Saturday, November 21, 2009

Sort of, Kind of Playing

I reached level 77 a couple of weeks ago and promptly stopped playing again to pursue other online endeavors. My goal is to simply reach level 80 before Cataclysm drops. If I can do that then at least I'll be able to return to Azeroth and lounge around there. At this point, I am not getting what I am paying for. Being off the game for such long periods of time renders your subscription deal worthless. This month the only thing I will have accomplished is to receive the anniversary whelp (I log in every couple of days but log out after checking the mail box). Essentially, I am paying $15 dollars for an in-game pet since I am doing no actual progression through the content.

It could be argued that I've already paid for the content. If that's the case then I should be able to cancel my account and continue playing through what I've paid for, correct? Unfortunately, we all know that this is not true. So, I'm paying for a pet. Gevlon would call me a moron and he would be correct. I might as well buy the Pet Store pets as well, really, when you consider one pet for a $15 subscription payment versus two pets for $20, at this point the better deal for me (in a virtual context) is to buy the Pet Store pets then cancel my account. I'm not sure when my month ends, I might even be able to log in for the anniversary whelp...three pets for $20! Now maybe Gevlon might take back the moron remark and downgrade it to idiot instead.

Well, back to Farmville!

Running Some Numbers

Let's pretend that the Cataclysm expansion dropped today. Also, you monthly is due today. Oh, and you've decided to buy the pets from the Pet Store.

Expac...$40 (your mileage may very)

This month you've just spent $75 on World of Warcraft.

It's not really that bad of a deal though. Blizzard's WoW expansions are basically full games unto themselves so the expac essentially pays for itself upon purchase. Adding the sub and the Pet Store pets sort of gives you the impression that you've just bought a collector's edition. If you chose to get the Cataclysm collector's edition and also the Pet Store pets, then perhaps you've paid more than it's all worth, but given a few months of subs then it all sort of balances out. It's not a perfect balance, of course. Your sub doesn't pay for new content every single month, but it does pay for the HUGE content patches every 3-4 months.

So, to recap. $75-$100 for expac, one month sub, and two pets.

Now, let's look at the TCG loot.

There are two forms of TCG loot, codes from the physical cards purchased with cash and codes from the Upperdeck website paid with codes found in each card pack. Price per pack is no longer as straight forward as it used to be. The packs started out at about $5 a pop but now I'm seeing 3-packs for only $10. But let's pretend that the average person is still getting the singles at $5 each. The average loot collector (not necessarily an actual card gamer) is going to buy about $100 worth of packs before scoring even the most lowly of jackpots. Some can score on the first purchase while others will spend $1000 or more and get nothing.

This practice allows collectors to acquire a lot of website codes, worth 100 pts each. The average website reward costs 2000 pts (tabards). So, you pay $5 per 100 pts (one per pack) and multiply that by 20 (2000pts/100pts) and you've just paid $100 for your tabard. As with anything concerning economics, your mileage may very depending on where you buy the cards from. The website has game code items for up to 25,000 pts, you do the math.

Also, we should keep in mind that TCG loot goes up on Ebay and can sell for over $1000.

In a recent interview, Blizzard says they are considering adding an in-game item to a possible upcoming plushy toy. Be prepared to pay top dollar for that code (or toy with code) on ebay soon after it is released and sells out in record time.

Then, of course, there are the event (Blizzcon) in-game codes that are given out for $100+ tickets and are soon found on Ebay for over $1000. Or, as in this past summer, you could have ordered the Blizzcon event on a live stream for $40 and received the in-game pet.

Another recap.

Collector's edition expac (with exclusive pet)...$80 (or more)
Pet Store pet...$10
TCG card loot...$5-$1000 (be lucky or Ebay)
Event entrance tickets...$100+
Event stream...$40
Upperdeck codes...$100

With the Pet Store recently going live and even selling out of one of the pets once already and a possible plushy bundled with an in-game pet on the horizon, I would say there is a storm brewing. A storm of Blizzard in-game collectibles that will be found in a variety of formats and outlets and will bring in an astronomical profit.

If you thought getting the rare in-game whelps was tough, wait until you see yourself trying to keep track of all the outlets and actually purchasing them with your hard-earned money.

Have fun!