Posted Fri, Feb 10, 2012 by Saia
As World of Warcraft players, we’re very lucky because Blizzard is one of those companies who set the bar for what makes a Collector’s Edition. Yes, they’re expensive and exclusive but many of us buy them regularly. Today we’re going to look at what could and what should be in the Mists of Pandaria Collector’s Edition.
Blizzard’s Collector’s Editions are lavish and beautifully made but they’re also rather predictable in their content containing the game on DVD, a bonus disc containing documentaries and cinematics, the soundtrack, a mousemat, in-game bonuses for their three franchises, including pets and portraits, and a lavishly illustrated artbook. In an interesting change to the lineup, StarCraft II and Diablo III also included custom USB keys containing previous installments of the franchises along with keys, which would allow them to be redeemed on Battle.net.
Ever since WoW launched, the Collector’s Edition of all Blizzard’s titles have had a set format, a list of items, which we know they will contain. This level of expectancy means the edition are always insanely popular and produced in limited quantities with items which cannot be purchased elsewhere.
This means that seven years after its launch, the original Collector’s Edition of World of Warcraft, still costs a fortune on eBay. As of writing one listing is going for a whopping $2,149.99! This is a massive amount, especially when you consider the average retail price of WoW’s collector’s editions has been $79.99.
Mists of Pandaria is likely to contain all this. Perhaps we’ll get another Pandaren pet or a USB containing Warcraft III. As much as we love these editions, though, they’re some what predictable: an artbook here, digital pets there. Sometimes it would be nice to have something a little different but that’s for another editorial. The questions remain though, how long Blizzard can continue offering physical Collector’s Editions when the shift moves towards digital.
In the last year or so, there’s been a noticeable shift towards non-physical media. SW: TOR, for example, was released in four editions: a digital and physical edition, a digital collector’s edition and the physical collector’s edition. The digital collector’s edition was the half-way house offering the exclusive in-game items found in the physical edition but not the CD, artbook and statuette.
The Diablo III Collector’s Edition gives us some idea of what to see in Mists of Pandaria.
Lining up on launch night is a rite of passage for many a hard-core gamer, regardless of whether they’re there to pick up a normal edition or a special edition of their chosen game. The problem is, especially when games release in the depths of winter or for those who live in rural locations, it can be harder for a good proportion of people to get their hands on a copy. Sure, there are online merchants like Amazon, GAME and BestBuy who will deliver said game direct to your door but this seldom happens before the official launch.
This is where digital editions come in. They allow players to get the game and - often pre-download it - in time for the official launch. All you need is an internet connection and a credit card. In the case of digital collector’s editions, you can also get some of the bonuses, which might not be otherwise accessible. They are also firmly in the middle ground being slightly more expensive than the standard digital edition but a lot cheaper than the physical collector’s edition.
So what could Blizzard to with the Mists of Pandaria Collector’s Edition? Well for starters, they could offer a digital Collector’s Edition; most of the items we see can be made available online. The game key is redeemable online and the soundtracks are on iTunes, why not offer a list of coupon codes for purchasers, redeemable on Battle.net, iTunes and the Blizzard Store.
Even physical items like the artbook could be made available, either in digital format from iBooks for example or physical format via a code entered at the Blizzard Store or the appropriate e-book vendor. A week or so might pass and the book would arrive on your doorstep, along with any other items such as a USB drive or mousemat.
Yes, there’s something about packaging and the feel of a highly sought-after Collector’s Edition in your hands but how long before they become redundant? As we shift to the world of digital items, it’s hard not to wonder if Blizzard will be the last to hold out.
Do you have all the Collector’s Editions? Why do you buy them? Would you prefer to get them digitally? Let us know in the comments below.