To Discourage Their Purchase

Amidst all the flying talk, one of the minor details of 6.2 that you might have missed was that the Apexis Crystal gear was being changed from requiring, well, Apexis crystals to straight gold. The pricing information as it currently stands on the PTR seems… well, just look at it:

Hmm.

Hmm.

As a point of reference, the highest tier of Apexis gear is the same ilevel as what drops in the LFR version of the new 6.2 raid. As another point of reference, the average price of a WoW Token in the US is around ~22,000g. Hmm.

Some people are more than eager to connect the dots:

I don’t think you quite understand the concept of P2W. In 6.2 a player can get a high level armor set without fighting 1 mob, player, gathering node, pet battle, or entering 1 raid/dungeon. Buying gold from the Blizzard shop and then buying apexis armor with that gold is the definition of P2W.

Blizzard has never sold gear with such a high ilvl as they release “new” content, but 6.2 changes that. Also for years Blizzard fought gold sellars and buyers (limited bans were common), but they now sell gold themselves.

It’s a good talking point, aside from the fact that players will have to do something between level 90 and 100 before they can equip the gear. And, technically, this was possible the moment the WoW Token went live insofar as buying BoE items from the AH.

But then I read Blizzard’s response and all my sympathy simply evaporated:

Ah, yes. “To discourage their purchase.” So you introduced a new gold-for-gear system into WoW, which just so happens to be a few months after introducing purchasable gold… but don’t want people to use it. And you price it around the same rate as the WoW Token you sell for $20. HMM.

Hey, weren’t you guys pulling shit off the Black Market AH because you didn’t want to portray even the slightest hint that you were directly selling gear for cash? Whatever happened with that?

To be clear, this doesn’t upset me because I believe it to be actual P2W shenanigans. What exactly do you win after spending $120 and being on the same level as anyone in LFR? What upsets me is this slow-motion, amateur-hour PR disaster in the making.¹ That and the fact Blizzard has used the outrageous excuse of “to discourage their purchase” to justify $25 server transfers for years. Not because it’s a high-margin revenue stream with inelastic demand, heavens no! It’s for their customer’s own good. Blizzard is practically doing us a favor for charging so much!

For the longest time I have sought to moderate the absurd histrionics I’ve encountered regarding WoW. Things like the removal of atunements, introduction of LFD/LFR, hybrid taxes, Old Blizzard vs New Blizzard, and so on. Not to defend Blizzard for the sake of Blizzard, but to defend rational design decisions in their own contexts.

This shit, though? Holy Jesus. The individual components of the change are not necessarily bad on their own, but the roll-out and communication is absolutely tone-deaf and Blizzard deserves all the shit they (hopefully) get over it. “To discourage their purchase.” I just… I can’t even.

¹ I technically wrote this before the whole flying fiasco started to unravel.

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Posted on May 27, 2015, in WoW and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. So… flying will be back but cost in the region of multiple WoW tokens? To discourage it’s usage? Or, hey, maybe you need fuel to be able to fly…

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    • Don’t give them any ideas. I already know a few people that want to compromise on the flying front with energy meters and the like. It’s a short walk from meters to pay-to-refill meters, and getting shorter all the time.

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  2. Wait, so you can’t use apexis crystals anymore? What are they going to do with all of them?

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    • Apexis Crystals will actually still be used to buy the newer tiers of Apexis gear in Tanaan Jungle. I think it goes up to 695 ilevel. There are new dailies/quests in Tanaan that reward 2000 crystals apiece, I assume to incentivize questing over there.

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      • But then, you have to have the previous tiers to buy the newer tiers, so you have to drop 40k gold now to be able to use the crystals? That is truly a horrendous idea if true.

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      • No, it’s a separate, parallel tier. You can either straight-up buy the 675 for 20k gold, or you can spend Apexis Crystals on 650 items that can be upgraded (with a token that costs 20k crystals) to 695. It’s a system that’s goofy as hell, but the crystals themselves still retain some value.

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  3. It’s not the worst form of P2W, but it’s definitely a very clear step in P2W territory.
    The only “limiting factors” being that it’s LFR-level stuff and that WoW has periodic gear resets which take all this advantage away (contrary to real P2W games).

    At the same time, P2W works, so it’s no surprise that they decided to join the bandwagon…

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  4. dachengsgravatar

    World of Warcraft has been P2W for people whose game is pet-collecting, for many years, now. If you are a pet or mount collector and you want a full set, then you’ve had to buy pets or mounts from the shop with Earthly money.

    However the introduction of the WoW Token has meant that the raiding game is now officially P2W*. You can now buy BoE epics for dollars (you have to go through the money-laundering step of converting the dollars to tokens and the tokens to gold).

    *by which we all mean that you can pay Blizzard earthly money to gain a competitive in-game advantage – nobody means that a big I.W.I.N Button will appear on your screen.

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