There's an old saying in the insurance business: If you have enough money, you can purchase insurance for just about anything--that's something that Lloyd's of London has been doing for years. YouPlayOrWePay.com
is no Lloyd's, but it is now offering insurance for something that until now seemed to be uninsurable: your World of Warcraft (WoW) downtime. YouPlayOrWePay.com doesn't actually call it "insurance," but instead refers to it as "third party compensation
"--which is also another way of saying that this downtime compensation is not coming from WoW's Blizzard Entertainment.
YouPlayOrWePay.com actually promises to compensate WoW players for more than just downtime, but also for busy and crowded servers. The YouPlayOrWePay.com homepage states:
"YouPlayorWePay.com aims to compensate you with CASH for the problems MMORPG players know all too well: waiting queues, system outages and laggy game play. It doesn’t matter if you’re a level 10 Warlock or a level 70 Warrior. It doesn't matter if you’re on a new realm with little population or an old realm with a high population! We aim to compensate you if you experience waiting queues, system outages or laggy game play."
The YouPlayOrWePay.com site is a bit unclear exactly how the pricing and compensation work, but WoW Insider
was able to get at least some clarification from YouPlayorWePay.com's founders, George Tung and Milos Golubovic. The amount you pay depends on how many characters you register, the character's respective levels, and how busy the character's realms have been, historically. You can register up to 10 characters per account, from different realms. Higher-level characters and more crowded realms will cost more. Golubovic claims that the average price users will pay should be "close to five or six dollars
" per month. Tung adds, "but the lowest is much lower than that
." According to Golubovic the most any user could spend is 11 dollars per month. It is important to note, that the fee paid to YouPlayOrWePay.com is on top of your monthly ($12.99, $13.99, or $14.99) WoW subscription you already pay to Blizzard.
As to how users are compensated, the YouPlayOrWePay.com site explains that it monitors "all WOW realms 24/7 for population size and status
" directly from Blizzard's World Of Warcraft Realm Status page
, "and data log all the information
." Users are compensated when a "character's realm is either in High or Max population or if the realm is down
." High and Max populations can mean "potential laggy game play
" and waiting queues upwards of 30 minutes. "The amount of compensation a character earns is dependant
[sic] on how long that character's realm has been at each of the above statuses, as well as the compensation level of the realm, and the character's level
." The most you can be compensated is equal to 1.75-times your monthly fee to YouPlayOrWePay.com That compensation can come as a refund towards your monthly fee, as a check, or to pay for the next month's YouPlayOrWePay fee.
The YouPlayOrWePay.com homepage offers a number of examples of the type of compensation a user with an 80-level character might receive in the month of January; one example shows a $25 compensation for a user who has a character in the Dawnbringer realm, which YouPlayOrWePay.com claims has already experienced 26 hours of downtime, 228 hours of time at max, and 272 hours at time at high for January. As coincidence would have it, at the time this news post was written, both YouPlayOrWePay.com and the official WoW Realm Status are reporting that all realms are down. A quick check over on the WoW forums
show that "realm maintenance
" was taking place and that WoW would be down for at least ten hours.
As to whether YouPlayOrWePay.com offers any real value or not, we are going to keep our journalist's hats on and remain objective on this one, and not state an opinion either way. The true test will be if users actually sign up and use the service.