the game didnt really 'last' for us for a variety of other reasons.

Re:Value (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46343873)

Guild Wars 2 is is still a fantastic game, and they constantly bring out new content, all voice acted, very nice.

WvW is still fun..

You just have to totally forget about the "gear-treadmill" mindset.

Re:Value (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46343743)

Yes, it is called bad game design.
It is completely idiotic that you have a massive multiplayer game with social interaction and guilds, but that you have to solo for 4 months before you are allowed to play with your friends.

Games like EVE Online do this a lot better. There is progression, a steep one at that. But there is always something you can do together with veteran players:
- You mine the same Ore with a small mining ship as a large mining barge.
- In missions your destroyer makes short order of level 4 mission frigates, which for a veteran player in a battleship has difficulty in to kill (large weapons hardly do damage on fast small ships).
- In PvP you need a small fast ship to tackle opponents.
- Even the 'tutorial'-ship is even viable in PvP as an ECM or tackle platform.

Re:Value (2)

Riceballsan (816702) | about 2 months ago | (#46344793)

This I have to second. Really that is the problem with the majority of MMORPGs these days. WoW is actually closer to an exception, in the sense that the hours to get to cap, are pretty small compared to the amount of time one spends in raids etc... after getting to cap, compared to many other MMO's in which there is no point in the game in which partying becomes the standard, or said point is so insanely far down the road that under 10% of players reach it. What baffles me is how many players complain when it is harder to solo than to group up. If the game makes grouping easier, but soloing harder, then people who want to work harder and solo can. When the game makes grouping the hard way and soloing easier, then the 10% that want to group up, spend 2 hours looking for a group, because 95% of players are going to go the most efficiant way no matter what, and the people who actually want to have fun and group up, have to spend hours trying to find others. I've always considered solo MMORPGs analogous to inviting a whole bunch of friends over to play solitare.

Re:Value (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46343751)

If you have friends, they can boost you to level 60 in no time. :)

Re:Value (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46344301)

[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.

I don't know anybody who values 100s of hours of their time at $60. They might not want to diminish that effort, but they have a poor way of showing it. If I played WoW, I'd be insulted.

And yet the only one slinging insults here, is you.

Ironically, the fucking computer you're banging away on making a damn good living with was probably built by someone who is forced to value "100s of hours of their time at $60" because that's how much they make in a month working a foreign assembly line.

Try not to be such an ignorant dick about it next time, and count your lucky stars you just happened to be born on the side of fortune. And for the kids playing these games, it's a fair price, unless you somehow think that leveling up should be a discussion on the Congressional floor regarding minimum wage, and the price tag should be $1500.

Re:Value (5, Insightful)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 2 months ago | (#46344653)

and this is why these freemium models are ruining gaming. Logging in and finding that the idiot in your guild that can't even figure out how to work the chat window properly suddenly, over-night, out-leveled the entire guild and now is wielding a vorpal blade, makes wanting to actually play the game and achieve all those things glaringly pointless.

Re:Value (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46344789)

play the game and achieve all those things glaringly pointless.

There is no "achievement" in WoW. If you want a game that involves skill rather than "pay to win", learn to play Chess or Go or any of a number of other things. You cannot pay $60 and suddenly become a master level, because it requires learned skill.

Play the game because you enjoy playing the game. If people are willing to pay $60 to not play the game, it's not a very good sign of the game being any fun. But someone ELSE paying $60 to not play the game, does not remove YOUR ability to play the game if you actually do enjoy it.

Re:Value (4, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 2 months ago | (#46344807)

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.

Re:Next Service from Blizzard (0)

flyneye (84093) | about 2 months ago | (#46344285)

Get ready for digital penis enlargement, digital tax preparers, digital energy drinks, digital Carribean cruises and more, all for your game character at prices rivalling reality.

Arg Pandas (2, Insightful)

aethelrick (926305) | about 2 months ago | (#46343635)

Once upon a time WoW was worthy of the gaming geek... now it's watered down drivel complete with kung-fu pandas... who even plays this any more?

Re:Arg Pandas (1)

Travis Mansbridge (830557) | about 2 months ago | (#46343655)

World of Warcraft is still one of the most popular western games in Asia.

Re:Arg Pandas (4, Funny)

dcw3 (649211) | about 2 months ago | (#46344261)

Could it be because they pandered to that audience?

Disclaimer: I played from beta up until last year. Pandas, really???

Re:Arg Pandas (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46344353)

Pandaren existed in Warcraft 3 so I don't know what you're so upset about.

Re:Arg Pandas (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46344609)

Pandaren existed in Warcraft 3 so I don't know what you're so upset about.

Only as a joke character in a secret level. The purpose of its existence was to parody the seriousness of everything else in the game.

Re:Arg Pandas (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46344781)

Only as a joke character in a secret level.

...and a playable character in the Orc mini-campaign (that played like Diablo/WoW) in the Warcraft 3 expansion.

Re:Arg Pandas (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46344965)

Big talking cows were not a problem, but big talking pandas are?

Re:Arg Pandas (2, Insightful)

Buck Feta (3531099) | about 2 months ago | (#46343685)

Once upon a time WoW was worthy of the gaming geek... now it's watered down drivel complete with kung-fu pandas... who even plays this any more?

7.8 million [joystiq.com] people.

The kung-fu pandas joke is old.

Re:Arg Pandas (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46344121)

Mist of Pandaria was a joke? LOL i totally believed it was a real WoW expansion.

Re:Arg Pandas (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46344211)

Because martial arts pandas are so very much sillier than elves with coat-rack ears or rasta-trolls, etc.

Wut? (3, Informative)

Kjella (173770) | about 2 months ago | (#46343649)

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...

Re:Wut? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46343677)

The game begins at max level, the great majority of interesting things you do in any expansion require maximum level, and then lots of nice gear

Re:Wut? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46343863)

That's not really true. Leveling is just a different phase of the game (and in vanilla it was a much bigger part of the game at that, these days it's a lot faster).

Re:Wut? (2)

Mike Frett (2811077) | about 2 months ago | (#46344175)

Leveling was the best part of the game for me. Once I hit max level I rerolled, the adventure stops at max level for me. Of course now they got everybody phased into zones, you can't even complete quests anymore because nobody groups. There's always a huge line waiting for the quest-giver. I wouldn't mind playing again if I could have my wide-open, empty space back again. =p

Better yet, add bots and make a solo, single-player version of WoW available. I'd definitely buy it if it worked in Wine.

Re:Wut? (4, Interesting)

timftbf (48204) | about 2 months ago | (#46344251)

Better yet, add bots and make a solo, single-player version of WoW available. I'd definitely buy it if it worked in Wine.

This. I love the first few levels of WoW where I don't have to interact with anyone. I think the art style is great, I enjoy the lore, the feeling of just wandering about exploring things is a whole bunch of fun.

Then I get to a point where it's time to go in an instance with other people, and I hate it, and quit.

Been round this loop three times now since vanilla. I know how it's going to go, but every few years I get the urge to go and do it again...

Re:Wut? (1)

Buck Feta (3531099) | about 2 months ago | (#46343699)

That is true, but you also won't accomplish much if you don't know how to play. Not to mention, you won't find many people to raid with (besides fellow hollow 90s). This isn't aimed at new subscribers. It's to keep the old ones interested.

Re:Wut? (1)

zwei2stein (782480) | about 2 months ago | (#46343701)

If you play game to "accomplish" something, you might want to reevaluate reasons why you pay to play the game to fake-accomplish stuff.

If you are instant L90 you have ... freedom.

Want to go to sightsee zone X? You can.

Want to try dungeon Y? You can.

Want to do quest Z? Sure, go ahead.

Want to...

There is so much you can do besides watching stupid pointless number to go up. Maybe you can try that sometimes.

Re:Wut? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46343785)

There is so much you can do besides watching stupid pointless number to go up. Maybe you can try that sometimes.


Re:Wut? (1)

ButchDeLoria (2772751) | about 2 months ago | (#46344137)

Reminds me of Godville, a mobile cow clicker sort of affair where you had an RPG hero who you couldn't control, only heal. All gear acquisition, fighting, quests, etc. were autonomous.

Re:Wut? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46343779)

Just think of all the work you did to earn that $60. That's where the accomplishment really hides!

Re:Wut? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46344519)

Everquest; now that's a game that put your balls in a vice grip. Dying at max level cost you like 2 weeks of grinding. It sucked but at least it kept the noobs away hehe.

Levelling not the point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46343651)

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.

I'm sure this will be corrected by someone else if it isn't true, but a friend of mine who used to be very heavily into WoW has told me that the game only really starts once you're levelled up: before that you're grinding away at the boring tasks because you're incapable of surviving the end-game stuff, and it's only once you hit that cap that you can actually enjoy a lot of the end-game content.

As TFA said, the boost is to let people "get to the new content immediately", not bypass it. Levelling is not, from what I'm told, the main content of the game.

Re: Levelling not the point? (1)

AskChopper (1077519) | about 2 months ago | (#46343689)

Your friend is lying in order to cover up his shameful addiction. It's all about levelling. After that it's all about hanging around the bank on a unicorn, or was that UO?

Re: Levelling not the point? (1)

anne on E. mouse cow (867445) | about 2 months ago | (#46343765)

Why is being addicted to a game shameful?

Re: Levelling not the point? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46343809)

because any addiction implies that you're a weak minded fool unable to control your own behaviour.

Re: Levelling not the point? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46344135)

because any addiction implies that you're a weak minded fool unable to control your own behaviour.

I'll take that over the illusion of control that afflict you.

Re: Levelling not the point? (5, Funny)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | about 2 months ago | (#46343889)

I dunno, I kind of like it. I have 11 level 90's, but I'm not addicted.
I could give it up any time. Seriously.
No, really.

Re: Levelling not the point? (1)

MachineShedFred (621896) | about 2 months ago | (#46344845)

Nope, you're right.

You level, you then get a half-decent amount of gear, and then you do your daily chores and stand around in the en vogue city waiting for something to do.

I have daily chores already, I don't need digital daily chores.

Re:Levelling not the point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46344911)

From my understanding, the majority of people will do raids for equipment. Raids at lower levels were used as a stopgap to get experience with raids but at the same time allowed a decent amount of experience(leveling up).

Then, you reach max level, do end-game raids, and the main point is to get the coolest armor/weapons that you can. Then, the next expansion comes out, raises the level cap by 5 or w/e, and everything you worked for in raids was made completely useless by the most basic drops of the new mobs.

Of course, it's impossible to describe the goals of millions of players with one ultimate goal - armor and weapons - but it seemed to me when I was playing that most people were oriented towards that. New expansions have always royally screwed such players. "Oh, you've spent dozens or hundreds of hours getting your gear? Yeah well now you can do it all over again, cuz your gear is trash now. Lvl up you scrub and get back to the grind"

This new expansion is now screwing over the other huge portion of their customer base, the ones who like leveling up. 'bout time IMO.

Re:Levelling not the point? (3, Interesting)

X0563511 (793323) | about 2 months ago | (#46344925)

The real problem then is all the interesting content is end-game.

Guild Wars 2 has an interesting take on it - your level is scaled down to the area you're in, and because of this players who've progressed past an area somehow can still go back and enjoy the content. You even get experience/drops that are useful to you.

You can't really do that in WoW, you'll insta-kill everything and get nothing for it.

Can't imagine many will see the point (2)

RogueyWon (735973) | about 2 months ago | (#46343669)

I played World of Warcraft on and off for a few years. I was a pretty hardcore player from the launch of Burning Crusade through to near the end of Lich King and came back casual for a while for late Cataclysm and early Pandaria. I know the game pretty well and have friends who still play it.

So I can say with confidence that you would be absolutely mad to pay for a boost up to level 90 with prices like that (and if you are a new player, mad to pay at all).

There are two types of people now who might be starting out at level 1; new (or returning-after-a-gap-of-years) players starting their first characters, or veterans levelling an "alt" (a secondary - or indeed tertiary or beyond - character).

If you are a new player, then going through the level-up process is important and you should not skip it. First of all, this is where you learn how to play your character. Most end-game content involves group-play and if you have a brand new player at the level cap staring at a hotbar full of unfamiliar abilities, it will be a long time before you are actually competent enough to play alongside others. The level-up process, during which you are introduced to abilities one or two at a time, takes you at least part of the way along that learning curve for your character. It also exposes you to a lot of the game's lore, if that's your bag (I always found WoW's lore a bit boring and juvenile, but some people like it).

And if you're a veteran player, then there are lots and lots of things you can do to accelerate the level-up process for an alt without handing over real-money. I levelled up three alts while never taking them out of "rested" state (meaning they were getting double xp from kills). Heirlooms allow you to boost the rate of xp gain even faster, to the point where 1-80, by the launch of Pandaria, was just stupidly fast. I doubt even a brand new character takes over 100 hours of game time (or indeed, anything like it). Alts certainly take much less.

So yeah, I can't imagine Blizzard would have too many takers for this. Or at least, I hope they won't.

Re:Can't imagine many will see the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46343723)

I doubt even a brand new character takes over 100 hours of game time (or indeed, anything like it). Alts certainly take much less.

So yeah, I can't imagine Blizzard would have too many takers for this. Or at least, I hope they won't.

100 hours? Oh yeah, they'll be having takers hand over fist. They'll make so much money from this one move that most all other MMOs will start selling levels too. That will be the end of MMOs so far as I'm concerned..

Re:Can't imagine many will see the point (1)

RogueyWon (735973) | about 2 months ago | (#46343749)

Seriously, it's nothing like 100-hours game time to get a character to max level and it's much less if it's not your first character. There are a few factors that affect how long it will take (if you do marathon play sessions it will take longer than if you play in bursts with rested state), but I'd estimate no more than 60 for a first character, as of Mists of Pandaria. And a good chunk of that will be on the final 5 levels, which (last time I checked) hadn't yet been accelerated in the same way as the pre-Pandaria content.

I've done alts in under 40 hours of playtime, through a combination of rested state and heirlooms. Combine those and the little xp-progress bar absolutely shoots across the bottom of the screen. Plus levelling an alt is actually kinda fun, particularly with the group-finder making low-level dungeon runs a much better way to level up.

Re:Can't imagine many will see the point (1)

captainpanic (1173915) | about 2 months ago | (#46343845)

In any game, I never like it when people get more powerful than me, simply because they pay more. It's a game, not real life!

Games are no longer primarily about friendly competition between players. It's now a source of income for the developers, so much in fact that the competition (which once was the whole point of games - even in the pre-digital era) has been sacrificed to generate more income.

Re:Can't imagine many will see the point (4, Informative)

RogueyWon (735973) | about 2 months ago | (#46343961)

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:Can't imagine many will see the point (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46344127)

Paying your way into accomplishing some of the in-game goals without putting any effort into it sounds like pay to win to me. There is no rule that says you have to win the UltimateGoalOfTheGame (tm) to qualify.

Re:Can't imagine many will see the point (1)

omglolbah (731566) | about 2 months ago | (#46343737)

I would not pay to level up an alt... but if I were to start on a new server? I actually might.

Starting out on a new server, even with heirlooms you still end up sometimes strapped for cash.
Boosting up to 90 so you have a 'money-runner' so to speak might be worth it.

Personally I've leveled up probably 30 characters since I started playing shortly after launch in EU.. I find it enjoyable compared to a lot of other time-wasters. Sometimes I just want to mindlessly derp around after a long day of figuring shit out at work.

I doubt I will make use of it, but I can see situations where I could.
Especially with the amusing exchange rate/cost of living difference between the US and where I live... 60 bucks is roughly 4 pints :p

Re:Can't imagine many will see the point (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | about 2 months ago | (#46344827)

The game wouldn't even be interesting to me if there weren't other servers to switch to after a character has leveled up to the point of being boring. The game for me is roleplaying up to about level 85 then starting over.

All the store-bought mounts, and even the earned 'epic' mounts look like big fat power-boats to me. Ugly as shit when not in the air. Likewise the fat pandas wobbling around on their giant tortoises. I'll get around on a black griffon, thank you. A gnome or goblin assassin on a canoe.

I'll admit the game probably wouldn't pay out for the publisher enough to still exist in an interesting form, with an economy, etc. that is interesting to exist within, without the endgame for those others. But I'm a nerd, and I don't care very much what the jocks are doing over in their areas. It can be annoying at busy times to have to frequent the places in the game where they've gathered to queue up and dork around on their giant e-peen mounts, but I don't have to spend much time there.

Re:Can't imagine many will see the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46343831)

Or, just look at the many sites that tell you how to spec and what rotations to use and not even worry about anything...

Re:Can't imagine many will see the point (2)

silentcoder (1241496) | about 2 months ago | (#46344075)

A largely overlooked factor (though I agree with your general comment - and for myself, I will at most see it as a way to maybe rapid-level an alt with the free one when I buy the upgrade just to try some new class out) is that they realized that without the levelling people would have no idea what a class's spells do.

So they are saying boosted characters would go through a kind of special starting zone and get a bunch of quests designed to teach them the character in a kind of crash-course way - much like Death Knights have done all along to rapidly skill up between 55 (where they start) and about 58 where they leave the DK starting zone.

Re:Can't imagine many will see the point (1)

Xordin (66857) | about 2 months ago | (#46344105)

First, when you buy the new expansion, you get a level boost to 90 for free. You only need to buy it separately if you want multiple characters at 90.

Secondly, being good with your class is now only required for Flex level raids and higher. You can see all of the game without knowing how to play your character. Blizzard has at times re-introduced minor difficulty in 5-mans (heroic 5-mans at the start of Cataclysm, Icecrown 5-mans) but while some people liked that, most of the players didn't.

Thirdly, you say you'd be "mad to pay" $60. I could easily see myself having $60 worth of fun trying out another character class. What other things can you buy for $60? You can easily spend more just eating out in a good restaurant, and that'll give you only two hours of fun.

WoW Ruined PC Gaming (1)

AlphaBro (2809233) | about 2 months ago | (#46343709)

Everyone wanting to emulate WoW's success has absolutely destroyed PC gaming. Watered down content and gameplay that is engineered to be inordinately time consuming? No thanks.

Re:WoW Ruined PC Gaming (4, Insightful)

meglon (1001833) | about 2 months ago | (#46343823)

WoW didn't originate those "features."

Perhaps a better way to look at it is: UO made huge news when it broke 200k (final peak was a bit more) geeks with accounts; EQ upped that to 500k (final peak was a bit more) geeks/fantasy rpgers with accounts; WoW opened up MMO's to anyone that wanted to play, not just the geeks/rpgers/hardcore gamers... and hit what12 million? I'd suggest that instead of blaming WoW for the bad things they merely imported from their predecessors (and FYI: it was much, much, much worse in EQ, if you don't already know that first hand), you might give them a little credit for making it so that all games have a vastly larger MMO player base now days.

Don't get me wrong, i enjoyed WoW for the couple years i played larger because of a few friends playing, and because i'd come off a 6 year stint in EQ. It was nice and slow and overall somewhat entertaining. EQ (if you didn't play it) on the other hand, felt like a 17 hour a day job, with a root canal appointment during lunchtime, crammed into 3-4 hours of playtime (by the end of my playing days of it). UO, well... it's summed up with just one word: griefers.

Each of those three had it's merits, and each it's detractors, but you have to see them as the stepping stones of the industry and realize that each was designed to take time to play; that was how the companies made money. The richness of content is somewhat subjective though. If they didn't have enough content, they wouldn't have had people continue to pay to play them (see SWTOR), and while they were filled with bugs and bad juju that sometimes popped up, they had enough merits that people tolerated the few issues (see Age of Conan and Vanguard).

For the issue at hand, i think the one line pretty well sums it up:

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.

.... and that really sums it up.

Re: WoW Ruined PC Gaming (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46344357)

Judge the audience, not the author.

No. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46343841)

Turbine destroyed MMOs and many other games when their DDO shitbox went F2P and then they switched their flagship LOTRO to it. Every greedy fuck wit the world over saw their success. Now almost everything is F2P which means intensely inflated grind with cash shop options to cut it back that amount to pay 2 win such as Rift. Such that even new games outside this traditional genre do this shit like WoTs and War Thunder.

I played both LOTRO and Rift before and after F2P it's like Detroit before and after the auto industry imploded. The new standard business model is to come out with a $60 - 120+ box and a traditional sub, wait 3 or 6 mos until you've milked all the early adopters and pre-orders and then switch to F2P with a cash shop. Couple this with shit like Star Citizen who get millions up front without even having a product by naive hopeful adult gamers hoping for something that isn't complete shit to come out and you have the mossy bleak cesspool of multiplayer PC gaming.

There are still rough diamonds out there but htey're not for everyone. I'm writing this while sitting with 2 accounts in Dark Fall Unholy Wars.

Levelles design (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46343727)

I understand that levels gives the player a sense of progress, but I see no point in them game mechanics wise, other than a "mandotory" system.

I've always hated leveling up in games. After the first character it's just mindless running around after quests... If my friend plays more or less than me, we're going to end up in different levels and eventually can't play together as the level of content doesn't allow it (and no one really wants to grind low level areas even with friends!)

I'm sure someone out there could develop a levelles system... Like individual skills could get better over time (with a realtime diminishing system that would lower your skills if you don't use them?) and make the gear make your character more powerfull (everyone loves a good loot!)

So that someone who has played for an hour, could have a (tiny) chance on beating someone who has played 100 hours (in a fair PVP fight)... Try to do that in WoW, lv 10 vs. 90 ... you won't even hit, and if you do, you do 1 out of 2000000 damage.

Re:Levelles design (2)

mrvan (973822) | about 2 months ago | (#46344223)

Vendetta Online has a system of license levels which unlocks content, but combat success is 90% skill and 10% equipment (after the first couple of levels which probably take an experienced player less than an hour). Smart use of low level ships/weapons in the hands of a skilled player will kill a relative noob with top-notch gear every time.

What I'm trying to say: levels aren't really the problem, making "level" the most important determiner of success is the problem.

Gonna wait (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46343739)

Gonna wait for a 600 dollar one and carry it with me and my iphone.

Boost price vs expansion price (2)

MtHuurne (602934) | about 2 months ago | (#46343763)

It's tremendously awkward to tell someone that you should buy two copies of the expansion just to get a second 90.

A bit of searching shows that in the past WoW expansions were introduced at $40, so why wouldn't a player opt to buy the expansion twice rather than buying the level upgrade for a second character?

Note that the pricing for this expansion hasn't been published yet, but I doubt they're going to price it at $60, since people expect a full game for that price.

Re:Boost price vs expansion price (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46343821)

I guess one has to assume that your Battle.net ID can only associate with one serial number of the expansion.

Re:Boost price vs expansion price (1)

Brownstar (139242) | about 2 months ago | (#46344043)

Because you need to pay for the Base Game, Plus all expansions, and the new expansion. Now they've discounted the old expansions, but in total base game, plus xpac's to MoP + the new Xpac, will probably be close to $60, or possibly more.

Re:Boost price vs expansion price (1)

Xordin (66857) | about 2 months ago | (#46344125)

Obviously, that means the price of the expansion is also $60. :)

I think that's on the high side, especially giving economic conditions. It's also a bit sad that they require you to buy the earlier expansions as well. That's a very high barrier for new players.

Re:Boost price vs expansion price (1)

silentcoder (1241496) | about 2 months ago | (#46344501)

That's not actually true anymore. With the release of MoP all past expansions got folded into Vanilla so buying a base account gets you everything up to the end of Wrath - a single extra purchase gets you the current MoP features.

Re:Boost price vs expansion price (1)

silentcoder (1241496) | about 2 months ago | (#46344393)

Because buying it twice is useless unless you also pay for a character transfer - actually TWO. Wow-insider calculated that getting a second boost from buying the expansion twice would work out to around 140 dollars in all.

Makes sense at this point. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46343773)

After four expansion packs why not? The game really does begin at the level cap, especially when each expansion pack only give you 10 (or more recently, 5) levels.
Also note that your 'instant ezmode level 90' still has 10 levels to go to reach the new level cap of 100, which will be available at the same time as the 'pay to level' feature.

Wrong incentives (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46343805)

Unfortunately this means that Blizzard will benefit from making the leveling content as boring as possible. I always considered that the fun part of the game, the rest is just a repetitive cycle of running the same dungeons over and over.

Re:Wrong incentives (1)

silentcoder (1241496) | about 2 months ago | (#46344527)

Why would blizzard change the leveling content ? It's been the way it is for 10 years, it got some revamps with cataclysm and been left alone again ever since.

Altering the comprehensive leveling content (which includes all the past expansions) now would cost them a fortune in development time for literally zero gain.
If anything the biggest change that could reduce the quality of leveling content is to speed up XP gain so people level through zones much faster and this has already been done for all pre-cata content but that change, if anything, actually reduces the number of people who will buy an extra boost by reducing how much time and effort leveling actually takes.
When I started playing in Wrath it took me over 3 months of playing several hours a day, almost every day, to get my first character to level 80.
Now I have several characters at maxlevel and several quite close to it - you can do it in a few weeks, or with sufficient dedication (and heirlooms and boosts) one long, hard weekend without sleep.

Devalue WHAT???? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46343917)

'Why $60? They don't want to 'devalue the accomplishment of leveling.'

Could also be regarded by many of us as...

"Why $60? $60 for every new character pushed to 90 (which will take probably less than 1/2/3s CPU time from WoW Servers) is sweet."

Every day I am more amazed of the new ways to take money from people for things that are virtually worthless. Like calling a script to change level to 90, change attributes and award skill points / gold / whatever.

BTW: I dont think most people nowadays really enjoy grinding and leveling on a 8 year old MMO. I played WoW 4 or 5 years ago, and it already felt like wasting time just to get to Level 80, where all the current end-game content was happening. As for the items and stuff you get on the way... the gold you get will be a little amount compared to Max level and the equipment will be useless after you get a couple of levels more.

Social gaming (1)

Garnaralf (595872) | about 2 months ago | (#46343951)

Blizzard has always held that WoW is a social game. To play with your friends. They offered this as a way to get close to your friends to play with them, rather than taking a whole bunch of time to catch up. In the next xpac, the max level is 100. The boost brings you up to the beginning level of the xpac. Everyone gets a free one with the xpac, and then after that, you can buy it. Originally, this was not going to be offered, but Blizzard listened to its players and offered it. Why is listening to your audience bad?

Re:Social gaming (1)

XAD1975 (1628499) | about 2 months ago | (#46344785)

Blizzard didn't listen to its customers. It listened to Bob Kotick and the need to cash more. When WoW was released, the Devs clearly stated that there would never be any paid extras to migrate, change class, change race, etc. Then Burning Crusade came, WoW was reset, and all previously existing content was nullified and underrated. At the initial Devs started to move on... and Blizzard was acquired by Activision... and more Devs moved on. The game is pretty dead since the second extension and most of the initial Devs left an empty shell Blizzard.

Pay good money to get there, but be bad at it? (1, Insightful)

Stolpskott (2422670) | about 2 months ago | (#46344001)

Paying to skip the whole boring leveling process is going to be a wet dream for a lot of impatient wannabes. But from my experience with MMOs based on leveling skills, you pretty much need to go through the leveling process to get to know the class, limitations, effective playstyles, rotations, and so on. Starting at max level is going to mean that you know nothing about the character class, so you will be a waste of a group/raid slot.
Cue lfg messages where the caller asks for members who have not bought their max level character...

Re:Pay good money to get there, but be bad at it? (1)

thesandtiger (819476) | about 2 months ago | (#46344905)

Not so much, actually.

Most people leveling do it alone or maybe in a small group. No need to think about 90% of the abilities a class has while doing that because the leveling content needs to be tuned to people who are novices. Most people don't want - despite playing an MMO - to be forced to play with other people in a group at all times in order to level, so you can't touch this leveling content.

Most people leveling don't even set foot in a dungeon in WoW. A dungeon being fundamentally different than world questing, and yet still not requiring a player to be very good with their class or understand their class.

A tiny percentage of players set foot in a raid EVER, let alone while leveling - even with new things like a very content-tourist mode like the Looking for Raid feature that was added. Raid mechanics are fundamentally different than dungeons or world questing, so really, require you to play your class in a very different way than you would have experienced while leveling; abilities that seem pointless while leveling suddenly make sense to use, and patterns that made sense while leveling suddenly become counter to survival.

What IS true is that, if you want to raid you need to learn how to play your class. But, I don't think 20-100 hours of doing things that bear no real relation to how you will end up playing your class is the way to do it. Personally, I think the idea of having proving grounds (which they kind of do now) wherein the player is hand held by NPCs and given tons of feedback on how to play their specific class, what abilities to use and why, in game, would be the way to go.

"Hey, new paladin person in a tank role - I'm going to make that big guy over there very, very angry in a moment, and he can kill me but he won't hurt you as much, so I want you to press that flashing button on your screen - it's called a taunt - when he starts chasing me; it'll make him go after you, not me!" If you fail? "It's okay, fortunately we have people around who can make everything better when I get beaten to a pulp... Let's try this again..."

"Hey, priest type person in a healer role - I'm about to fight several small creatures that individually don't do much to me but hurt me slowly over time. Cast that spell that's flashing on me once every 10 seconds or so in order to throw a spell on me that will heal me up slowly over time."

"Hey, shooty damage type person, I'm going to beat up 4 things, but I want you to focus on hurting ONLY the one that is my primary target." "Hey, so these guys aren't stupid, they're going to try to hurt you - see that purple stuff on the floor over there? If it appears under you during the fight, MOVE AWAY FROM IT!"

Etc. and so on. Have people go through that, have it be so that a veteran player who is familiar with game mechanics could complete all the tasks in under an hour, but where a newbie player who knows nothing might wind up taking 10 hours or so to do the quests well enough, and you're good.

The problem WoW has - and most MMO's have - is that the designers assumed that other players would give solid feedback to people on their teams in dungeons and so on. Unfortunately, most people are assholes and not willing to take any time with newbies to straighten them out. Since the playerbase by and large won't help other people learn, there needs to be an in game process for it.

tl;dr: There needs to be a way to teach people how to play their class, but the current way of doing it (leveling) doesn't teach them anything that is actually relevant.

Worth it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46344095)

This is more than cheap, completely worth it IMO.

I'm self employed, I run my own business (and it takes a LOT of my time) - but I still like to relax - which sometimes involves gaming, needless to say though I can't dedicate hours a day to a game, so I'm quite casual.

A fair amount of my time is contracting my services to other people, at around 180 AUD/hr depending on the client.

In my uni days, it took me about 9 months to get to level 60. But this was before any expansion - I know it's almost an order of magnitude less now, so less say you can get to 90 in 20 hours (which is 4.5 levels/hr - which is unheard of, but lets be liducrously generous, to prove just how great value this is).

20 hours of my time is worth 3600 AUD!!! $3600 of my time, just to 'get' to the end game where all the fun content is (this is an MMO, to do anything fun you need other people - and they're almost all max level, doing end game content).

Lets step back, and assume I'm flipping burgers even (to see how well this applies to any pay scale) earning $10/hr (below minimum wage here, but I'm assuming USA is something like this) - 20 hours is $200 (still over 3x cheaper to buy the levels, than to do it yourself - ignoring the fact flipping burgers would suck compared to playing WoW).

Back to an earlier point, 4.5 levels an hour is all but impossible in WoW (there were/are some exploits w/ potions and power leveling, but lets ignore that or assume it's fixed) - it's probably oging to end up being closer to 1 level per hour if you REALLY know what you're doing and don't take any breaks from grinding. (Making the 3x cheaper for burger flippers, closer to 13x cheaper in reality - if you believe my 1 level an hour remark)

Calling this something for the impatient, or for people who don't want to accomplish anything is retarded. This is worth it to anyone who values their time and can afford it, and understands modern WoW is about end game content (much like it always has been, honestly) - unless you're a solo player, in which case you may as well play any other RPG out there which is far far far more rewarding.

nobody cares (1)

gizmod (931775) | about 2 months ago | (#46344293)

All comments hidden O.o Look everybody, Blizzard is selling level 90 WoW characters... See? Nobody cares...

Ohhhh boy, it's gonna be Death Knights all over! (4, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | about 2 months ago | (#46344403)

Dear WoW players. Do you remember when the DKs came to be? And how everyone was moaning how, by definition, everyone who had no idea what to do seemed to play a DK?

The reason was simply that DKs started out at level 55. These people did not, like everyone else, start out small with a handful of skills, then get a few new ones every couple levels, with plenty of time to get to know them and get comfortable with them. No, they got everything dumped on their head at once with almost no time to find out what to do and how to play because, well, how would they?

Remember those raids in BRD (for the non-players, that's the first place where those DKs would get to play with the other kids in earnest) were a bit like, as a well known person put it, "a toddler driving a Leopard II tank with a faulty differential lock into a bicycle race of bi-polars"? They had no, zero, zilch, idea how to play their character.

And now, kids, it's like that all over again. Only much, much WORSE. Remember those moans you breathed whenever someone acted like he had no idea what to do, the comment "fuck, did you buy your char on EBay?" in chat? What used to be mostly unlikely will now be very likely: Someone dropped some coin to get a char they have no idea how to play with.

The group finder just got much, much more fun. To watch. Certainly not to play.

This is already happening. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46344575)

Anyone using group finder would tell you that this is already the current situation. Since your time, raids akin to LK BRD have been nerfed to the point where the gameplay resembles Dance Dance Revolution. Where thinking of others is punished. Where strictly adhering to a constantly changing theorycraft published for you by some grognards in Kansas is the only way to play up to snuff. Where teamwork is so unnecessary that it is nearly impossible to Leroy a group (even the healer has to be incredibly off his game to create a wipe.) Where deviating in any way from a prescribed sequence of buttonpresses with slightly random variation will send you to the bottom of the Recount list for DPS.

In sum, there's an idiot in every group anyway, and it doesn't matter because you have to play like a robot anyway.

P.S.: actual robot play is banned, meaning you MUST screw up regularly.

Re:Ohhhh boy, it's gonna be Death Knights all over (1)

Atzanteol (99067) | about 2 months ago | (#46344907)

I think they should give it as an option only to players who have reached at least 70 or something. That way you get through almost all of the "learn your character stuff" before jumping into LFR under-geared and retarded.

Lifecycle of a MMORPG (3, Interesting)

Thyamine (531612) | about 2 months ago | (#46344511)

I think we are just seeing the prolonged lifecycle of a MMORPG. Most either fizzle and die, or last long enough that they have to start going through these hoops. I think WoW is just one of the biggest/longest so we are seeing some of these ideas for a first time or at least publicized in a grand fashion. Every iteration has made the game easier and easier for players, pushed the upper levels, and introduced things that make players who played the first iteration sound like grandpa (we used to have to grind for days for a single level, up hill, both ways). This is just another step where content is being added, so how can you get the most out of it (business need)? You let players just jump right to it! It bugs me, but as someone working full time with a family, I can see how players may appreciate it.

Re:Lifecycle of a MMORPG (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46344685)

And this is why I never ended up playing EQ. I was playing UO, then I moved into DAoC. By the time I wanted to play with a friend I'd have to go through so much crap to be able to I just never bothered.

Retail WoW is a joke and has been for some years - (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46344651)

I played in 2005, and WoW was A M A Z I N G. I quit after about six months at level 40ish because I was playing so much I was getting depressed (not enough social life/sunshine/etc)

I played in 2011, and WoW was disappointing. I quit after a few months, having become level 60 without much effort. It wasn't much fun.

I played in 2013, and WoW was no longer a game. I quit after a week. There was actually no skill involved *at all*. As a priest, I seemed to have infinite mana. WoW is a game-shaped object, not a game. Games require skill.

These days, I play on Rebirth, a vanilla (pre-TBC) private server. WoW as it was.

Not max level (1)

weave (48069) | about 2 months ago | (#46344741)

This won't kick in until the expansion comes out, so it won't be to max level. You'll still need to level it through the expansion. So there will be some learning involved still.

Hopefully the expansion leveling takes a bit of time. I was up to 90 after just two zones in MoP and skipped most of the rest of the zones.

My question is, can a new account do this right away or do you need to get at least one character to 90 the hard way first?

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