A WoW forum-goer recently asked why Blizzard was charging for premium services like character server transfers, re-customizations, and the other multitude of options and services Blizzard provides players. Blizzard Community Manager Zarhym hit the thread to discuss the nature of Blizzard's premium services for players and let players know that really, premium services are for people who want them and feel they are worth the cost.
Zarhym first makes the point that these features and premium services are in no way made to be needed to play the game. In fact, I'd take things a step forward and say that so far, Blizzard has been exceptionally good at providing only cosmetic and quality-of-life premium services, where other games could have already cashed in on a playerbase like WoW
's. These optional services can improve your own personal quality of life, be it race-changing to an obviously superior blood elf or transferring servers to be with a new guild, but they are not tied to the core gameplay experience.
Zarhym's full statement, after the break.
Why do we need to be nickeled and dimed?
These are premium services added to better accommodate the wants and needs of players. They do not factor into what you get for buying the game/expansions and paying monthly for access to the serers. By no means do you need any of these premium services to enjoy World of Warcraft gameplay to the fullest extent. Should you desire to take advantage of some extra services to enhance your enjoyment of the game though, they're certainly there for you... if you feel it's worth the price.
We've made countless quality-of-life improvements to the game in terms of content, UI, data storage, character profiles, etc. We've expanded upon what you get for your monthly subscription by leaps and bounds since the game was first released, but the subscription price has not changed.
Everything we do and every service we add costs more money than you might realize. So, if we do occasionally add some premium services which are purely to give you more options for enjoying the game how you want (changing your realm, faction, race, name, physical appearance, etc.), we need to make sure there is an appropriate value added to those services so we can sustain them, sustain our business, and keep focusing on making this the best game possible. :)
There is always the issue of cost, and Zarhym freely admits that every service costs the company money, from support to implementation and more. Services also need value; otherwise, they would be seen as rights or privileges
that you could take advantage of at any point. Also, it seems that the cost associated with name changes, server transfers, and the like force players to keep their attitudes and behavior in check in an online world, lest they totally ruin their reputation and have to change servers and identities. Premium services are about options being optional.
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