If you really wanted my approval, you should’ve made it a unicorn.

If you’ve visited the WoW main page within the last day, you should already know about the new recruit-a-friend incentives. The old one was pretty nice: refer a new account, and get a free month when that account buys their first month of subscription time. Pretty sweet within itself, kind of like the bonus we’d get at our old apartment complex for referring a new tenant.

But now there are new products bribes bonuses!

For each person you refer who upgrades to a retail version of World of Warcraft and purchases two months of game time, you will be able to give a character on the account you sent the invitation from an exclusive in-game zhevra mount.

If your friend goes above and beyond the one month requirement for the original incentive, then you get a shiny new zhevra mount! Not my thing, but I can see people scrambling for this one. At any rate, not a bad offer. As much as I like the cute freebies Blizzard throws out there, they’re always random stuff with no *real* impact on the game, so I don’t feel like I’m missing out because I didn’t spend the money (i.e., Blizzcon giftbag, WWI treats, TCG loots).

But wait, what’s this?

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.

Okay, I can stand behind this. Especially since the article goes on to mention that a character can only summon another that is the same level or lower, which keeps level 5 priests from summoning their 70 friend to help them kill pigs in Durotar. Actually, this would be fantastic for pranking your buddy as well. Summoning a level 5 friend into the middle of Netherstorm has the potential for hilarity.

Looking at this from another angle, let’s take this the town portal way: two friends out questing together, one makes a town run on their hearthstone. When finished, he’s summoned back by the other. With two summons per hour, that’s a lot of run time to and from town that’s significantly cut down on.

2. While adventuring with your linked friend/family member, you will each gain triple experience.

Triple experience? Apparently rested double-experience wasn’t enough. It appears that rested experience will just sit and accumulate while the triple experience buff is in place, too. Is this really necessary? For three months (the length of the linking), two accounts can quest together and never need to stop to rest. While this is great for two friends playing together, they’d have to be careful not to outlevel each other, for then only the littlest character gets the buff.

What this will really affect are two classes of players: dual-boxers (who are perfectly legit and I have no ill will against) and botters. Triple experience, no down-time, 90 days – how many 70’s could two accounts grind up? Four apiece? Perhaps even more. But that’s what Blizzard’s willing to dish out in exchange for more active accounts, apparently.

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.

Wut.

This is where it goes too far, Blizzard. Buy another account/subscription for a free mount? Okay, fine. Get more xp for it as well? That’s starting to push it, but I’m willing to let it slide. Give out free levels to the veteran account? Watch your step, Blizzard, you’re teetering dangerously close to business practices I refuse to support.

World of Warcraft may have only been my second subscription MMORPG, but I’ve played in numerous free ones before I started in Azeroth. Beta and free-to-play games dotted my hard drive for years, and I found that the ones I despised the most were the ones that offered in-game amenities at an out-of-game cost. When the company sells advantages to its players, the playing field is suddenly as level as my chest. Fair play goes out the window for quick cash, and the players don’t take long to follow.

Something I’ve always loved about WoW is how it was fair. Blizzard condemns gold-buying, gold-selling, cheating, hacking, botting, the works. They want it to be fair. But these ‘incentives’ are just one step away from official gold selling, and one step away from me cancelling my account.

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3 Responses to “If you really wanted my approval, you should’ve made it a unicorn.”

  1. Matojo Says:

    Yeah, that… that final one just throws me. I don’t like it *at all*.

  2. fatfoogoo Says:

    Fair enough, Blizz might be pushing the boundaries of what some gamers consider ‘fair play’, but with the growing number of free to play micro transaction based titles, is it really a surprise that even Blizzard/Activision is interested in testing the waters?

  3. Tchann Says:

    My point is that I despise ‘free-to-play, micro transaction’ games. They were around plenty before WoW, and they’ll be around forever because they are ‘free’. But they’ll never be fair.

    Please don’t use this blog as a place to advertise your company. I really don’t appreciate it.

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