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Have Money, Will Level: 'Warcraft' Players Can Pay To Max Out

<p>Starting from level 1 in "World of Warcraft"? No worries — you can now pay $60 to max out your guy — no shady third party required.</p>
The $60 level boost is available in-game, and should appear on Blizzard's web store soon.
The $60 level boost is available in-game, and should appear on Blizzard's web store soon.Blizzard

For a level 1 adventurer in "World of Warcraft," your options for reaching the glorious peaks of level 100 (the latest maximum, enabled by the "Warlords of Draenor" expansion) are many. You can play hard for months, you can turn over your account to a "power leveler" — or, now, you can simply pay $60.

Yes, Blizzard has finally thrown the switch on the controversial ability to pay for levels — but the truth is it's not quite the "pay-to-win" scheme some may think it is. "WoW" is unlike games that rely on microtransactions to give the player boosts and extra power, for instance "Candy Crush Saga."

In "WoW," the game when you are leveling up to the maximum is fundamentally different from the game you play when you're at the maximum. This "endgame" content is the main reason that many play WoW, as it is the most competitive and high stakes — hundreds of veteran warriors with the best gear and abilities, clashing for loot, glory, or both.

But it takes so long to get to the endgame that players often resort to third-party services that get their characters through the early levels — with real players or automated "bots." These services can be shady, however, and take time.

Blizzard has tacitly acknowledged the need to fast-forward the game by offering free level boosts with expansions of the game, but this is the first time that you can buy levels as a separate purchase.

Right now the boost takes you to level 90, so you'll still have 10 to go. And a new character, even level 90 one, still needs a lot of work: sturdy armor, a fine blade (or staff, magic-users), and all the usual accoutrements of a high-level player. Of course, those are for sale too.