Gaming Heretic

I know I said I would do a post about morality and religion, but this was the subject that struck me this week while mashing a midnight support shift. The other one is still in the works, never fear. I just won't say when it will arrive.

I never said this thing would be exclusively about secularism or politics.

Meanwhile, enjoy.

I'm a gaming heretic. I've always been and always will be a gaming heretic.

I'm skeptical about games. I honestly look at replay-ability over shiny graphics; content over hype. It is probably an out-growth of my general skepticism about the world. I have questions, and I look for real answers.

I'm going to posit something here that will have be derided and ridiculed mercilessly by a group that itself is shunned and ridiculed on a fairly regular basis. I make the posit not because I want to mock the group of gamers; far from it. I am a gamer, no matter how heretical I may be. Ever since the great works of Shigeru Miyamoto hooked me in my youth, I've played games. I love to escape to fantasy worlds as much as the next biped; although I've always preferred to imagine the worlds myself or dig into the world offered by an author -- more of a historical artifact, games used to be small.

My assertion is this: World of Warcraft is ridiculous.

Now, I know Stone and Parker have already poked fun at this game. Instead of making light of my fellow gamer, which I think they may actually deserve in cases*, I'm going to just jot down some of the immediate costs of the game.

My assumption is a player who has played since November 23, 2004. Please note, my cursory scrounging only produced modern values for the price of the game, so the outcome values may be slightly off.

  • Cost of the WoW Game: $19.99
  • Cost of the Burning Crusade Expansion: $29.99
  • Cost of the Wrath of the Lich King Expansion: $39.99
  • Cost of month-to-month subscription: $14.99
  • Cost of six month subscription: $12.99/mo ($77.94 for six months)

Now, summing the cost of the game's binaries: $89.97

All in all, not all that bad, when you think about it. Over the years, I've given more to Nintendo for the little mustachioed plumber or the sword-weilding boy-hero. But, this is merely the one time cost of WoW. I never had to pay more than the one time cost for games.

Given that the hypothetical player in this situation has been playing for four years, those monthly costs will add up. Four years is 48 months. But oh, Blizzard is generous, they give you a month free. Ok, so the hypothetical gamer has only shelled out for 47 months to the mighty mighty publisher of the most successful MMORPG (or MMOG in general).

So, 47 months is either $610.53 or $704.53 depending on the subscription plan our gamer opted for.

So the cost, to date, to Nomber 2008, is either $700.50 or $794.50. And the cost will just climb.

I'm going to assume our gamer is a dedicated player, so she went for the six month plan. So far, she has spent $700.50 on WoW. Just on the game. Think about it for a moment. I'll let you readjust your jaw.

Oh, you may want to brush that dirt off, might taste funny.

Seven hundred bucks, my friends. That is how much our dedicated fan has shelled out to Blizzard. Not counting all the internet access she has paid for, which is a substantial cost in itself. And yes, even if she uses her hookup to the 'tubes for more than WoW, she rightly has to reckon that in, since WoW requires it. I know I've had a hefty internet bill from buying broadband the last few years. Not cheap. Oh, and let's not forget all the other little ancilliary costs Blizzard has heaped on: transfer costs, guides, etc.

I suppose you would like a number on a broadband tube connection. Well, they're fuzzy here in the states. I'll pick a conservative number: $30 per month (not counting taxes and fees). So, 48 months (sadly, I've never heard of a provider that gives free months) at $30: $1440.00.

So our dedicated gamer has shelled out, purely in money terms, $2140.50 to play WoW. Sorry about your jaw again.

That's pretty ridiculous if you ask me. And we haven't even begun to think about the time cost, either. Time is money, even if it is for relaxation purposes. And I know many a gamer that isn't able to relax on a game due to other players or the game itself.

Blizzard has this shit figured out**.

*If you can't take some slight satire and laugh, you are taking yourself too seriously. As a nerd, I enjoy satire of my group, helps keep me humble.

**I know, Blizzard does have administration costs, servers and the pipes they would need to support this kind of game are expensive. But even given that, they've found the money tree (or shrub, greenbacks are printed on cotton still).

I was originally writing an article on why MMOGs in general were the source of ridicule and destroying gaming. But that article was getting massive and unwieldy. Too much for a blog post, really.

Maybe someday. Maybe. Probably not. Remind me about it, if you feel so inclined. We'll see what happens.


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