There are three different versions of the Legion expansion players can buy:
- the Standard,
- the Digital Deluxe
- the boxed Collector’s Editions.
All three versions will of course give access to the new content, zones, quests, dungeons, raids and all that stuff.
To encourage existing players to buy the expansion Blizzard give perks to pre-order. When purchasing the the Standard Edition you get
- a boost to Level 100 instantly
- early access to the new Demon Hunter class, which will presumably be when they give us the pre-patch.
For a few dollars (or pounds) more you can upgrade the Standard Edition to a Digital Deluxe Edition that comes with
- Wings of the Betrayer for Diablo,
- some bonus portraits for StarCraft,
- a Felstalker Mount for Heroes of the Storm,
- for World of Warcraft, an Illidari Felstalker Mount and matching pet Nibbles, a the level 100 boost and the early access to the new Demon Hunter class;
For yet more cash you can buy the physical boxed Collector’s Edition. The goodies this edition comes with are,
- discs containing the game files,
- a full-color hardcover art book,
- a behind-the-scenes two-disc Blu-ray/DVD set,
- a CD soundtrack,
- a Legion mouse pad,
- the Wings of the Betrayer for Diablo,
- some bonus portraits for StarCraft,
- a Felstalker Mount for Heroes of the Storm,
- for World of Warcraft an Illidari Felstalker Mount and matching pet Nibbles, the level 100 boost
The one thing you won’t get are the early access to the new Demon Hunter class because unlike the standard and Digital Deluxe versions, you cannot upgrade your Warcraft account to Legion with a pre-purchase and you have to wait until the launch day to be able to get your copy of Legion.
Now this is very disappointing but there is a possible reprieve for anyone wanting to get the boxed Collector’s Edition, if you order online some retailers guarantee to get the game to you on the launch date and to do that they usually deliver it by courier the day before the official launch date, but that doesn’t always workout that way and with the extended hours most courier companies now work you may have to wait until 10pm on the day to get your game.
Now when TBC launched there was no digital pre-order ption and like most people I bought my expansion on launch day from the High Street and returned home and joined friends and levelled together. Wrath of the Lich King was the same and I went out at midnight and bought mine from a supermarket but some friends had managed to get their copies early by ordering online. So when Cataclysm launched I did that too and the retaiuler I used had the game with me 6 hours before the launch, I used the same retailer for Mists but they failed to deliver early and I was unable to join my guildies as they levelled up in Jade Forest while I was unable to even get into the new content. Having the following day booked off work, not having access to the game and not being able to guarantee getting the game before early evening at best meant I had to make a decision either buy the digital version or waste a days leave, and being an impatient ass I bought the digital standard edition and just took the £30 extra cost of the expansion on the chin. When the same thing happened for Warlords I was annoyed but resigned myself to having to suffer a £30 tax on my impatience. Then I discovered that Blizzard would refund the cost of the digital version.
I raised a ticket and discovered that the refund wasn’t actually a refund but they would give you back a standard edition game key to gift to a friend. That’s not a great solution but it did mean when my son wanted to reactivate his account I had a key for him. But I was luycky. I’m sure most of us would be unable to find a friend to give it to as all of your friends that would want a key would of already have pre-purchased the game, had bought it from the store by the time you get your key
Besides having to wait to play the game, anyone wanting to have the box CE also has to wait for their mount, the pet and of course the other digital goodies for the other Blizzard games and that means that some of the shine is removed from that as the goods that you’e reciving are months old by the time you get access to them. Then there is the delay in getting the level 100 boost, which while not a major issue for some of us as we have multiple leel 100 characters already for some players it can be a big deal.
However, the real kick in the teeth this time is that the early access to the Demon Hunter is blocked off for people waiting to buy the boxed Collector’s Edition. It is this that makes Blizzard sticking to the same solution this time round more of a kick in the teeth. Because this is giving people buying the digital editions a distinct advantage and I really don’t understand why Blizzard won’t change the process.
Personally, I’m not sure what I’m doing this time around, because of my planned US trip being in the summer a lot will depend on when the expansion launches and with my luck, I’m convinced I’ll be missing the launch this time around and I’ll be 3 to 4 weeks behind when I return from that vacation. If that suspicion is right I’ll have my Collector’s Edition waiting for me when I arrive home AND not be able to take time off work to catch up so it won’t be an issue for me but for those players that are affected by this Blizzard need to review this awful solution and give the playerbase a proper solution.
The obvious solution is for Blizzard to refund the money to our credit/debit cards when we buy the digital edition and then upgrade to the boxed Collector’s Edition, even if Blizzard have some reason for not doing this, surely they could refund us in game time or a store credit.
Another solution that other companies use is to provide a code that prints out on your pre-order receipt that gives proof of your pre-order of the retail CE so you can get all the benefits of the CE before launch then post launch you have a few days to apply a full CE code or you lose all the benefits gained. One negative to this solution is if Blizzard cannot downgrade our accounts but I can’t see why that wouldn’t be possible as they have removed levels from people for levelling violations before so this has to be a possibility. They could even make a version of the boxed Collector’s Edition without a code in the box and allow retailers equipped to issue codes on receipts to just issue you a Collector’s Edition code when you pay in full and then mail the codeless box for launch day. There are two main flaws in this option is the extra cost of having to make 2 different boxes and the big risk of retailers marketing the codeless boxes and selling them as full versions of the game.
While not a perfect solution an alternative to this would be to make the physical editions of the game (normal and Collector’s Editions) vailable for purchase one week before the official launch, I can’t think of any potential downside as you can’t access the content until the servers release the new content and I really can’t see why this isn’t the standard method for WoW and other server based games. This works for very well for both Blizzard and the retailer but as a customer we still don’t get access to the digital goodies much earlier but at least we get to play the new content at launch time without the need to pay twice.
Another solution is for Blizzard to offer the boxed CE for sale through the Blizzard store and then mail out the physical goodies post launch. This would be a good solution for Blizzard and the customer but this may cause problems with retailers who could claim Blizzard are trying to steal their customers.
However the best solution I can think of that allows the customer to get early access, Blizzard to benefit from pre-order digital sales and not alienating customers at the same time as not upsetting the retailers is to make the physical goods from the Collector’s Edition available for purchase without a game key and without the digital in-game goodies. Call it Collector’s Edition Lite, this means we can pre-order a digital copy (either Standard or Deluxe) and still get the physical goods. The cost would be the same as the boxed CE less the cost of the Digital Deluxe version, which using Warlords prices would by $20 as the boxed Collector’s Edition was $90 and the Digital Deluxe was $70. Even a small premium to cover the increased production cost would be better than the $50 we have to pay now to get early access and the boxed version. Blizzard could also make the digital goodies available separately too and there is a precedent here as they did this just before Christmas with the Warlords of Draenor Digital Deluxe Items.
So to recap the way Blizzard are punishing people wanting the Collector’s Edition by forcing them, arguably their most hard core and loyal customers into buying the game twice and there are many viable solutions to the problem but for some reason Blizzard choose to stick to a system that doesn’t solve the problem for the vast majority of the players affected and in these days of dwindling numbers of players in the game can they afford to upset this particular group of customers? I suspect not but at the same time I don’t see Blizzard making a U turn on this issue this time around as the main threads on the forums have been largely ignored by Blizzard.
If you agree with my views or if you think I’ve been talking poppycock or if you’d like your say on this subject please leave a comment below.