I haven't written much on WoW here because I don't play the game anymore. I recently patched it again after chatting with a WoW friend on ghat, who helps me out with this site, and another who is hiding anonymously in gchat from an internet stalker (true story. Yay interwebs.) I broke up with WoW about 6 months ago (hey, its ME, not YOU) and to be honest, I horribly miss the people there. Wait, let me clarify, I miss my guild and my friends there. The rest can go (and are on their way) to hell. I don't mean that in the literal sense of eternal damnation - I wouldn't wish that on anyone - but the community is, to put it nicely, garbage - except for the select group of good people we choose to build walls with around our guild (via the guild application process) and make WoW as little of a MMO as possible (which it already is), and more of a SFMO (Select Few Multiplayer Online). I have had these upcoming thoughts for awhile, and when I was directed to this post through a link it all but secured my thinking of yet another revenue stream for Blizzard. One I would happily pay.
Let me rent my own WoW server. Charge me $300 a month, I don't care. I can collect donations (a la Battlefield 2142 servers) from my clan and group mates. Friends of mine that can't afford to donate, I'll cover the $5 a month for you. I would rather game with my friends who are down on their luck than say goodbye to them online until they can find a good job again. Right now, I won't pay Blizzard $15 a month because of the things I dislike about their game. If I could have my own WoW server, and make it a happy, positive place for those who I care to game with, you can take my money.
This would work for WoW for many reasons.
- Keep public servers still, offer this as a secondary market. All private servers are still hosted and controlled by Blizzard and all core mechanics stay the same.
- At any given time in your WoW career, 95% of the world is unavailable to you anyway. You are either too high of level, or too low, or haven't grinded X random raid boss 100 times to get the gear to go onto the next boss.
- Could create a persistant world - Guild and individual housing? Why not? You don't need 20,000 plots of land per server. Since it is a smaller and more dedicated playerbase Blizzard could create the tools to impact the world and leave your mark. World events? You wait until you have your players online then fire them off - every player gets to experience it. Think guaranteed Gates of AQ event. How many got to participate in that? NPC's can remember you are the hero (as you would be in this realm) and not just chat tag %t "is a hero of the realm!" until the next person grinds the faction, or turns in the quest.
- No Chuck Norris - unless you want that. The Chuck Norris type spammers (who stopped fitting on my ignore list 3 years ago) can all migrate to their own private server and spam away, patting each other on the back along the way, without annoying a single person.
- End to Gold Farmers - Since I have to privately invite you to my server, and flag your account, no more fighting for resource nodes with thousands of bots and illegal farmers. Yes, you still have to go collect the items (preserving the ever so important time sink) but if you have to clear 6 mobs to get to a node, you don't have to worry about jerkoff_001 swooping in and stealing it right as you kill the last one.
- Characters on private servers can be ported to other private servers (not public). If I have a private server, and decide to close it down, everyone on that server still keeps their characters, items, everything - and can go to a new one. Conversely, if we meet a new friend and want to invite them along into our private little happy world - they don't have to start from scratch if they have already been on a private server, they can port their characters over and play.
- Wow isn't really an MMO anyway (once you exclude the inflated-broken AH) and is just a group experience. Why not give me the choice on who gets to play within that group experience?
I know, I am an elitist jerk. My first thought process behind this was that WoW could be the best singleplayer game of all time - take a class, level up, do quests, kill a boss (and he stays dead) level up, become a hero - hell, maybe even become the King of Stormwind, or the leader of Druids. The world is beautiful, the story and backdrop is interesting, and there is a ton of space to explore and play. WoW would actually play better this way as you would have a persistent world. Raids would have to be switched around of course (NPC groups?) but really if WoW was a singleplayer game it wouldn't take away from the core experience - except the chatting with friends part - as the majority of your time in WoW is spent questing solo anyway. Integrate gchat and I am golden. After fleshing out my thoughts (I STILL think WoW would be an awesome, KOTOR/Obllivion-esque singleplayer game) if, in my elitest-jerk stature, could remove the elements of the community I dislike (and feel like my money invested was worth it - $15 a month isn't to me in the current state), I would enjoy the game again. So why not let me pay for my own server?
Money, of course. I could probably get 100 people to play regularly on my rented server, which equates to $1500 a month for Blizz, compared to my mini $300 I would be providing. What I am most curious about, is how many of those 100 I could fill with people who have left the game (for whatever reason) and make it an additional revenue stream instead of a detracting one. How many people would gladly pay $5 a month for a better experience?