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Posts with tag paid-character-customization

Shut Up And Take My Money: Thoughts on Blizzard's paid services

Shut Up And Take My Money Thoughts on Blizzard's paid services
After playing for almost eight years, I've become accustomed to the fees that accompany World of Warcraft. It's just... part of the game. We pay a monthly fee so the developers can bring us new shinies and dragons to slay. We pay a monthly fee so our Community Managers can wrangle cats and serve as our voice. We pay Blizzard to keep WoW going. At what works out (in the US) to be about $0.50 per day, in my mind, there's never been a cheaper night of entertainment.

Now, I wouldn't pose an argument against our monthly fee, but it's common to see complaints from the community about Blizzard's paid services for WoW. A character transfer is $25 USD, name change $10 USD, appearance change $15 USD, race change $25 USD, faction change $30 USD, and let's not forget about the various Guild Services offered at a price. Select services combine a few changes -- an appearance change allows a name change as well, for example.

What is reasonable? Well, for cosmetic services like appearance, race, and name changes, the prices are fair. They're things that aren't necessary in order to play. If you're in a top 100 guild, at some point you may gain an extra edge in changing race to benefit from a racial. Who knows. If you're being harassed by someone in-game, it may be necessary to name change, even. Other than that, I can't think of a situation in which those services would be "required."

Character transfer charges, on the other hand, should be looked at. Over on the EU forums, Taepsilum posted a great response to a thread on paid services that got me thinking.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard

How flexible is too flexible when it comes to gameplay?

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Way back in the days of vanilla WoW, your character was something you were stuck with, as well as your talents. If you wanted to unlearn your talents, you were certainly welcome to do so, as long as you didn't mind paying a lot of gold to do so. Once you made a character on that server, it stayed there. Once you chose your gender, hair and facial features, you were stuck with them. If you chose Alliance, that character remained Alliance for good.

Over the years, we've had a lot of small things introduced that allowed us a little more flexibility with the characters we love to play. You can change realms, factions, hair, gender, race -- you can completely change who your character is at the drop of a hat. Mists of Pandaria is introducing a host of new features intended to give the game some added flexibility by allowing characters to share achievements, mounts and pets across an entire account. This means that players are no longer limited to what character they play. You can switch between characters and still have the same benefits.

There's just one thing that Blizzard has never, ever wavered on, one last point of rigid inflexibility when it comes to the characters we play: class.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Mists of Pandaria

Breakfast Topic: The high cost of playing

I support World of Warcraft's paid services. I think they're good for the game. I think a lot of the options that the services provide extend our interest in the game, allowing us to play when we might have otherwise lost interest. What I do worry about is how expensive everything is when you start to add them all up. I suspect I'm like the average player who has more than a few max level characters at this point, which means wanting to avail of paid services on all of them could get a little pricey.

Let's take character transfers, for instance. If I wanted to transfer all my characters to a server where my friends play (why would I want to move just one?) it would cost me a hefty sum. Add to that the fact that my wife plays wherever I play so we multiply that hefty sum by two. Imagine if I wanted to change my characters' races to those combinations that were previously unavailable come Cataclysm... how much would that add up to? It doesn't take an accountant to see that it could cost a small fortune.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Blizzard, Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: What race would you change to?


My first end game character was a Tauren Hunter. It was also the first character I created. When I made him, I didn't know much about the races, starting zones, or characterization quirks. The Tauren care for the world around them and hesitance when it comes to the battle. They're a calm and steady race that, while powerful in battle, prefer peaceful methods in their balance with nature and the elements. While that may be nice for a while, I've come to enjoy the mysticism and voodoo of the Trolls. From putting heads in cauldrons to get dead men to speak their awful truths to offering advice on not cutting off body parts to get them to regenerate bigger, they've offered an interesting and sick sense of humor that I enjoy. Also, the crit strike bonus to bows wouldn't be all that shabby either.

With the race changes announced and apparently on the horizon (aka: 'soon'), as well as the race/class combinations coming in Cataclysm, what race would you change to if you had the opportunity? Voting after the break.

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Filed under: Odds and ends, Blizzard, Breakfast Topics, Features

Breakfast Topic: Paid services


With the Azeroth-shaking announcement of paid faction changes, it seems like one of the last barriers to character re-customization have been broken down. Who would have thought that we could switch allegiances four years ago? The World of Warcraft has certainly come a long way since it launched. One of the big changes back then was allowing players to transfer realms -- initially disallowing PvE-to-PvP transfers but that restriction was eventually lifted. That was shocking news then, but then Blizzard opened the door for names and even gender changes.

What we're essentially seeing is Blizzard's own clever version of microtransactions. Sure, we can't buy powerful items like those in free-to-play games (which will soon become endangered in China...), but we can pay real money to cater to our vanity or convenience. I've paid several times for server transfers, name changes, and even character re-customization. My wife grumbles whenever I shell out real money for those things, but I'm sure she'd pay to morph her former main, a Troll Priest, into a Blood Elf in a heartbeat. Even Matthew Rossi would pay good money to turn his Human Warrior into a huge-like-Rossi Draenei. There's only one problem, though -- they can't. Race change is one thing Blizzard hasn't given the go signal to... yet.

Anything's possible, though. Years ago, Blizzard unequivocally said that they would never allow PvE to PvP realm transfers. See how that turned out. What other paid services do you think Blizzard lacks? You probably already know that I'm all for race change as part of character re-customization. But how about paying for levels? I mean, despite all the changes they've made to make leveling easier, I abhor it. I'd gladly shell out some cash to get a high-level character right off the bat. What other paid World of Warcraft services do you think the game needs or players want?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Breakfast Topics

Why won't Blizzard let me change my race?


I want an Orc. More specifically, I want my Blood Elf Death Knight to become an Orc. I know, I should've chosen the right race to begin with, but he's now Level 80 and it's too late. I don't want a pretty boy Death Knight, which was obviously a bad idea to begin with considering they infest Dalaran and the rest of Azeroth like metrosexual cockroaches, but I made a mistake and I regret it. I seriously want to change my character's race. I'd consider rerolling, but it's a Death Knight.

Paid character customization is nice and all, but it won't let me change my race. At first I was fine with it because I thought it would create all sorts of problems from quests to factions to racial mounts... but then Blizzard drops a bombshell of an announcement: faction changes are coming to Azeroth! Implicitly, this meant being able to change races, too. Nethaera squashes that idea with a resounding 'No'. Players could only change to the opposing faction's race, which is weird. No, really, it's weird. I mean, I'll be able to transform my Horde Blood Elf Death Knight into an Alliance Draenei but I can't make him an Orc? Why not?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard

Breakfast Topic: Is Blizzard doing faction change the right way?


Blizzard can pull off some real surprises sometimes. This whole thing about Paid Faction Changes came totally from left field, and even though we know players have been asking for it I don't think any of us really expected that it would happen. For the precognitive among us, did you think they'd do it this way, though? For one thing, was the demand for such a service so huge that Blizzard opted to devote precious developer time to making it happen? It's definitely not an easy thing to pull off.

Despite Blizzard answering some concerns about the future service, there are still more questions relating to Achievements, quests, reputation, and more. What happens to faction-specific mounts? Lore nerds are boggled by the story behind a possible change -- can everything really be explained by some Goblin invention? That seems like such a cop-out, doesn't it? Wouldn't it be better (and cooler) to implement a long and epic quest chain to change factions? Sure it would be confusing to see Orcs hoisting the Alliance banner or Humans yelling 'For the Horde!', but wouldn't it be easier to implement?

Lore-wise, it makes more sense, too. It's not uncommon to see particular races switch allegiance. It's much stranger to transmogrify from, say, a Troll to a Gnome. What are your thoughts on this planned service? Are you happy to have it as a paid option, which would be quick and painless (although your wallet may say otherwise) or would you prefer a long-winded in-game quest chain? Maybe you have some ideas on how it could work. Sound off!

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Breakfast Topics

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