"In terms of the pricing, honestly, a big part of that is not wanting to devalue the accomplishment of levelling," lead encounter designer Ion Hazzikostas told Eurogamer.
Hazzikostas said if Blizzard wanted to sell as many level 90 boosts as possible, it could have made them less expensive, in the ballpark of $10 or so. But players might not level traditionally, through gameplay, if they could buy their way to the top for so cheap, he said.
Overall, Hazzikostas said Blizzard's goal with the level 90 character boosts is to provide busy players--those with family responsibilities or limited gaming time--a means to enjoy high-level content with one of their alternate characters.
"Levelling is something that takes dozens if not over 100 hours in many cases and people have put serious time and effort into that, and we don't want to diminish that," Hazzikostas said. "It's just to allow people who want to purchase additional level 90s, maybe they want a second or third alt and they don't have time to level it themselves because they have a family or etc--it's to allow them to do that."
Still, some players might see Blizzard's introduction of paid character boosts as a signal that World of Warcraft is becoming more of a "pay-to-win" title instead of a progression-based game. This is not the case, creative director Alex Afrasiabi said.
"Game design, half of it is about trust. And I think that our playerbase trusts us implicitly and you never want to break trust between the player and developer," Afrasiabi told GameSpot. "And I think pay-to-win does that. And I think that is really our stance; we are not about pay-to-win in World of Warcraft. That is not gonna happen."
Every copy of upcoming World of Warcraft expansion Warlords of Draenor includes one free level 90 character boost. Immediately after you pre-purchase Warlords of Draenor, you'll be granted your free character boost. Pre-purchases for the expansion are said to launch "soon."