Membership or Zone Purchasing?
The question that stands the test of time: is it better to get a membership or purchase zones? Seems simple enough to answer, but let us go down the rabbit hole and look at different aspects to this question. Heads up! This will not give you a definite answer and we won’t influence you towards a particular option as they both have their merits.
Updated as of – Catacombs Expansion
There are a lot of factors to consider here. A membership offers much more than just areas, however it can never be a permanent feature. On the other hand, purchasing zones is permanent but it just does that. Nowadays, a membership gets you:
- access to all areas;
- increased backpack space;
- larger friends list;
- limited time member benefits;
- much more!
Purchasing zones requires crowns which sadly does NOT grant any of the above benefits. However, one must consider that purchasing a zone will allow you to access that particular zone for as long as the game is available. The same statement cannot be extended to memberships as they run out quite rapidly (especially when you are having fun). This might create pressure on member players because if they want to reach a certain location or level they have to do it in the allocated time span unless they can easily renew their membership.
There is also the option of having both. How would this work exactly? If you have an active membership, you won’t be able to purchase zones. Thus, you need to purchase zones when an account doesn’t have a member active. By default, you will have those zones purchased forever and you can buy the membership for when you specifically require it (like for a limited time member benefit). One could also have multiple accounts where one is a member and the other purchases zones. Basically, it depends on the specific situation of players.
As of late we have been seeing a couple factors introduced that would benefit a crowns player more. For instance, the Expand Backpack Elixir that permanently increases the backpack space on a single wizard by 50 slots. Such a feature shows that Kingsisle caters to both members and crown players. However, the topic at hand is purchasing zones and not crowns in general. Thus, the only other factor I’ll consider for this article are the crowns reward events introduced late 2018. Purchasing zones is considered as spending crowns which will grant you select rewards if the event is active.
Total Zone Pricing
I did some calculations below so that you get a better perspective of zone pricing and the costs it bears. Each zone past Wizard City’s Triton Avenue costs crowns or a membership to unlock, but let’s forget about members for the time being. Beneath is a list of all worlds including side worlds and side areas* and the total cost of crowns to fully unlock that individual world. A full breakdown of zone pricing can be found on Wizard101’s main site here.
- Wizard City – 3,750 crowns
- Krokotopia – 11,415 crowns
- Marleybone – 12,000 crowns
- Mooshu – 10,800 crowns
- Dragonspyre – 10,800 crowns
- Celestia – 10,170 crowns
- Zafaria – 10,170 crowns
- Avalon – 10,170 crowns
- Azteca – 11,970 crowns
- Khrysalis – 11,970 crowns
- Polaris – 9,975 crowns
- Mirage – 11,970 crowns
- Empyrea – 11,970 crowns
- Wysteria – 3,000 crowns
- Grizzleheim & Wintertusk – 19,950 crowns
- Aquila – 9,735 crowns
- Four Dungeons – 8,980 crowns
- Catacombs – 6,000 crowns
The final total being 184,795 crowns!
While at first sight you might think this is an outrageous amount of crowns, do consider a couple of reasons. Look at each world individually and ask yourself this question, “Is it really worth that much crowns?”. I’ll let you determine the answer here, however my opinion stands that most of them are indeed very reasonable. Additionally, you are not required to purchase all the areas to progress your wizard to higher levels.
Let’s break it down between story arcs and side content:
- Story Arc 1 – 48,765 crowns
- Story Arc 2 – 54,450 crowns
- Story Arc 3 – 33,915 crowns
- Side Worlds – 47,665 crowns
A very noticeable point I gather from those numbers is how reasonable the third story arc is priced at. Considering the quality of life improvements Kingsisle has been implementing, the story plot, the animations, bringing the characters to life and many more mind blowing factors, the third arc is a bargain! On the other hand, it only contains three worlds, but I think that everyone has ever experienced the full extent of Polaris, Mirage and Empyrea 1 & 2 can agree that the price doesn’t do them justice.
Some random data observations…
- It would more than five years to unlock the entire game if you complete the trivia everyday granting you 100 crowns (36,500 crowns a year) (here’s our trivia machine).
- Grizzleheim is the most expensive of them all, but here is why…
- Despite the fact that the four dungeons were released later, they are in fact cheaper than all of Aquila’s dungeons combined.
- Marleybone is the most expensive first story arc world.
- One would have to purchase all the areas 2.98 times to be able to unlock the top tier reward for the original Night-Knight Crowns reward event.
What does the community think?
The debate of whether to purchase a membership or buy the zones is a steaming one between the various communities of Wizard101. On the newly introduced Steam community we observed the following comment by a player to which Sparck – Wizard101’s Community Manager replied to.
It is indeed something many players have asked and wondered about for quite some time. The above statement by Sparck shows promise, however we can’t be too sure about anything at this very early point. Fellow author Jeremy Ravenhunter and myself discussed this to an extent where it became purely mathematics. Our thoughts were — since the game originally released with Wizard City till Mooshu and Dragonspyre being introduced just after — the game has remained with the same amount of free-to-play areas. To elaborate further, the game has successfully achieved ten years, however the same amount of free-to-play areas remain even after three story arcs, showing no sense of evolution / progression. Thus, here comes the math…
If Kingsisle planned to release more free-to-play areas in the future, what would be the limit or estimation? We tried to calculate just that!
This isn’t an actual fact, but just a calculation. The game keeps expanding and introducing new areas, but what if it were to keep the same percentage of free-to-play areas consistent as to that of when the game was first introduced? Would this be something Kingsisle considers? Now, this is where it might become tough to follow. If we were to give a price to the free-to-play areas, we estimated something similar to this. We group the free-to-play areas together so the price given would make sense:
- Commons + Pet Pavillion + Golem Court
- Ravenwood + Nightside
- Shopping District + Olde Town
- Unicorn Way
- Triton Avenue + Haunted Cave
Due to the fact that Wizard City areas cost 750 crowns each, each of the above grouped areas were given the same price of 750 crowns. Total being 3,750 crowns. Add that to the existing first story arc cost of 48,765 crowns and you will get 52,515. This is done so we can obtain an average idea of free-to-play areas compared to exclusive ones. At introduction, Wizard101 had 3,750 crowns worth of free-to-play areas and 48,765 crowns worth of exclusive areas.
Now, if we were to compare the game to how it was then and how it can be now let’s use some ratios (or percentages):
- Total cost of Wizard101 in 2008/9 = 52,515 crowns : 3,750 crowns worth of areas given as free-to-play
- Total cost of Wizard101 in 2019 = 184,795 crowns : 13,196∼ crowns worth of areas given as free-to-play
This would mean that all of Wizard City and most of Krokotopia would become free-to-play areas. However, games don’t evolve in that manner and I’m sure we can all understand why. Wizard101 somehow keeps finding mind-blowing ways to introduce new amazing features such as fishing, monstrology and hatchmaking. Not to forget the very recent Wizard City revamp implemented on the free-to-play areas that literally brought new life to the game. Thus, no new free-to-play areas were introduced, however Kingsisle does keep things interesting!
…and where does the #twizard (Twitter) community stand?
After gathering quite a few opinions on whether to purchase zones or membership from fellow #twizards (exactly 132 of them), these are the results:
Personally, I expected membership to be the winner of this poll, however I did not expect that so many would opt for zone purchasing. Perhaps it is mainly because of the bombastic crown purchase amount of 184,795 or that purchasing zones only gets you so far. But what if we were to roughly calculate the amount of years you would get worth of membership instead of paying that much crowns?
Wizard101 offers several different membership options as well as temporary deals or sales, but let us work this out with the yearly membership deal (without sales or discounts).
12 month membership = $79.95 = 60,000 crowns
184,795 divided by 60,000 = 3.08…
Therefore, purchasing all the areas in the game would cost as much as three years membership. Now it is only up to you to decide which deal your prefer as this depends on your preference, willingness to spend, availability and much more. What if we were to keep a look out for those deals? The standard crowns sale as of late has been exactly like as you can see below.
12 month membership = $79.95 = 80,000 crowns
184,795 divided by 80,000 = 2.31…
This would mean that purchasing all the areas in the game would cost as much as two years and three months worth of membership. All that being said, we still cannot land on a definite answer as each option like every other thing has its own pros and cons. It all depends on your preference. Happy gaming!
What are your thoughts on Membership vs. Zone Purchasing?
Leave a comment below!