This post is in response to this week’s Shared Topic over at Blog Azeroth. It was originally suggested by Wrathbringer from Metal up Your WoW. For additional takes on this topic, I invite you to read Runycat’s Recruit a Friend (or Yourself) and Megan’s New Rules, Part I.
You may remember a while back how excited I was when MMO Champion discovered the presence of unicorn-esque Zhevra mounts in the game files. I previously had reason to believe that these mounts would be acquirable through quests from the Hemet Nesingwary expedition in Northrend. It turns out, however, that these amazing ground mounts are only available to those who can convince a friend who is not already playing to play the game for two months or more. I find this incredibly, ridiculously frustrating for a number of reasons.
First of all, everyone that I know that would enjoy playing World of Warcraft already has an account, active or otherwise. This program should extend to encouraging canceled accounts to renew. Why should a friend who tried the game, became disenchanted with the leveling curve (or quests, or hair selection, or whatever), and canceled have to purchase an entirely new account? This new program should have been added onto the lackluster Scroll of Resurrection program already in place for renewals. A returning player should be viewed as at least as valuable as a new player.
I’ve been playing World of Warcraft since the first day of release. In City of Heroes/City of Villains, they issue Veteran Rewards at various playtime milestones, both to encourage and reward their long-term subscribers. While I thought that was really neat for CoX, I didn’t really expect for Blizzard to follow suit … until they implemented a new program that makes me think they value a potential new customer more than they value my years of past and future dedication. Every year that you play should afford a percentage-based experience bonus for alts that you create.
As you may know, I play with my husband. Shouldn’t we be able to "link accounts" to help us level new characters without having to buy a third account? This “linking” could be available to any two accounts from which character transfers would be allowed (same last name and/or billing information). To obtain the same benefits that a new player would, not only would we have to purchase a new account, but we’d later have to pay $25 to transfer the character onto one of our existing accounts or continue paying an additional monthly fee. I understand that Blizzard is in business to make money, but surely encouraging the creation and advancement of alts will make them money in the long term.
As it stands, Blizzard is essentially charging $X for 300% bonus experience, 30 free levels, and a special mount not available through any other means. In my mind, this puts them a step away from allowing players to purchase gear directly from them. All in all, it feels very much like receiving a fantastic pricing offer in the mail from my cable company/ISP but when calling in to switch to the new plan with all its bells and whistles, being informed that only new customers are eligible for the deal and that I shouldn’t have received the offer in the first place (true story).