That ripple effect that you felt has nothing to do with the announcement that anyone watching Blizzcon knew would be happening.
Blizzard announced in some blue notes that with Warlords of Draenor anyone purchasing the expansion would receive a free level 90 boost. Not that earth shattering since many players will be looking to boost alts or toons that they have played before.
But here is where things get a little bit more tricky. TPTB have also half way announced that you will be able to pay for the rights to boost other toons. So anyone that has the cash can boost any toon to level 90 and instantly get them into Warlords of Draenore content.
Boo, hiss, boo, lynch them right? But wait a second. Hear this out before you start to get a rope for these California boys. There are some pluses that go with getting more players into the game quickly.
- Faster Instance times
- Might help with the subscription loss from players
- Eliminates the sticker shock of having a new player level all the way to 100
- Allows players to test out new classes (maybe new tanks and healers?)
There is one big negative that is being brought up over the blogosphere. First a little history lesson. When the World of Warcraft MMO started you were able to purchase/sell items on auction sites such as ebay. There was a rash of gear and characters that were bought and sold digitally. Many of your old school players still refer to these as 'ebay toons' because they were able to instantly jump into high level raids and frankly they sucked. Having no time to spend leveling their skills and learning their abilities from 1-60, these players generally dragged down good players. 40 man raids were much more unforgiving at the time and if you ever ran old school Onyxia than 'more dots' was the battle cry for every lock.
But there is a large distinction between the game at that point and the game now. If you have leveled a toon up to 90 since around patch 5.2 you can see just how much 'learning' players get from leveling. Any instance, that someone says 'crowd control' is laughed at or with responses of 'what is that?' Most quests and instances up to around level 85 are tank you grab everything, healers keep the tank up, dps blow the snot out of them. At level 90 it takes 30 minutes of study and a little bit of work on target dummies to figure out what someone is going to do. Mostly a player's ability comes down to gear quality. It is highly possible that when you purchase your level 90 toon that you will be outfitted with basic green/blue gear so that you are not buck naked for the world to see.
The other argument that people have against buying the level 90 boosts is that it will bring about the effect of being able to buy your way into high level content. Run a couple of the Siege of Orgrimmar that someone says 'I have this buddy, I want to bring' and then tell me that people aren't already being carried in high level content. With the new LFR system in place and invite system, it will become much easier to be more choosy about who you bring to the party.
As far as making money goes. More toons always means the ability to have more professions available at your fingertips. A player who is just starting out with one or two toons can instantly have a third set of professions that they only need to level. Being able to instantly level to 90 might cut out the glut of low end materials that are prevalent in the Auction House. Very few players are going to take the time out to run in a low level area just to do some farming. This change could drive up the cost of materials. With this level 90 change don't be surprised if all of the professions receive major overhauls that allow players to level each profession quickly. You can already level Blacksmithing and Jewelcrafting very quickly. The idea is to get players quickly and painlessly into the new content.
Personally, I have no problem with the ability to purchase boosts for a fee. A lot of the feeling of dread that players have is coming from old school feelings of elitism. There is something to say about leveling 10 toons to level 90 and beyond. No one wants to think that their last 4-6 years of work can be bought for the low, low price of 25 bucks (or whatever they choose to mark the boost mechanic at). The best thing I can say to people who are already to chuck their warcraft careers is let the panic subside and see what the WOD brings. There will still be high level play in the game. High level gear and excitement raid boss smashing galore.
Good Luck and Good Profit Hunting
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