Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Bringing even more friends (and money) to Azeroth

While the practice of luring in new subscribers through existing subscribers by giving the latter freebies for doing so has been around for ages in the world of magazine publishing. The recent announcement by Blizzard to do the same with World of Warcraft is nevertheless raising eyebrows among the player community.

This is what Blizzard is offering (the particular rules and conditions can be found in their FAQ):

Our new Recruit-a-Friend offer rewards you even more for bringing your friends to Azeroth and, what’s more, they can get some great in-game benefits too!

For each friend you invite you could get:

- An exclusive ZHEVRA in-game mount when your friend pays for 60 days of game time.

- 30 Days of FREE WoW gametime when your friend pays for 30 days of game time.

Also, from the moment your friend creates a character and starts adventuring with you, both of you will receive these additional in-game benefits:

- You and your friend will earn triple the experience when grouped together!

- For every two levels of experience your friend earns, they can grant one level of experience to any one of your characters of lower level than your friend.

-You and your friend will have the ability to summon each other from any point in the world.

Business-wise this is a brilliant recruitment strategy: let players bring in more players, give them virtual rewards which don't cost a thing and reap the benefits. Folks who always wanted to get their significant other hooked, multi-boxers and Chinese gold farmers aside, a lot of players on forums like this one think otherwise are now flaming Blizzard for being unethical, greedy money grabbers.

To quote one player: ‘The fact of the matter is this: you spend more money, and you have an advantage in the real game. This is fundamentally different from any promotion Blizzard has ever had. It's also a sign that Blizzard has lost its scruples about abusing this business model.’

I would say it took them rather long to lose their ‘scruples’. With Blizzard being the 2nd largest publishing company in the games industry after its $18bn merger with Vivendi/Activision, and World of Warcraft being one of the main cash cows, seeing the forces of capitalism enter this virtual world is no surprise at all. It may hurt a bit, but it was inevitable And, yes, resistance is futile.

I sure wouldn’t mind getting one of those Zhevra’s though. Anyone wanna play WoW?

1 comment:

Torill said...
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