As you may have heard, it appears that Blizzard is pricing the instant 90 option at $60 in the game store.
Which immediately set off wailing and gnashing of teeth from a bunch of people because obviously Blizzard is a bunch of massive jerks out to steal our money. $60 for an instant 90? That's enough to buy Call of Duty X: We Just Wanted To Print More Money or Madden 20XX: Printing Money Each Year! We're already paying $15 a month, Blizzard, obviously that means you should give everything to us.
So let's actually break this down.
First, an obvious point: it costs more for an instant 90 than a server transfer plus faction change (which is $55). This is actually an extremely important point because it means you're better off transferring characters than just making new 90s whenever you want -- which helps keep you playing the characters you already have and makes you more invested in them.
Second, if you don't enjoy the leveling process this is an absolute steal. Let's run the math.
Say it takes you an hour to go from level one to 10. Then you manage to do 20 minutes per level until 60. Then 30 minutes per level until 80. Then an hour per level until 85. Then two hours per level until 90. I think these numbers are generally reasonable and quite possibly extremely optimistic -- might take most people much longer, especially without heirlooms. Put these together and we get...
1 + (1/3 * 50) + (1/2 * 20) + (1 * 5) + (2 * 5) = 1 + 16.67 + 10 + 5 + 10 = 42.67 hours.
That's a minimum of over 42 hours needed to go from 1 to 90 assuming extremely fast leveling using heirlooms.
I've talked about how this model is already problematic before (especially for new players without heirlooms who want to play with their friends) so let me just point that 42 hours is a hell of a lot of time -- that's longer than most RPG campaigns (which often run 20-30 hours).
And if we look at dollars per hour, buying an instant 90 is like spending $1.43 to save an hour of time. Which is like a FIFTH of minimum wage and most working adults make far more than that.
This is incredibly cheap when you look at the actual numbers, people. Please keep that in mind.