A sickly green mars the formerly star-crossed skies of Draenor. A planet that once housed an indescribable primordial beauty now finds itself besieged to an extent never before witnessed. Savage, free beasts that used to roam this alien planet’s expansive lands find themselves twisted into malformed shadows of their former visage. Indigenous trees that could previously sweep you up in their widespread presence now burn as fuel for the Fel. On top of all this, the throne of command and power formerly possessed by Draenor’s original usurpers, the Iron Horde, has become uprooted, deformed, and guided by new management.
This mental image of oncoming destruction is something we hopefully have to look forward to sooner rather than later. Welcome to 6.2, the upcoming content patch for World of Warcraft and an update that holds more weight than just being another patch to tally up with all the rest. Gul’dan has wrought control of the once mighty Iron Horde, morphing them into the Fel monstrosities he had always envisioned as their fate. In seizing control of Draenor’s formerly largest threat, Gul’dan has ushered onto the would-be Outlands, a fate far worse than anything the Iron Horde could’ve ever accomplished. By Gul’dan’s hand, the Burning Legion in full force has finally arrived on Draenor. Their way of entry and base of operations lays across the former seat of power for the Iron Horde: Tanaan Jungle. With 6.2, the end may be nigh for Draenor not just in a story sense, but a content perspective as well.
Yep, I just went outright and said it.
Since Blizzard announced its intentions to allow players to purchase game-time with in-game money, there’s been a plethora of discussion revolving around one thought: how will this new WoW Token affect World of Warcraft?
The initial reaction has been rather for the change, albeit with some resistance from other commentators. Most opposing commentators have been stating that Blizzard selling gold can only end in a “Pay-to-Win” scenario. A “Pay-to-Win” scenario is exactly how it sounds: you pay with real money to succeed in the game. This practice has been adopted by quite a few online games, including Rift, Diablo 3 (specifically and only when the Real Money Auction House existed), and H1Z1. These games have (or in Diablo 3’s case, had) given players the means of progressing without doing any actual work. When the player reaches the maximum level or endgame content, they could simply go to any of these shops and purchase the best gear and items for their character.
It’s a frightening thought, and it’s a fear that seems to permeate World of Warcraft’s outlook by some presently.
Well, I say you’re all wrong.
First off, can someone explain to me how this is “Pay-to Win” in the slightest? I see no gear being sold. I see no items that offer an advantage over other players being sold.
With WoW’s in-game currency revolving almost entirely around Gold, a vast amount of players save gold, upon gold, upon more gold. In my time playing, I still know a guy who has collected close to 9 million across all of his characters and no matter how he approaches the game, he can’t spend it all.
To have such a surplus, wouldn’t it make sense to have some sort of system to alleviate this and positively change their approach to the game? All that effort after all those years, all that gold compiled.. and it doesn’t pay off at all really.
Sure, you can buy the best cosmetics and mounts in game, but what else is plausible? You can buy pieces of gear that will simply become replaced when you raid, and that’s about it. This surplus situation boils down to having nothing to spend it on, all while still having to pay a monthly subscription fee.
Basically, you’re rich in the game, but you’re not rich in real life. And while real life continues to happen and you pay monthly fee after monthly fee, the totals add up and you’re sitting there with millions of gold and nothing to spend it on.
Let’s look at this change from another perspective: meet Joe, the Average WoW player.
Joe’s loved WoW since he was 12. He’s adored every moment in the game, meeting each with laughs, or screams, or even rage. All of this though, for all the good and bad, it combines into his own wonderful experience with the game.
Despite all this, Joe’s facing problems. No, I don’t mean a boss not dropping the specific piece of loot you want, or some in-game guild drama; I mean real life problems.
This average WoW player loves the game. Sure, he’s not the best at it; he’s mediocre in every sense of the word. But, truly, he loves WoW. Meanwhile and outside of Azeroth’s virtual existence, Joe is having financial issues. He wants to keep playing the game he loves, the game that may have even inspired him to do wondrous things in the world, but he can’t continue as long as his financial means are poor.
Joe comes to one final conclusion: either give up WoW and don’t face financial collapse, or keep playing and cut back further on your financial standing (which, obviously, is the worse decision in my opinion).
“Why the WoW Token is the best thing to happen to WoW in years.”
That’s where the WoW Token alleviates this. The effort players pour into WoW every day, every other day, once a week… pays off in-game AND real life.
Everyone, and I mean everyone is in some ways Joe. You want to play the game, you want to enjoy yourself, you want to socialize with your friends and guild and conquer every challenge that entices you.. but you can’t, purely due to a tacked on fee.
I say this because the game acts as an outlet for more of its playerbase than I believe anyone will admit. When I personally used to seriously raid, the nights we’d progress and eventually down a boss were exhilarating. It made me feel like I accomplished something while everything else in life was moving rather slow. The game acted as a stress reliever and something that I, and many others I would bet, prided myself on.
The game itself is hard to put down, specifically when it’s used as an outlet for one’s frustrations. I know from first hand experience, and I’ve come to know others over my years who have felt the same.
Outside of this reasoning though, I am so for this change because of its moral implications. Blizzard has stated constantly over the years its disdain for Gold Farmers to the point they’ve even sued a Gold Farming company. Over the years we’ve also learnt more about the actual machinations within Gold Farming industries; their entire culture and workplace is toxic and horrible. Many of the Gold Farmers we know today are in fact prisoners to the game others, like myself, enjoy.
With Blizzard more-so overlooking the way Game Time and Gold itself is distributed, it helps to eliminate an entire industry based around borderline slavery and slimy practices. I fail to see how that’s bad. Furthermore, with Blizzard allowing the in-game economy to decide for the worth of a WoW Token, it allows a plethora of players who I personally know to play the game freely without questioning their choice to fund their World of Warcraft subscription over living essentials.
This is a change I welcome with open arms, and I hope those still carrying pitchforks will lower them a tad bit after gaining such perspective.
The game isn’t going Pay-to-Win; it’s adopting a practice that has been becoming much more common as the years have passed.
The game is still the same; it’s not suddenly forcing you to buy a Token. You can freely pay for your subscription month to month per usual.
If anything, the game just had some new life breathed into it. All the players who haven’t touched WoW in years due to its subscription fee will have means to access it without that pay wall we all experience month to month.
And because of this change, I already have a few long time friends who wouldn’t touch the game because they couldn’t pay for it coming back.
So, if you’re still sitting there trying to come up with every X, Y, and Z reason to counter the WoW Token’s existence, I sit here and ask you this:
Is the Token the real problem, or is it you?
The first thing you see upon Blizzard Entertainment’s mission statement webpage is this statement, standing firmly as the first of “eight core values” that serves as the code for game development within this massive company.
It’s no secret that Blizzard has always prioritized gameplay over other elements in their video games. This core value of “gameplay first” is what’s lead the studio to being seen as a titan within the video game industry. The immersive world and fluid combat of World of Warcraft; the gameplay improvements and tweaks brought upon Diablo 3 with Reaper of Souls; the near perfect RTS elements of Starcraft; all of these worlds that have been crafted by Blizzard offer fantastic experiences in gameplay as a whole.
Despite all these obvious positives in Blizzard’s video games, what elements have they overlooked? In this case, and for this piece, there’s one element that to the opinion of several fans have always been lacking severely: Storytelling.