Firstly I’m going to establish what we know about the cash shop:
- Blizzard is building the technology to allow a cash shop to exist in the game (as opposed to the current Blizzard store which sells in game items via the website).
- One item has been data-mined – an XP boost.
- Blizzard have confirmed they are looking at the XP boost and Lesser Charms for the Asian market, in the first instance, with other markets being a decision yet to be made.
- Blizzard are adding new items to the Blizzard store on the website: transmog helms, a see-saw and a hitching post. This is an experiment to see how it goes.
- Blizzard sent out a customer questionnaire a few weeks ago which had questions about payment models and micro-transactions in it.
- Vivendi are looking like they are going to pull a load of cash out of Activision Blizzard (may or may not be related).
I’m going to add another fact to this list:
- WoW is approaching its 10th birthday and in that time it has not raised the price of its subscription. This during a time when inflation has been relatively high.
Yes, Blizzard is looking to make more money from WoW. It has doubled the size of its development team and is pushing out content faster than ever. Its subscriber base has reduced. It is not charging more for its game now than it was years ago. If the price is to stay the same, other forms of income need to be explored. You don’t keep getting more for less. A static price is less each year. If you wonder why the services still cost and the pets and mounts are still appearing, this is why. If you wonder why a cash shop, this is why.
Not only am I likely to use the cash shop and its items, but I feel that I will be supporting the MMO I’ve been playing a long time by doing so. Its like monetization in F2P and B2P MMOs. Spending some cash allows the game to grow. If no one monetized, the game would die.
One idea that I would like to see Blizzard consider is a two tier sub model. If you pay more per month, you get all the cash shop stuff for free. I think this would be popular. Also, I would like to see the F2P element extended to the top of the battle chest, with the possibility of splashing cash to unlock some of the features above level 20. This would bring people into the game to try it – the current 90 level barrier to entry is quite high.
As for what I want from a cash shop – I would like to see items that we know we want from the game, but would cost the team more to implement than they are worth unless they are monetized.
- Transmog items;
- Character slots (may or may not be necessary after virtual realms);
- XP boosts;
- Honor boosts (Honor more than the other currencies);
- Boosts to the gearing process to get you into current content (i.e. Elder Charms now that we have Mogu Runes);
- New dances;
- Account wide bank space (especially for crafting materials in particular);
- Expandable void storage;
- Characters that start at the end of the battle chest (as long as you already have one at max level).
What would make me quit the game:
- Top end gear (I wouldn’t like entry level sets, but they wouldn’t make me quit on their own);
- Main content behind a pay wall (feel free to pay wall the dance studio);
- Max level characters as the first character.
What else would people like to see? What would you splash the cash on?