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WoWNov 11, 2019 4:00 pm CT

Buying the Shadowlands physical Collector’s Edition refunds you in Blizzard Balance… but maybe not as much as you expect

In the past, Blizzard has been slow to announce just how it will handle digital bonuses for the people who collect the physical Collector’s Editions — but this year Blizzard let us know how it will handle Shadowlands’ many editions in advance, which is a pleasant surprise. During Legion, people who bought the Collector’s Edition of the game also had to order a digital copy to get pre-order bonuses, they could gift a copy of the digital game to friends when their Collector’s Edition arrived. There was a lot of mixed messaging about how this would work, and it didn’t go over very well. Raise your hand if your extra copy was left to rot because no one you knew needed it.

With Shadowlands, you still won’t get actual money back if you upgrade your game to the Collector’s Edition, but you will get a refund as Blizzard Balance that you can spend in the store. That, in turn, can be spent to buy practically any digital product Blizzard sells: gametime, games, pets, mounts, and character services.

Shadowlands has three different digital editions — up from the usual two — and upgrading from one digital edition to another is straightforward. When you upgrade, you’ll only pay the price difference between the two versions and immediately receive any extra digital goodies.

But if you upgrade from one digital edition to another and then buy the Collector’s Edition, things get tricky, because you’ll only receive Blizzard Balance for the cost of your initial digital purchase. Let’s say you bought the Base Edition ($40) and then upgrade to the Heroic Edition ($60) before buying the physical Collector’s Edition. When you get your CE, it will include a code to give you a Blizzard Balance credit for $40 — the cost of the digital copy you originally bought, rather than the total $60 cost for the Heroic Edition.

This works the same way if you do any kind of digital upgrade before you enter your Collector’s Edition code. You’ll be get a Blizzard Balance for what you paid for the original purchase, but not the cost for any digital upgrades. So if you’re a person who always gets Collector’s Editions, be sure to pre-order the copy of the game you really want — otherwise you’ll be out the cost of any digital upgrades.

Blizzard hasn’t announced what, exactly, will be in the physical Collector’s Edition. In the past, it’s typically included an art book, a copy of the soundtrack, a behind the scenes DVD, and a mousepad in addition to all of the bonuses from the digital versions — but the alluring part for many of us is the beautiful Collector’s Edition box.

If you have already digitally pre-ordered Shadowlands and are tempted by an upgrade, just be aware of what you’re going to get: it’s only Blizzard Balance and it’s only for the amount of your original digital purchase. It’s better than a key which many people couldn’t use, but if you upgrade digital versions you’re due for disappointment by the Blizzard Balance refund you get.

You can pre-order Shadowlands digital editions now, but if you intend to grab a physical Collector’s Edition when they’re available, be sure you make the right pre-order choice.

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