Demon Hunters have arrived within World of Warcraft in preparation for the upcoming release of Legion, the game’s latest expansion. The second hero class in the game, Demon Hunters focus on unleashing the twisted power of the Burning Legion against them — drawing on fel energy to power their attacks and abilities. In game, they’re a mix of melee and magic which is an absolute blast to play, but unfortunately you can only use them if you’ve pre-purchased a digital version of Legion ahead of launch.
Like in all previous expansions, Blizzard gave players the option to purchase a digital version of the standard game or collector’s edition. Those include all of the digital bonuses present in the physical edition, and each allows players to save $20 or so if they aren’t interested in the physical collector’s edition of the game. By pre-purchasing Legion digitally, you’ll get to play the Demon Hunter right now and receive a level 100 boost for one of your characters immediately.
Here’s the rub: For everyone who purchased the physical edition of the game, early access isn’t an option. And that has not sat well with many.
The policy prevents players from accessing the Demon Hunter early and receiving their character boost to prepare for the expansion — which is super useful to do if you’re really into the game — unless they purchase the game twice. And guess what? That’s exactly what Blizzard’s official recommendation was:
This recommendation has been something Blizzard has stuck to with World of Warcraft expansions ever since it first introduced the digital pre-purchase system back with Mists of Panderia in 2012 despite the protests of many players. Many players feel as if they are being punished for wanting a physical copy of the collector’s edition – while also wanting to make sure they are prepared for the launch of the newest expansion, which is an understandable concern.
Many players have also been puzzled by Blizzard’s decision to only offer a refund in the form of an additional game key. While Blizzard’s recommendation is to provide it to a friend, players don’t seem to have many people they can re-sell or gift a key to post-launch given that most everyone has already bought their expansion if they going to do so.
A simple solution would be to refund the purchase once a player’s key from their physical collector’s edition has been applied to their account, which could even be done via game time in order to avoid thousands of refunds and a massive exchange of money. There have been a few players who’ve reported that customer service agreed to refund their second purchase of the expansion with game time, although that isn’t something that’s been confirmed directly by Blizzard.
What’s surprising is that Blizzard hasn’t allowed players to pre-purchase the physical collector’s edition of the game at full price, then sent them a code they could plug into their account to gain access to the digital goodies early. Then, once their physical edition arrived, they would get to unbox all of the goodies inside.
Then again, it’s possible there’s a fear of dealing with folks who order the physical version, get their digital key, and then cancel the physical order — thus getting the expansion for free. The whole process sounds rather complicated, and it’s not shocking that Blizzard hasn’t implemented anything yet. But they’re also a giant company with massive resources at hand, so surely there’s something to be done here that works.
It’s safe to say that Blizzard should really look back at the way they handle early access to World of Warcraft expansions. There’s little that sucks more in gaming than watching all your friends frolic about with cool new stuff you can’t touch.