World of Warcraft recently eliminated popular game time purchasing options with no prior warning, and it’s a bad look for developer Blizzard.
Blizzard’s World of Warcraft is one of the most popular games in its genre and is played by millions of people around the world. Yet, WoW is also one of the few MMOs that still require players to purchase new expansions on top of paying a monthly fee for game access. A recent change to World of Warcraft‘s game time payment options is causing controversy, and for good reason, as it’s making this dated payment system even more restrictive.
Traditionally, paying to play WoW could be done in a few different ways. Players could put in their credit card info to buy a recurring subscription for varying amounts of time; they could use in-game gold to purchase a WoW Token, which is the equivalent of 30 days of game time; or they could buy various amounts of game time (30, 60, 90, or 180 days) without a credit card by purchasing Battle.net gift cards and adding the funds to their account. Many World of Warcraft players counted on the latter option, buying set amounts of game time depending on when a new update or expansion was releasing (such as the Shadowlands expansion’s recent Chains of Domination update).
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After a recent WoW game time purchasing system change, the majority of those options are no longer available. Blizzard now only allows players to purchase two months of game time without a credit card-based subscription. There are many players who don’t want to use a credit card or can only afford to play a few months out of the year. Being able to buy one month of game time without signing up for a subscription was a great option for those players. With payment options suddenly restricted, it simply looks as if Blizzard is trying to squeeze more money out of these types of players, forcing them to either pay for two months at a time or hoping they forget to cancel their subscriptions.
Why Blizzard’s WoW Game Time Purchase Changes Are A Mistake
It’s a bad look for Blizzard, and the fact that these changes came just as the WoW: Burning Crusade Classic beta – which requires an active subscription – launched (with the full-version of the classic expansion likely coming in the next few months) feels even more egregious. Part of the issue also comes down to the messaging – or, in this case, the complete lack thereof. There was no prior warning regarding the elimination of these payment options. Blizzard simply announced the changes on the game’s forums and offered no explanation or reasoning. It’s a great example of how to not communicate with fans, especially when many players likely already made plans based around the availability of the now-eliminated options.
Fan backlash against these changes has been swift, but Blizzard has yet to clarify its reasoning or offer any kind of response to the controversy. At the end of the day, Blizzard is a business, and World of Warcraft exists to make money. That being said, if the game’s players feel they are being extracted of their hard-earned money unfairly, it’s only going to hurt World of Warcraft and the game’s community in the long run.
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