Warning: This post is a little ornery and is more of a reaction to a reaction piece
Call me “old” (in wow terms i guess) and crusty but I really don’t get why there is so much vitriol and venom being spewed in response to Blizzards newest premium service idea. What are they offering you ask? Well, if you become a premium member you get the option to invite RealID friends of yours into a group in order to run 5 man dungeons.
There’s obviously some very nice perks here especially if 5 mans continue to offer some rather nice rewards like the Amani Battle Bear. Being able to tackle these challenges with friends from other realms is really cool if you ask me. You could also run lower level dungeons together with a friend even if s/he’s on another server in another guild.
What has people so up in arms is that this will be a premium service. Paying the additional $3 a month would grant you this benefit as well as the web auction house and guild chat features. People are claiming that this is a feature we should have had anyway and that WoW is turning into a model similar to the free to play microtransaction games. Um, no offense to some of these people but giving non-essential perks for a few dollars a month may appear roughly similar, the core game is certainly more robust than any of those other game models (LOTRO being one I can’t speak much about). WoW is not going to morph into a game where there are distinct benefits to purchasing the additional content. As long as it remains purely cosmetic or a matter of quality of life then it really is a perfectly reasonable course of action.
One of my real qualms with this is the statement “they can’t charge us for this because it is something we should be getting for free”. First off programming time is not free. Nor is anyone’s time doing computer maintenance or data management. Everything has a cost. The major content patches and class tweaks you clamor for costs money. Storing your character on the servers costs money. Lots of things cost money and that is baked into your subscription. Many $60 dollar games offer you only 15 to 20 hours of gameplay. I’m pretty sure many of us raid almost that much in a week (12) and pay effectively $3.50 to do so.
The second issue I have is that this is a perk. One that we don’t necessarily deserve for free. I know I’ve been playing WoW for a long time and I may be a bit jaded but once upon a time if you wanted to play with a friend at all you needed to start a character from scratch on their server/faction. There was no server transfer and there certainly wasn’t a faction transfer. There was no way to go say hello unless you put in a huge time sink all the while they were probably doing max level character things. With the invention of the transfers this becomes possible but it is still an investment. You pay for the data transfer and coding required to make the swap and viola you can now play with your friend but at the cost of leaving your old server/faction.
If being able to play with friends in 5 mans is something you feel that you will take full advantage of then I say go ahead and get the premium service when it becomes available. They’re putting in the hard work getting this feature up and running and if it works well then I think we will all benefit in the long run if it leads to the code for BoA cross realm items etc.