Being the MMO drifter that I am, I have played my fair share of free-to-play titles. For the most part, I generally have a positive experience. I don’t feel too pressured to wallet drop at the store, and I usually don’t feel hindered by my decision to be
a scrooge fiscally responsible.
What has this got to do with World of Warcraft‘s incoming “buy-an-insta-90″ feature? Well, it’s not the feature itself that has me bothered, but rather, the slippery slope that the game has been going down for quite some time.
About Those 90′s
Much like the Godmother over at Alt: ernative Chat, I am not the insta-90′s target demographic. I don’t mind leveling and I have most of the classes I enjoy playing either at cap or close to it. For me, the free insta-90 I will get for pre-ordering will probably be used to give me a class I already have simply as a different faction. I probably won’t pay for additional 90′s.
Of course, it wouldn’t be WoW if members of the community weren’t having a cry about something. “Noobs will be everywhere,” they scream — newsflash! — we survived the great Death Knight apocalypse of 2008! You just need to step into LFR to see that there will always be noobs, and that facerolling through the first 85 levels has done nothing to curb this phenomenon.
Then there is the ol’ chestnut, “It’s pay to win!” Well I don’t think we’re at that point. These level 90′s still have to level through Warlords of Draenor and follow the same gearing up process that everyone else does. This isn’t RIFT, they’re not selling raid level gear in the store…yet.
These insta-90′s are simply evidence that designers failed to keep their behemoth in check and, instead of fixing it, they’re going to cash in on a community that is frustrated with a less than ideal leveling process.
The Easy Way Out
I think Syp put it best back in November when this instant level 90 feature was announced:
Whenever a company announces this feature, all I hear is an admission of failure of the leveling hole they dug for themselves.
You just need to read the results of the Community Blog Topic WoW Insider ran in 2013 to see that a there is indeed a terrible cycle happening when it comes to leveling. The cynic in me is wondering, ‘Was this deliberate?’
We already have an in-game store, and now an option for high level level characters, even though the game is still sitting pretty at 7.6 MILLION subscribers. If we have these things already when the game is hardly taking its dying breaths, at what subscription level will they resort to putting gold and raid gear up for sale? Five million? Six million? Where will they draw the line?
I think that is what makes me saddest of all. If World of Warcraft – a successful subscription based game — is going down the F2P path, what hope is there for this payment model in the future? As much as industry reporters may tote it as the best thing to happen to MMO’s, I, like J3w3l, prefer the subscription model.
I guess I need to accept that times are changing in the MMO world and that companies are, first and foremost, there to make money. I guess this is just another sign that I’m getting older and grumpier. If I wanted boosts and cash shops, I’d manage to stick to free-to-play titles for longer than a few weeks at a time.
Now get off my lawn!
How do you feel about the inclusion of an in-game store complete with pre-made characters in World of Warcraft?