Casually Classic: Yeah, those Burning Crusade Classic prices are stupid high

    
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If there’s anything that Blizzard excels in doing these days, it’s taking a slam-dunk publicity announcement and turning it into a hurricane of poop. As a fan of MMOs in general, I hate it when I see studios totally botching what should be a moment of shared excitement.

I mean, hey, we have a date for Burning Crusade Classic – and it’s really, really soon! Yeah, the pre-patch period isn’t as long as I would’ve liked, but I can’t complain about getting into the expansion on what my mind considers to be the first day of summer. I’ve been ready for this transition for months now, so bring it on!

But then here comes Blizzard’s marketing team, derpy derpy do, and it releases information about “enhancing” your WoW Classic experience. “Enhance” is a marketing phrase for “tack-on microtransactions” that once again twists the arm of the English language painfully behind its back. And these “enhancements” have made pretty much nobody happy, except perhaps sweaty Blizzard accountants who are hoping for a Q2 miracle.

Let’s take a step back and look at the overall picture from Blizzard’s perspective. The studio is still profitable, but it’s bleeding players in mind-boggling amounts and hasn’t been able to put out a new product in ages — nevermind the first major content patch for WoW’s most recent expansion. People aren’t being fed new stuff, and so they’re leaving, and that looks really bad.

So instead of Burning Crusade Classic being some nice side attraction in a busy year, it’s now being burdened with being the single big release for the studio until, presumably, Diablo Immortal comes out later this year. Blizzard needs those crowds of players to come back, and more importantly, a huge influx of money.

Hence why June 1st for the release date. This gives WoW Classic a full month of Burning Crusade to prop up those numbers and revenue for the Q2 earnings report. And if all of those people are coming back and can’t be charged for an expansion box price, then by gum, the studio’s going to figure out another way to fleece them.

I do think it’s really important to pause and recognize that you can ignore all of these “enhancements” and get Burning Crusade Classic for free as part of your WoW subscription package. You don’t need any of this other stuff. I’m not going to buy any of this other stuff. It doesn’t get Blizz off the hook for this conversation, but in the interest of fairness, it needed to be said.

But yeah, these prices are bad. I guess the least objectionable price point is the $40 character boost, although that simply existing is a sore spot with many players. The $35 cloning option, however, is vastly overpriced for such a service, however. One of the things that I used to love about RIFT back in the day is how it’d just let you zip between servers with nary an additional cost. It was a nice service that Trion saw as a benefit that players should have for free. Blizzard? Blizzard can’t see any beneficial service without putting some sort of premium price tag on it, and this is Exhibit A.

Financially, the goal for a subscription-based MMO is to keep players engaged with your produce over the long haul so that you keep raking in that sub. It’s a no-brainer to facilitate players in creating character copies across your two Classic versions so that they have even more of a reason to keep playing. I’d propose allowing people to do it for free, but even $10 would’ve been acceptable. $35? Thirty-five dollars is squeezing players for a one-time fee in exchange for making them very grumpy or (more likely) not electing to do it at all. And now you’ve lessened avenues for future engagement.

I almost don’t even want to talk about the Deluxe Edition, because it’s just kind of a joke. It’s a bundle of microtransactions and services that could be sold separately, but nah, let’s lump everything together and make a collector’s edition of a product everyone gets anyway. It’s way too expensive, what it contains isn’t a must-have, and this edition’s sole existence is due to getting a one-time influx of cash to boost the quarter.

It’s so regrettable that this is souring the mood of the Classic community on the cusp of a lot of summer fun ahead. Blizzard’s greedy, the sun comes up in the morning, and the ocean is wet. It’s the same-old. But it didn’t have to be. This studio needs to take a hard look at its falling userbase and start to consider what it might do to put its players rather than its profits first.

It might actually benefit the company’s bottom line and overall morale better. That’s my take, at least.

Stepping back into the MMO time machine of WoW Classic, Justin Olivetti offers up observations and ground-level analysis as a Gnome with a view. Casually Classic is a more laid-back look at this legacy ruleset for those of us who’ve never stepped into a raid or seen more than 200 gold to our names.
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Jiminy Smegit

If you think this is bad, just wait for Classic WOTLK.

Scared of not being able to face the lich king with your friends? Well, now our leveling service is more flexible than ever. $2 per level, payable at any time, buy 10 levels, get one free!

Worried that you are behind on your professions? No problems, we have a range of new lootboxes for every profession that offers a selection of common materials, with a super low chance of rare materials or even an ultra rare mount!

Exaggerated yes but it will be even worse for sure. Classic may have been a love letter from Blizzard to the fans but old Blizz has been hitting the meth since and TBC so far comes across more as a 3.00am text from an ex for money.

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velimirius

Bobby gets what Bobby wants, and thats fat hard amount of cash.

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Bereman99

The cloning service…oh the cloning service.

It isn’t even paying to have the character cloned. Oh no. It’s already cloned – both one for TBC servers and one for classic servers will be created. You get to choose which one to play with, and which one will be deactivated.

From their website (boxed up for readability):

Spoiler

What is a Character Clone
A clone is a snapshot copy of your WoW Classic character taken right before the Burning Crusade Classic pre-patch.

WoW Classic characters that existed before the Burning Crusade Classic pre-patch will each be automatically cloned onto their respective Classic Era realm. You don’t have to do anything.

The Character Clone service gives you a choice: you can —for free— activate your Progression realm clone and play the Burning Crusade Classic expansion, or you can —for free— activate your Classic Era clone and continue playing WoW Classic. You can pay a fee to activate both.

How to Activate a Clone
After pre-patch, the Battle.net App will give you the option to launch the Burning Crusade Classic game client or the WoW Classic game client.

The first time you log in with your character in either client, you will be asked if you want to activate your Burning Crusade Classic Progression clone or your Classic Era clone. This choice is free, and you will have to make it for each of the characters you had before pre-patch.

If you activate your Burning Crusade Classic Progression clone, the Classic Era clone will be deactivated and become unplayable
If you activate your Classic Era clone, the Burning Crusade Classic Progression clone will be deactivated and become unplayable
Want to make both clones available for play? After your initial free choice, you can purchase the paid Character Clone service to activate your deactivated clone.

Blizzard Customer Support cannot assist with mistakes activating the wrong clone.

Which means the “Cloning service” isn’t actually cloning anything, it’s a goddamn activation fee.

Per character.

That’s just…yikes.

Oh, and if you goof, and activate the wrong one? You can fix it…with the $35 activation fee.

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Ashfyn Ninegold

My expectation is that Blizzard is going to aggressively monetize all its IPs in order to keep pace with Call of Duty, which is presently Activision’s earnings darling.

Important to remember that nothing lasts forever, particularly market dominance. Ask Xerox, IBM, Sears and JC Penney’s.

WoW is in a precarious state. Shadowlands is in a squeaker with BfA for most annoying, overly complex game systems, which no one expects them to fix. After Bellular’s widely seen declaration that Shadowlands was nothing more than a paid beta, drinking Pepsi max while trashing Blizzard has become a meme.

Blizzard can sink lower, of course, but at this point it will surprise no one when they do.

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Bruno Brito

Blizzard has become a meme.

You mean, even more of a meme.

Also

“It’s just everything else that is a busted piece of shit” is my spirit animal.

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Dean Greenhoe

Considering the impeding big jump in inflation these prices look fine to me. Actually, I’m surprised it isn’t even higher.

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styopa

You think that when the (agree that it’s inevitable) inflation hits, Blizzard will say “nah, not us, we just raised prices recently”?

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Arktouros

Honestly this whole conversation seems really 2010 to me. The entire game industry has shifted over towards a premium/luxury style market over a decade ago. Cosmetics in shops are usually higher quality than those earned in game. Quality of Life features are sold to address unpleasant game design. Convenience is outright sold at a premium.

This is how games are and the conversation about that was drowned out by the billions in profit game companies have raked in as a result despite all the arm-chair MBAs claiming it’s all gonna be short term gain profits for the last 10 years.

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Bruno Brito

This is how games are and the conversation about that was drowned out by the billions in profit game companies have raked in as a result despite all the arm-chair MBAs claiming it’s all gonna be short term gain profits for the last 10 years.

This is also why you got a new Assassin’s Creed every two years that tried to reinvent itself while also completely diluting it’s legacy. Just because this is how gaming is, doesn’t mean it’s how it should be, nor does it mean it’s any good.

Sure, the recipes that these companies developed have stayed, but the games THEMSELVES have short shelf-lifes. As for companies that have long-stay games, they keep trying to re-design the games for new trends and the result is a unmitigated mess.

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Arktouros

Yes but I don’t care if they want to re-release a new Assassin’s Creed year over year anymore than I care that they release a new FIFA or Madden or any other franchise year over year. Obviously there are people who do enjoy those things as they rake in millions of dollars and it’s pretty weird for you to say that those people’s enjoyment of those series isn’t a good thing.

At some point you’re going to have to come to the realization that just because the games business isn’t working for you doesn’t mean it’s not working good. It’s okay there are things you don’t like but are still popular with other people.

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Bruno Brito

At some point you’re going to have to come to the realization that just because the games business isn’t working for you doesn’t mean it’s not working good. It’s okay there are things you don’t like but are still popular with other people.

At some point, you’ll come to the realization that a 29% drop in playerbase because of bad decisionmaking is not “working good”.

Sooner rather than later, please.

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Utakata

Hey, they got to make up for Bobby’s bonuses somehow… o.O

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Jacquotte Fox Kline

“Blizzard can’t see any beneficial service without putting some sort of premium price tag on it” – this is so true, and it was so disgusting in Hearthstone. Making a game better, or great, so people stay and play, is not a thing. It’s like they are unwilling to invest or plan past the most credit card payments ASAP. Maybe that’s why they have lost so many players.

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Virtuality

Yeap, there is a lot of people making memes on Classic subreddit about this and announcing their sub cancellations, hopefully Blizz will make price adjustment after seeing the increase of sub cancellations.

jimthomasUS
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jimthomasUS

I suppose I was lucky to play BC at launch when Kara attunement blew up my guild.

The vanilla BC dungeons remain for me the best I’ve played. Shadow Labs. Christ.

It’s a museum tour now. $200 to go back and relive your youth with WoW and Mass Effect. I pause hard before giving money to the big publishers (especially for retreads) when there is great creative work being done by houses that really benefit from my support. I’m having fun with Iron Harvest. I’m discovering I can get lost in a world without it being a mmorpg.

I still hope for better.