Posted by: Sean | December 9, 2008

Debate: A Premium Role-Play Server – Good idea or not?

First of all, we’re back! I am returned from my business trip and thus am back on the bus, blogging away. Holidays are soon, which will likely disrupt blogging a bit as well, though not quite as much. Planes have seats way too close together for using laptops, by the way. I’m really wishing I’d paid for the upgrade for my next trip to Adelaide so I’d have more seat room. Ah well.

So Jess and I had a fun argument yesterday, which we didn’t really get into and thus, for your enjoyment, we’re going to have on this ‘blog. The debate is: Would a premium role-play server be a good idea?

I will be taking the ‘pro’ side, Jess will take the con. We’ll keep posting on this until we decide we’re tired of the debate. Enjoy!

First off, let’s define some terms. I’m defining a ‘premium role-play server’ would mean a paid extra, a role-play realm run by Blizzard that you had to pay extra money to join, and for that extra money you receive better service with more GMs on hand to police role-play, enforce the naming policy, and even run a few events, perhaps, using all those fun GM tools.

I’m also defining a good idea as a good idea. That is because I’m clever. But I’m also saying it’s a good idea for everyone.

Look, we all know the problems with role-playing in Warcraft. Some of them are insurmountable, like the basic game mechanics. (“Woah, I just looted the Hammer of the Northern Wind from … from this scorpid. OK, that’s weird.”) But the ones that consistently annoy us the most could be dealt with. The anti-role play griefers. The stupid immersion breaking chat. The names.

And the good news is that a premium role-play server fixes these problems.

First of all, anti-role play griefers are going to be at a minimum. You have to pay to be on this server. That puts a barrier up that will keep them out pretty swiftly. Don’t believe me? One of the fun notes from my business trip was the observation that a mere seven dollar paywall killed Encyclopedia Britannica‘s online edition. Unless there’s a compelling reason, people do not pay for things if they can avoid it. Thankfully, for role-players there are compelling reasons.

By being a single premium server, it condenses the role-play base. A huge number of role-players will move from other realms to this one, and this will make the role-play thick, dense and easy to find. The paywall alone will do most of the world in improving the realm, but to get those few who get through, the extra pay can justify the hiring of more GMs for the realm, allowing better policing of role-play policy.

Finally, and perhaps most intriguingly, these extra GMs could then also participate with role-play guilds on the server, creating events for them using GM tools. While the recent zombie invasion proved you don’t need GMs to create compelling role-play events on an MMORPG, nobody’s saying they couldn’t do some real good.

In short, it’s a win all round. Blizzard make more money. We get a realm that’s everything we always wanted in World of Warcraft.

Except for player housing. We need player housing, still.



  1. First, WELCOME BACK! I missed you all so much. 😀

    Now for the issue….

    The problem with this, is the paying part. If Blizzard were to suggest this idea, most get mad that they have to pay extra just to get the treatment they should already be getting on existing role-play servers sans the GM events of course. And non-role players get mad that Blizzard is showing us extra attention.

    But on the other hand, it’s a great idea in general. It pretty much make anti-role play griefers non-existent, as only the hardcore actually pay to grief and they eventually be expunged by more GM attention anyways. The server(s) be filled with the more serious role-players, so the problem of finding some role-play or rather good role-play no longer exist for the most part. And GM events would of course ROCK, especially if they involved role-play guilds with rich histories.

    Still, the whole pay issue is really the issue with this. Yes, we may not mind paying a touch extra for the vast improvement in our role-play experience but the more casual would not; even if it was a damn $1 extra a month. Because as you said, people will avoid paying and many would opt to just accept the BS on other role-play servers and/or move to better role-play servers rather than paying whatever to have it all gone.

    So am I in favor of this idea? I think I am more so in favor of Blizzard just fixing the BS on pre-existing role-play servers and add the occasional event for us dedicated role-players. But if it took paying extra to get those goodies, then I pay….as long as it wasn’t too much. I say anything past $5 be outrageous on principle and not because I couldn’t afford it. Hell, if they just made it 50 cents extra, that be what…an extra 1-2 million a month for them lol.

    But this probably won’t happen in any regard. Why? Because of all the non-role player complains, which consist of most of their customer base. And as a result, to appease them…it never happen.

    Even though we be getting extra because we pay for it, even though its the non-role players that make our experience a troublesome one on “our” servers which is why we require premium servers in the first place. And even though Blizzard was the one who decided to establish special rules for our servers, yet seem to avoid truly enforcing them as to not make the overall customer base mad at them; as they be the ones guilty of most rule breaking on our servers.

    Now lets see what Jess has to say. 🙂

    ”Woah, I just looted the Hammer of the Northern Wind from … from this scorpid. OK, that’s weird.”

    There are lots of ways explaining such. Like saying it swallowed the weapon or it was wedged it its body from a past battle or it likes to collect shiny objects. Or even go as far to say, in its death it revealed the weapon wedged deep in the ground; so in a way you be looting it because of the scorpid.

  2. I would suggest a one-time fee in the vein of server transfers or character renaming rather than increasing the subscription cost. For one thing, it would let them keep the time card system unchanged.

  3. Agreed, Sagaril. One time fee, of like… five or so bucks, and if you get banned, then you have to pay a doubled cost, maybe?

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