Epic failure

Blizzard, why do you torment me so?

I have been playing this game for years always following the rules. I have never botted, I have never bought gold, I have never exploited anything within the game. I actually read the EULA when I signed up. The gist of what could be considered “cheating” was amongst other things purchasing anything outside the game that gave an in game advantage.

They always start you off easy, the first time…

First it was trading cards with their exclusive tabards, nifty gizmo’s, and pretty trinkets. You were buying things outside the game that could effect you inside. Vanity items only, but a slippery slope.

Where does vanity end and unfair advantage begin?

It began the day that the new “recruit a friend” system went into place. Here are some highlights from the blue post. A good transcript of which can be found HERE at MMO-Champion.

Here I am just going to hit the high points I want to bring up.

What in-game benefits do we get while the accounts we play are linked?
1. Characters on both accounts can summon each other once per hour.
2. While adventuring with your linked friend/family member, you will each gain triple experience.
3. For every two levels the new player earns, the new player can grant one free level-up to a lower-level character played by the veteran player.

 

 

I am all for people playing Warcraft and I am all for helping people level up to endgame faster if they would like. No matter how I tilt my head I do not see this in a positive way. Like a pile of lima beans I am not interested in eating, no matter how many times I poke at this with a spoon it always leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

There are other advantages as well, the most visible being access to an exclusive epic riding mount. I won’t go into how Blizzard is “selling” these for real money, even though they are, because I can purchase something “in game” that performs the same function. It might not be as pretty *cough, elephant mount, cough* but I can still get one. What I have a problem with is giving unfair advantage to those who pay for it while denying it to those who do not.

Is there an in game quest that will allow me to summon one of my friends once an hour?  Say a level one starting zone quest that would last for 90 days or until I reach level 60? A purchasable trinket or do-dad?

I did not think so.

Is there a way to allow one of my alts (or two if both accounts are mine) to gain triple experience? Triple experience from both quests and kills, without consuming rested status. Why yes there is, but I have to pay real money to Blizzard for it. Now powerleveling is legal, but only they can sell you the service. Is there a way to gain this advantage in the game without paying extra for it?

No.

As much as selling the other advantages irks me the last one bothers me the most. Now you can simply level up an alt without even playing it. I am actually at a loss for words on this one. It baffles me so much it’s unreal. Is there any other way within the game to level a character without even playing it?

Absolutely not, last I heard leveling without actually playing would cost you your account.

Take this hypothetical scenario, I send myself an invite and start an account. I have to pay for the retail version and buy 2 months of service, for that I also get one month of service and a Zhevra mount on my main account.

I create two level one alts, one on each account.

I log in and party them together. Either on the same computer running windowed or separate machines multi-boxing.

I level them both together at triple speed.

At level 60 I use the 30 levels worth of “level a toon without playing it” on my level 29 alt.

Transfer the new accounts level 60 over to the main account and repeat until the 90 day limit is reached, then cancel the second account.

Even assuming I only did this once  I end up with a level 29 that I leveled “the old way” now sitting at 59 and ready for outlands. I have two more lave 60 alts also ready for outlands, all in less time than it should have taken me to level one. Assuming I was able to do this in less that 90 days I can keep repeating as often as I have character slots for. If that is not selling an in game advantage I have no idea what would be.

 

 

I wonder whats next? How about gold? I wonder when Blizzard start selling that as well?

How about just “buying” levels? Hell they are basically selling level 60 characters now, why not just sell them direct?

Whats coming next down the pipe I wonder, Badges of Justice for $2 apiece?

Invite a friend and they get free S-1 gear when they hit 70? (so they can be caught up faster, same reasoning they are already using)

No matter where the go with this from here they are accelerating down a very slippery slope, like a snowball rolling downhill. It will just keep getting bigger and bigger and harder to stop. Where will it stop? I wish I knew. What I do know is that like a kid finding out about the tooth fairy I lost a little of my faith in the game I love today.

Epic fail Blizzard, truly epic fail.

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20 Responses

  1. Is that actually for real?? Damn that sucks!! :(

  2. Totaly real unfortunately. The more I think about it the worse it sounds.

    It is not me whining about someone else leveling faster than me that I tried to portray though. Like a lot of things that sound good on paper I simply think hman nature will take over and find ways to exploit the hell out of this one.

    Hopefully I am wrong and it all comes out great, However I see this as a form of discrimination to new players as well. Think about it, how would you feel if you went to the store and bought Wow today. Say you were wanting to play when Wrath comes out and now you finaly have the ability to do so. should the new player that does not have a friend already playing get shafted and forced to take 3 times longer leveling because he doesn’t “have a friend in the right place”

    I don’t just look at this from a high levels standpoint either. Will we see someone named UUheeksx standing in the starting zone spamming “I’ll level with you to 60 if you take the trial offer, completely legal 100% satisfaction, reach your endgame goals fast!” Will it turn into goldspam only worse?

    Ok, I’ll shut up now. Apparently I am both angry and lacking in faith peoples overall honesty.

  3. Ugh. Signed. It’s always pissed me off that there are some things that are only/easier/etcetc if you pay. I don’t mind vanity pets, but I don’t collect them. But seriously, Blizz. Wtf?

  4. “Hopefully I am wrong and it all comes out great, However I see this as a form of discrimination to new players as well… should the new player that does not have a friend already playing get shafted and forced to take 3 times longer leveling because he doesn’t “have a friend in the right place””

    That is exactly why I don’t like this system. Yes, it’s nice to level with a friend but someone on their own having a harder time seems unfair… Especially when someone with a highlevel friend on a server is already at an advantage (given that said friend is willing to help them, ofc).

    Ftl, Blizz.

    /hug
    /vanish

  5. [...] BeNameless rants on his eponymous2 blog about Blizzard’s latest "recruit a friend" campaign. He argues (convincingly, in my opinion) that by giving those who subscribe under the incentive plan have an unfair advantage over "the rest of us" and that Blizzard is doing it by selling leveling services (not to mention other perks not otherwise available in game). [...]

  6. Dechion–

    This is a very good post. Well written, and you make a strong argument.

    However, I disagree with your conclusion. Why?

    Because I had to quit thinking about how “other people do things” a long time ago in order to be happy in this game. I used to envy/hate the guy who just started the game six months ago and is already better geared than I am. I used to frown upon the multiboxer as a cheat, whether it was “allowed” or not.

    Yes, there are lots and lots of people who will undoubtedly take advantage of this program to powerlevel a few characters. IMO, though, those are the same people who would have powerleveled characters in the first place, much faster than I could. They just have a more efficient way to do it.

    Don’t get me wrong, now, I do wish that something similar was available without necessitating the outlay of buying another copy of the game and 2 months of game time, but there isn’t. Are you also irritated that DKs will start at 55? I am, at least a little, only because if you can make a DK at 55, why not another character?

    (Of course I posted about this myself.)

    http://parttimedruid.com/2008/08/05/why-cant-i-drive-55/

    Again, well written, and a good post. I think the problem you are having is the typical problem of an honest man. You couldn’t personally “work” this system because you have too much personal integrity. Don’t worry about those who will, though, if it wasn’t this there would be another way they’d be trying to cheat the game.

  7. While there ARE those that would do just as you said, let them…it’s their extra money to blow more power to them. I’m using this to get a toon from hubby’s account personally, which we were planning to do even before. I can’t transfer it to mine because the names are different, we’re BOTH out of room on our main accounts, so we’re starting a 3rd, to move the warlock to, let the kids use, etc. And whatever little alts I decide I just must try in fits of boredom. That said, no I won’t be playing two accts at once, thats just too much work, so the only benefit I might get is a mount.

    For some, it’s an easy button, for others it’s a benefit to doing something they would have done anyhow.

  8. Great Post Dechion.

    Unfortunatly I am sitting on the other side. I just picked up my 4th account (Yep I 3-Box as well) as a good way to get a 6th character to 70. I really wanted two teams of 3 for when Wrath comes out so I can box them together. I just can’t stand the level grind.

    Is it fair? I don’t honestly know. I do agree that it is a little iffy that it is an advantage that is paid for, but it could be argued that you are not paying for the actual advantage, it is just a bonus of signing up with a new account.

    Razorbax

  9. I also disagree with this, any player can take advantage of this by rolling 2+ accounts, the main benefit is that you can level up characters, and the bonuses make sense for that. At the moment I am interested in levelling on the horde side, however my time and motivation to do so are limited as I am raiding a lot on the Alliance side. As such this is a god-send, it allows me to actually level at a reasonable rate, and indeed lets me get characters to the level where I actually start to enjoy playing them, I am not a leveller but an end-game player, as such there is that huge 70 level grind ahead of me before I get to the bit I enjoy (or at least 60, outland levelling was rather fun).

    Yes its perhaps penalising to someone who doesn’t have a friend or is unwilling to multi-box, however at this stage in the game being able to get a friend to 70 fast is good, it really helps with levelling and it opens up the game to more subscribers, you are a lot more likely to stay around if you have invested time in level 70 characters, indeed its a lot more likely to let you really play with your friend on limited time, than having to level the old fashioned way.

    I am for this idea, for those of us existing players it lets us create a 2nd account and level, for new players with friends it lets them get to the end game, for those without friends there isn’t a lot can be done, there is no easy way to jump start them other than offering skipping levels, which is likely a bad idea. What I would rather see is the ability in WoTLK to create any character at level 55 with a set of Blue gear (same as DK)(or even naked actually), if you have a level 70 character on the same server / side. So its a little more restrictive, but it makes it easier for those of us who only want to really see the end game.

  10. Very nicely written, but like some people have said, I am going to have to disagree.

    I look at this as a way to be able to try out classes that I have always wanted to play, but do not feel like going through the old world. I have played through there so much that I do not feel like doing that anymore. I get the urge to play a new class because I hear about something cool, but then sigh when I have to think about going though a month of leveling on top of trying to keep up with my two mains.

    On top of that, it is to 60. You still have to level to 70 (and eventually 80) normally. You will still have to learn how to play your class and during those levels is when playing any class is actually fun since you have a lot of abilites to use. The only disadvantage you will have when you are 60 is gear and if you want to take up any professions.

    I can understand why people are angry about it because of how easy it is and it is using real money. That is fine. But I dont mind playing the extra money for the next 90 days to do this.

    First time visiting this site though, nice blog Benameless!

  11. Oddly enough it’s not so much the probram I hava a problem with it is the way it was implemented. There has to be a better way, or at least an alternate way to go about this.

    What I would like to see is A questline at the level cap to have the ability to give either yourself or someone you have referred a bind on pickup token in the game. This token would have the ability to summon you to the token giver (if online) or the token giver to you once per hour. It would also allow your rested xp bonus to apply to quests as well as kills. It would also prevent you from using up your “rested” status while the token was in your possetion. All bonuses to stop after 90 days or hitting level 60.

    each level capped character could only complete the quest once every 90 days.

    Something like this would give people who want to earn thier in game rewards in the game the ability to have a similar (although not quite as powerful) method for leveling alts and helping friends.

    My main objection to the program as it is now is that there is no comparable “in game” alternative way to get similar benefits.

    Be that as it may, my daughter has been out of the game for quite some time. Long enough in fact that she has turned 18 and can no longer play under my account (per EULA). She is interested in coming back to the game for Wrath, so I will likely have a Zhevera myself shortly.

    I just wish there was an in game method for the folks who simply don’t have the rescorces to pay extra for a second account.

  12. But what use is it to someone in game?

    The programme is designed to link a new player with an existing player (who has a level capped / high level character), its not designed to help existing players level, nor is it designed to help you level alts. What the programme does is links the two accounts to make this possible.

    What could be done is to link accounts on the fly using a token given to each new account created:

    “If levelling with a character +- 3 levels of you, or levelling with a character 20+ levels higher than you you gain xyz”

    However the effect is similar, its not an effect designed to be used on existing accounts, which is what your in game solutions do, they essentially level alts of existing accounts rather than push a new account to have at least 1 level 60 (ie: to hit outlands), and to give the master account either a level 59ish character (level 30 alt lying around) to party with them, or level a new character at the same time so you spend time together.

    Any solution in game is likely to be used more as an Alt levelling device rather than a new player levelling device, and if you make it open its more fair, but requires a lot more work on their end to make sure its all right, and that you are “linked” and not just playing with random people (people with a friend are more likely to stay).

  13. Believe me, I understand what it is trying to accomplish.

    I think that overall finding a way to assist someone in leveling a new character is by far a better use of this than as an alt leveling tool. I am just pointing out the way I think some people will use it, not the way I plan to use it.

    I merely try to make the case that anything availible for real money that effects the in game abilities of the character should have an equivelent availible to them in game. I am not talking about vanity pets or pirate hats or special mounts (like the blizzcon one I was not able to get tickets for) I refer to things that give an in game advantage. You mention that someone with a friend is more likely to stay and I agree, I also think someone who just went to the store and picked up the game should not be treated differently than someone who got a referral. I know if I had just bought the game and found out I would have to buy it again in order to catch up to everyone faster I likely would quit.

    The solution is not mine to come up with, and what I say matters to Blizz like telling my dog to do the dishes works. I believe there should be a way to link accounts for this benefit without the referral. how to do it? I don’t know.

    one thing I do believe is that this points to a relese date for wrath somewhere at 90 days +/- about 10 days from the time this was implemented. As a marketing tool you would not want a promotion like this to “expire” for too many people before the expansion hit to help retain them. I do believe it could have been implemented better however.

  14. The thing that turns my screws is that I have a couple friends that started play just a couple weeks ago.

    This option is not available to them.

  15. There’s a certain limitation at using the free level giving scroll iirc.
    It doesn’t quite allow you to give 45 free levels in a row i fear.

  16. @Bbr I just did a bit of research into the free leveling aspect.

    What I have been able to find through Bilzzard’s FAQ on the program is as follows.
    For every two levels earned by the player on the new account they are able to grant one free level to one character on the veteran players account. The new player can only grant levels to a character that is lower level the the character earning the free level.

    What it does not say is weather the level has to be awarded within a certain ammount of time or weather you can save them up and use then all at once. If you had to use them as you got them then the most you could do (without playing the alt) would be to level it to 30.

    If you could save them up and bestow them all at once you could take a level 30 character and grant it 30 additional levels, since the character earning them would by that time be level 60.

    The other option would be to manualy level every other level on the alt thereby keeping it always one level below the main pair of characters. Obviously the time invested in going from level 1 to 2 is much less than going from 59 to 60. If I were to do this (and I don’t plan to) I would prefer to spend my “free” levels on the higher end if possible.

    That being said the only restriction I could find were the parts about it stopping at level 60 and that the veterans alt being leveled had to be of a lower level then the new player at the time the level was granted to the alt. If anyone knows weather you can bank the levels or must use them right away please let me know.

  17. Ok,5 boxes, 5 accounts, 5 BEs.

    Spent the weekend levelling (well spent about 4hrs realising I made a stupid decision adding righ-alt + a into my name since it wipes the chat box, so macros are hard to type), and in truth had a lot of fun. Spend parts of it with 2-3 other people helping me but its really good fun. As someone who typically can’t / doesn’t level well since I get bored or grind, I really like this. I am actually getting characters up to a useable level really quickly (level 26 in < 14hrs, 4 of which messing around, another 1 or two just running around).

    So far at least, for a veteran account its a great system and really beneficial.

  18. Glad to hear it’s going well.

    My daughter actually bought a computer this weekend and plans to play. I sent out an invite (might as well get the free mounth and free mount if nothing else)I will post more on it later when I see how it goes for me.

    I am still torn about leveling with her though. Wow is her first mmo. She played a warlock horde side pure solo questing and goofin around up to about 35 or 40 a while back, but has never played Alliance side. She is not really interested in getting to endgame fast since the whole leveling process is where she likes to be. Still not sure weather to give her the “fast forward” or not.

  19. [...] And every single day I still try, but my [Lucky Fishing Hat] doesn’t give me any of its power so far… And there are more people not so happy with Blizzard. [...]

  20. The fast forward is nice, played a few more hours slacking around and running a lot (Silvermoon -> Undercity -> Ogrimmar -> Thousand Needles… :(), dinged 25/26 – 30. Its a lot more fun doing it this way in my mind, but I enjoy the end game rather than levelling, its possibly a little fast to be honest in some ways, but its really worth it from the perspective of actually levelling since its potentially tedious.

    Using the accounts (and if you do it I advise you chain accounts Main -> A -> B -> C -> D rather than what I did with Main to all) we got a Paladin, 2 Priests and 2 Warlocks to 30, then a friend wanted to play with us so we used 2 of the character’s bonus levels to pop a character to 29 (Tauren Druid) so she could play, alas I had to transfer the character to one of the sub-accounts so pairing 2 sub-accounts to 1 master seems like the best way if you want to use the free levels to boost characters up once you hit 60 (2×30 free levels).

    Overall its a nice experience, not sure it would be so nice if I hadn’t transferred across gold from my main, stuff costs a lot, and 5 mounts is expensive, but it seems nice so far so not going to complain. Multi-boxing is hard, takes some effort to get and use abilities correctly and you really and distracted, while the increased firepower is ace, it makes your play style quite restricted at first until you can learn to operate 1 character as the tank, 1 healer and 3 dps. Thankfully I have a friend or two helping me level so its less of an issue for me because they can take the role of Healer if needed (tank I can do :P).

    I think at least from a Veteran’s perspective (or rather a Veteran willing to blow cash and multi-box for the laughs) its a good thing so far, had a lot of fun just talking with people on vent while we level, and controlling 5 characters between us is really fun.

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