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Paid Character Customisation coming to WoW - Destructoid

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Source: Worldofwar.net, 12th October 08.

"...In another recent press conference, Jay Allen Brack was asked about the Paid Character Customisation that has been found in the game files. At first, he dismissed the question, and would not comment on it, then a few minutes later, he brought up the subject and said that there is going to be paid character customisation. No details yet though."

Having had the recent news that ActiBlizz are looking to "monetize" Battle.net for Diablo 3, the gaming community appeared to be concerned about a new business model for ActiBlizz revolving around making even more money from the average consumer. This latest news has done nothing appease these fans, rather it has enraged them further.

Various threads have already appeared on the WoW Official forums discussing the announcement, and the consensus seems to be that the move is the 'beginning of the end' - a time when WoW is dominated not by the most skilled, not even by the most dedicated fanatic, but by those who are willing to spend money to obtain key armour and weapon upgrades.

Are these concerns justified? Will the company really go that far, or is the option of Paid Character Customisation simply just an extension of Paid Character Transfer / Name Change, and nothing else?

Personally, I would be worried - the simple fact is ActiBlizz make more than enough money from subscriptions alone, yet there are determined to charge £15 for a PCT citing "additional development and support...the fees for this service are collected to cover these expenses" as their reason to charge. I think very few people will happily pay that much money to cover what is essentially simply a transfer of data from one server to another, unless they feel it is necessary. (PC Name Change now costs £6) They now seek to charge players for changing their appearance (possibly face, colour, perhaps even race or class) - most likely a minor, cosmetic change, but a change in the in-game world requiring real life money nonetheless. If these changes do extended to race/class then it is an entirely different issue, as it is likely major imbalances (particuarly pvp related) will begin to appear, even more so if a faction change is allowed.

The main aim of all business is of course to make a profit, and so surely once the company realises the money made by the new services, it would begin to wonder how much money it could make by selling off armour etc. This would kill off the game, but then if ActiBlizz were making money...would they care? Unlikely. The game has long been associated with dubious customer service, issues with the game are often solved quicker using a few choice keywords and Googling the forums instead of the often hapless reps who seem overly keen to blame your ISP / network issues / the neighbour's dog rather the game itself.

The best course of action ActiBlizz can possibly take right now is to move to assure gamers by revealing more details about PCC - explaining that the only changes possible will be purely cosmetic, otherwise the paranoid among us will fear the worst.

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