Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Is Warcraft Worth It?

Each and every one of us puts a value on things.  What we are willing to pay for something.  I like a good steak and as such I have no issues paying $50, $75 or even $100 for one but some people might call that crazy.  Just like I would say it is crazy to spend ten thousand or more to join a country club just so you have access to a private golf course when there are public holes less than a mile from my house.  To someone that loves their golf as much as I love my steak it would make a huge difference.  Neither one of us are really crazy, we just put different values on things.

With that said, how you value warcraft might very well differ from the way I do.  I consider warcraft a game, nothing more, because that is what it is.  As a game I base its value on the value I base gaming entertainment on.  For as long as I can remember I always justified buying a game based on how long I would play it in terms of hours.

I've bought many games over the years and my favorites have always been strategy ones and RPGs.  Not so much that I dislike other types of games but it is that I do not believe their value to be worth it.  Back when a new nintendo game or new playstation game or new games for whatever the console of the moment is came out I would look at the new releases and judge them and in my opinion the RPGs games had the best bang for the buck.

I would go out and spend $60 on some new racing game, shooting game, side scroll game, what have you, and be done with it that weekend.  I am not one to really replay games, not unless there is value to replay it from an entertainment standpoint.  So effectively that $60 game lasted me for 2 or 4 or maybe even as much as 10 hours and that, in my opinion, was most definitely not worth it.

But RPGs, oh my beloved RPGs, they could pay for themselves ten times over before I even finished doing everything I wanted to do with them.  I played all the final fantasy games, for example, from when they first came out, some of them I easily passed 200 hours on, maybe even 400 hours on.  The later games I got into trying to beat all the special fights, trying to collect everything I could, trying to do it all at a low level or with no skills, or any of a million of other ways I could interest or challenge myself with, and this is why I say those RPGs had excellent replay value.

All of this was of course well before internet gaming was a thing and well before MMOs popped up online.  It was where I placed a dollar value on my entertainment.  I set my line on what I considered worth it at $1 per hour of gaming.  If I could get one hour of entertainment for $1 then I would believe the game to be worth it to buy.

As the years went by I stopped buying anything but RPG games completely.  Maybe only dabble to test something new or if I knew something had some replay value and took some time like civilization.  If there was something I wanted to play otherwise I would borrow it from a friend or wait until it was at game stop or something like that used for what I believed to be a reasonable price.  Which would be $10 or less because most games will be finished before that point or at that point at the latest with no real replay value.

So when I hear people talking about warcraft not being worth it, from the guild mates, a few of them, that have told me they will not be buying warlords because it is not worth it, to the people on the forums saying that they do not play anymore because the monthly subscription is not worth it.  It had me wondering, would warcraft pass my test?  My $1 for 1 hour test?

At face value warcraft is probably a very good investment considering the time I put into it.  I get well more than 15 hours a month play time.  Heck, even when I took 6 weeks off and only logged on to raid I was logging in for a few hours a week, 6 or so, which basically meant I was getting at least 24 hours of play time over the course of a month when I was not even playing.

The thing is, is all play time equal?  I said $1 per 1 hour of entertainment.  Is doing the LFR really entertaining?  Not even in the slightest.  I do it because I feel I have to so I am capable of enjoying myself later when I want to.  But the act of playing at that time shouldn't count toward my play time because it is anything but entertaining.  If anything it is frustrating and makes me want to quit more than it makes me want to continue playing.

But even if you remove the mundane, the annoying, the repetitive, am I getting my 15 hours worth each month, the 15 hours that makes it worth paying $15?

Absolutely.

Really, that is all there needs to be said about it.

Even with the things I dislike like the LFR that I do not count toward my time because it is not exactly what I could call entertaining, I do get over 15 hours a month entertainment from the game.  The road there is not always pretty to say the least.  The feeling of having to do something like having to valor cap, having to do LFR, having to get reputations up, having to do this, that or the other, all in an effort so I can actually do the things I enjoy doing kind of sucks and I would really love to see those annoying steps removed so I can just get to enjoying the game but over all even taking away all the irrelevant and boring and annoying parts of the game, warcraft well surpasses the $1 per 1 hour of entertainment requirement I put on my games since the beginning of my gaming life.

Even when you factor in box prices on top of that $15 a month warcraft well surpasses that mark.  So maybe there are other people that do not place the same value on their gaming as I do, just like there are some that will not place the same value on a good steak like I would, but I just can not understand why someone would say warcraft is not worth it.  If someone like me who complains a lot about things, directions, LFR, and the such, can realize how warcraft is well worth it, how can they not?

If you are going to quit you can quit because you do not like the game any longer.  Quit because you do not like the direction the game is going.  Quit because you can not afford it.  Quit for a million and one different reasons, go ahead, I am not going to try and stop you.  But you can never really say that warcraft is not worth it on a dollar to hour ratio.  Even if you put a different value on things than I do you would have to see that there is a lot to be had from the game for such a small monthly investment in that entertainment.  It has a lot of value to it, and even with my very low $1 per 1 hour break point, as far as I see it, it is well worth the price of admission.  Even with all the things I dislike about it.

What is the value you put on your gaming entertainment?  And do you think warcraft is worth it?

32 comments:

  1. Anon, Grumpy's former Guild Leader:

    My immediate reaction is yes, WoW is still worth the price of admission, even though I intensely dislike many aspects of the game play. My problem with the game for a good while is simply I can't play due to pain as much as I would otherwise like to do. Even typing out this reply will have a cost to it, one that I will pay with a dose of ibuprofen (800 mg) shortly.

    I intensely dislike the retrograde movement of the game with regard to flight, and have been intensely disliking that since MoP went backwards to the old model of flight only at max level. Cata had many weaknesses as an expansion, but flight was one thing they got right. And having established that precedent, Blizzard made a mistake in not going forward in incorporating flight into the newer expansions MoP and WoD. Perhaps the designers are limited in their imaginations but the immersion argument that was presented has rang hollow from the first time it was said.

    I don't like the redesign of the old world that came with Cata, as removing the older quests was an unnecessary change for the most part. Yes, some needed revision I suppose but Blizzard as is their tradition went overboard with the notion altogether leaving a leveling experience that is to fast for any training benefit and to slow for those who hate leveling. Again, the company lived up to its history of not knowing the meaning of moderation.

    Dungeons are no longer an evening's entertainment, but are now a hurry up, why aren't we finished yet experience. Can't say I care for that change even though it started way back in Wrath. But by out-leveling a dungeon, I can go back to it and solo it at my own pace, so the continued existence of dungeons is still a source of entertainment, though not as the company intended it to be as an at level experience.

    The use of gear to determine level cap progression has struck me as a bad Monty Haul experience since before I stepped into my first raid.

    I could go on listing flaws and badly implemented ideas that Blizzard has built into the game, some so encoded into players now as to be irreversible no matter the harm to the game. Yet even with all the flaws I find in WoW and despite the fact I pay with pain for playing any extended period of time, it is still my favorite computer game of all time. Blizzard has left (barely but still there) enough room to sandbox my way to fun despite all I find wrong with the game, despite all the flaws built into WoW and despite the increasingly toxic community attitudes I find on most servers.

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    1. I too think the redesigning of the old world was a horrible idea. It ruined the narrative which started at one time and moved forward. I never understood why it was bad that what happened then was "in the past". Of course it is in the past, because you have not caught up to current. So with that redesign they ruined a fluid nature to a back and forth in time questing experience. All I can say about that whole idea is... boo.

      Gearing next expansion is getting even more like what you describe as the monty hall lets make a deal system. With no real way to gear up and even random stats on crafted gear, everything seems like luck. No more can you even craft yourself knowing what you will be getting because it could have the two best stats for you or the two worst ones. All I can say there is... boo.

      Over all, like you, there is a lot I can complain about but in the end I still say it is worth it. If anything that goes to show you the amazing depth of the game that two people can sit here and complain about the game yet still be happy to pay to play it.

      So as much as we hate the stuff going on, maybe they are doing something right? I just worry they are losing their hold on me because, as I said, I like replayability and I do not see any of that in warlords.

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  2. This will be short and to the point. At this point, I believe that WoW is the best bang-for-the-buck in gaming for me. It doesn't grab me like it used to, however, and I'm waiting for something else to take its place. I don't know when that day will come. For a long time, it seemed like a long, long way off. Now, it may be on the horizon. Who knows?

    I want WoW to be great again, to be the focus of my fun. Maybe Blizzard can get its mojo back. Hope so.

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    1. You sound much like me. While it does not grab me like it used to there really is nothing else out there that can compare, and I have tried a lot. I think it is a very good value for the amount we pay for it.

      I can't wait for blizzard to get back on track, I just worry they are moving in the wrong direction and while there are no games out there that can take their thunder now, sooner or later it could happen.

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  3. If you analyse it like you did on a by hour basis, and $1/hour seems fair to me, then yeah Warcraft is worth it. That is a kinda fact. However, facts aren't everything, it's about how it feels.

    I've already said that I will be buying Warlords and resubbing for launch, the 10th anniversary etc. Part of me resents it a little which is stupid considering you are right, on a by hour basis it's worth it. I mean it's doubly stupid in a way as I've currently paid more than $1/hour for Marvel Heroes. However, I don't resent that as well, so long as the servers are up I can play and never have to pay anything else, I'm never going to lose my investment until it's shut and that won't be for years. Whereas turn off the spigot to blizz and it's all gone.

    I don't know maybe it's because I'm not hyped for Warlords. I'm not sure that I will stay subbed and so I'm feeling stung on the box price. Maybe it's just the issue of the sub itself as it isn't optional. I resub for a month every so often to swtor and I enjoy that.

    Anyway I know it's ridiculous feeling like this because it is the way it is, blizz aren't going to change, I just need to suck it up and pay or walk away. On a numbers basis it's worth it but that doesn't change the feelings.

    I do still love Warcraft. I just don't like the direction it's going in.

    I'm not even sure I made sense in this comment. I hope you can understand what I meant.

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    1. And marvel heroes is a free game and you paid more than $1 per hour on it. ;) Do not feel bad, so have I. I bought some costumes so I could be other classes and I am sure what I spent passes the 1 dollar per hour. Odd how a "free" game costs more to play than a pat game sometimes when looking at it that way.

      I do understand what you mean however. Like I mentioned in my post. Hours spent in LFR I do not count as quality entertainment because it is anything but.

      You are probably at the cross roads I am at. Where you have to judge time spent on things you do not like (LFR) vs time spent on things you do like (organized raiding) and then the quality of each. If the bad out weights to good it could be a time to step away. Personally, if it were not for organized raiding and personal progression, the game does not offer much any more. But still 15 bucks a month worth in my opinion.

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  4. $1/hr is my minimum as well. There are a lot of games that I've put 100 or 200+ hours into that only cost $60.

    WoW has definitely been worth it. I've spent over 2700 hrs on my main over the last 52 months playing WoW. With game time and the expansions I've purchased over that time, it's still less than $1000, so that's less than $0.40/hr cost for WoW. Even if we count some of that time as wasted, it's still well below the $1/hr threshold. And I'm not even counting another 1200 hrs spent on alts. Total /played is about 3900, so that's about 75 hrs/month on average.

    I considered Elder Scrolls Online worth the price as well, I just wasn't really spending the 15-30hrs/month in the game to justify it, so I cancelled my sub.

    I'll keep playing WoW until I find something else to spend that 75hrs/month playing.

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    1. Speaking of lots of /played:
      - got the 100,000 valor points achievement today
      - got exalted with Hydraxian Waterlords finally (that makes 68 exalted)

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    2. I think the wow vs something else is huge at the moment and for me as well nothing else has come close.

      Both rift and wildstar were big for me, I could have left wow for them, but what kept me coming back to wow was the fact I had a built in friend base there and did not know anyone on the others. So I kept going back to my friends, not back to wow, so to speak. So even if I played them that put them below the $1/hr rate, or even if it didn't it was not as good a deal as wow was.

      I remember when they added the 100K valor in the pre patch for mists. As soon as I logged in I got it. Wow that was a lot of valor grinding I did over the years.

      Congrats on the waterlords.

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  5. hmm, you come up with the craziest shit to blog about about.

    Is it worth it? to me it is, BUTT (I like big butts and cannot lie) no butts really, just wanted to put that in something I am writing today. Anyway, drugs don't fail me now. Is it worth it? yuppers. I would never fucking spend $100 for a steak, never. No steak is worth that amount not even in New York City (those guys are way over price anyway).

    But since WOW is really my only outlet, @ $15 a month plus cost of any new add-ons like WoD, sure it is somewhere around $1 but probably less. too much math to figure it out down to the penny.

    So, in a nutshell, yes, it be good. Ok, not sure what I just said, but it's probably good.

    "Onward thru the fog!".

    -roo "free, free at last!"

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    1. But I live in New York City so I have no choice. ;)

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    2. Sure you do - buy Omaha Steaks from Omaha, NE (where I live) dirt cheap, and grill some of the best you will prob ever eat.

      Cheaper and far more satisfying and you can guarantee that someone else won't spit on it.

      -roo

      PS - before you food workers who read this blog get your underwear all bunched up, I'm joking about GE grilling his own. we all know Night Elves can't grill. :P

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    3. Night elves can grill, we grill quite well thank you very much. Some dwarf chops are always nice when grilled properly.

      As the fortune cookie said, beware the elf with the one blond boot.

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    4. I was wondering why I keep seeing Dwarves with missing butt cheeks. I swear, what you N. Elves will eat.

      You elves need to find your other boot. Going around with only one boot one, is a good way to get a thorn in your big toe. :P

      -roo

      PS - you notice how no one else jumps in on our conversation. I wonder why?

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  6. There's this joint here in chicago that specializes in aged steaks. And they've got the "just a little bit" aged steaks like the 28 day ribeye, or the 35 day KC strip or like, 50 bucks, and they've got a crazy 75 day ribeye for a hundred or so. But the best one is the (relatively) inexpensive 40 day ribeye, for only like, 65 bones.

    Looking through my steam account, I've spent 120 hours playing Dragon Age: Origins (including the DLCs) which I think cost 20 dollars for the ultimate edition. And I've also got Gone Home, which I also spent 20 dollars on, and played for less than 2 hours. I feel like I got more value out of both of those games than wow. Even though their $/hour varies so greatly.

    I do, however, still play wow, and intend to continue shelling out tons of cash for it (including nearly a thousand bucks to go to blizzcon next month). I don't think it's valuable because it's such a great game, but because I really like parts of the community.

    Maybe it's sort of splitting hairs to separate the value of the game, and the value of the community, but for me, at least, that's why the game is "worth it".

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    1. oh, right. And, the point of the steak story, and the DA:O and Gone Home story, is I don't think $/hour matters very much to me. If it's fun, if I'm having fun, I'll probably pay whatever (assuming I can afford it). An incredibly cheap (in $/hour) game like dragon age was really fun and awesome, a fairly expensive game like Gone Home was really fun and awesome. WoW is somewhere in the middle, but the point isn't to get the most hours per dollar spent, or even the most enjoyment per dollar spent. The point is simply to get the most enjoyment, within whatever arbitrary limit I put on entertainment funds.

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    2. For a large part of it why I still play is the community as well. The blog community, the hunter community, the guild community, not so much the random community however, but that is what continues to keep me coming back no matter how upset I get about things sometimes. The community is great sometimes, at least select parts of it.

      As long as your enjoyment is worth what you spend, no matter what form of measurement you use, than it is a good investment in entertainment, as you said.

      Sounds interesting, where do you live? I'm in NYC.

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    3. Chicago. The one I like is called Dave Burka's, if you're ever in town.

      And you know, I have no idea if dry-aged steaks are a chicago thing from the good ol' meat packing days of the city, or an everywhere thing. hmmm...

      Anyhow, when I was little-ish, I bought an electric guitar with money I had saved up from various birthday and christmas presents, and I remember afterward sort of obsessing about how much I had spent, and still looking to see if there were better deals other places. And my grandpa made some comment that if I was happy with it, it didn't matter if I got a good deal or not. That's how I feel about WoW, and any other game, or entertainment in general.

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    4. I'll try to remember that, but knowing me I won't. lol

      That is the old school way of thinking of things. I can swear I have heard my grand parents say that or something to that effect before as well. If you are happy it really doesn't matter what it costs.

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  7. Thing is, the market has changed.

    When all MMORPG's had subs, and hence you were choosing between pay 15$ for game A or 15$ for B, games had to soley rely on their merits.

    But now the question becomes: is WoW worth Box+ Expansion + Sub + possibly Service costs for a playable Server + possibly Gift Shop

    vs

    Box Only

    or

    nada + service fees?

    If for example you really like just levelling characters on your own, decorate a house, and doing small scale PvE, a game like EverQuest 2 is argueably much better value than WoW.

    Same with if you only like small-scale PvP/Arena, a game like LoL is much more economical in comparison.

    The main reason people don't switch MMORPG's is because of time-investment and attachment to their characters, but Blizz is rapidly making that moot with all the Accountwide features and removals (you can't show friends around in the game anymore, as the content you got attached to simply isn''t there anymore. I loved the Class and Key Quests but at best I can only say 'yeah we used to have this but you can't do that anymore').

    Frankly, with even e.g. WoWInsider not understanding Blizz' antics anymore, I really don't see WoD ending well.

    And Jay Wilson being on the Dev team is hardly encouraging, either.

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    1. While I do believe the time investment and the attachment to character do play some part I would have to say the people you play with play a larger part. At least they do for me. See, my characters and achievements will be there if I leave for whenever I come back but my friends keep me playing. I have played many games for vast amounts of years that I quit and left behind even with time investment and such but once there was no longer a personal connection the connection with the game just was not enough to keep me playing them.

      You make a point, however the point you make actually does click with what I said. If you leave you are leaving for something else because you stopped enjoying it. Which in turn made it not worth it any longer. If you are still enjoying it, or anything about it, than I do not believe the cost is all that much. Even with box, subscription and possible extras. But yes, it does seem like a lot when you look at it at face value.

      I noticed that about wowinsider myself. They usually kiss as much ass as possible and even their writers seem to be turning to "the grumpy side", maybe like the dark side, with the way they are seeing things. Perhaps their eyes have been opened too?

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    2. He worked on another of the blizzard products, diablo 3, which had a lot of negative feedback.

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    3. Sonofabiscuit eater, that suck ass game. I kept trying to use the scroll wheel to zoom out and in. Should have had that in the game instead of being 100% console.

      Well, in that case, I know it will be bad now. He'll try to make it a console game and change the keys around.

      -roo

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    4. Warcraft has way to many abilities to ever be ported to a console, or at least I do not believe it can. So no worries about that.

      With him around we might however see more stuff for sale in the store and possibly gear. At least that is what most people believe.

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  8. Some things I wanted to say were already said so it may sound like I'm repeating myself. But the real question is what is the value of something?

    You know those really old postage stamps that are worth hundreds, maybe thousands of dollars? They are only worth that much because that's how much someone is willing to pay for it. They think it's worth it.

    Or like a $500 cut, colour and style at the hairdresser. Certain people value that, so it's worth it. Same as that $10000 Hermes Birkin handbag... what a bargain!

    When you worry about whether it's worth it's dollar value to you, it's easiest to compare it to something you also enjoy doing. Say, going to the movies. In Australia, it's $18 for a ticket for 2 hours. I like going to the movies. I think it's worth it. If I look at WoW, which is $16.50 a month and I play 30-40 hours a month, and I like playing, then yes, I think it's worth it's dollar per play. Imagine how much money I saved instead of going to the movies all the time. And we won't even talk about the popcorn and drinks and choc tops.

    The game is not worth it's dollar if you don't enjoy it. Even if it was 5c a month and you hated it, you might as well stop. Don't pay money if you're not having fun - because you know what? Then it sounds like an addiction....

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    1. That is what I was trying to get at when people were saying they were quitting because it 'was not worth it". The dollar cost for game play is well worth it, they are quitting because they no longer like it, not because the game is not worth what it costs.

      However, as you mentioned, something is only worth as much as someone is willing to pay for it. I used to own a comic book store and I had to explain that to so many people trying to see things to me.

      Them: "But the price guide says it is worth $10, why won't you give me $10."
      Me: "Because I do not want it."
      Them: "How about $8, give me $8."
      Me: "I would not even give you a quarter for it."
      Them: " But the price guide says it is worth $10 why are you being a dick, just give me $5 then".
      Me: "No, I do not want it."
      Them: "Why?"
      Me: "See those boxes over there with the 4 for a $1 sign on them? There are over 300 of them in there. The price guide might say they are worth $10 each and maybe they are somewhere in the US but here, in NY, in my store, they are not even worth 4 for a $1 because I can not sell them even at that price."

      Value is in the eye of the person paying for it.

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  9. It never makes sense to me to try to quantize a decision like that. Very Ecomomist, but doesn't feel right, Hours can be GREAT!, or fun, or forced but very un-fun, or pleasantly passing. One great hour can be worth $15 all on its own.

    But if you're following down that line, you really want to subtract the value of unpleasant hours. That is, if you value every enjoyable hour, you need to negative-value every annoying hour.

    You could assign the negative value of an hour in several ways. You could ask yourself: How much could you earn in an hour? Or you could ask yourself: If you spent an hour in an LFR you hated, how much would you have paid to not have to do that? Or you could just say that every unpleasant hour is worth -1$

    Now, I have no doubt that you will play WoW regardless of the results of this exercise. Which is one part of why I'm not crazy about the general method as applied to individuals, but if you are going to go all micro-econometric, you need to add up the downsides too. :)

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    1. I would say even if I took away an hour for every hour of hell I spent in the LFR I would still be well ahead of the curve on investing in my entertainment.

      As for how much I would pay to not have to do LFR?

      I would easily PAY blizzard huge sums of money to make LFR gear available for purchases with justice points and then let me grind, however much I choose or don't choose to, to get LFR item level gear. Oh, and quest items in the case of the legendary.

      It would be worth, and I am not exaggerating, $1,000, maybe more, if I could have never had to step into LFR and had a way I could get everything I got from it elsewhere in a more enjoyable way. Heck, I might even go as high as saying it would have been worth $2,000 to have never had to step into LFR.

      Again, with that all said, I would still say it is well worth the investment for entertainment on a pure numbers level and even more, much much more, if we use your method of saying that one really great hour could be worth the $15 all on its own.

      So yes, even if I subtracted from all the negative experiences warcraft would still meet the $1/hr clip. It would not look like as good a value as it does now, no, but it would still be an incredible value for a repeatable form of entertainment.

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  10. I've been using it as a comparison value. If I'm playing and enjoying a F2P game then I don't mind spending $15 dollars a month on it because I never worried about spending the money on WoW so why should it be different.

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    1. I find I spend more on the free to play games than I ever spent on wow. Lack of self control most likely, but that is why I try to keep away from them. Free to play games are like crack. Once you buy you just keep buying. I don't need any more addiction, coffee and cigarettes more than enough addiction already. lol

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