February 1, 2010

The Price of Entertainment

Posted in Musings, Tales from PUGland, The Player Behind the Toon tagged , , at 12:55 am by Aduial of WrA

How much really is entertainment worth? Enjoyment, the same? Worth more, worth less?

So many things are available for different prices these days it’s harder to nail down. The same movie that costs $7 to see in theaters one time can cost $9 to own from a store, perhaps as little as $0.99 if bought online. But to watch at home there’s varying prices for TVs, VCRs or DVD players, Blurays now too, computers, the electricity to keep it all running, at the least… And even in the end, you can only watch so many $0.99 movies a month, and the rest adds up to a higher end cost. The same can be said about $7 in theater, there’s the price of transportation and gas, as well. So even something as simple as that has so many variations in price..

So how does this pertain to WoW? Any time I’m on the forums when there’s a problem, there are so many cries of people threatening to withdraw their $15 a month because they lose so many hours of game time due to X problem. This is ignoring the fact that Blizzard usually pays them back, if they look at their credits, after the problem is resolved. Are they entitled to do this? Of course, it’s their $15 a month, and they don’t pay for downtime aside from Tuesdays… but how much are they really paying for, then?

That $15 a month comes out to around 2 cents an hour. Going to see a 3-hour movie in the theater at $7 to get in, without buying any drinks or food comes out to around $2.33 an hour. People still go to theaters and see movies without as many complaints as Blizzard forums get, or even in-game since I’ve seen it there. Yeah, I get people are entitled to spend their money how they wish and complain or not as they see fit, but is it really worth it? With every hour they’re asleep or away from WoW at all, they’re losing money, but not as much as they could be. As it is, they’d only need to play WoW 6.4-hours a month to get their $15 worth if it was worth the same as going to see a movie.

A good chunk of people can find the time to play for 6.4-hours a month. If not and they withdraw their subscription, that really isn’t a loss since they’re not putting the strain on the servers from playing to begin with. So for people who play more than that, should there really be a problem?

And what about the extras Blizzard provides? The in-game pets, transfers, faction changes, etc. I’ve met a lot of people who scoff at spending the extra money on stuff like this, but a lot of times, isn’t it worth the price? If you spend about 4-hours enjoying your new in-game pet at the price of a movie, it’s paid for. 10.7-hours and the transfer is paid for. If they enhance your enjoyment of the game for those periods of time, why not?

I was on my healadin yesterday and my guy was on his DK tank, and we decided to random after he’d just gotten the cobalt set and wanted to tank again. We lucked into a group with a Shadow Priest from our sister-realm who was absolutely amazing, pulling over 2k DPS at level 73 at times, as well as bubbling the tank when things were getting dicey to give me time to heal him back to full. We hit it off the bat, even my guy liked him which is rare, and he ended up staying around for 3 groups, with long waits in between not due to the queue, but due to talking and just having fun in between.

Turns out he’d been thinking of a transfer over to our realm, and would’ve had he had the money, but had spent a bit too much spoiling his girl recently so was short the money until he got paid. We’d already spent 3-4 hours with the guy and liked him as previously mentioned, so I ended up talking with him in whispers over possibly paying for his transfer. I had enough extra and it wouldn’t be the first time I’ve paid for something for someone else when I think they’ve provided me enough entertainment/enjoyment to warrant the cost, and about an hour later Wyrmrest Accord had a new level 74 Shadow Priest.

So why is stuff like that so odd? Yes, it’s all a game–but if you spend enough time in it, isn’t it worth paying what it’s worth? I’ve spent a lot on others in this game and it always seems to take people by surprise, but why? Not that long ago paying what things were worth wasn’t that uncommon. When I spend almost all of my WoW-time with one person for 2 months, who manages to get me to enjoy tanking again, why not pay for an expansion or two so they can keep up? Why not pay for their game time? When someone makes you laugh a lot when talking with them and they really want Lil KT for Christmas, why not get it for them?

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