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What is the state of Powerleveling?

Gamasutra has featured an article written by "Smith Sam," a figure who appears to be an owner of a power leveling company. The article attempts to amalgamate the history of power leveling in gaming and the evolution of the market.

Despite some precarious English, the article makes for an interesting read and will no doubt see some outspoken opinions and retorts flying at it in the future.

At present, most companies are engaged in power leveling (generally for World Of Warcraft) mainly in China and some countries in Southeast Asia. The primitive North America power-leveling companies changed their role gradually, or faced bankruptcy thanks to inexpensive labor in Asia.

Chinese-based game service companies offering World Of Warcraft power-leveling numbered less then 30 in 2004, but service companies will surpass 2000 soon, and this number is growing continuously. Looking over the entire Southeast Asian market, many of these companies are concentrated in the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, and other areas in India. North Korea is worth mentioning because the labor cost is currently the most inexpensive. [EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the first we've heard of North Koreans playing World Of Warcraft professionally - can anyone point to further evidence of this?]

Since power-leveling services for World Of Warcraft started, competition has certainly caused the price to curve down. Also, thanks to the WoW expansion, it's now changed to Levels 1-70 from its original Levels 1-60. Therefore, Levels 1-60 was originally 350 dollars when such services started, dropping to about 129 dollars in today's market. For Levels 1-70, it started costing about 490 US dollars, and has now dropped to 250 US dollars.

The variety of services now offered include specific quest completions and PVP power-leveling. For leveling itself, according to the average price, each level started costing around 6 US dollars, and has dropped to less then 2.5 US dollars. The reasons for this are as follows:

1. The power-leveling companies increased, bringing huge competitive pressure.

2. The skill of leveling is more and more demanding. 3. The large-scale company's monopoly on cheap prices causes other companies to have insufficient funds. To compete, those companies have to reduce prices to survival.

There are risks in the services provided because Blizzard continuously attacks power-levels and massively power-leveling account can get suspended and banned. However, inexpensive labor force costs and relatively high profits allows these companies to weather more risk.

As for us here at USFine.com, the company was established in August 2006. It was originally engaged in equipment resells, but when the WoW power-leveling market developed, its strategy for entering the market was to offer services "slightly lower price then the market value." In 2006, the average power-leveling price of Levels 1-60 stabilized at basically around 169 US dollars.

As a result, Usfine expanded quickly in early 2007. Usfine entered the second development phase by increasing the power-leveling service, and deliberately lowering the price for Levels 1-60 to 129 dollars - the lowest price on market; resulting in fierce price competitions from 2006 to the beginning of 2007. However, the company also encountered many problems regarding low risk control in this initial period. Therefore, some customer accounts got banned - but during 2007 Usfine has come a long ways regarding the risks involved.

Overall, the battle between leveling companies and game producers will be long-lasting. At present, there is no explicit legal rule to claim whether the service is allowed or not regarding - therefore, WoW power-leveling needs a long period to be completely mature. Everyone is waiting to see what happens.

Comments

  • #1

    Might want to make sure what your pressing in that /agree button for the user agreements. I mean dont get me wrong, i never read about anything about scanning through xfire (which im sure is a load of crock) but if you click the button, you may agree to some odd things.

    Oh and if i remember, scanning xfire is not tresspassing on your computer, mainly because in order for those conversations to happen, they need to be threaded online through a server, thus easily Blizzard can track keywords and see what you said. But thats what i -think-.

  • #2

    Reguarding Warden, I'm pretty sure Blizz covered their butts in the TOS and EULA.

    And Honestly, I disliked the powerlvling companies, specially when they constantly spammed the WoW chat channels. And what fun is it to not lvl a character up?

  • #3

    This seems more like someone just decided to boost his company a bit as "lowest on the market" instead of an actual market, because sadly i learned nothing special from this. Im sure anyone with a small amount of intelligence could tell why asian companies can take these measures more then others and what not.

    Its just a shame(ful) plug for his site USfine.com and nothing more.

  • #4

    Reguarding this "xfire" comment, I can't believe it would be legal for a private company to scan my running processes much less keylog my computer which is the only concevable way i can see to track my conversation over a 3rd party chat application. If this is the case I pray Blizzard does something like this to me as there must be some form of cyber trespassing laws in effect, and if not I'm sure that this would be in violation of cyber security laws.

  • #5

    Are there any credible and verifiable links and/or data we can review to further inspect the claims of someone who "may or may not" be the writer of this article and a alleged owner of a power-leveling service company. This article like many gaming article reeks of bad journalism IMHO.

  • #6

    hehe North Koreans playing wow. not sure how they would play wow as they have no internet infrastructure , inless that has changed with in the passed 2 years.

  • #7

    Hrmm.. an interesting read.

    Personally, I don't care if someone pays someone to Power Level. But on the other hand I also do not care if a game company decides to enforce anti-Power Leveling services. To me it does not change the state of the game even one small iota.

    Might I have not died that one time because the guy playing his class might have known if he had leveled from 1-70? Maybe, but thats a relativistic thing. I've met people I KNOW did not power level and at 60 asked "whats fury stance?"

    Now if I put the shoe on the other foot and look at it from the point of view as the company..... I have to say Power Leveling would be something I would have to oppose. The reason, well its quite simple actually. Who do you think I'll make more money from, the guy who only has played at level 70 or the other guy that took 3 months to get to level 70? The answer is the guy that spent 3 months. Why? Because they are more likely to stay a loyal customer while the other guy jumped in at the top floor and has very little if any loyalty to my product. So as a company the decision is easy, stop Power Leveling at all cost.

  • #8

    TBH i dont mind power leveling, not done it never will do

    if someone wants to pay there money to get leveled and then they hav eno experiance as to how to play, lets them do it. in the end you will be the one who pwns them so much more easily

    and btw dunno if you know this but Warden Blizzards self made security software track conversations over xfire so anyone talking about a PL over xfire can get caught too.

    i think blizz should leave PL's alone let them do what they want to do because in the end, its not losing them money, most likely gaining them money because ppl dont wanna play at lvl 20

    Just my Opinion

  • #9

    Honestly, I'm glad people are getting caught and banned for using this "service".

  • #10

    interesting.
    Accounts getting Banned, don't know why these PL companies don't just buy VPN's or a dedicated server elsewhere, that way they wouldn't have so many accounts banned from people logging on from IP's all over the world.

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