Blog Azeroth Weekly Shared Topic: Recruit a Friend (or yourself!)

Posted by in Rant

This post is the only shared topic from the Blog Azeroth forums that I’ve replied to thus far, and if you’d like to look at the original post, you can go right here. I also understand that there was some confusion regarding the costs I outlined previously, and as such, I have edited the post to more accurately/clearly (I hope) reflect what exactly you’re paying for if you’re trying to milk every single bonus out of the Refer-A-Friend promo. Additionally, if you have other RAF questions, please see the Blizzard site. 

So you’re facing the pre Wrath of the Lich King doldrums. You’re sick of raiding, picked up all the gear you possibly could, destroyed (or were destroyed in) arenas, farmed an unspeakably huge amount of gold—what’s left to do? You could certainly start farming reputation for achievements or go back and play through all the quests you’ve never done, but why not try another toon? There are great benefits—like expanding your class knowledge or being able to pick up another profitable profession—but going from 1 to 60 is such a bore. 

Fortunately, getting the toon you’ve always wanted is only a few mouse-clicks away! Zoom through the first few levels where XP is painfully easy to acquire, and then skip all the boring run arounds. Why pay for a leveling service when it’s costly, an inefficient use of time, and could very well earn you the ban-hammer? Blizzard has the answer, and it’s 100% safe and effective!

Buy a second account!

You heard me. While this isn’t what Blizzard supposedly endorses, how many people could you refer who aren’t already playing? Believe me, if my friends aren’t playing now, they won’t ever be—and I’m sure I’m not the only person in that situation. So if you’re a diehard with disposable income (in the age of high energy prices, poor health insurance and rising food costs), or maybe you just don’t spend a wad of cash on hookers and blow every weekend, paying for two months on another account can effectively get you XP bonuses, summons, thirty “free” levels on your main account and the coveted Zhevra mount. 

This is great! For just a few months’ payment, you can totally abuse Blizzard’s leveling system and give the metaphorical finger (zooming by on your many-striped mount) to everyone else who couldn’t do it. At first, even I considered it—why not take advantage of an exploit when you see it?—and came up with this particular scheme: 

  1. I send a Refer-a-Friend notice to one of Lycentia’s alternate e-mail addresses. He repeats the procedure with one of my alternate e-mail addresses.
  2. We both purchase two months of play time on our “new” accounts (using a shiny 60 day gamecard); this also earns each of our main accounts a free month of play, essentially meaning we’re making three (instead of four) payments. 
  3. Lycentia and I roll toons on Scarlet Crusade to play with Phaelia and co. and coerce her into giving us bags and stuff, all while enjoying triple XP gains from mobs and quests and the ability to summon one another around Azeroth. 
  4. Once we hit 60 on the RAF (Refer-a-Friend) accounts, we blithely gift our Horde lowbies on Mal’ganis from our main accounts with 30 free levels (home to Elitist Jerks, Serious Casual and the new and improved Juggernaut II). Oh, and enjoy our zhevras on our mains. 

Unfortunately, multiple aspects of our plan don’t quite work: at first glance, Blizzard seems to have a few principles Firstly, the toons we roll on our RAF accounts need to be on the same realm and of the same faction of the toons we want to gift levels to on our main accounts. For example: if I rolled an RAF Alliance toon on Scarlet Crusade, I could only gift levels to a toon from Runy’s account on Scarlet Crusade. No cross-realm cross-faction bullshit. Bummer. 

In actuality, taking advantage of all the bonuses is much more difficult (and costly!) than it seems when working with multiple people. Accounts must be linked in order to receive the party triple XP bonuses and summons. If I referred Lycentia and he referred me, our RAF accounts would be linked to each other’s main accounts, meaning we couldn’t level our RAF accounts together and take advantage of the bonuses. In fact, to get ALL (and end up with two 60s and a zhevra each) the mega-boner bonuses, we’d have to pull off something a little trickier:

Example: 

Lycentia RAF’s Runy’s alternate e-mail → Runy has a NEW ACCOUNT

Runy’s NEW ACCOUNT RAF’s Lycentia’s alternate e-mail → Lycentia has a NEW ACCOUNT

Lycentia’s new account is now linked to Runy’s new account, and both toons receive XP bonuses and summons. 

Lycentia’s New Account Gifts 30 Levels to Runy’s New Account

Runy’s New Account Gifts 30 Levels to Lycentia’s Main Account

What this means is that the middle RAF account (me, in this case) needs to have two toons on it. These toons will later need to be merged with the main account at a cost of $25.00 each. Lycentia’s main account will also have a zhevra, and my RAF account will receive a zhevra. I would also need to make sure that the second toon on Runy’s account is already at level 30 by the time it receives the gifted levels so that it would hit 60 instantly. Why not switch it around so that Lycentia has to do that bullshit? Well, he already has a level twenty-something rogue on Mal’ganis while my paladin is only level 7.

Essentially, we can go through all those hoops and ladders, level our super-speedy RAF toons on Mal’ganis, take up professions on them that would be highly profitable, gift our 30 levels and essentially have two very viable Horde toons to dick around with there—or even raid on, if that was what we wanted. And then what? Merge accounts and stop paying for both. 

Let’s do some math!

Runy’s Monetarial Expectations:

Runy’s Main Account (using month-to-month payments):

$14.95 + $14.95 = $29.90 for two months

Runy’s RAF Account:

$29.99 (Gamecard)

Runy’s Total:

$29.90 (Main Account)+$29.99 (RAF Account)+2($25.00 to merge accounts)+$40.00 (for Battlechest account upgrade)= $149.89

 

Lycentia’s Monetarial Expectations:

Lycentia’s Main Account (using month-to-month payments):

$14.95 + FREE MONTH (from RAF) = $14.95 for two months

Lycentia’s RAF Account (using a 60 day gamecard):

FREE MONTH (from RAF) + $29.99 = $29.99

Lycentia’s Total:

$14.95 (Main Account)+$29.99 (Gamecard from RAF Account)+$25.00 (to merge accounts)+$40.00 (for Battlchest account upgrade) = $109.94 for two quick new Level 60 toons. And a Zhevra. 

Remember, these costs reflect the fact that you need to upgrade trial accounts to regular accounts if you ever plan on merging them back onto your main account for full-time play. If you buy the WoW Battlechest, this costs $40.00, total (and also includes some useless strategy guides). $259.83 later, this would be a very profitable venture for Blizzard. Remember, this is only if Lycentia and I wanted to take FULL advantage of the whole procedure (two level 60’s each, all XP bonuses, and two zhevras): he could easily just use a Refer-a-Friend for me and I’d end up having to merge ONE toon and he’d get his two toons and a zhevra. Significantly less expensive—just the $109.94. Split that between two makeout partners, and it’s $54.97.

Remember—training and mounts still require gold, so if you’re gleefully gifting levels without taking any of that into consideration, you might be stuck with a rather ridiculous 60 in terribad gear with no cash. If this is really the route you want to go, consider taking non-competing gathering professions (Skinning, Mining, and Herbalism) and making a point of frequenting the AH with all your goodies—low level gems, mats, patterns, and cloth—and keep a bank alt parked some place helpful so that you don’t have to bring your questing toons back to a capital city.

The entire procedure leaves a bad taste in my mouth, akin to “earning” pets, mounts or items by paying for events such as Blizzcon or the WoW TCG, but the small portion of me that yearns to be ruthlessly efficient in my endeavors is considering it. I don’t necessarily think that Blizzard made the right decision in offering this cheap (not literally) dilemma to players, especially since much of the early-on critical class learning comes from the leveling process, but if you’re interested in having yet another 70, switching factions quickly, multi-boxing, leveling to play with a friend on another realm or, heaven forbid, actually referring a friend, you might as well reap the bonus benefits from the “program.” Regardless, it’s an awful lot of money for convenience—and a pony. 

For now, I imagine I’ll keep doing it the hard way—just how I like it—and wait for a beta key to miraculously appear in my mailbox.