I hesitate to shout “troll!” at an actual article on a semi-actual gaming site, but I think I have to in this case. Here’s the article, from GotGame.com. It’s a short editorial that argues that Blizzard will begin charging a (monthly?) fee to play games on Battle.net, especially once SC2 and D3 are out.

    The main points, such as they are, is that everything costs more money these days, that WoW has a monthly fee, that the newly-modernized user accounts on Battle.net will make it easy to charge users for access, and that Blizzard is so popular they could get away with it.  It’s not necessarily trolling to speculate about this sort of thing, but the author needs to provide some actual evidence, or at least a convincing theory behind their argument. This article does neither. A quote:

    Don?t believe it? Of course this may just be some crazy theory, but there is a convincing argument that may get you thinking.

    …Theory?s [sic] like this could be way off base. However, it is completely within Blizzards [sic] grasp to do such a thing. The irony behind this is it easily imaginable that it would cost Blizzard zero players!

    I found this useless, and feel sort of dirty for even linking to it. Perhaps I’m expecting too much from online gaming journalism, much of which is entirely driven by a, “create controversy to get hits” business model…

    Update: I’m not saying the premise is impossible. In fact I personally think it’s fairly likely that we’ll see some type of fees added to Battle.net in the future. What type? Tiered service, with more features for pay? RMT? Monthly fees? None of the above? I don’t know. But I think if you’re going to write an article about a topic as potentially-explosive as this, you’ve got to do it carefully and professionally. Bring the links, bring the comparisons to other fee-based online communities, find quotes from Blizzard guys on the issue, etc. Don’t just throw out some wild speculation with nothing to back it up.

    Here’s a useful link; took me 5 seconds to find. Leonard Boyarsky from last year’s Blizzcon:

    In terms of the financial model, our ideal, our goal has always been to make the game first. You know, what?s going to make the best game? And then we?ll figure out what we need to do to support that on a financial model side. Obviously we understand what people want and don?t want from a financial model. As Blizzard always does, we?re going to take into account what people are looking for and we don?t ever want to feel like we?re ripping people off. We like to give a lot of value for whatever money it?s spent in on our games.

    Anyone can make some wild claim and vomit up a garbled article full of vague claims, circumstantial evidence, and typos. For example, here’s an article I found pulled out of . Click through to read the shocking investigative report.

    Battle.net 2.0’s Ultimate Purpose: Blizzard’s Grand Scheme to Replace Expensive Western Players with Lower-Cost Chinese Gamers

    Now that Blizzard has transitioned to Battle.net 2.0, they possess real names and contact information for everyone who uses their service. In many cases they also have credit card and other financial information for their users, thanks to WoW subscriptions, Blizzard Store sales, streaming downloads, and more. Blizzard also has a huge fan base in China, many of whom are dangerous cyber criminals, as evidenced by their constant gold farming and character level up service spamming.

    It’s clear from this convincing evidence that Blizzard is secretly in league with these Chinese gamers. If they were not, they’d ban them from World of Warcraft. It’s just that simple.

    Therefore, Blizzard must be collecting their personal information as well. I know this sounds crazy, but just look at the evidence. Here’s the truth!  Blizzard is planning to abduct and disappear most of their American and European fans, secretly replacing them with Chinese gold farmers.Western players consume a disproportionate amount of bandwidth and customer support time, while playing their games for free, rather than paying hourly, as gamers do in Asia. For great profit, Blizzard will disappear their Western gamers and replace them with more efficient Chinese gamers, who cause less trouble and have lower labor costs.

    This plan will cut Blizzard’s costs greatly, while boosting their profits. Battle.net will therefore no longer be free, while Blizzard Entertainment will operate the world’s largest ring of abduction and white slavery. I know it sounds crazy, but if you look at the evidence it’s thought provoking!

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