Blizzard finds itself in the spotlight this week after a decision to require subscribers to drop more money if they want to boost their characters up to level 90 leaked from its store.
The plan currently stands at one character being allowed to level to 90 for free with the purchase of the expansion Warlords of Draenor, but leveling any further characters past the original will require a $60 payment or the purchase of the expansion pack all over again.
Blizzard’s Lead Encounter Designer Ion Hazzikostas describes this decision to keep itself from devaluing “the accomplishment of leveling,” a task which takes over 100 hours to complete.
“We realised as soon as we came out with Warlords of Draenor boost to 90, we knew that there was going to be demand for more than [one],” he explains to Eurogamer. “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.”
“In terms of the pricing, honestly a big part of that is not wanting to devalue the accomplishment of levelling. If our goal here was to sell as many boosts as possible, we could halve the price or more than that – make it $10 or something. And then hardly anyone would ever level a character again.
But levelling 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 am not an economist,” he stresses, “I’m not the one setting the dollar value myself, but it’s not the profit maximizing price. That was not our aim here.”
I haven’t played World of Warcraft in years, but I agree with him that it is awfully awkward to ask for subscribers to buy an expansion twice. That being said, Blizzard is a company and it has to make money, and charging for alternative characters will certainly get that done. $60 isn’t exactly a microtransaction, though.
Anybody going to pay to level up their alts to 90?