This Means War: WoW’s Level 90 Boost To Cost $60

By Nathan Grayson on February 20th, 2014 at 9:00 am.

At what point does a microtransaction cease to be a microtransaction? It’s a question that’s plagued my more contemplative brain tubules for years now, twisting the follicles of my whiskey soaked beard until they snap. But finally, I think I have an answer: when it’s the price of a full goddamn game. We already knew that World of Warcraft‘s Warlords of Draenor expansion would bring with it the option to boost one of your characters straight to level 90, but what if you don’t want the expansion or need another boost (come on, man – just one more that’s it I promise)? Well, do you have $60 you’re prepared to fling into Blizzard’s abyssal bank account? Are… are you sure?

Per MMOSite, the newly launched WoW patch 5.4.7 includes the option in question. On one hand, I sort of understand the rationale: leveling to 90 takes some pretty serious time, and time – as the oh so graceful and eloquent goblins put it – is money. Plus, Blizzard doesn’t want everyone boosting to 90 all willy nilly. That’d clear out entire zones, not to mention leave a large swathe of folks with nothing to do. It’s the curse of content-driven MMOs: they live by content, and they also die by it. WoW’s endgame is robust, but it won’t keep many – especially those who mainly play to level, roll an alt, and level again – entertained forever.

That said, the level 90 boost as it stands is prohibitively expensive. It costs more than an entire expansion that comes with a free boost, for crying out loud. I’m sorry, but that’s just out and out silly. There’s got to be an at least slightly better way, especially since this gives third-party leveling services all kinds of ammo. “Cheaper than a level boost!” etc.

This whole move feels haphazard, like a big test to see how players will react. Maybe Blizzard will lop a digit or two off the price tag in time, but right now it just feels excessive. And WoW? Well, it’s pretty clearly showing its age. I’m not sure there is a truly great way to bolt a feature like this onto a game of its creaky structure. The level boost is a band-aid over a band-aid, but that doesn’t make the wound go away.*

*Which is not to say that WoW is a bad game now or something. It’s just getting up there in years, and that’s starting to cause weird/unexpected problems.

, , .

132 Comments »

Sponsored links by Taboola
  1. Discosauce says:

    To me, WoW is kind of like an old ex. Sure, you think back fondly on your time together from time to time, but you don’t really want to get updates on how much she is currently charging millions of “users” to “boost up”.

    • P4p3Rc1iP says:

      This is very true for me as well.

      At the same time there is EVE, we’ve been dating on and off for the past 10 years and I’m somehow still in love with her. Yet every time we have one of these dates it becomes obvious a relationship will never work.

      • BoZo says:

        Aaahh EvE… For me she’s that ex that storms into your life every few years, spends a few intense, dramatic months with and then goes away as quickly as she came. Leaving your life turned upside down alienated from all your friends and family.

        Good game though.

    • Taidan says:

      Yeah, I have the same thing. Except, when I think hard on the subject, there was also a lot about WoW that I didn’t get on with at the time.

      I’ll never forget her lovely rolling landscapes though, and all the joys of gently exploring them for the first time.

    • kael13 says:

      Hah… And the fact we both played WoW together makes this even more appropriate.

    • SRTie4k says:

      Guess I’m old, because my MMO “ex” is and always has been EverQuest. I haven’t gotten gotten the same fulfillment from an MMO since (the last one I played having been 10 years ago, either SWG pre-CU or Shadowbane, roughly around the same time).

      I’ve come to the conclusion that me and MMO’s just don’t click anymore.

    • brulleks says:

      To me, WOW is more like Paris Hilton. Sure, it’s not completely unattractive, but I know it would be an entirely hollow experience and, well, millions of other people have already been there, and most of them are still hanging around, so no thanks.

  2. Niko says:

    Wait, so you pay $60 and go from level 1 or whatever to level 90? That’s, ummm… why is there’s no “P2W” tag?

    • staberas says:

      True, but a better tag is “is wow anymore relevant”?

    • Commander Gun says:

      Because you haven’t exactly “won” WoW when you reach lvl 90 :)

    • Jenks says:

      Level skips and XP boosts are absolutely p2w.

      • pongsifu says:

        Not really, considering you won’t be up against anyone low level in the battlefield, so all it does is skip you to 90 and from there you have no advantage against the other 90s. If anything it just makes things tougher for you because 90 is where everyone had nothing better to do than get the best gear.

    • Tokyo Joe and the Bombardiers says:

      Good luck “winning” against other 90s with starter gear (albeiit 90 starter gear, but terrible all the same) and potentially no-knowledge of your class.

      As for the price tag? I quite like it being prohibitively expensive. Prevents it from being abused, at least in theory. Then again, I suppose MMO players might have slightly more disposable income than some…

      • po says:

        People used to pay a lot more for characters off eBay, and then pretty much ruin the game for everyone unfortunate enough to group with them.

        WoW simply has far too many skills for someone to be able to get a good understanding of how each individual one works, when they are all learned at the same time. While leveling may be slow in places, by giving you one ability at a time, you at least learn to use them. You also get an idea of how combat works, when you start off with it being as basic as possible and working your way up.

        WoW just gets more dumbed down with every expansion, as the game panders to dumber and dumber players in an attempt to keep subscriber numbers up. The kind of people no guild would ever accept now get into raids, thanks to raid finder, and then all the content is dumbed down so they can actually complete it.

        All too often in WoW I saw people complaining ‘I shouldn’t have to learn how to play, it’s a game’. You used to be able to kick them from group. Now the whole game is made for them.

  3. Premium User Badge

    Gap Gen says:

    Out of interest, why would you want to skip over huge parts of the game? Or is being level 90 fun in itself compared to playing the game as God intended?

    • P4p3Rc1iP says:

      Probably because the people playing WoW have already gone through the lvl 1 – 85 parts a million times in the last 10 years.

      • Machinations says:

        Why? Because there are suckers born every minute. I abandoned WoW long ago when blizzard lost its soul. First indictions of the coming cash for service BS was allowing pvp to pve server transfers. Its all been downhill since. The game is idiotic trash for mind numbed consumers.

    • Low Life says:

      Possible reasons:
      – Having played a billion characters to max level already. Why’d you want another one, then? People are crazy like that.
      – Catching up with friends, though that’s more where the free boost of the next expansion comes in.
      – Starting quickly on a new server while leaving your old characters on the old server.

      I’ve always enjoyed levelling in WoW, though. In fact in its current state the end game is, especially without a proper raiding guild, such a mess that I’d rather be levelling new characters than do LFR. Or I could keep doing what I’m doing now and not play the game.

    • MasterDave says:

      Can’t speak for anyone else (and fwiw, no deity made WoW because I’ve met some of the programmers and they are… well they’re not going to be confused with an all-powerful multidimensional being) but I have 4 90’s, and in my attempts to get to a 5th, I’ve got 4 characters in the 70’s and 80’s just stagnating because the effort to go through the same content for a 5th time is overwhelmingly boring.

      Not saying $60 is the answer, when in reality a new expansion covering 60-80 and 90-100 instead of just 90-100 would be a better plan in order to flatten over the bad old content that bridges your journey from decent Cataclysm world to MoP and Warlords. 8 years is a lot of game development time and the process has been so streamlined now. I find myself not even questing while leveling any more, I just chain run instances and troll trade chat until my rested XP runs out, switch to a different character and wait until I get to 90. Even that’s pretty boring, which is why I’m stuck with just 4 90’s.

      Fortunately I think it may be a little dumb to have so many max level characters, but it would be fun in a sense to just play whatever flavor of the month overpowered character exists whenever that happens.

    • Randeth says:

      Here is my reasoning for doing it. I have a single level 90 toon. 8 of the other 10 are at level 85. When I started the grind to get a second toon to 90, I found I just couldn’t do it. The content in Mists of Panderia just didn’t interest me enough to do it again. If the price were reasonable (it’s not), especially if it was a sliding scale (taking a level 1 to 90 shouldn’t be the same cost as taking a level 85 to 90), I’d probably do it a few times. It all depends on how fun the Warlords of Draenor content ends up being.

      That said, my subscription to Wow has been dormant for over a year. I’m not their target audience. I’ve moved on to other games. If I play WoD, it will be because some of my old Wow friends all decide to play and see the new stuff. A single level 90 will probably be sufficient.

  4. Taidan says:

    Pay $60 to skip half of the game? Sadly, it’s understandable, if a cynical move of Blizzard’s behalf.

    The problem here is that WoW is three distinct games wrapped up in single engine and set of mechanics, and quite a few folk who are keen on the highly skill-based Raiding and PVP “Endgame” sub-parts are significantly less interested in the relatively gentle-but-time-consuming “Levelling” stage of the game, especially if they’ve already seen it once or twice.

    Sadly, that same extended “Levelling” stage is the price most players have to pay if they want to do something as simple as even briefly trying out a different character role at endgame. I can see why that $60 would seem like an attractive proposition.

    • Premium User Badge

      FriendlyFire says:

      Meanwhile Guild Wars 2 is a flat $60 for the entire game and gives you the ability to create a fully levelled, fully geared up character for free instantaneously to run PvP and WvWvW with. The only thing it doesn’t let you do is run the PvE with it (so no “raiding”, though GW2 doesn’t really have that anyway).

      Just to put things in perspective.

  5. Premium User Badge

    daphne says:

    The excessive cost is probably intended — this doesn’t target new players, and the aversion displayed in Nathan’s post will probably end up reflecting the general stance towards it, which will make its appeal niche.

    Lopping off a digit or two would make it much more appealing, and arguably that much more profitable (and exploitative) in the long term. I don’t think Blizzard wants that, though.

    • Korvus Redmane says:

      I was wondering if the high means that they could massively slash the price to make it more attractive, while still making a fair bit of cash.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Surely lopping two digits off of $60 leaves you with just $?

      • Premium User Badge

        Gap Gen says:

        You should probably give that back to Micro oft.

      • Hypnotron says:

        Maybe they’re referring to fingers!

        Sorry but i’m keeping all 10 of my digits thank you very much.

      • Premium User Badge

        Arren says:

        Is not $10 two digits?

      • Shadow says:

        Yeah, the lopping off digits comment doesn’t make any sense to me either. Lop one off and everyone and their dog will be level 90. Lop two off and you make it free, and that’s just plain ol’ stupid.

    • Premium User Badge

      Bury The Hammer says:

      This is exactly the point.

      The reason why WoW endgame works is the attachment to your character. You’ve invested a lot of time into one player (same reason why people get so upset on the forums re: class balance). Making this cheap would completely destroy that aspect of the game. Paying $60 is an EXCEPTIONAL circumstance to those who have more money than time but still want to enjoy the endgame with another class/character/etc. Many will still grind – and good! I’ve been levelling a new alliance char – I usually play horde – recently and really enjoying it.

      They’ve promised a level 90 boost to every player who buys the new expansion, meaning this ‘pay to level’ was unavoidable. If they didn’t offer this, people would buy a new version of the game and the expansion, get their free character.. then pay to transfer it across accounts. This option is a lot cheaper, convenient, and quicker than that.

      • afarrell says:

        This is the crux of it here – Blizzard have already committed to provide a free 90 boost with WoD, and people have said they’ll happily pay $105* to duplicate the process – for those people (who are their only real market for this), it’s a bargain.

        It’s worth wondering why Blizzard would offer something cheaper, when they’d get all the money either way, but I reckon the problem is that the month after Draenor opens, all of those extra accounts would disappear, and at this stage in their attempt to turn their story around (after the 200,000-account boost last quarter), a sudden drop is not worth a sudden rise for Blizzard.

        *$20 for Battlechest + $20 for Mists of Pandaria + $40 for Warlords of Draenor + $25 to transfer the newly-boosted 90 over to your main. It would be reasonable to assume that the price of the single boost would vary as and when the price of these components does – in particular by this time next expansion MoP will probably be folded into the Battlechest, as Cataclysm was last October.

        • nearly says:

          It’s probably less of a headache (or really just server demand) for them in cutting out the step where you transfer the character to your account, but it remains cheaper still to just buy a separate account and leave it separate. There’s really no tangible disadvantage other than requiring separate logins and having to pay two monthly fees, which is a huge win for Blizzard. It’s really an interesting balance because they’re offering what’s more or less a niche service for a price that makes it worthwhile to them because whatever the outcry, no one can really care that much and anyone who does is made up for by the customer that’s purchasing the boost.

  6. Hroradi says:

    So now you can pay to not play the game you’re paying to play? Brilliant!

    • MiniMatt says:

      Which reminds me – you’ve yet to pay me for not playing the game I’ve recently not developed. Don’t make me send the lawyers round.

      • Josh W says:

        You’ve also not paid me for license fees of the engine I didn’t write!

  7. Kohlrabi says:

    This is also known as the “middle-finger to content creators” option. Blizzard must hate its own employees with a passion. It’s already sad enough that most old raid content is skipped, but adding this option to the quest and exploration content, too? Why?

    • Premium User Badge

      Bury The Hammer says:

      Most people new to WoW probably won’t want to pay for the game, an expansion, and a character boost all at once, so any new players are going to enjoy the quests anyway.

      This is aimed at people who have completed it 1000x who can’t be bothered, and would rather pay than waste their time. You can already rush through a lot of quest content anyway because of heirlooms (equipped items that level with you and give % xp boost)

      • Shanir says:

        Actually this is aimed precisely at the new people who want to play WoW with their friends and suddenly find out they have to play solo for weeks until they reach the level range where their friends are. As has been mentioned several times in the comments, the paid version exists mostly because even without it you could boost multiple chars anyway, at a similar cost, just in a more complicated fashion.

    • Putts says:

      I can see two types of players using this service:

      1. The players that already have 2 or 3 characters at max level, and have seen most of the content that the game has to offer for their faction already. Perhaps their raiding guild has too many players of a particular class and a shortage of another class. Rather than try and recruit somebody new, an existing member can instantly get a max-level character to fill that gap. $60 is a bargain if it means saving yourself the 2 or 3 months it would take to level an alt to 90.

      2. The players that left the game years ago, but still have friends who play. They’d like to start playing WoW again, but the thought of spending weeks or months leveling up their old level 70/80 character to catch up with their friends is daunting.

    • Moraven says:

      The majority want to play with new content, not old, since a lot have already been through the content many times already.

  8. Maxheadroom says:

    I quit WoW years ago but bought the last expansion (cataclysm?) on a whim on hazy nostalgia (which lasted about a week)

    That too came with a free boost to level cap so I rolled a shamen and pretty much instantly hated it. I had no idea how to play it and didn’t understand any of the abilities.

    You (well, ok I) needed those 89 proceeding levels to learn how to play and enjoy a character, skipping straight to the end is like watching the last 10 minutes of a film and trying to make sense of it.

    • lord_heman says:

      +1!

    • Obc says:

      this time in WoD there is going to be an introduction area where you dont have all of the lvl 90 abilities and talents right away but they unlock per quest so that you don’t get overwhelmed immediatly. tkinda like the DK starting area.

    • Razoric says:

      Besides the Death Knight class boost in WotLK this will be the first time Blizzard has offered a free level boost in any of their expansions… so not sure what you are talking about bro.

      • Obc says:

        maybe he is talking about scroll of ressurection/recruit a friend bonus which kinda gives you a lot of level.

        if not then i too dont know what he is talking about

      • Maxheadroom says:

        Yeah maybe that was it. Definitely got a boost (to 85?) with a new toon right out of the gate. Thought it came with the expansion but maybe it was a scroll of resurrection

        You tend to forget stuff at my age. Get off my lawn! etc

  9. Nim says:

    I can perfectly understand this. The time required to level up a new character from level 1 to 90 even with heirlooms and experience boosting gear is very long. Back when I was playing I used optimized leveling guides to level up as fast as possible and the process still took over a week of non-stop playing. I was a dedicated PvE-raider so the real game was always at max level where everyone else was, dungeon-delving and raiding with other players to get the best gear possible. The leveling-up process was always lonely and merely a means to attain maximum level characters. Once you reached the highest level there was no longer any need to do the quests unless you had to grind faction reputations or attain gold.

    60$ is a bit steep though. I quit playing some years ago but if I were to return today I would probably utilize this service, provided it was a little cheaper, so that I actually get to start playing what I consider to be the real game.

  10. herschel says:

    I tried WOW a week ago and spent about 3 hours in the game… Quest… go left 10 meters, kill 6 of a kind… Quest… go right 10 meters… kill 8 of a kind. Advanced quest… go to location x… get your quest there, which is to go left 10 meters, kill 3 of a kind.

    Ok, thats PVE and those are the first few quests in the game, but seriously…? Why would I play such a game, which is no challenge to anyones intelligence?

    *buffing myself for “Protection from Fire +10*

    • Scumbag says:

      I quit before Cata hit, but if the opening area quests are anything like they used to be then you are doing something that god knows how many people have done millions and millions of times for a whole decade.
      System is dated as hell and, at its core, they can change all the other stuff but you’ll still be killing 10 boars over and over in Durotar I guess.

      • herschel says:

        … and it´s a shame. I´d think that storytelling, even when delivered by such dated game mechanics, should be somewhat more compelling…

      • Jenks says:

        Before and after Cata are absolutely not the same. I’m not saying vanilla WoW was brain surgery, but there was a lot of exploration, looking for new quests, deciding where to go, and travel in between. Even when you had done it once, figuring out which quests to pick up in various zones to complete together in a single zone was a challenge and rewarding.
        Current WoW gives you 5~ quests in one spot, you turn in 4 where you got them, and turn in the last one at the next quest hub where 5~ quests await. When those are complete, you turn in 4, and bring the last to the next quest hub where 5~ quests await. You do this without a break from character creation to max.

        • Moraven says:

          Pandaria did bring back the unconnected quests, but instead of discovering them they are small ! on the map.

          Its was the right step, and Draenor is looking to do a bit more of that hopefully.

          I also miss the group quests.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      Right above you is someone saying his class was too hard to play. Together the two of you are impossible to please.

  11. Kodo says:

    The rationale behind this is to undercut the 3rd party market. Selling your character after you leveled up? Fine – we’ll offer your very own character leveled up and priced so that selling high level characters loses its cost/benefit advantage.

    I don’t think it’s right and really it just undermines the value of WoW since high level characters will be worth far less than previously. Haven’t blizzard hired an economist yet?

    • nokill says:

      First thing I was thinking, countering the selling of 3rd party characters and keeping it in house protecting players in a way… Then again you are not forced to buy this, nor will you get all the items I assume.

      • Moraven says:

        I think you get the equivalent of a Adventurer set, uncommon armor you can buy in game to help bring up any slots you missed out on upgrading while questing.

        This is not live yet until 6.0, so it can easily change.

        Also if you boost a lv 60+, you boost to 90 AND get two professions at 600 skill.

  12. walstafa says:

    “It costs more than an entire expansion that comes with a free boost, for crying out loud.”

    Well yes, but if you wanted to do it that way, you’d have to:

    1. Open a new account, buy the game and the other five expansions – would probably cost you around 40 quid if they update the warchest deal to include Cataclysm.
    2. Buy Warlords of Draenor – around 20-30 quid at launch.
    3. Optional – If you want to boost an existing character, pay about 20 quid to transfer it to your new account.
    4. Optional – Pay about 20 quid per character if you wanted to transfer them to your main account.
    5. Repeat for each character you want to boost.

    Suddenly the character boost looks like better value, much less hassle and safer than a third-party service. In my hardcore WoW days, I might have used this on occasion, since the only money I was spending on video games was my monthly subscription. It would certainly beat having yet another potential alt abandoned in the mid-20s because I got bored of the slog.

  13. MeestaNob says:

    Auto-levelling a character to get to the fun bit seems a bit pointless this late into a games life cycle. Surely the real fun would be found in you and group of friends ALL starting an alt and levelling together?

    • Moraven says:

      The missus has had the most fun with old content leveling in a full group and taking on dungeons underleveled.

      But they have made the leveling experience so quick and dungeons feel trivial vs vanilla WoW, old content is not as fun as it should be due to out leveling it so fast.

      I wish they kept the exp curve like it was and give this level boost a lot earlier.

  14. Gothnak says:

    Ok, i’ll bite….

    If you want to play levels 1-90, this doesn’t affect you ‘at all’, so tbh, you shouldn’t really care.

    If you want to get to level 90, and don’t find the 1-90 any fun, you want to go on raids and the like, this is quite cheap for the time saved. Especially if you don’t have a lot of free time, and this is because you work in a high paid job, then $60 isn’t very much at all.

    If people didn’t want to do it, Blizzard wouldn’t have added it, and if people want to do it, let them, and don’t tell them they are wrong, it’s their money and they can spend it how they like.

    (No, i won’t be doing it, i don’t really like WoW, i find the combat rather boring, Waiting for timers and then pressing 1, 3, 2, 3, 1, 2, etc…)

    • LionsPhil says:

      It’s weird how (some) gamers are OK with the practice of charging people to remove arbitrary obstructions.

      If I sold you a car, but then put a wheel clamp on it and said “you can either file that off with this nailfile, or you can pay me sixty bucks for the key”, I don’t think your line of reasoning would be “oh, well, that seems like a good way to save me a bunch of time, let me just get my wallet out again”.

      tl;dr — $60 for idkfa?

      • Gothnak says:

        That’s a pretty poor analogy tbh… It’s like buying a car for a normal price, but then them saying, i can install a better engine for another £3000.. Nah, i think, i like the journey itself, not just getting to the destination. Whereas my wealthy neighbour says, actually, can you stick in nitro and a body kit and those fancy downlights, it’ll be rad, i’ll get there in half the time! And it’ll cost an extra £10k

        They haven’t broken the game, they are allowing you to skip parts of it if you don’t have time to play it.

        The base game is unchanged, and is still fun for those who want to play it, they haven’t made 1-90 worse and then expect people to pay to skip it.

        • Jenks says:

          Why should real life wealth affect the virtual world? I wouldn’t waste my money on an MMORPG that isn’t a meritocracy, otherwise what is the point? It’s not longer a virtual world, it’s a video game – an extremely shitty video game.

          This ship already sailed for WoW, but I’m speaking in general.

          • Gothnak says:

            Real money is going to affect any virtual world, not much you can do about that. Be it buying Fifa Packs or players from ebay, gold for WoW online, or even getting some poor chap in China to play your character obsessively for 5 days for you.

            It doesn’t mean the level 90 guy is going to beat your level 90 character though, in fact it’s even more likely you’ll win as he’ll be way out his depth. So merit does still win in this example…

      • MasterDave says:

        Honestly, it’s more like pizza.

        You’ve got a few ways to go these days. You can go out to eat at a pizza place and someone’s going to do everything for you. You sit down, you get pizza. The pizza is cooked, it’s ready for you to eat, you don’t have to clean up afterwards! This is the most expensive type of pizza you can find.

        Or, you can go home. You can get some dough, sauce, cheese and toppings and throw it in the oven and wait. It takes you a while to do all this, and if you make your dough from scratch, you usually have to plan for this a while in advance to let the dough rise, and you have to bake it and serve it and clean it all up afterwards. This may make for a better pizza experience, maybe better quality. It’s also significantly cheaper. For the price of one large pizza and drinks and tip and tax and transportation, you’re making 3-4 pizzas at home.

        Somehow though, nobody says much about the family that goes to a restaurant instead of cooking their own food. Maybe it’s more natural to cook your own meals all the time, but after a while if you can afford it, why not eat out? It’s a luxury. Same as this. If you prefer to spend less money, the option is yours. Stay at home, make a wonderful home-cooked meal. If you’d rather just show up somewhere and be ready to eat and not have to worry, you pay for the meal.

        When it comes to video games people have some irrational “I pay $15/mo so that should make me 100% equal to everyone” belief and that’s not the case, it’ll never be the case and people should have gotten over this idea a long time ago.

        • Obc says:

          furthermore:

          you could also order the pizza. some shady service will provide you a fresh warm pizza with all the toppings you desire without you having to do anything right at your doorstep.

          so yeah, if people don’t want to level their chars they could/can always hire someone to do it, be it guildmates, friends or some shady website. now blizz is giving you the restaurant option. open, clean and controlled instead of some shitty delivery pizza.

        • LionsPhil says:

          Your analogy is even worse.

          When you buy a pizza from a pizza place, you are paying for them to do the labour. They are performing a task which has value.

          When you buy an unlock in a game, you are paying for a script to update a row in a database. The only reason you couldn’t have that database record in that state initially was because they set it to a different one.

          The work of providing all the level 90 content was already done and paid for by you buying the game, for all those people who want to get there the long way.

    • tellrov says:

      If you lack the free time to level up I wonder where you’d get the free time to raid. Especially nowadays when levelling to 90 literally takes about 3 days. Not to mention the levelling process gives you a feel for the class step by step so you don’t have to take the time you ‘saved’ by boosting to learn the class anyway.

      To be honest, for years now Blizzard has catered too much to the “we don’t wanna do it” crowd. To the point where you can now play their MMO as if it were a single player game. Countless times have they made changes where the proper thing to do would be to say “well then maybe this game isn’t for you”, instead of homogenizing the game to be everything for everyone to make as much money as possible.

      • Gothnak says:

        Blizzard have done this because people want it. If people don’t want it, then Blizzard have just wasted development costs on making the feature. So, just saying these people don’t exist who want to skip the content and get to the endgame is likely untrue as Blizzard is aiming this directly at them.

        By aiming the game at a single player, have they kept a lot more people playing it, have they kept WoW as a profitable game when loads of other MMO’s have failed?

        It seems like what they generally do is very good at keeping a much larger market share of the MMO user base, although, i agree turning off more hardcore MP fans. Maybe those fans should go to a more hardcore MP game?

        • Machinations says:

          MMOs used to be targeted at core gamers. They realized there were more players playing Farmville. Marketing got $$$$$$$$ in their eyes.

          Casual gamers and core gamers are NOT the same, and while the casuals can be exploited for easy profits, targeting them too much will alienate core gamers and kill your base. Fact.

  15. bp_968 says:

    I’ll bite: when micro transactions cease to be micro transactions is when they offer “10’000 smurf nads” for the low price of 99$! I have a new technique for evaluating F2P games on mobile systems now since the reviews from the general public are not even remotely indicative of a “good” game! I’ll download the F2P game and check their in game shop. If the shop is full of primarily social or cosmetic items I’ll give them game a chance to prove itself.

    If I check the in game shop and it’s full of “alternative currencies” you can buy with real money and there is a 49.99 option and 99.99$ option I immediately delete it. Once it’s obvious the designers are nothing more then digital drug dealers I want nothing to do with them. Plus, It’s guaranteed to suck a hundred times worse then that 10-15$ indie game I just bought.

  16. EssBen says:

    A strange game. The only winning move is not to play. How about a nice game of chess?

  17. LunyAlex says:

    While I’m not sure how many will agree, I can’t help but, on some levels, compare this to EA’s Dungeon Keeper. So you have a section of a game that is tedious and lacks replay value and you charge (SIXTY DOLLARS!) to skip it, while also charging a purchase price and a 15$ monthly subscription fee?

    Surely not the best analogy in the world, but I find this abhorrently money-hungry of Blizzard. It’s not the first abhorrently money-hungry thing Blizzard have done, but I’m a tad annoyed that they keep getting away with it.

    There’s people criticizing it, but on a mass level it usually slips by like everything is running it’s normal course.

    Some people are arguing that this is great because they don’t want to spend time leveling their 15th WoW character.
    You know what a good mechanic would have been to reward players that play a lot and level a lot of characters? Every time you hit max level with a character you get half a token. When you have one token you get to instantly boost another character of your choosing, whenever you want.
    -FOR FREE!-

    If this were -ANY- other non-MMO game people would be losing it really really bad, meltdown-style.

    But WoW gets a free pass because it somehow transcends the notion of a game (?!?!1!?!?) in favor of being “That big phenomenon that started 10 years ago to which game principles don’t apply because I need to get that new gear set that outputs artificially inflated damage numbers dammit!”

    …. this gives me a headache.

    • Gothnak says:

      Remember, when your game goes into the mass market, you can get away with a lot more as it isn’t just core gamers anymore and more casual gamers put up with a lot more and don’t know when things are wrong.

      • LunyAlex says:

        Usually, that is indeed the case.

        Yet, you’d assume the WoW demographic to be pretty “Core”, right? I mean, for some reason I don’t see a large portion of the current active users being new players.

        Plus, I’ve seen a lot of “core” gamers defend this on a variety of forums I visit and whatnot. It boggles my mind, considering the same people usually display deeply critical stances towards bad business practices.

        Oh well…

      • Machinations says:

        Bingo. Casuals are about as engaged in gaming as I am with mcdonalds because i grabbed a burger there.

        For the most part the only people still playing wow are casuals. One guarantee..blizzard will never have another success like WoW.

        Wonder why we dont hear about D3 expansion? Because noone will buy it.

    • Mokinokaro says:

      There’s a reason I lump Blizzard in with EA as one of the companies I boycott.

      They have suckled on the MMO teat too long and have become fat and greedy as a result. All they’ve been outputting for the last decade are extremely polished turds.

    • MasterDave says:

      TBH, Blizzard is the least money-hungry of all the companies out there by NOT going F2P which they could have done.

      This is the first thing that affects gameplay, years and years after other companies have done far worse. You can’t buy gear, you can’t buy raid boosts, you can’t buy PVP-affecting items, you really can’t buy anything except pets and mounts. If Blizzard was actually greedy (a claim you can’t actually support with facts, data or logic) there would be far far far far far more things they could sell you that people would pay for. XP Boosts? Valor/Justice/Honor/Conquest boosts? Cosmetic gear? Useful gear?

      Right now every single thing you do in WoW is achievable with zero dollars, including leveling to 90. A greedy company would be doing some other things to make it so that paying is the “baseline” way of getting somewhere and everyone doing it without boosts is behind. Just look at plenty of the other games that are more than happy to sell you a “catch up” set of top level content gear to put you right along side the rest of the people in the endgame. Blizzard’s still making you run through all of the old raids to catch up. Takes a while, a few weeks at best to get to an acceptable endgame level. That’s not greed.

      • Machinations says:

        What! You still have to sub, thats not no cost. SWTOR you can level for 0 cost, but not WoW, game of choice of non gamers.

  18. Crainey says:

    I agree that the price tag needs rethought — probably $30-40 is the correct value, £25-30. But at the same time, all of their micro transaction prices are extortionate and they continue to add more so maybe people need to just stop showering them with money? Relative to the cost of their other micro-transactions this seems like a fair price.

    As you said though, relative to the price of an entire expansion pack which itself grants a level 90 character, this make no sense at all. Even relative to the cost of a subscription this makes no sense, that is like 4 months subscription and it would take no more than two months for a casual gamer to hit 90 (assumption based on them being experienced; I doubt somebody new to the game will buy the game, all expansions and a level 90 boost at once).

    On the other hand this is obviously intended for people like myself who don’t particularly enjoy the levelling experience and just want to play end-game content with friends. The other more significant group this is intended for would be those without the time to spend levelling (though you probably wouldn’t be playing an MMO then).

    I hope they reconsider this price point, though I don’t see it simply because people are buying their other expensive stuff. If I was going to spend money on micro-transactions I would pay $60 for a level 90 over spending $35 on a shiny mount anyday.

  19. Davezilla says:

    My roomate’s mom(we call her “Blizzard”) makes $60 /character on the computer . She has been losing subscribers for a couple of years but now her clever new idea to charge people to skip vast swathes of game content is proving to be a real cash cow!

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> http://www.pay2notplay.com

  20. HeroJez says:

    It feels very much like seeing an old ‘celebrity’ – that you might have once admired for their acting or musical talent – sign up for Big Brother, or Help Me I’m In The Jungle. The sensible ones fade away in style… much as I expect Clooney or Judi Dench to do… but the tacky ones make a cheap buck… even if they don’t need to.

    The proliferation of shop stuff in WoW makes sense, of course.. although it seems unfair that you can’t win all of the stuff in-game if you want to: the only route to certain pets and mounts is cash. But £40 for a level 90 is a smart move… it’s a dick move, sure, because who has the time to do anything even remotely accomplished with more than one or two characters and STILL have time to blink, and eat, and you know… live. But, in an age of WoW Celebrity (and believe me, WoW dev Twitters are littered with GARBAGE chat between one guy and a few ‘celebrities’) people don’t want to look at SLAYERWARRIORX and spend 3 months trying to play like him.. they want a 90 NOW and they want to gear up and smash face.

    It’s why the PTR (Test Realm) is so popular… A) because it’s free… B) because the World PvP is better than on live realms… and C) because you can punch out a level 90 pre-made (with full professions) in 10 minutes, and be glyphed, geared, enchanted, and gemmed for whatever playstyle you like. All of the reward, all of the gear; none of the subscription, none of the effort.

    People are lazy. And while £40 might sound like a lot, it’s nothing compared to the time, drudgery and effort required to do things the old fashioned way. It might not be for everyone, but for people who always come to a stop when levelling certain classes, it’s a god-send. Hopefully Wildstar will be good enough that we don’t have to bother with WoW (and the inevitable influx of ‘newbie’ level 90s) any more… but this isn’t the place for a WoW Killer debate. I don’t think there is one.

  21. Onasi says:

    I really don’t blame Blizzard for this. They can put whatever price they want, it’s their product. If they wanted it to be 1 million dollars hey could put it like that. The sad thing is people will actually pay for the game then pay for the privilege of NOT playing the game.

  22. PopeRatzo says:

    How much do they charge to not have to play at all?

  23. Winged Nazgul says:

    Micro-transaction? Micro like an elephant maybe.

  24. RProxyOnly says:

    So this is what an obituary column looks like.

  25. Moraven says:

    This update is not Live btw, but was sighted after the services went up which then was taken offline. Its likely they are waiting until patch 6.0 to enable it.

    Leveling services have been around since Everquest. People are doing it.

    The price is high so not everyone is jumping to boost their characters to 90 and killing what player interaction was left in leveling content.

    Also they have made it easier and easier over the years to level to current expansion content. This will save you a week a leveling a alt. If it is your first time in WoW, you would be missing out on a lot of good content. The downside is now exp is gained so quick you overlevel zones to fast. They need to enable an option to lower the exp gain to original levels so you can enjoy the content at the level it was meant for at least once.

  26. Shooop says:

    I understand this is for people who’ve played the game before, are making new characters, and don’t want to grind them up to high levels again.

    But it’s still very telling of just how poor the game is to me. If the journey up to that level isn’t worth going through for players, then your game is crap. You should never have to play a game for hours on end or in this case pay more than a full-priced game should cost to start having fun with a game.

    • Sharlie Shaplin says:

      Yeah, I don’t get it. An option to skip the 90 levels of grind, makes me think a game is 90 levels of turd before it even “starts”. Pay not to play!

    • Moraven says:

      For some the journey is never worth it to them. For many others it is. But when you have done it 3+ times and it does not change much each time if at all, who wants to do it again?

      Plus WoW over time has been adding more and more convenience tools that has killed a lot of the random social community on servers unless you are high pop. Its been a hard balance between allowing someone do what they want with the limited time they have and keeping the best parts of an MMO intact.

      Before you had to discuss with people to form a group, usually in town. Make sure you get the right tank/healer/3dps/crowd control. Then you had to fly to the instance location. Then the dungeon was a challenge where a random pug would have to take their time with to succeed.

      Now you get that with a click of a button and the content is just there to plow through like some ARPG. There still is challenging content out there but the only way to be a part of it is within your own guild anymore. Sometimes WoW feels like there is 3 different games within a game. Appeal to the masses, appeal to the time limited player, appeal to the hardcore, appeal to the pvpers. I wish they just went a different route with it all, but overall it is still fun if you have a good group of people to play with. And Pandaria did give some more options other than a quick dungeon queue if you did not have a lot of time (pet battles, farm, kill elites, Timeless Isle, etc).

  27. Greg M says:

    Played WoW for 4 years and I cannot understand this ‘Boost’ option. The best part of the game, and what differentiate it from other MMOs is the long and beautiful journey from level 1 to level 70/80/90… no other MMO has that much diversity throughout the levels. Why would you want to skip it? If you do I just don’t get why you are playing such game, as there are other that are even more ‘end game’ orientated.

    That Boost option is just taking all of that away, leaving only the end game (Or close to it!) being ”The’ game.

    I guess they need to bring money in somehow and try to claw back some cash usually going to all the level sellers. Not sure this is the right way about though…

    • Moraven says:

      But when you have done the journey more than twice, you have seen 95% of what there is to see. Playing Alt #3 4 5 6 7 8 with a different class does not change the experience that much. Playing a different class in end game does in dungeons, Timeless Isle, Raiding, PvP, etc.

      60-70 quest system is rather dated, especially after you play the revamped 1-60.

      Myself I love the journey as much as you. Others sadly can care less and complain when they rush through to end game and run out of things do. Even if they never been on a journey. Their journey is end game content only.

      Its an option that people want and have wanted. So let them have it. They have made leveling rather fast with lowered exp curves and Heirlooms, but people have been wanting boosts ever since they introduced Heirloom items.

    • Gvaz says:

      I can sort of see it, I don’t like the content and after 2-4 times it’s fucking BORING.

      I enjoyed my shaman most by equpping her with all BoA gear and exclusively leveling through dungeons because it was fun and interesting.

      That’s around the time I realized I didn’t want to do anything but logon for 2-4 hours a night, raid, then immediately log off and do nothing else because everything else sucked.

  28. waltC says:

    I wish folks would wise up to this kind of crap. I bailed out of WarCraft many years ago when it first went MMO. A pity, since I actually enjoyed the games, but not enough for a paid monthly subscription (I have a principle about that–I refuse to do an MMO from anyone. Don’t do single-player, non-sub games? You don’t get my money, etc.) This shows you what Blizzard actually thinks of the mentality of its average customer–that they have way more money than brains, apparently. Good grief, the whole point of character development in a game is its development! By allowing you to get to level 90 for $60, Blizzard is doing nothing but selling a cheat to its customers. They buy it–they cheat themselves–and Blizzard grows ever fatter and more sated on the rancid stew of their stupidity. Unreal.

    • Kinch says:

      How is that a cheat? A max level character has no other advantages than being ‘n’ levels higher than level 1.
      They’re not selling you anything else, like gear, titles, or permanent +dmg/heal/hp potions.

      Noone’s making you buy the boost. If you like playing the game, just play it and have fun.

    • hungrycookpot says:

      I dunno I think at this point, the people paying $60 for WoW items/boosts have had 10 years of repeatedly leveling and grinding their way to max. They aren’t missing anything by skipping another grind. And maybe it will even free up some time for personal relationships and improvement. Or more WoW, whatever.

  29. Kinch says:

    Hold your horses, hide your pitchforks! Blizzard haven’t announced the final price and the feature isn’t live yet.

    • Machinations says:

      None cares. Most of RPS are core gamers, and those that do play WoW probably have 1000 alts as they are probably core gamers and ill so welcome this change. I shake my head though..nothing better to play?

  30. MasterDave says:

    Gonna make a bold prediction here, the base digital + L90 boost for WoD is going to be $60-80.

    The way I see the SKU’s coming:

    $40 Digital Expansion, no boost
    $60 Digital Expansion, with boost
    $60 Physical Edition, no boost
    $80 Digital Collectors, comes with pet + mount + boost
    $100 Physical Collectors, pet + mount + trinketssssss + boost

    something for everyone!

    • Moraven says:

      I think the free boost may be a pre-order only thing. Not sure.

      They did change their mind and said they will enable the free boost once Draenor pre-orders are available, so people can use it for current content before expansion.

      $40 Expansion w/boost
      $60 Digital Deluxe w/boost
      $80 boxed Collector’s w/boost

      Is what they will give right now. It would be interesting to see if they will allow add on boosts for discount. But I doubt they will do that.

  31. MellowKrogoth says:

    I wouldn’t buy it, but I don’t see the fact it’s available as a bad thing.

  32. fish99 says:

    If you think about MMOs in terms of paying for a service, I can get they need to charge a monthly fee for servers, electric bills, employees etc, and charge for expansion packs so they can develop the content……. but in this case, Blizzard have virtually zero costs involved in making a lvl90 character for you, so I personally find charging $60 for it completely disgusting. It’s probably worse than charging $25 for a mount. At least someone had to model, animate and texture a mount. A character is just a few kilobytes of data on a server made by an automated script.

    $20 would have been bad, but $60 is taking the piss. Thank god I don’t play this (shitty) game.

  33. derbefrier says:

    Its WoW blizz can do whatever they want and millions will still pay a sub and log in everyday. Besides WoW players don’t see lvls 1-89 as part of the game just an obstacle one must pass to get to the real game. The game has been out so long I doubt many people will care enough about this past bitching about it in a forum post.

    • Moraven says:

      Pretty much.

      New players should experience the old leveling content at least once, and they have the option to not buy the new stuff until they are lv 85. For $5 (on sale, numerous times) you have access to level 1-85 content, pandas, all classes but Monk, all professions. A lot of game there before you need to upgrade.

  34. Stupoider says:

    It’s an open admission by Blizzard that their 1-90 content is pointless. WoW has been living under the delusion that the game “starts” at 90. The whole concept of end-game as opposed to THE WHOLE GAME is pretty dire in my opinion. I’d much rather play games that reward more non-linear play than the theme park system.

  35. clairsat says:

    You can see how fast blizzard derailed after its merger with Activision.

    We have Bobby Kotick to thank for what wow and other blizzard products have become.

  36. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    As a matter of fact I am currently playing WoW again. Mostly because it is something my girlfriend enjoys playing but I won’t say I don’t like playing WoW. But it’s less fun now because everything is pointed towards the ‘end game’, grinds and money sinks. So I’d rather play something else since there’s so much more out there. Especially because I don’t really want to reward things like this.

  37. Gvaz says:

    At $60 for one character, it better come with at least the top 3 best raid gear you can get or something christ. That’s insane.

  38. Niko says:

    So it’s P22P? (Pay Twice to Play)?

  39. witzkawumme (wkw) says:

    that is a good one!

  40. AngoraFish says:

    I’m pretty sure that the correct abbreviation is P2NP (Pay to Not Play).

  41. nearly says:

    you do realize this is a game with a monthly fee required to play, right?

  42. Lurenai says:

    You’re already paying for the game, the expansions and the monthly fees, so put in the microtransactions and you’re paying much more than twice.

  43. lord_heman says:

    This! A thousand times this!

  44. Taidan says:

    I’d love to see Blizzard riff on SOE’s Everquest Progression Servers with a WoW Remix.

    Basically, a new server or two with the expansions temporarily disabled and some minor rebalancing done, with each expansion re-enabled in turn every few months or when certain conditions are met. Would be a very cheap way to make all of the previous content relevant again and draw some old subscribers back in.

  45. Smoof says:

    Check out The Rebirth. It’s a private WoW server with a small community that is vanilla WoW, updated to the patch right before BC came out. Private servers never sounded too appealing to me, but I decided to give this one a shot since I love Classic WoW and it’s absolutely all the great things you remember.

    My Priest is only 16 right now (playing a bit of Classic WoW somehow motivated me to finish the leveling experience in FFXIV, so I resubbed to that for now), but I’ve died multiple times and felt like I’ve been having a journey everywhere I go; it’s been an absolutely fantastic experience.

  46. Machinations says:

    They will never do this. WoW jumped the shark for core gamers long ago.

  47. Yglorba says:

    For an additional $60, they will directly implant the experience of playing all that content from levels 1-90 into your brain, then implant you with the experiences of exploring all the endgame content as a level 90 character, then uninstall WoW and delete your account forever, the game now complete.

    In the long run this is the cheapest and best option for anyone considering WoW.

  48. MellowKrogoth says:

    Sounds like the best way to experience MMOs to me, where do I sign up?

  49. Father Dagon says:

    For an additional $60, they will directly implant the experience of playing all that content from levels 1-90 into your brain, then implant you with the experiences of exploring all the endgame content as a level 90 character, then uninstall WoW and delete your account forever, the game now complete.

    Ooh, ooh, I had something for this… gimme a second… “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Grind”

  50. Corpsious says:

    We can experience it for you wholesale.

  51. Moraven says:

    The problem they state is that the talent and stat system has changed so much, old content could be so easy or very hard without spending time to rebalance it all.

    The original raid were designed with 40 people in mind. BC moved to 25 raids, so they may work still.

    They did spend some time to make it so people could solo old content without being stopped by a raid boss mechanic.

    I agree the interest is there and it would be worth their time to put a couple people on it. Set it up as a PTR to balance it.

    I miss doing events like the AQ gate opening.