I’ve heard that there is a 50% sale on WoW’s character server transfers, race and name changes and other premium paid services that subscribers have to pay extra for in this game. This is a time limited offer to encourage players to open their wallets quick.
My first thought was “darn, that’s typical my sub just ended so I won’t be able to take advantage of the sale”. Then I thought “hold on; do I actually want any of these, anyway?”. After some thought I realised that no, I didn’t want to race or faction change any of my ten characters. Furthermore it reminded me of how much I always resented that Blizzard charged extra for these. Going back to before the free-to-play wave, I considered this a big cheek expecting us to pay yet more for such an automated database process.
Paying for such services was common enough in other games as well, at least until Rift launched and dared to be different. I actually tried a server transfer in Rift (since they were free once a week then), whereas I never paid for a server transfer in WoW.
Across eight years of MMO gaming I’ve only paid for this type of service once, a faction change in WoW. I’d be more tempted to pay for such a service if I’m not paying a monthly sub for a given game of course, but in a sub game I feel strongly such support services should be included in the sub price.
Coincidentally there’s a thread on the SWTOR forums debating this very issue. The original poster and a few others decry that server transfers will cost c$15 (US). Many commenters point out that this is cheap compared to say WoW or SWG (when it was still running). I can understand the need to discourage players from hopping servers very regularly, but I also think devs should not seek to profit from players wanting to play with friends/guildmates etc. If a game doesn’t support cross-server group play then limited free server transfers is a good substitute.