WoW account services are about to get more expensive in the UK and EU, and players are pissed

Services widely regarded as too expensive are becoming even more so on one side of the Atlantic.

On the back of Hearthstone card pack prices going up, Blizzard announced today that World of Warcraft's account services will become more expensive in Europe and the UK on April 5. In what is likely a reaction to post-Brexit exchange rates that have gutted the value of the pound and with the euro still so low, both UK and EU players will see a roughly 25 percent increase in the price of server transfers, race changes, character boosts, and more. Fortunately, subscription fees will, for now, remain unchanged.

"We carefully review the prices of our games and services in all currencies on a regular basis, and we occasionally need to make changes based on regional market conditions," Blizzard wrote on Battle.net in a statement that echoed what they said about Hearthstone prince hikes two weeks ago.

WoWHead has a complete table that shows the new prices compared to their current cost in euros, but some of the highlights include: 

  • Character transfers going from €20 to €25/£19
  • Name changes going from €8 to €10/£9
  • Race changes going from €20 to €25/£19
  • Faction changes going from €20 to €25/£19
  • Character boosts going from €50 to €60/£49

What's interesting is how some services are becoming cheaper and others more expensive than compared to their cost in US dollars based on today's exchange rate.

  • Character transfers (and other similarly priced services) are $25, which equates to €23.19/£19.97
  • Name changes are $10, which equates to €9.28/£7.99
  • Character boosts are $60 which equates to €55.66/47.92

What this means is that, dollar for dollar, Europeans are paying more for some account services than their American peers and slightly less for others—the biggest difference being character boosts costing Europeans over €4 more than the equivalent American pricing. 

This, understandably, has many European players upset. Threads on both the subreddit and forums are quickly filling up with angry comments. While many can understand that inflation needs to be accounted for, the real issue is that Warcraft's account services are widely regarded as too expensive to begin with. Jacking up the price is only salting an already tender wound.

"What the fuck?" writes deronscf on Reddit. "I understand that [Blizzard] is a company and they got to make their money somehow, but transfers are something that absolutely shouldn't become more expensive than it already is. Transfers should be free in the first place, given how many dead realms are out there."

As someone who's had to pay to transfer off of a server because the ratio between Horde and Alliance players was disproportionate, I tend to agree. The culture, population, and ratio of factions on a server are all monumentally important to enjoying the game and it's impossible to tell a good server from a bad one without trying.

I understand that [Blizzard] is a company and they got to make their money somehow, but transfers are something that absolutely shouldn't become more expensive than it already is.

Part of the issue is that these account services are largely automated. It's not like you're paying to ship an item back to a store for an exchange. You're merely paying for a computer start a process like redesigning your character's appearance. 

Players are also quick to point out that services in other MMOs are much, much cheaper. For example, Final Fantasy XIV—easily Warcraft's biggest competitor—only charges €14/£12 for a character transfer to a new server. That's €10/£7 cheaper than World of Warcraft's new prices.

"I love WoW but I'm really soured by this artificial 'Blizzard tax' we've got, and now they have the gall to increase the prices," writes 8-Brit. It's obvious that in a genre that is largely free-to-play, World of Warcraft's monthly subscription, costly expansions, and expensive services is alienating to many.

It's not going to help come April 5, but if you were thinking about paying for any of these services and are in the EU or UK, you might consider doing it now. Many of these account services are 25 percent off until April 4. That's kind of ironic, isn't it? 

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