What was that about a free lunch?

First, an admin note: Thanks to all my patient readers for hanging in there while I was gone — strep throat took a nasty complication turn and resulted in a short hospital stay, but I am fine now and as soon as I get off the happy drugs I will be back to my normal crabby self. (Or maybe, judging by the tone of this post, I already am.)

While I had all that down time, I decided to make use of the new Amazon Prime feature that gives you — as advertised — a ton of free books and magazines that you can download to your Kindle or via an app to pretty much any mobile device. The service has been widely touted as a nifty perk for Amazon Prime members. And it is. There is a wide variety of reads available, and they are not all crappy things you wouldn’t pay for anyway if you had to, there is a lot of good stuff in there.

But here’s the thing: It’s a giant advertising gimmick. The magazines, for example, include some great ones, but nothing guarantees that they will be available in the Prime free service more than a month or so. Clearly the intent is to “hook” you on a couple, then hit you up with a subscription fee. Same with the books. I read a fair amount of science fiction, and the books available in that genre seem to include a lot of “Book 1 in the 5-book series”, with — of course — the remaining parts of the series not free. Same with popular authors — you get one free, but the rest of the author’s books will cost you.

Now, there is nothing illegal or even underhanded about this, but there is also absolutely nothing altruistic about it. Yes, the items are technically free (if you don’t take into account your Amazon Prime membership fee), but the purpose of offering them is mainly to sell you more stuff, and that is decidedly not how Amazon is marketing the service. In fact, they don’t even mention it in the promotional pieces. And honestly, when you realize the real purpose of it, no matter how jaded you are, you feel kind of duped.

I know you are saying, “Okay, Fi, all well and good, but what the heck does this have to do with WoW?” Well, just that Blizzard has a habit of pulling the same thing on its players. And it seems that the practice is increasing in frequency in Legion.

As advertised: No more limitations on how many specs you can play within your class!
Reality: You must have a separate artifact weapon for each spec, and the commitment required to develop each one is onerous and tedious.

As advertised: No more limitations on how many pieces of crafted gear you can equip!
Reality: The gear, even if upgraded to the max, is at the same or lower level than what you can get far more easily though other means in the game. Also, you can only sell the lowest level gear on the auction house because it must be soulbound for you to upgrade it. Not to mention upgrading it is extremely labor- and time-intensive, to the point that if your character can do so, it almost certainly no longer needs the gear.

As advertised: No more long drawn-out slogs to get legendary gear!
Reality:  Another Blizz opportunity to use the lazy solution of RNG for gear. (And not for nothin’, but it certainly seems strange to me that every member of the Mythic World First contenders — all of them, not just the winners — had a piece of legendary gear. And not the crappy pieces, either. Really?????? Not a single one of those players had the same sort of bad luck many of the Great Unwashed do? Nope, nothing suspicious about that…..🙄)

As advertised: Fun professions! Many ways to level them!
Reality: The “many ways to level them” is actually “You must participate in every activity in the game — often at a high skill level — to level them.”

And what does Blizz get out of these little advertising deceptions? What are they really selling? Monthly Active User (MAU) time, the standard of success by which ActiBlizz now measures every game in their stable. Every one of these so-called Legion “perks” — and more that I did not list — are designed to get players to spend more time in the game than in any previous expansion. Blizz dresses it up as “content” and as “play style choice”, but it is really designed to pad the numbers for Blizz execs. The more people stay active in the game, the better the chances that they will pay to watch esports activities, buy store gear and services (especially the game token in Legion), buy actual and e-tickets to Blizzcon, etc.

As with the Amazon Prime “free reading” promotion, there is nothing inherently bad about this. We are, after all, voluntary customers for this game. The company exists to make a profit, the bigger the better. And the carefully lawyer-parsed words designed to draw us in are not technically false.

But I still feel kind of duped.

About Fiannor
I have a day job but escape by playing WoW. I love playing a hunter, and my Lake Wobegonian goal is to become "above average" at it.

2 Responses to What was that about a free lunch?

  1. Bheleu says:

    Personally, I don’t mind some of the grinds – I’ve done a lot of the rep grinds in the past. They could get a lot of “MAU” out of me. But I have to be having fun. I don’t like what they have done to hunters, and with no word on fixing them they have lost my money for legion, for monthly subscription (using tokens now), and I only spend enough time in the game to run old content for mounts. Not sure I’d care for the professions in Legion though…..

  2. Athie says:

    For me, Legion lasted a bit over a month. I ran the raid once in normal, and that was… Fine. I am burned out on World Quests, and I’ve found that I don’t like mythic dungeons. So? Game over, I guess.

    I have always taken mid-expansion breaks in the past. Never this early, though, and I’ve never felt *finished.* It’s distressing.

    Incidentally, after a year in Tanaan/HFC, guess what my least favorite parts of Legion were? Yep — the demony parts. Felt like retreads.

%d bloggers like this: