Blizzard has sent out an interesting survey for their MMORPG World of Warcraft. The survey asks, among other things, whether players would be willing to spend money to get a level 90 character.
World of Warcraft's upcoming expansion pack Warlords of Draenor will allow buyers to boost one character to level 90. That would allow players to dive right into Draenor's new zones, filled with quests and dungeons that allow players to progress to level 100.
The survey, reported on by MMO Champion, suggests that the level 90 boost could be a standalone purchase as well. Presumably there would be no limit on how many times you could buy it. That means that a player with enough dedication and money could raise all of their characters up to level 90.
Selling level 90 characters would fit Blizzard's mission to make the game more accessible. New players can currently advance a character up to level 20 without paying any money. The game's Recruit-a-Friend feature allows players and the friends they invite to the game to level at a faster rate. The game may sell potions that boost experience point gains for cash in the future as well. Blizzard wants players to be maximum level as quickly as possible so that they can buy and play the new expansions that they release.
These helping hands rub some players the wrong way. It seems like a very clear-cut case of "pay to win." I might feel as strongly as these nay-sayers if I was an active WoW player. Still, reaching level 90 is hardly "winning" WoW. Leveling is more of a time sink than a test of your abilities. The real learning curve is after you hit the level cap and you start dipping your toes into heroic dungeons, raids and PvP. I'm sure plenty of players would jump at the chance to bypass dozens of hours of leveling so they can dive right into challenging content.
Players who are against level boosts argue that it's a slippery slope, though. Buying a level 90 character doesn't affect the endgame but what if Blizzard decides to go a step further. They could eventually start selling items that boost your gold or Valor Point gains. That definitely would have an effect on the competitive balance of WoW.
The other questions in the survey were less controversial but still important. One asked whether players would be willing to pay $39.99 or $49.99 for Warlords of Draenor. The survey also gauged interest on a new WoW Annual Pass, perhaps including Diablo 3 and its Reaper of Souls expansion.
Warlords of Draenor allows players to visit an alternate timeline in which the orcs united under one banner and their homeworld was never destroyed. Players will travel to Draenor to prevent the Iron Horde's invasion of Azeroth. Blizzard plans to release the expansion later this year.