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Posts with tag paid-services

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

25 percent off character transfers this weekend

25% off Character Transfer this weekend!
Last weekend we had a discount on faction transfers, and this week Blizzard has confirmed that there will be a discount on realm transfers! Betting will shortly open on the nature of next weekend's sale. Realm transfers are offered all the time, of course, allowing you to pack your character's bags and shift them, their bank, their mounts, pets, and all their holdings to a new realm.

This discount decreases the price from $25, £15 or €20 to $18.75, £11.25 or €15. (American prices are subject to tax in certain areas.) The realm transfer sale ends on July 23 -- Monday -- so get your skates on! Do check out the Character Transfer FAQ if you're curious about any aspect of the service.

Importantly, you should note that a character transfer doesn't include a faction change, race change, class change, or appearance change. Also, a goblin doesn't really fire you out of a cannon.


New horizons await! Through this weekend and for a limited time only, you can initiate a Character Transfer to move one of your World of Warcraft characters to a new realm for 25% off the regular price.

To get started, simply click here. Alternatively, you can log in to your Battle.net account at www.battle.net, select your World of Warcraft account, and then click "Character Transfer" at the bottom of the page.

Don't delay -- this offer ends Monday, July 23.



So, if you have ever fancied a change of scenery -- well, OK, not scenery, but the people steering the avatars within it -- or if you fancy going from a PvP to a PvE realm or back again, now's the time! Carpe diem, people. Who knows when this will roll around again?

Filed under: News items

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: How far would you let WoW microtransactions go?

One of the hottest topics in the past week was Blizzard's foray into the microtransactions game. By announcing the Blizzard pet store, World of Warcraft had officially come on par with other MMOs and online games that sold in-game items for real world money. Our informal survey showed that views on the move were officially split... a good third of our readers would buy the pet, another third didn't plan to, while another full third thought that our world was coming to an end. Well, the World of Warcraft, at least.

At any rate, it looks like the Pet Store is here to stay. Besides, Blizzard has already been hawking in-game services for real money, so it's not as if these vanity pets are any different. I personally don't find anything wrong with these pets, and seeing the number of diminutive liches and kung fu pandas showing up all over Azeroth, it really seems like a lot of other people don't, either.

Blizzard states that these items, similar to the TCG loot cards, are "purely cosmetic and just for fun." They say that they'd be loathe to introduce things that are "detrimental to the game and (detracts) from the gameplay experience for players who choose not to use the service." So that probably means no epic weapons or anything of the sort.

How far does that go, though? Are heirloom items considered detrimental to the game? How about buying levels? Premades? I personally wouldn't mind paying a fair price to skip the painful leveling process (an attitude that might admittedly change during the Cataclysm). What's do you think is next for Blizzard? Armor dyes, perhaps? Vanity outfits such as the complete Brewfest set or gag items such as those found on the TCG? Titles? Now that the microtransactions gate has been opened, how far do you think Blizzard will go?

Filed under: Items, Blizzard, Economy, Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: Race Change, your personal retcon

Just about every wall has been broken down now. The only thing left is the ability to change one's class, which probably won't happen anytime... soon®. Yesterday, the highly anticipated Race Change service went live, and I'm sure a lot of players rushed to get their makeover. Take Gregg, for example, who went on and changed his Level 70 Tauren Hunter into a weed-loving Troll. I mean, he's wanted to do that for a while. I know I've been hankering for race change myself, but now that the service is here, I haven't exactly jumped the gun. Why? I said I wanted to turn my Blood Elf Death Knight -- I'm quite happy with just one Sin'dorei -- into an Orc, but now I'm kind of wondering.

I still want to change my character's race, I'm just not quite settled on which one to switch to. Race change is kind of like a retcon in the World of Warcraft, more so than name changes or customization of appearance. It's right up there with gender changes. Faction changes are different because it kind of take away your character's entire continuity, and I'm sure a lot of RP'ers made completely different back-stories for faction-changed characters. Race change allows you to have essentially the same character but with a major difference.

We asked what race you'd switch to about a month back, but now that the service is here, we're going to ask who's up and done the change? What race did you switch from and what race did you switch to? Tell us why! Personally, I'm just kind of bored with another Blood Elf, and I want one of each race (I know, I should've thought of that to begin with). Lame, right? On the other hand, I'm holding out for that Undead Hunter I've always wanted. Now that World of Warcraft's personal retcon is a paid service, have you taken advantage of it? Have you changed anything else besides your race such as gender or name?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Breakfast Topics

Blizzard explains delay in Race Change service

Zarhym responded to a thread on the official forums started by, of all things, a troll. The poster wrote accusing Blizzard of lying about paid race changes being still in development, pointing out that faction change enabled racial changes, as well. Zarhym calmly explained that "the conversion tables for changing races within one's own faction are completely different from the faction change service." This means that there's a separate development time for it.

He also reminds everyone that "the only thing better than offering a service people want is making sure that service works when people want it." It's pretty much standard operating procedure for Blizzard, a company notorious for pushing back releases in favor of getting things right. It's interesting to note that Blizzard introduced faction changes ahead of race changes, perhaps because the former addresses more player concerns while the latter is merely a customization preference.

There's also a chance that Blizzard will allow the new race-class combos leading up to the Cataclysm, which would be perfect timing for the paid race change service, anyway. I was looking forward to swapping my Blood Elf Death Knight into an Orc, but since the announcement, I've been drooling over the prospect of an Undead Hunter -- a race-class combo I've wanted to play since I first launched the game. I've waited this long, I guess a little more of Soon won't hurt.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Blizzard, Forums

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

Race changes "coming soon"


They said it wasn't going to happen, but it wouldn't be the first time Blizzard did a 180º on previous announcements. Of course, if we had really bothered to read between the lines, Blizzard wasn't actually saying 'no' to race changes -- only that it wouldn't be part of the paid Character Faction Change service. It was in their Faction Change Q&A that Nethaera squashed the idea like an ugly bug. It turns out the folks at Blizzard are shrewder businessmen than we thought, and what Neth's 'no' actually meant was that race change would be a completely different service (which they conveniently didn't mention at the time).

Although race changes were confirmed some time back, we received a couple of messages from readers tipping us off to the actual Race Change button being up on the Account Management page, falling under the Paid Services tab. How soon 'Coming Soon!' actually is, we can only guess. It's Blizzard, after all. Besides, Cataclysm promised us new races, and it should be interesting to see if Blizzard will allow changing to either a Goblin or a Worgen. It's possible that it won't be allowed at first to encourage players to try out the new starting areas, but Blizzard has been rather surprising as of late. Personally, I can't wait to trade up from Blood Elf pale to Orc green.

Thanks to Ryan and Tuttutt for the heads up!

Filed under: Odds and ends, Blizzard

Battle.net authenticator now available for other platforms


The Battle.net mobile authenticator is now available for a wide variety of mobile platforms in several different countries through the Battle.net mobile store. Originally available only for the iPhone through the App Store, the mobile authenticator can now be used on virtually any phone that can run third-party applications.

There's only one catch - unlike the original mobile authenticator found in the App Store, these new versions aren't free. The prices vary depending on your country due to PayPal conversion rates, but they amount to roughly $1 (it's €0.50 in parts of Europe).

Despite the need to purchase it, we at WoW.com can't recommend it highly enough. Account security is an important thing, particularly with the rampant account hacking and phishing going on these days. Now that it's available to use in a wide variety of platforms, there's little reason not use the Battle.net mobile authenticator. A dollar is a very small price to pay for that additional layer of security.

Editor's Note: Apparently now the download is showing as "Coming soon" for US/EU carriers. It was showing as up before, but now is not. We blame the Gnomes. Or Ghostcrawler.

Thanks to Medros from All Things Azeroth for the tip!

Filed under: Odds and ends, Account Security

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

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