Is World of Warcraft Worth It?

I’ve decided Sundays are the perfect time for these “off-topic” posts. Why? Well apparently some people have better things to do than sit on a weekend reading about World of Warcraft so many weekend articles go to waste so to speak. I know, shocking right? Who doesn’t spend every waking hour drenched in World of Warcraft?

I was reading a thread the other day on MMO-Champion talking about how much money they’ve spent on this game so far, and so it got me thinking about my own expenditures. Lets start with game time shall we?

I’ve been playing since September of 2009 pretty much non stop in terms of subscription time at least, and even with freebies like recruit a friend and the free month, my expenses in subscriptions alone have been $485.51 USD on my main account, and $119.92 on my second account (deactivated more often than not). that’s $605.43 spent on subscriptions. Holy crap, that’s, actually, that’s not that much. Breaking it down, I spent $201.81 per year, $16.82 per month, and $0.55 per day. Know what else you can do for 55 cents per day all day and every day? Yea that’s right, nothing.

Alright I hear you cry, what about the actual games and other miscellaneous expenses? There are four other categories I’ve spent money directly on the game: Base game and expansions, pets and mounts, server transfers, and race changes.

For the later 3 categories, I’m going to use a nifty table (I love that word, “nifty”, such an awesome word).

Service Quantity Total $
Race Change 1 25.00
Server/Account Transfer 7 175
Guild Transfer 1 35.00
Pets and Mounts 4 40.00

I still can’t believe I got sucked into that race change for my druid, wasn’t really worth it. Oh well. I included the extra $20 for the Mists of Pandaria since I basically paid an extra $20 for a pet and mount. The only other purchase in that category was the Cenarion Hatchling when it went up for sale in support for the Japan tsunami relief, and Lil’ Ragnaros. Still not sure why I bought that one, impulse buy I guess. After all this my total for extraneous purchases is $275.00 which is mind boggling.

Finally we get into the games themselves.I got my second account on sale, and I paid a grand total of $25 for it through Cata ($5 for each vanilla, Burning Crusade, and Lich King, $10 for Cata). This is where it gets tricky though, trying to remember how much each of the other games and expansions cost on my main account.As far as I know I paid $40 for Cataclysm and $40 for Mists of Pandaria, but that’s as far as my transaction history goes in terms of purchases, probably because I bought hard copies of Vanilla through Wrath of Lich King so to speak. I think I got Battle Chest (back before Burning Crusade was rolled into the original game) for $50, and I think Wrath of the Lich King set me back $40. That brings total game purchases to $195 before taxes, ouch.

Lets sum it all up and see what the damage is.

Category Cost (USD)
Subscription Time 605.43
Service, Pets, and Mounts 275.00
Games 195.00
Total 1075.43

Wow, since I started playing back in September 2009 (Damn, 3 year anniversary!) I’ve spent $1075 on World of Warcraft. That sounds like a lot, and it is, but lets break that down again. $1075.43 for the 3 years means $358.48 per year, $29.87 per month, and $0.98 per day. When broken down that’s amazing, hell I spend more than that on tea during the school year.

One last metric shall we? According to alotholic I’ve logged 187 days and 50 minutes in game. Damn, that is some serious play time. Lets call it an even 187 days for argument sake. With 3 years to the date pretty much I’ve had the game for 1095 days, of which I’ve spent a cumulative time of 187 days of play. That means since I’ve gotten the game I’ve spent 17.1% of my time logged into the game, or an average of 4 hours per day! That’s scary. My only defence is that not all of that time I was actually doing anything, I frequently leave characters online in the background while I do other things, or forget to log out before I walk away from the computer. Also on my side is that some people spend that much time watching TV every day, and is that really much better?

Still, it’s a sobering thought, so I’ll try to make myself feel better by seeing how cheap it was. 187 days means 4489 hours of play (rounding the 50 minutes up here) at a cost of $1075.43 USD. This works out to $0.24 per hour of game play based on past usage. I’ll admit, that’s more than I thought it was, but that’s still pretty cheap.

I’m interesting in seeing how you all stack up, let me know how much you’ve spent on this game! I’m interested in seeing how I stack up with other players.

About the author

Eric Dekker

Gamer. Student. Nerd. Author of The Golden Crusade. Find him on + and Twitter.

1 comment

  1. Mogram

    Hands down, world of warcraft has been the very cheapest hobby (in terms of cost per hour) that I’ve ever enjoyed.

    I’ve played the game since release and it’s been the single best gaming experience in my 30+ years as an avid gamer… and I’ve had more than my fair share of gaming experiences over the years!

    The subscription model for anyone who’s a regular player works extremely well. The game is always changing over time and the experience always made fresh when you start to slow down and get bored.

    If you are looking at this purely from a financial perspective, I’d still challenge anyone to find a cheaper hobby that will keep you engaged as much as WoW has and given then, it’s probably the reason why the game is still running with millions of subscribers, even 8 odd years after release.

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