"Early Access" Offerings at an Additional Cost Needs to Stop
Blizzcon 2023 recently happened, and I have a something to say about World of Warcraft's upcoming expansion.
First and foremost, I am not a big fan of Blizzard games. Last time I played World of Warcraft was back when Mists of Pandaria released and Diablo 4 was the last game I purchased/played from Blizzard.
However, something that they announced during the World of Warcraft expansion announcement needs to stop. Not only at Blizzard, but all game developers/publishers.
And that is... Early Access only on a higher price tier of a pre-order.
Now, I know it happens because people will pay the higher cost to get the pre-order. Heck, I'm even guilty of it, as I bought the higher tier of Diablo 4 to get the Beta Early Access. But, it is definitely something that I feel shouldn't happen.
Early Access is okay if it is offered to all of those who pre-order. But, if it is locked behind an extra $10-30, and the game is a live-service game with rankings, multiplayer, etc., then I consider that a pay-to-win mechanic, and thus I do not like it.
For example, Final Fantasy XIV offers Early Access. But that is for anyone who pre-orders the new expansion. As for new games, EA WRC recently released, and they offered early access to the game for anyone who pre-ordered.
If you offer early access for your game, for any pre-order package, then that is okay. But if you lock early access behind a higher priced tier, then please stop.
Oh, and what grinds my gears about this even more is that Blizzard, in the fine print, wrote that it is "Up to 3 days." You aren't guaranteed the three days of early access. So, if the servers take a dump the day of release, or they have login/lag issues on the first three days, you are not entitled to get anything in return.
I just think that this is predatory, and we really shouldn't be okay with it. But, I know that many will still purchase the higher priced tier to get that early access, and Blizzard, and other game publishers, will continue to do it until we, as gamers, speak with our wallets and stop purchasing them.
Okay, #rant done!