Friday, 24 January 2014

Power Word: Boost: Should We be Able to Buy 90s?

Unless you live under a rock, you probably know by now that in Warlords of Draenor we are going to get a free boost to level 90 for one character. You also might have heard that Blizzard is possibly going to sell level 90 characters. You can find the details about this here in the post "Scouting Report". Before I touch on the main topic there, I think that Blizzard giving us the free boost as soon as WoD is pre-purchased is a really good idea. It will give people time to have a play around with the new character, get professions leveled up, earn some achievements and just generally have some time to get used to whatever class they boost.

So, on to the elephant in the room. Blizzard is thinking of (and will be testing) offering players the option to boost a character to level 90 for a charge, essentially giving us a legal way to purchase characters. As with anything involving players buying items, this has sparked a lot of debate and controversy over what people are seeing as Blizzard selling power. I have to admit, I am definitely on the side of those who want to be able to buy 90s, however I can understand why people don't like it.

From what I can tell the major arguments against buying 90's are as follows:

  1. Blizzard is just doing it to make more money.
  2. I had to level all of my characters, so new people should too.
  3. The new characters will flood LFR/PVP and it will be every ragers worst nightmare.
  4. All of the old content will be ignored and those who want to level new characters will struggle to find dungeon groups.
Of all of those, there is one that I find to be a reasonable argument, and that's number 4. Yes it will make traditional leveling harder, as finding dungeon groups could take a longer time. However with our new connected realms and the fact that a boost costs money, hopefully this won't affect traditional leveling too much. This is the argument that almost made me agree that we shouldn't buy these characters.

The first argument is the standard response whenever Blizzard adds something for real money to sell. My standard response to that is, of course they are trying to make more money. That is the point of a business. If you don't want to purchase something, you are not forced to. The second argument is equally as asinine. If you honestly think that just because you had to level all of your characters to level 90, everyone else should have to as well, you are selfish. Not everyone has the time to level a second or third character. The third argument does make sense to me in a small way, but my response is that people who are going to learn to play their class will do so and those who aren't, won't. I will usually take the time to learn a good rotation for the class I am playing, ask questions about the fight and try to learn what I need to be doing. Does every single new player do that? Obviously not (or there wouldn't be the rage out there about it). But these people will be max level soon anyway, so it does nothing but delay it. And in my opinion most people do actually want to learn the fights, they just don't want to be grilled by some asshole for not knowing what to do if they ask.

So why do I think boosts are a good idea? There are a few reasons, but the main one involves the new player experience. In my experience, most people trying out WoW for the first time now are doing so because a friend convinced them to do so. I tried out WoW because I had watched some videos of people soloing old raid content, and thought that looked like fun. When I started I knew one person who played and he introduced me to another person who played. Despite this I leveled mostly on my own. I hit Outland and almost stopped playing because of the grind in quests there. Now this didn't stop me, and obviously I am still playing the game. However, about 2 months ago however I got a friend of mine to try out WoW.

I actually made my Shaman to level with him as he wanted to play Alliance side. We played together until around level 40, at which point he started to play a lot without me and out leveled me. He hit Outlands on his own, and basically stopped playing. His level 65 character has not moved since then. Now I'm not saying that he would definitely still be playing if he had the boost to 90, but I honestly believe that there would be a bigger chance.

WoW is mostly all about the endgame. I had heard the saying, "WoW doesn't start until max level" before I even started playing. In a game that is so geared toward endgame content, having to slog through 90 levels to get there is really hard. Now imagine that you invite a friend, he gets his boost to 90 and is immediately at the endgame with you, or when WoD drops only has 10 levels of the most current, interesting and best content to do. That is going to help with new player retention and help friends play together faster.

The other reason is that for those people who have already leveled a few characters, the content has been played out. It is a matter of rote that they do it, just another step to get to what they actually want to do. Some of the content is fantastic and zones such as Felwood, Nagrand and Tanaris will always be fond memories for me. But the vast majority of it is just a means to an end, and that end is getting to max level to actually start playing the game.

Hopefully, Blizzard do end up implementing the boosts to 90 in such a way that you do end up having to play a death knight style starting zone where you get taught a little about your class and a rough idea of how to play it in PVE situations. I feel this will benefit those people who will get dropped into WoD with no prior experience of WoW, or those who have only played a couple of classes like myself to get a grip on the game and the class they boost.

With all that said however, it's time for me to get back to gearing up. As always folks,


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