Cataclysm is coming out in just under three weeks. Likely everyone reading this will be getting it. I do feel however Blizzard should have made Cataclysm an All-in-One pack. When Mines of Moria came out it included both the expansion and the base game. When Age of Conan: Rise of the Godslayer came out it included both expansion and base game. Same for the Aion expansion, whatever it was called. Everquest II, which originally came out at very nearly the same time as vanilla WoW but has a much faster turnaround time for expansions, has been issuing complete sets for the last couple expansions.
Now as an established player it doesn’t really affect me, I’m gonna get the expansion. However six years in, Blizzard it seems to me is possibly hurting it’s chances of picking up new players. Consider a player possibly looking to jump into the game for the first time:
19.99 World of Warcraft
29.99 Burning Crusade
39.99 Wrath of the Lich King
129.96 = Total Investment
Brand new players are looking to drop $130 (current Gamestop prices) to get to current content. Consider also Cataclysm is redoing most aspects of the base game – to a brand new player buying the 19.99 base game is essentially getting half of Cataclysm, by the time they do get up to level cap they may feel irritated buying 5 levels.
Granted deals are to be found, Amazon is a bit cheaper. The battlechest is out (WoW and BC, Wrath not included) for $10 saving. However, the game’s been out 6 years. The game interested in MMOs has already bought it and is still player or stopped. New sales are (I would think anyway) existing players trying to get they signifigant other interested, parents playing with kids or perhaps returning players getting caught up. $40 is a much better prospect than $130 to anyone on the fence.