The Premium Push - Cross-Realm Money Grab

We take a look at the effect of the Cross-Realm Dungeon Feature becoming a premium service as players continue to fear the "nickel & dime" effect.

The premium debate continues to rage in World of Warcraft and players keep finding themselves with more avenues to spend their cash. Recently, the cross-realm grouping service went live and players can now group with their friends across multiple servers in order to run dungeons. However, it’s currently in testing and the price, availability, and premium aspect of it is all covered within a misty fog.

Players are, like usual, still raging at the fact that they’re getting accustomed to this amazing service but here shortly they’re going to have to fork up more money each month to be able to try it out. Much like many of Blizzard’s services, the first hit is always free.

Is it fair for Blizzard to charge what they want? Of course it is, it’s always fair for Blizzard to charge what they want as long as they don’t pull a Netflix and begin charging people double for a service that they’re currently using. Let’s look at the two aspects of this argument though, the slippery slope effect (again) and the long-term impact this will have.

Slippery Slope (Again)

Yes, we are sliding down the slippery slope faster than ever before. Players keep giving and giving without much in return. Starcraft 2 still doesn’t have features that made Starcraft amazing such as the ability to watch replays together and WoW is becoming more and more expensive by the month. The pet store is brimming with pets, the mobile app costs to adjust your auctions on the go, and now we’re looking to pay money to hang out with friends on different servers.

A big question if cross-realm grouping becomes pay to use is, are your friends worth the money?

When will it end? Honestly, I don’t see one. Not that it matters, since we’re still in the “optional services” part of the slope, so most of this doesn’t necessarily impact me (since I’m a grown up enough person to say yes or no to spending money for things that didn’t exist in the game beforehand). I’m sure we’ll continue to see more services and more things to buy in the shop.

You know what though? I’m okay with it. I may sound like someone who is going through the five stages of grieving and I’m finding acceptance, but really, honestly, I couldn’t care less if Blizzard started charging $20 for candy bars. As long as I can keep saying no, then the world is right by me.

So it should be for you, if you’re one of those offended by Blizzard’s constant money grabbing schemes. Think of it like this, grocery stores keep adding new products and even keep changing the prices on them, but do we complain? Usually not, and especially if it doesn’t affect us.

With the cross-realm grouping, we’re in a position to at least try it, see if it works, and see if we think it’ll be worth the cost whenever it goes live, assuming there will be a cost (remember, we know nothing now about the pricing). So I say enjoy it while it lasts and when the time comes to pay, decide if it’s worth the cost to you or not.

The Long-Term Impact

Of course, there are still some other lovely premium services Blizzard may have hidden with cross-realm grouping. Think on this one, last year Blizzard started talking about cross-realm raiding and mail during a twitter event. It’s possible this could be testing the water to see if players may be interested in paying a bit more to raid with friends on other servers and, I guarantee you, they would because you could app to a guild on another server and then not bother with server transferring to do a trial.

Then again, thinking about it, isn’t that a good thing to pay a small monthly fee when you need to in order to app to guilds. A lot better than forking out the full $25 in order to transfer and find yourself in a situation where you’re guildless because the guildmaster’s brother decided to take the spot that you were guaranteed.

Then there is the cross-realm heirloom mailing. I’m sure they’ll package that in with the premium package at some point. Why not, it’d be the perfect cherry on top to sell the package to everyone. I’m sure you’d like to make a new character on another server but the heirlooms just aren’t there. Bam, a credit card entry and a few clicks and you now are able to level at lightning fast speeds.

Well, that’s my thoughts on the subject. Why not share yours in our comments section below?

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About The Author

Get in the bush with David "Xerin" Piner as he leverages his spectacular insanity to ask the serious questions such as is Master Yi and Illidan the same person? What's for dinner? What are ways to elevate your gaming experience? David's column, Respawn, is updated near daily with some of the coolest things you'll read online, while David tackles ways to improve the game experience across the board with various hype guides to cool games.

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