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Six ways playing WoW can save you money

Banknotes from around the world (Wikipedia)Summer's here, gas prices are up, and the economy is suffering both in-game and in real life. Ultimately, it's a "dogs and cats sleeping together" kind of situation for your cash flow. Jagoex over at Warlock Therapy has your wallet covered with "10 Ways Gamers Can Save Money." He's talking about all gamers, and has quite a lot to say for the console gamers, but his tips pretty much apply to everyone.

Of course, there are a few things you can do specifically as a WoW player to save your bank account some stress over this bleeding hot summer.

1. Buy 6-month package deals. Let's be honest. Are you really going to quit playing WoW at the end of the month? Unless you're actually about to walk out the door, opting for the six-month subscription will save you two bucks a month. That's not epic savings, but it's a few gallons of gas over the course of the summer.

2. Take mini-vacations in game. If you don't want to pay for the gas or plane fare to jaunt off to an exotic location, you do have an option. There are probably hundreds of places hanging out Around Azeroth you've not seen. Make a new character, and make it one of a race you've not played before. Gquit gracefully for a weekend, and take a break from your normal routine. If you have a significant other with whom you can do this, that's even better -- take your partner for a special date somewhere.

3. Snack cheap, snack healthy. It's a two-fer. Jagoex has already heralded the beauty of water over soda as play-time fuel. I'd go a step further -- grab a bag of carrots instead of junk food. Although just about everything's getting more expensive this summer, your run-of-the-mill veggie will fill you as well as potato chips. Those carrots will probably be a little cheaper per-craving. The long-term health improvement will save you some doctor-time, also, and that's a big-bucks saving.

4. Use your privacy to best affect. Many WoW players get their game on in the privacy of a computer room, at home by themselves, or otherwise away from the prying eyes of others. What's more, when they're gaming, they're not hanging out in the rest of the unoccupied house. Use that, compadre. Turn off the lights in other rooms -- save a little power, and drop your energy bill. Mount a fan on your Wowspace, and turn down the central AC to reflect that. Letting the air conditioner have a break will have the biggest effect on your power budget.

5. Use voice chat as your own VOIP. Opinions on WoW's packaged voice chat have always been divided. But if you're logged into the game anyway, you can take advantage of it nonetheless. This lets you avoid long-distance charges to relatives who also play, or cellphone roaming charges if you do happen to be traveling. I've used it to keep in touch with a friend from my Mid-Atlantic region who moved to Canada. I couldn't guess how much phone charges I've dodged that way - certainly enough to pay my monthly subscription fee.

6. Play WoW for entertainment, dodge other costs. Let's play a small math game. Like many good geeks, I'm going to see The Incredible Hulk next weekend. I'm confident and hopeful it will be good. But, if it sucks, I'm going to be regretting 6 bucks an hour (before concession prices). If I get popcorn and a soda, I could be regretting 16 bucks an hour. My favored movie theater is a gallon of gas away. 18 bucks an hour. Now, while I'm stacking costs here pretty quickly -- you get the point. By comparison, a casual WoW player who is only online for an hour or so a week, with a 6-month package deal, is only dropping $2 to $4 an hour. This game is not what you'd call expensive. It's cheap to play, and well worth the cost. Very few other entertainment media are going to give you anything like the return on your investment you experience in World of Warcraft.

It all still just comes down to conservation and careful expenditures, no matter which way you cut it. Like doing your dailies: a lot of little things, can add up to a lot.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Economy

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