January 17, 2011

Introducing the World of Warcraft Best In Slot Resource

I am very pleased with the success of Best In Slot Holy Paladin.  So much so, I've decided to expand its idea and execution to all of the classes in WoW (well, minus subtlety rogues since I guess they don't raid at all).

The result is the World of Wacraft Best In Slot Resource, a subscription-driven website.  I cannot picture spearheading such a huge project like this without being compensated in some way.  The cost of (good) hosting, SSL certificates, domain, and other setup fees are very real.  The subscription model is reasonable: $9.99 nets you three months of full access and even after that you don't see ads anymore while logged in. $3.33/mo is similar to other online subscription services so I think this is a fair price.

Subscribers get full weight/filter access, see all items on the site, get to comment on all of the lists, and more.  To view a full list of features visit the subscription page.  Free users still see all BIS lists, they're just limited and don't show the full picture of gear for that spec.

This means BIS Holy Paladin as a site will no longer be actively maintained.  The site isn't being shut down, so as holy paladins you are all set until it becomes outdated.  I'm not heartless, I know a lot of people use this site so shutting it down and putting up a paywall on it is just a bad move.

Updates to all holy paladin information will be present at the new site.


  1. Bummer, guess I will have to find a new site :(

  2. I commend you for the amount of work you've done with Holy Paladins, and this has been a resource that I have used for the last 4 tiers that I have played this class, and I thank you for extensive knowledge and effort.

    However, I don't think your analogy with smoothping is quite right. That sort of subscription is something constantly being used. A database is something that you can reference once, then no longer need to see it until the game changes and updates are made.

    And then if a new tier is released outside that two month window, then you have to pay the cost again for the new content, even though there has been 2 months of no updates.

    I'd be willing to pay a fee for tier updates. But I'm not willing to pay 10 bucks to have access to information that may or may not change for two months.

    So if you asked for $4.99 every content patch, I'd consider becoming a customer.

    I think you would have a higher success in marketing yourself via ad companies. Every time a player clicks on their ad, x amount of money is transferred to you.

    Also, you have to consider that most of the player base outside of holy paladins don't know what to expect from you. I would consider having the first content free so that you become known as the best resource out there...then go premium.

    I'm only saying anything because I love your work and your website. I don't want to see it go, so I hope something I said is worthwhile to you.

    Thanks for all your work, and good luck at any rate.

  3. Jessie,
    Thanks for the feedback on the new model. I've since tweaked it a bit with lower prices, the most is $3.33/mo for 3 months since I did some research on other WoW online subscription services.

    I have also thought about the free and then charge model, and BIS Holy is sort of the "seed" for that approach since it is/was fully open and now the new model is out.

    3 months of time (which is a while in WoW terms) for 10 bucks really isn't a bad deal considering. I disagree that it's a typical database since I know people come back again and again to it similar to more persistent services.

  4. I wish you the best! I hope it works out to be a successful venture for you. My first comment was a bit harsh, but spoken with truth.

    I know that the battle to collect more money from people already paying a monthly subscription is a big one. I also agree with Jesse that its going to be a hard thing for other classes as I don't know that they (other classes) consider you an expert. Or Simply they don't know about you yet. Also they probably have resources they are using already so to switch AND pay could be difficult. So without them being able to use the site at all first may make that even harder to make players cough up more cash.

    Also think of your player base, your ability not even to turn off heroic gear for example is automatically going to turn a ton of people away. The majority of your users aren't the 3% downing heroic bosses. So the "preview" is going to show them gear that isn't even attainable at all. So then they are going to make some leaps and think, well if the t11 372 helm is BIS, the 359 must be right below it and also bis, only to find that maybe it isn't, thus making your credibility go a bit down without you having done anything.

    I mean you know the numbers better than anyone. If you feel the number of people that are coming to your site as a free resource is large enough that some will pay and make it more worth your while vs having an add or three on the site then again I wish you the best of luck.

    As for me personally, I've been using your site for years now, since well since I can remember. But paying more real money for it, I just can't see myself doing that. Seems too expensive for information that is pretty available. I just liked yours as it was put together nicely and your weight system.

  5. Nick, thanks for the post.

    Your idea of allowing preview for the non-heroic gear is a good one that I will definitely consider. I've also contemplated listing out another item or so on the slot pages for regular users.

    I view the subscription system from another perspective... people pay $15/month for WoW itself. They more than likely have paid Blizzard in the past to do character transfers (which is basically $30 a pop for a batch script). Many players may have bought ingame items for $10 a piece. Are these services greater than an updated, time-saving, resource that covers the main thing you're after in endgame WoW? For the price of a character transfer you get a full year of access, which is literally half of an expansion in length.

    As far as trust, I agree it's a hurdle. I rely partly on the holy paladins I've served with the site to spread the word to other players.

    From my point of view, the time it takes to do research for 31 specs, keep 2200+ items completely updated and keep sharp on every patch note, along with maintaining the backend and hosting of a site that large... it is worth a subscription. In my experience with BIS holy Google ads are not enough to sustain something like that. I've run other sites where Google ads are much much more successful, and I think it's due to the fact that WoW players are more tech-savvy and tend to block ads completely.

  6. I agree with Nick. There are other places out there that classes can use to find out their BiS lists. There just aren't any as clear and concise as your's. And there aren't many that list every item in every slot available and where to get it. I can get all of the information you give us elsewhere. Your's is just the best.

    But the majority of the population really doesn't know that you are the best.

    I think that if you made one entire tier free it would be a good investment in your customer base for the future.

    Non-holy paladins would see how extensive your database is, they would recommend it to their friends, it would be linked to from the wowforums, elitist jerks, etc. Make it the thing that every raider has bookmarked. Then when tier 12 is released add the subscription. At that point players will see what they are going without. You will lose a lot of people not willing to pay the fee, but there will be some that will...and I'm fairly certain that that number will be higher than if you just started with a fee on launch.

    Again, this is just my opinion. I don't own any websites, I'm not an expert, I don't have my own business, so its just my observations. Take it or leave it. :)

    Good luck with whichever business decisions you decide to take.

  7. Jessie,
    Thanks for posting once again. It is a pretty solid idea, though maybe it's just my personal nature... I try to make as little people angry with me as possible. I did go over your option briefly before starting but when I think about other services that have done that to me it just makes me angry. I'd rather have something from the beginning that doesn't suddenly change to exclude people.

    I realize that's "sort of" what happened with my new site and BIS Holy, but I'm keeping this site freely available (though unmaintained) so I don't feel too bad about that. I could POTENTIALLY maintain BIS Holy at the same time but it would be self-defeating. There has to be some sacrifice when expanding to a freemium model from a completely open one I suppose.

    My goal isn't fame, I just want to have a functional, good resource while being able to sustain it. With fame comes a lot of negative things along with the positives which I just don't desire.