Putting a Price on Fun

Prowling the Pridelands
Prowling the Pridelands

For various reasons I’m looking to move to a much stricter budget than I’m currently on. Which means it’s time for me to sit down and take an honest evaluation of how much fun I’m having dual-boxing versus how much I’m paying for the privilege.

My entertainment budget consists of playing WoW, art supplies, and eating out with friends. I don’t do movies, I don’t drink, and I’m on a library-only diet for books.

Right now I’m paying $14.99 per account for two accounts– just short of $30 a month. Which isn’t too bad, assuming it’s the only thing I spend play money on. But is playing WoW worth what I’m paying for it?

Long Scenery - Mountains Sunset - Horde Tower

Sunk Costs Don’t Count

Sunk Costs are amounts I have already paid and cannot recover. This includes the money spent for the games (and keyclone), the accumulated subscription fees, and the time I’ve spent playing the game.

It’s common for folks to take into account the money and time they’ve already spent when rationalizing continued spending, but it’s not really applicable. It doesn’t matter how much I’ve put into past game play, it’s all about how much it’s worth to keep playing.

I’m planning on snapping up Diablo when it drops, but other than that I have no large non-WoW entertainment purchases on the horizon. So all I have to consider are future playing fees (thankfully!).

Plus if I close my account, I can always start it up again– the only thing I risk losing are the names.

Fun Per Hour

Da Bears

It costs me $30.00 for unlimited game time each month. Assuming a four week month and ignoring all other commitments, this means I could be playing for 672 hours at $0.045 cents an hour.

But since I’m not a bot (dual-boxing detractor’s accusations aside), let’s assume I can play for an average of an hour a day, every day. That’s seven hours of playtime during the week at $1.07 an hour– still not too shabby. Even if I only play thirty minutes a day, that’s only $2.14, still safely within my ability to rationalize.

So if money isn’t the factor, it comes down to ‘what would I rather do’.

Opportunity Costs

Dem Books

These are the ‘costs’ of what I could be doing with the time and the money I am planning on spending in WoW. Since dual-boxing is a de-stressing/play activity for me, I’m only comparing it to similar activities. Comparing it to cleaning the house or getting in shape is a serious apples-to-bobcats analogy.

So WoW is up against hanging out with friends, painting small plastic horses silly colors, playing around with the website, reading books, writing books, and watching Hulu. (Although to be fair, I watch Hulu while I farm, so it’s not always an either/or situation.)

First Victims
First Victims

Hanging out with friends tends to cost more that WoW, but surfing the internet, reading books, and watching Hulu are free. Plus painting model horses and writing books can bring in income, in theory.

Honing my WoW skills might not have real world applications, but neither does television shows, blog-surfing, or most of the books I read for fun. I may not be ‘self-improving’ while dual-boxing, but I have plenty of other hours in the day for that.

In the end, I suppose the real answer of ‘is it worth it?’ will have to wait until I’m forced to make a choice between one playing and another leisure activity. As much as I might rationalize the cost now, when the time comes I might go out for lunch instead…

Let’s hope not!

Scenic Cows and Purple Doom Chickens

Martha Bechtel

My name is Martha Bechtel and I write fantasy and science fiction stories, paint small model horses silly colors, cast resin and plaster magnets, code random code (and Wordpress plugins)... Come on in and join in the fun!

Leave a Reply