Tuesday is one of those days that just kind of stinks. It’s right after Monday and you still have 3 more days until the weekend. Now if you play World of Warcraft than Tuesday is especially crap. Tuesday is the day that everything changes, nobody is ever happy. This day is called “Patch Tuesday”. Normally WoW players get to deal with class rebalancing or changes to loot tables, not this patch. This is the patch that has/will make old school Warcraft-ers turn their back on their love.
As of Tuesday the 18th of February, you now have the ability in World of Warcraft to completely bypass leveling any character for the mere cost of $60. WHAT?! Yes this is the truth that the industry is coming to expect. Blizzard (developers of World of Warcraft) made the decision to allow users to forgo one of the key components of a role-playing game in exchange for money. Something to note, If you choose to auto level a character that is already over level 60 you are also given max professions on the professions that you currently have learned. So not only do you get a level 90 but you also instantly master your professions.
There has been a long-standing rule within the World of Warcraft community, do NOT cheat. That means you cannot pay to have your account “power-leveled” (someone generally located in China or India is paid to quickly level your character to X level for $X) and you cannot buy other people’s accounts. If you were caught performing one of these actions, the ban hammer was swiftly dropped and your account went into the place where all bad little children’s things go. Strangely enough there seems to be a culture shift at Blizzard, why all of a sudden is it acceptable to purchase levels? With the boost to 90 feature in effect Blizzard is going from “you can’t pay money to level an account that is cheating” to “well you can’t pay to level an account
This has unfortunately been in the making for some time now. with numerous changes that have built up to this point. We were slowly forced to move into a game that took away our PVP rewards, made finding good gear as simple as lining up to run through a watered down dungeon, held our hands when building our characters, chopped down a talent system that has been constantly changed and re-changed to allow the least experienced players an easy road to a viable build.
World of Warcraft was originally a game of skill, patience, and one that rewarded the dedication of a player. Somewhere down the line we lost that sense of pride. At some point it became the norm to cater to the lowest common denominator. It was unacceptable to alienate those fans who wanted a quick fix or were not “hardcore” players. It became unfair that those players who did not invest the time in locating a guild, playing with dedication, and learning the content did not get to experience the end-game content. Blizzard felt that casual players needed an easy button… or numerous easy buttons, or one giant easy button that you can’t help but fall onto, effectively giving yourself a concision and potentially bleeding away your sanity.
In the past, World of Warcraft players have been treated to similar features. Around the time that the last expansion, Mists of Pandaria was launched, players were able to invite their friends to come and play in exchange for a singe, free, level 80 character. This was a great opportunity to get more bodies into the game. Of course this backfired by flooding the game with people who had no clue how to play a game that required much more skill than must smashing buttons and collecting loot.
This was an annoyance and an inconvenience for veterans, but was not catastrophic as people learned to play and things got better. This was a promotion to build the community back up and get people on a level playing field. Paying a fee for an instant boost to level 90 is not a mechanic to bring people into the game, it is a way to cheat those players who have worked to get to where they are. An instant boost to level 90 is a free pass for gamers that are too lazy to actually play the game they paid for.
It is understandable that you need to make a product that brings in the masses. World of Warcraft has always had that mass appeal, with a little something for every type of gamer. Gamers flocked to the world and let it engulf them with the majesty and enchantment that Blizzard has been able to create. World of Warcraft was able to do what so many other brands were and are not. With every new massively multiplayer game that comes to the market there is one question that everyone asks. Is this new game going to be a “WoW killer”? The answer has always been a resounding no. It may not be too long before Blizzard runs out of fans to keep it afloat. It may be about time that their want for subscribers and greed overpowers everyone’s love for the game.
Will the instant boost be a bad thing for the WoW community? As of right now it is hard to say. Will the veteran players, players who actually know what a 40-man raid is like or remember what collecting 100g represented, be ok with this new feature? As a Vanilla WoW player myself I would think not. I am interested to see where this goes and how the community responds. Ball’s in your court now Blizzard. We will just sit back and enjoy the fireworks.