On the January 30th this year, Blizzard, the company that produces World of Warcraft and many other games, announced that from that day the players could get their hands on digital copies of the next World of Warcraft expansion: Battle for Azeroth.
Now I won’t go into the disaster that was queueing (digitally) for days and being charged four times without getting an actual game. But I do want to get into the debate the digital edition of the game has sparked on the official forums.
Like many gaming companies, Blizzard offers not just digital editions of their games. With every new release the player can also purchase a physical Collectors edition (CE). These CE’s have a copy of the game, the soundtrack, a dvd with the making of the game, a mouse mat and an art book. Sometimes they put some extra things in there, but it depends on what the company wants to promote.
I have always been a fan of these CE’s because you get something you can hold in years to come. Not just a digital game code. I especially love art books and so in many years in the past, I have purchased CE’s from all sorts of games just to get the art books they came with. Sure, you pay a bit extra, but you get an actual book with everything else too. Being the book nerd and art lover myself, I can’t pass such a chance when it comes to games I adore.
Now these things can be pretty pricey! I think the most expensive one I ever bought was for Elder Scrolls or Overwatch. Both came with an impressive statue and of course an art book, so I thought it was money well spent, but what would you do if you feel like the company doesn’t seem to care about the people who buy these editions?
That is what the whole debate is about. Now let me explain how this all started; it’s not exactly a new thing that people pre-purchase games or get early access to those games. Often you buy the game before it launches and receive a code, which you put into your account and once the company wants the game to be live, it will download it for you and that is that.
In the past, people who bought physical editions knew they wouldn’t be able to play as quick as people who order digital editions. Most ‘servers’ go live at midnight and shops that do midnight launches are rarer and rarer these days. But playing 12 hours later than everyone else isn’t a huge thing, right? What if instead of 12 hours it was 6 months? And that is where the problem lies with Blizzards latest release of their digital expansion.
Many people have bought the digital edition and have started to play the new races that are unlocked by pre-purchasing this edition. You don’t have access to the real expansion just yet, just this new ‘upgrade’ of your current game. For those that want to wait until the physical CE comes out there is no option to play these new races yet. They will have to wait until the game goes live and customers are able to get their hands on this edition.
Certain players feel like Blizzard has wronged them for this. In their words they are paying more to get the best edition out there; but they won’t get any of the early access perks that digital editions give. Now some players have asked Blizzard if it’s not possible to get a digital code when they pre-order the CE. But so far, the gaming company has mentioned they don’t do this with their retailers like Amazon or GAME (UK).
When this question was mentioned again this year the company said that you can pre-purchase the digital copy of the game and later buy the CE and enter that code. Blizzard will then give you back the code of your first, digital copy so that you can gift it to a friend of yours. So making you pay twice for the game if you want the CE, but also the perks of having early access. This sparked a lot of fury on the forums and the internet.
On the forums Zeldus said:
I don’t bloody need TWO copies of the game, nor do I have a friend to give a SECOND copy too. It’s funny how we’re the most loyal and eager but get screwed.I would settle for buying both and getting game time once the code swap is made.
Tennin responded by saying:
I always get the physical Collector’s Edition, too, and was quite put off by how they handled this with Legion. I thought by the next expansion they’d have a better system in place for those of us who get the CE box. With almost 8 months of lead time to play the new races, this is even worse than before.
This isn’t the first year this has happened. Many players were surprised that Blizzard hasn’t come up with a solution for this since the last debacle it created when Legion released. Instead of races, players missed out on the chance to play a new class earlier by not ordering the digital edition. I have to admit that I was one of those players who purchased the game twice; just because I wanted to be able to play the new class early like everyone else. For me it wasn’t so bad to get the code back once I had my CE, and gift it to one of my listeners on my podcast.
And now we have Battle for Azeroth causing outrage online again. Blizzard is giving the same reply to the complaints as last year. I can’t really see them change the way they would handle this situation.
Sohkatoa on the forums had a good idea though:
This time we have months of time to play the new races… So I don’t want to either have my hubs wait or waste money buying the xpac twice.
I haven’t seen any answers if this yet, anyone else have ideas if Blizzard is planning to offer the same solution as with Legion, or a better solution?
I am semi- hopeful that they’ll offer the reimbursement through a wow coin so I can either pay for a few months of time or gold, whatever…. but like I said, I’ve seen nothing but speculation so far.’
My two cents
Where do I stand on this? Well, I would be lying if I said I didn’t mind. Of course I want to play the new races sooner rather than later. I also think that their casual response of just gifting the extra code to a friend is very uncaring almost.
Then again I think to myself, in 6 months time the game will go live. I will have 6 months of extra content with these new races that others have already played to death. So I will be enjoying the game a bit longer. Also, I really can’t afford to buy the game twice. Nor do I want to stop buying the CE’s because I know I will regret it in time. Yes, I am trying to grasp for reasons not to pay twice for something here; but I am happy to tell myself these lies… I mean reasons… honestly.
Or I could gift the digital code to a subscriber of my twitch channel. Or if they give me two wow-tokens for that first digital code like Sohkatoa suggested, I will be suckered into that for certain.
Where do you stand on the whole debate of digital version vs physical Collectors Edition?
And want to see what Battle of Azeroth is all about? Then go and visit the official website for Battle for Azeroth.