Monday, May 3, 2010

Three WoW Pets for $15

Right now, paying Blizzard $15 would allow me to increase my WoW minipet collection by 3. Well, technically only 2, but they claim that they're going to fix the bug with the third. How is this bargain - half the price of the $10 minipet store - possible?

It's Children's Week in Azeroth, which means that it's time to escort orphans around the world in exchange for minipets. There are three sightseeing tours currently, one for the old world, one for TBC, and one for Wrath. (The latter is bugged and has not reset since its introduction late last year - I wonder if there's something specific about world event quests that makes them so hard to code, because Blizzard repeats this particular mistake every single time new once per holiday content is added.) With a flying mount, the entire tour takes less than an hour.

The $15 in question is, of course, WoW's monthly fee, which I am not paying at the moment. Most players don't think of this as a microtransaction - the nigh trivial amount of time that it takes to obtain these items in-game is still somehow enough to say that these pets are earned through gameplay, rather than a reward for subscribing to the game on a specific week in May. Even so, it costs real money for subscriptions and expansion packs to obtain these pets, just as it costs real money to click the purchase button in the Blizzard store.

As the old quip goes, we have already established the nature of the transaction, now we're just arguing over price.

P.S. This is the type of scenario I was referring to when discussing the EQ2 $5/3 day pass - good deal for the player, but perhaps less good for the studio in question.


hound said...

Hmm...I may be missing your point, but I think you've missed something important here.

If I want those holiday pets, I only have to pay the monthly fee, which I am likely already paying just to play the game. How many people are seriously going to resubscribe just to get Children's Week pets?

On the other hand, if I've already paid my monthly fee, then decide I want three new and exotic pets, I have to pay the Blizzard Store prices also.

$15 for three pets and one month of play.

$45 for three pets and one month of play.

Of course, keeping to the holiday part...

$45 for six pets and one month of play.

I don't know. I guess I don't agree with my monthly fee being the "cost" of the holiday pets. The developers decided to give them to me for whatever reason: had the code sitting around on a scratched disk, as a thank-you for the monthly fee, to entice you to experience the quest lines...

Point is, we didn't ask them to give us the pets and they really didn't have to. It's just kind of a bonus for paying the monthly.

Green Armadillo said...

Actually, that was precisely my point - the "price" for the Children's Week pets happens to be something that the majority of players are willing to pay and don't even regard as a cost. Players are more willing to pay that cost in part because there are in-game holidays to shake things up every month or two. Blizzard is a business, and implements limited time holidays, rather than just adding more year-round content, because they believe that this makes business sense (i.e. results in more subscription dollars) in the long run.

hound said...

I guess I see it now.

You are pretending that someone is weighing in on two MMORPGs and the defining factor is the bang for the buck.

A game that costs the same and does not include free pets for a limited time throughout the year would be less likely to make the cut. Meanwhile, both games likely offer pets for sale outside the the monthly. But since that is an added cost, the winner is the game that offers the most "free" content.

I usually get what you are saying in your posts, but once in a while I have to think a little harder.