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World of Warcraft's new Recruit-A-Friend Program has players up in arms

Blizzard Entertainment has announced the return of World of Warcraft's Recruit-A-Friend program. After going on hiatus in June, the feature will resume later in 2019, rewarding persuasive players with new titles, mounts, and cosmetics. The bonuses themselves look fantastic, especially the new backpack, a highly requested item and the first of its kind to appear in the game. It's the other details that have sparked outrage and concern amidst the WoW community.

The Recruit-A-Friend program launched all the way back in 2008, offering perks and free goodies to users who recruit new players to the game. Beyond the clothing and mounts, the program granted players and their recruits the ability to teleport to each other from anywhere in the game and awarded 50 percent more experience when you adventured together. As the recent blog post detailed, the new system will retain these aspects when Recruit-A-Friend relaunches.

In addition to recruiting new players, the reworked program allows you to recruit returning players who have not bought game time within the previous two years. Blizzard will reward you with one new item, title or month of game time for every month of game time the recruited player purchases. After receiving the twelfth month reward, you'll continue to accrue one free month of game time for every three months your recruits pay for.

While this seems like a sweet deal at first glance, players have pointed out several concerns and potential issues. First, the Indiana Jones-esque rewards tied to the Egyptian-themed Uldum zone seem like a missed opportunity to motivate more players to take the lore-centric secondary Archaeology profession. The fact that Blizzard has hidden these items, especially the highly-coveted backpack, behind a paywall that requires you to sweet talk your friends into spending their money, also struck a sour note.

The timing of the relaunch, months after the much-anticipated World of Warcraft Classic, left others scratching their heads. Classic has quickly become one of WoW's biggest draws. By the time Recruit-A-Friend is up and running, most potential recruits will have already signed up and paid for their game time. The fact that none of the program's item rewards will be usable in Classic also diminishes their sparkle.

World of Warcraft's Recruit-A-Friend program is slated to return sometime in the next few months.