We all know endgame is the real deal when it comes to our beloved MMOs, and World of Warcraft is definitely no stranger to that. Whether we realize it or not, in any MMO we play, we find ourselves rushing to get to max level as quickly as our time will permit us. This becomes especially more true if there’s a clock ticking for new content on the way, much like Warlords of Draenor. In this sense, people are more overcome by being able to max out for the current swath of content and dead-set on achieving any and all forms of gaming to be found before it becomes dated.
Thus we enter Blizzard’s instant 90 package available to current, returning, and new players, as a method to catch up with the rest of the World of Warcraft in preparation for the expansion. For 60 USD, one can instantly turn a lowly level 1 Goblin Warrior into an arguably fearsome level 90. There are many ups and downs about what some people call a “pay-to-win” element and it’s been a great topic debated about many people concerned for WoW and the MMO industry in general way before Blizzard decided to implement it. Now that there has been a good amount of time that has passed since its announcement and release, let’s take a look at all the things the 90 boost has done to Azeroth.
WoW Wasn’t the First… On Anything
MMOs like Guildwars have implemented instant max leveled characters long before WoW had and have done just fine. Guildwars, to be specific, has an instant level 20 option for those that only want to PvP and cared little for its story and other content. This was perfectly acceptable given that Guildwars never focused on leveling, but more on content and the experience it yields for a player, yet when it occurs to games like Everquest 2 or WoW, people lose their minds. Sure, as will be discussed later, there are many faults to it to a certain degree, but I don’t believe it to be harmful to a game’s health in the long run. A lot of people appreciate the chance to get in on the Azerothian action in an easier manner than the fastest leveling methods available at the moment. It’s good that consumers have more options for them in an industry that banks on their timesinks to make money. We all aren’t in high school or college and have less and less time as we keep growing older. This is but a choice on the part of a consumer and has little to do with the choices you make. If you don’t like it, don’t buy it. It’s as simple as that.
It’s Not Fair! QQ!
Right off the bat, people have been swarming forums and chatting incessantly in-game about the 90 boost, many of which were claiming that it would destroy the game, while a few felt it was a nice feature. One very common argument is that it felt absolutely unfair to those who actually worked for their level 90 characters while some could just obtain them with a push of a button and the feeling of a lighter wallet. While I sympathize to those that feel the heavy press of capitalism on their shoulders, I have to say that people have forgotten the true purpose of levelling, and it’s called, playing the game.
Do you remember the first time you played an MMO and how wonderful it felt to ding after an experience bar capped out? In my opinion, nothing could ever replace that. Most MMO connoisseurs forget that leveling is an integral part of our experience in these games as they show us what the world has to offer. There is always the rich lore about this secondary world that we enjoy, immersing us in its grand fantasy and disbelief-suspending elements, and supplementing it with the most basic system to tell you that you’ve progressed. In the end, once we’ve gone through it, we feel more attached to both the world and the character that accompanied us throughout it, and appreciative of the game itself. Now, imagine the boosted 90 and his creator; he cares little for the character or the game that he’s in. He will never experience how grand Nagrand was the first time you enter it or the bone-chilling ambience of Icecrown. He has never played the game. Now, when that dawns onto you, who really got ripped off?
In this aspect and argument, there is no loss to other players beyond the spectrum of the personal status of the boosted 90. It is they who decided to veritably skip the game and it is they who missed out on everything else. True, we weigh different parts and aspects of the game in varied measures, but all in all, going through Azeroth, whether you like it or not, is a big chunk of your best times in the game. PvP or Pve, the lower levels are really the levels that shape who you become endgame. With all the people you get to meet, the scenarios you happen upon, and the overall world is just like how one would grow up in real life. I don’t think that an instant boost to the age of 50 is something appealing to anyone still in their youth.
But It Does Affect Me!
It certainly does become detrimental to others when boosted 90s start to infest your end game content with that lack of knowledge. We all know that LFR was already a horrifying experience to seasoned players, and I daresay sports the hardest Garrosh encounter due to the immense number of bad players joining, and it has certainly become much worse since the boosts. When the boosts first came out, there was a surge of player activity in LFR alone; many new faces came in from all over the world with their shiny 483 ilvl gear and swamped the queues. This shouldn’t sound bad, however, it was when you consider that they had no idea what they were doing.
At the base level, these boosted 90s knew nothing of the raid mechanics in Throne of Thunder, the highest raid they are eligible for from the start. Of course, this isn’t even an issue considering that players who leveled the old fashioned way more or less had no idea what they were getting into the first time they enter endgame raids. But what is forgivable for the latter may not be for the former. The latter knows their class, the former does not.
Even with the simple concept of WoW’s long standing holy trinity (Tank, Dps, Heals), most boosters fail to understand what is actually a team effort. When the boosted tank is unable to keep threat, he normally blames only having one taunt, overealous DPS and whatnot. The boosted DPS gets slammed for their very low damage during an encounter, thinking that it is only a gear issue and not at all what his rotation is. I’m not even going into what’s wrong with boosted Healers as that is self-explanatory. All this makes for what is already an uncomfortable experience in the most basic raid difficulty. WoW already had it’s own smorgasbord of genuinely bad players and the 90 boosts added only worse players to wipe 24 times with on Nazgrim.
A detractor would think, “surely, people can improve and things like these no longer happen in Flex or Normal”. That certain detractor would be dead wrong. Just like pre-boosted 90 LFR, the other raid difficulties, barring Heroic, have had their fair share of very awful players who had made their character like everyone else. Some may just be extremely lucky with their loot rolls and, with a combination of getting unwittingly carried, could end up in the harder difficulties much earlier and before knowing their class and the raids. I have personally encountered my fair share of boosters in its earlier days who were eligible for Normals even though they still sported the mental status mentioned earlier. It is absolutely unbelievable how much they know nothing about anything.
Crafting and Professions
A small nitpick of some people, in conjunction with the “not working for it” mentality, is the possible state of a boosted 90’s class. When a character is at least level 60, the current primary professions they have, regardless of skill level, will also be boosted to max. I also understand how hard it is to level professions, but it isn’t entirely unfair. The only crafting that truly matters endgame are those that still need to be discovered while questing in Pandaria or the daily research. So, in my humble opinion, boosters got nothing significant to help them other than the fact that they bypassed what could have been worth thousands upon thousands of gold (or time if they gather mats themselves) power leveling the professions.
A Silver Lining
However, this isn’t to say that the instant 90 package is completely bad. In fact, it’s a great deal of awesome for current and returning players, and to some degree, a few new players. Take for example a friend of mine who simply had too much on his plate in real life to dedicate anything to leveling. Having played with him in many other MMOs, I knew for a fact that he was just damned good a player. He definitely could manage his time if it was only endgame he was concerned about, but not the earlier parts. When the WoD pre-order came, I had suggested that he purchase it for the free 90 boost that came along with it. That had enabled a really good player to penetrate WoW without much of a hassle, and now, he’s even geared enough to attempt some Heroics with us.
This is exactly the same with the returning WoW player, and to some degree for the current player. You can expect these two types of players to take full advantage of the boosts as, more often than not, they are very skilled and knowledgeable about the game’s mechanics, experienced on how other classes work simply by playing with or against them a lot. Much like other players, with the passage of time, a guildie of mine had also lost a lot of leisure time due to work and personal reasons, making it nigh impossible to level an alt. With the 90 boost, he was able to make a rogue that does far better than those with higher item levels. I personally found it alluring due to the fact that I have always wanted to have a Paladin on Horde, but never had the time to level one nor did I want to pay for a faction transfer for my Alliance Pally. The boost offered me a chance on that and without going through what was relatively the same experience I had leveling my other Pally, albeit a different perspective. Extremely competent players now have a chance to continue experiencing the game at an easier pace and only helps strengthen the massive population of WoW even further.
Time is Money
The MMO players of this day and age are comprised not only of children and teens, but also by professionals like engineers, doctors, and lawyers. We may have grown up but we all still love to play our games, however, time becomes quite a luxury. The instant 90 offered by Blizzard is but only one of the very few ways to gain an immediate access to the game and should be viewed only as that. With the few weeks the boost has been out, WoW has generally stabilized and is relatively back to normal. This definitely will not become a downfall for the MMO titan, but an opened door. But, if you ever think about availing this shop item, do us all a favor and learn to play first before screwing us older players up at Horridon.Related: Community, Dungeon, World of Warcraft, WoW Wednesday