The upcoming World of Warcraft expansion, Warlords of Draenor is bringing with it another 10 levels of content for players to experience. What this means is that, post-expansion, World of Warcraft will have a total of 100 levels. If that seems daunting to you, you’re clearly not alone. Blizzard has introduced a solution for players who may not necessarily want to wade through all of the older content in order to reach a point where they can experience the end-game, perhaps with their friends. The World of Warcraft store recently introduced $60 level 90 boosts, which can be purchased to boost any character from any level to level 90.
Since the introduction of the level boost, there has been controversy over whether or not Blizzard is trying to make the boosting option into a “pay-to-win” sort of scenario. Given the circumstances, it seems likely that they’re just trying to offer an alternative to players who will take it. Players who pre-order Warlords of Draenor will get a free level 90 boost along with their purchase, meaning a lot of people will have a boosted character regardless of whether or not they deem it a worthy investment on its own. With this, Blizzard is essentially trying to make it so that a player who has perhaps played through the 1-90 content time and time again can simply skip that if they so choose.
Paying $60 to boost a character to level 90 in a game where you already pay a monthly subscription fee may seem exorbitant. If it does, then Blizzard has essentially achieved one of their goals with this option. What they want to avoid, above all, is encouraging players to “buy” their way towards the level cap. The option exists for someone who absolutely wants it; someone who is willing to shell out $60 to play with their friends or experience end-game as quickly as possible. As a one-time cost, it’s perhaps not too unreasonable if you consider the prices people will pay for level 90 characters on eBay and other sites. In spite of that, it’s priced just over what many people would consider to be a worthwhile investment, and thus ensures that there is still a large group of players that would rather just level their characters themselves.
The morality of the boosts isn’t really one of the most important issues when you look at the grand scheme of things. One of the biggest caveats of the whole “everyone gets a boost with their pre-order” scheme is the number of people who will boost a character to level 90 and have no idea how to play said character. As a person who has been playing World of Warcraft on and off for about 8 years, I can say with authority that I have no idea how to play most of the classes. The fact is, the only way to learn a class is to play that class. As obvious as that sounds, this has become a problem in the sense that people are boosting a character from 1-90 and entering end-game content with absolutely no idea how to play effectively. Although Blizzard has mentioned that there will be barriers to queuing up for certain raids in the future, right now there are a lot of frustrated players on both the recently-boosted side, and the I’ve-been-playing-for-a-long-time-what-is-this-boosted-noobie-doing side.
In any case, there’s no shame in using the boost, but perhaps in order to avoid some of the issues that come with it, it is recommended that players boost from a higher level. Blizzard has given players incentives to use their boost on a character that is level 60 or above. Namely, when you boost a character higher than level 60, you are awarded max level professions (meaning 2 primary professions and First Aid, all leveled to 600). This alone is reason enough to play through 60 levels of content, especially considering how painstaking it would be to reach level 90 and have to start your professions from the very beginning. In the grander sense, a person who boosts from 60 or higher is likely to have a better grasp on their character and play style, which ends up being an overall social benefit to everyone.
In the end, the biggest question is: Was selling character boosts actually a good idea? Only time will tell. Overall, the potential benefits to players who choose to employ the boosts seem to be enough to outweigh the downfalls of offering instant, max-level characters. What do you think? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!