WoW Needs More Revenue Streams

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?

14 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Sounds rather… capitalistic to me. Better service for a cheaper price? 😉 Great article! Thanks for the link. I’ll write more later, I’m in a rush.

  2. OK, I’ve got a few more minutes. I’m a long-time opponent to the subscription model, but I can concede that it’s a cost for a service. $15/month doesn’t offer a good ROI for me and my limited playtime. If it were $15/100 hours of play or something like that, I would be much, much more likely to jump in.

    I might almost go for this sort of low-population friends and family server, if the costs were no higher than $5/month, since I can concede that if I want to play multiplayer, I want to do so with friends. Even so, I’d want to keep my soloing offline and just pay for the time I’m playing with friends. I’m not opposed in any way to paying for server and customer service maintenance. I just don’t see the sub model cost matching what I’d really be getting out of it.

    Most of the time, I’m just soloing my time away, but I’d almost actually be happy as a farmer for a private server. Let me wander around, killing mobs and gathering herbs and skins, and I’ll be a happy little Hunter/Druid. Heck, if they added the “icanhaz?” sort of bidding mechanism for auction requests (so I could fill an order, rather than gather and hope it sells), I might just be in geek paradise.

    Of course, if it’s just a single guild, such gathering orders may not even need the AH interface. Just put up a notice or something in the Guild Hall (oh, right, we don’t have those…) and I can walk in, see that the guild needs 100 Briarthorn or whatever, and just go play in the wild and do my part in what time I have. If we need money, I go kill high return baddies. All in peace and quiet, free of ninjas and brain dead Barrens Chat refugees.

    Mmm… a man can dream, right?

  3. Honest to God, hon… if you can EVER talk Blizz into that (fat chance, I know, but a girl can dream too!), I’ll be on that server so damn fast, heads’ll spin.


    “Neverwinter Nights allows you to create your own worlds. This revolutionary game will come with all the tools needed to construct your own unique lands of adventure. The Neverwinter Nights Aurora Toolset allows even novice users to construct everything from a quiet, misty forest or a dripping cavern of foul evil, to a king’s court. All the monsters, items, set pieces and settings are there for world builders to use. But do not stop there; construct traps, encounters, custom monsters and magic items to make your adventure unique.

    But the Neverwinter experience is not just for one person- adventure with all your friends. Neverwinter Nights can be played online with up to 64 friends, all sharing in the adventure. You can organize and run your own adventures through the role of the Dungeon Master and control all the monsters, creatures and characters your friends meet as they journey on their quest. A powerful piece of software that is included with Neverwinter Nights, the DM Client, allows nearly unlimited control for running your own adventures for your friends.”

  5. @Hez: Amen, sister!

    @Melf: I am aware of NWN and curious if you posted that to say “look, that is already available if you want that gameplay” or say “Hey, go check this out because it is awesome”.

    Regardless, I don’t want to be a DM or have to create my own campaigns. I like the land of Azeroth (and it’s counterparts), I like the way the game looks, and plays (for the most part), I just don’t like paying a sub fee for a disguised MMO. WoW would play much better as a NWN style game, without having to create the content. I would gladly pay a monthly fee to have that content updated by Blizzard but have my own little persistent server to enhance the WoW experience.

  6. There’s also the niggling little thought that people play WoW because they like that game’s lore, mechanics, aesthetics, design… and have friends there.

    Specifically with NWN, I’m not really a fan of D&D mechanics. I’m not sure why, but they just don’t do much for me. They didn’t in Baldur’s Gate, Icewind Dale, Planescape: Torment or NWN, though I valiantly tried to taste the magic.

    WoW may just be a streamlined (or dumbed down, whatever) riff on D&D core mechanics, but for whatever reason, I enjoy playing it more than any “true” D&D product. …perhaps I’ll have to analyze that and make it a post sometime.

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