“And of all these things the Albino whale was the symbol. Wonder ye then at the fiery hunt?”
I remember in the days of old when Blizzard announced World of Warcraft and that it would require a monthly subscription.
People saw it as a reasonable business model.
The subscription would cover many good things.
It would pay for long-term ongoing development.
It would pay for high-quality customer support.
It would keep microtransactions out of the game.
It would ensure fair play and equal opportunity in the game.
Over the years the business model has changed and accommodated new opportunities.
All very reasonable, of course.
The Online Store was introduced with the Celestial Steed. Some people wanted the opportunity to spend a little extra once in a while for something cool, so it was reasonable to have a few infrequent microtransactions.
Account and character services were introduced. People wanted to be able to move servers, change names, and alter their appearances. Those were reasonable requests, and so was the cost to discourage abuse of the services.
People started wanting veteran rewards and loyalty programs. Reasonable requests, so the 6 months and 12 months subscription offers were introduced. Commit for longer, get extra goodies.
Third-party gold selling became a rampant issue and the WoW Token was introduced as a reasonable measure to solve it. Blizzard profited from it and the fair play and equal opportunity foundation of WoW became questionable, but third-party gold selling was defeated.
Battle Passes, cross-promotional offers and rewards, and Online Store sales were becoming more prevalent and common in the gaming industry, so it was only reasonable that WoW should have these as well. After all, some people wanted it.
It’s all been very reasonable.
“The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”
WoW has always been a premium-priced game with its triple A cost and its monthly subscription.
But over the years it seems as if Blizzard have sought to squeeze its customers for more money – and recently, more frequently.
And the committed players with high expendable income – the whales if you will – seem to be squeezed especially hard.
This does not seem very reasonable, even if the intentions appear good.
It is hard to see where this trend will go next, but I do not see it stopping anytime soon.
Blizzard will want to maximize their revenue and their profit, so as time goes and the playerbase shrinks they will continue to squeeze the individual customer harder. Especially the whale.
“Aye, aye! and I’ll chase him round Good Hope, and round the Horn, and round the Norway Maelstrom, and round perdition’s flames before I give him up.”
Hey man as long as it doesn’t affect player power right…?
What frustrates me the most is that with every cool cosmetic on the store, mount, equipment, armour, pet… It’s an opportunity taken away from making some satisfying content to earn said cool and memorable cosmetic.
I guess the Trading Post is a first attempt at potentially offsetting this, though I wouldn’t describe it as neither “cool” or “memorable”…
Yeah it does conflict a lot with the main intent of the player, which is to play a video game.
It may be nice to get a new mount, but when the method of acquiring it involves signing up for an Amazon Prime subscription, then that’s very different from killing a boss and looting the mount from its corpse.
It’s annoying to invoke the whole mobile gaming comparison, but it does feel like WoW is moving toward the space where it is both a product experience and a customer experience.
There’s the experience of playing and enjoying the game itself, and there’s the experience of shopping and buying things in a virtual store.
Considering it was added during cataclysm, it could have very much be a nice quest chain, an epilogue to the defeat of Deathwing. Doesn’t have to be something tough… Just a cool set of quests from one of each then aspect, that wraps up how they felt, having very much just killed somebody who was once their brother. Maybe we did a few extra tasks, could involve the caverns of time… Something to give meaning to it.
Omg don’t even get me started on these irritating corporate synergies…
I think the game quality itself went worse, hence why Blizzard is recently trying to get back on route with it. Still a very long road to go before they are back in place as “market leader in MMORPG gameplay quality”.
Back then it was also the only game of its kind… With no competition in any way when it came to all of the things you mentioned…
Now days WoW is competing with Guild wars2 and Final fantasy 14. All of witch has paid services and transmogs and etc in it to compete with the WoW player fan base.
There is a bigger picture to talk about here… Are those games competition to wow because of these offers? Or do they offer the playerbase something gameplay wise that WoW does not? Surely not?.. Else they wouldn’t need these insentivies to bring players in? Or …? To me it was the first time experience back in the day. The full experience actually. WoW was the one… But now days WoW is not the only game that can offer that.
But its still something to consider… There are things here WoW could learn of both Guild wars 2 and final fantasy etc.
I think what you have to realise is that WoW has run it’s course, and now it’s just playing for Profit at the end of its life cycle (which I hope will last another 10 years or so).
Think of its as your Favourite bands best album is always the one that made them famous, or the first one you heard. Because it’s new and fresh, the freedom to do what they want because they have nothing to lose, but everything to gain. But every album afters just isn’t as good as the one before, because they have industry pressures on them to keep selling units.
Well, what recollection of the past is that favourite album, but for WoW.
I’m not sure if all these Online Store purchases, promotional offers, and so forth, get people into the games.
I’ve never looked at any Online Store for a game that I didn’t play.
I think they exist to squeeze the existing players of more money.
Why make some money when you can make all the money, right?
Why only get the money from the box sale and the subscription when you can get the rest of the money in the wallet with a mount on the Online Store and a discounted Faction Change?
All I’m saying is that Blizzard seem to be increasingly aggressive with trying to squeeze more money out of people. In part because it all piles up over time – more business strategies go in, but none go out. And in part because the frequency of new initiatives seems to be increasing.
And whilst each individual part is arguably okay and unproblematic, the sum of the parts just doesn’t appear very reasonable. At least not to me.
And it’s not because other game companies are any different. It’s just that Blizzard seems to lean into it very hard now.
And it’s very easy to argue the reasonableness of it as an isolated case. Collectables as microtransactions, what’s the harm? People want it, people ask for it, so give it to them!
But the business trend seems increasingly unreasonable to me. That’s my point.
Before the Online Store, if you wanted the full and complete WoW experience with all the bells and whistles, then you needed to buy the Collector’s Edition. And that was it. Then you got the exclusive pet or mount. Everything else was in the game.
If you want the full and complete WoW experience with all the bells and whistles today, then you have to spend money on a lot more than just a Collector/Deluxe Edition of the game.
And it is a running cost. Blizzard continues to add to it with every microtransaction, every cross-promotional offer, and so on.
And that trend seems increasingly unreasonable, I think.
Because there’s a difference between saying okay to Blizzard introducing an Online Store and buying a mount like the Celestial Steed every 3-4 months for 20 bucks, and then being presented with twitch subscriber rewards, a 12 month Amazon Prime subscription offer, Diablo IV cross-promotion, and so on.
Is that business trend something people want or is it just something people are conceding to because they still desire the full and complete WoW experience? In for a penny, in for a pound?
its not a big issue for me since i dont care much about pets and i think the store tmogs generally are not that good looking.
And if i like a store mount i will buy gamebalance with gold when its on sale only.
What i dont like is how some good stuff is hidden behind recruit a friend stuff or a 6 month subscription. I generally dont play the same game for 6 months in a row after all. And recruit a friend isnt an option for everyone because not everyone knows other people wich want to play wow these days
But the amount of store items and services for money blizz really should drop the subscription of the game since its a very pricy game despite its quality been getting worse over years. base game+ expansion+ subscription and then microtransactions is a bit too much. It would be allowed if wow still was the one and only main mmorpg. But it just THE mmo rpg anymore
Jito don’t you think the new trading post will take over for the most part when it comes to transmogs and stuff though? That Blizzard has made that without having us purchase stuff for real money should be a sign in good favor against online services no?
There will still propably be more transmogs for IRL money sure… But the trading post. Should at least prove that Blizzard isn’t completely going into the other business models for this like other games have so far.
Thats a good thing. We see more transmogs and such in the trading post appear over the past 2 months. Than we ever would of for paid for deals. I don’t think Blizzard is all that greedy as you are afraid them to be… At least not yet.