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Getting on the Greed Steed April 15, 2010

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in Blizzard, entertainment, Runes of Magic, World of Warcraft.
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Here I was just bringing up that $10 horse argument from last July with my Runes of Magic post when suddenly I find that the fires of outrage are being stoked afresh!

Blizzard has a new item in the online store, the Celestial Steed, a 310% speed mount that costs $25.

$25 gets one for all your characters

Well, it is a 310% mount speed if you have already obtained another such mount.  Otherwise it is a 280% flying mount.  It seems you can’t buy your way into a speed bump.

Anyway, the outraged responses have just begun.  $25 for virtual fluff is too much!  If we let Blizzard do this (and how would we go about stopping Blizzard?) we’re only setting the stage for being ripped off even more so in the future.

And, I must admit, $25 does seem like a lot of money for such a mount.  It would be very tough for me to justify this purchase to myself.  There are, indeed, a lot of other things that $25 could buy.

My daughter, however, walked in and immediately said, “I want that mount!”  She had already seen one in game. So it is time for me to speak again about the value of money and what else $25 could be used for.  But that I have to have this talk is not Blizzard’s fault.  It isn’t like there aren’t dozens of other things that are a bad value for your cash, and trying (and mostly failing) to instill a sense of monetary value in my daughter is my responsibility as a parent.

So am I outraged that Blizzard could see fit to charge that much for a mount?  Not really.  Once they started selling in-game pets, vanity mounts couldn’t be far behind.  And if a pet is worth $10, then a mount is probably worth 2.5 times as much.

For me, as with all other cash shop type activities, it is only a rip-off if I purchase it and feel I didn’t get value for what I purchased.  I am unlikely to make this purchase.  And, even if I did, and if I subsequently felt that I was somehow cheated, I would have at least learned something.  Individual responsibility, right?

But some people will still feel outrage that Blizzard dares to charge this much for a virtual item, and I don’t know what to say.  I don’t want to live some place where Blizzard couldn’t make that sort of choice.  But I know that P.T. Barnum was right and that some people will always pony up for such a pricey steed.

Edit: WoW.com has a poll up asking the magic question, “Is selling this steed okay or not?” as well as an update on today’s queue to buy the damn thing.

Comments»

1. Scott - April 15, 2010

First, I never thought Darren made a good (actually *any at all*) case for his moaning about the $10 horse.

Initially I thought the same as all the outrage about $25 for a mount. That’s more expensive than other mounts in F2P games that I’ve seen (which isn’t all that many, honestly; there could be $30 or $50 F2P mounts out there) but when you consider that in those F2P games you’d be paying $10 or $20 whatever per mount *per character* while this is $25 for every character on that account, I suppose it makes it a little easier to swallow.

I know everyone’s going to jump on them for having a subscription (not to mention the single biggest subscription MMO in the Western market) and using micro-transactions (or is $25 simply a transaction, sans the micro?) on top, but as I’ve said in many places: it isn’t 1999 any more and bigger, more expensive MMO’s can’t get made and studios can’t survive on 1999 wages. If this is successful — and it sounds like it will be, with an initial queue of 17,000 purchases — perhaps it will open the door for smaller studios who need the money more than Blizzard to try similar opportunities.

The problem will be, as with every other “who’s going to go first?” thing that’s new to the market like this, there will be issues, there will be screwups, there will be abuse. It’s a matter of who fixes them and how…

2. gvnr - April 15, 2010

Activision recently made a worrying risk assessment of World of Warcraft, claiming the MMO giant could be toppled – rendered “obsolete” – by the emerging social gaming scene. “We also compete with other forms of interactive entertainment,” said Activision in its 10-K annual report, “such as casual games like iPhone applications and other mobile phone games, and games developed for use by consumers on social networking sites.

Farmville has over 72 million accounts and makes over $300 million so far.

Blizzard/Activision are looking for revenue streams and I am afraid we will see a lot more of this to come. Take a look at my blog I posted about this today.

3. We Fly Spitfires - April 15, 2010

I can understand the desire to get one (and I might too) but unfortunately the fact that it’s still so popular given the high price will just encourage Blizzard to keep producing more highly priced products.

4. pitrelli - April 15, 2010

Fantastic post, nice to see a good balanced opinion. Im not saying I agree with RMT in a subscription based game or indeed the pricing of it but I’ve been laughing at some of the nerd rage.

This all comes down to personal CHOICE, blizzard aint forcing people to buy it, there are 100s of other mounts available for free no less.

Don’t see what the big deal is.

*shrug*

5. Wilhelm2451 - April 15, 2010

Who was it who first said that the problem with the subscription model for MMOs was that it limited how much customers would spend? Have we proven that wrong yet?

6. scotth - April 15, 2010

People do not seem to understand that something is worth what people will pay for it. The horse is not worth $25 to me, but if enough people will pay it, then Blizzard has not asked for too much money.

From the sounds of things there is currently a long cue to buy the horse, so it is is possible Blizzard could have charged more and made more money.

7. Jeremy S. - April 15, 2010

I agree. I wouldn’t disagree with anything you said. But what I don’t like about it, is that within that choice, you have as a parent, it’s going to be similar to the choice of a parent to choose whether to buy their kid that 1,000 dollar pair of shoes he/she is crying for.

There’s socio-economics in this game now. In f2p games it is the same, but those games are built around the principle of giving you fluff or buffs without a monthly fee.

This is a 1,000 or even 100 dollar pair of shoes that is what I’m saying. So, the only part that concerns me is that, where you say you wouldn’t buy it, why not? Because, it’s too expensive, it’s overpriced. I think that’s pretty self-evident. People will buy it and that’s fine.

I’m looking at it from the same viewpoint as overpriced junk in our country that through advertising has kids saying they have to have this shirt or those pants, and there rabid to get it.

I’ve been reading a lot of posts popping up and really I agree, mostly, with what they all say.

But…it’s overpriced. I think everyone knows that. Well, I can’t really assume. If you asked me, I’d say it’s obvious and everyone should know it’s obvious.

Apart from that it will be cool to see it, and heck if I had the disposable income I might buy it(well if it was in RoM and much cooler looking that what it is).

8. Mig - April 16, 2010

“You want stars like a Star-Belly Sneetch? My friends, you can have them for three dollars each! Just pay me your money and hop right aboard!”

9. Wilhelm2451 - April 16, 2010

Indeed, never too old for Seuss I think.

10. Xyd - April 16, 2010

My daughter is only 4 so, thankfully, I have not yet had to decline her request for a $25 in-game object that has no real world value — and I mean none – and arguable little to no in-game value. $25 is definitely too steep for an in-game mount but Blizzard is free to post such a bounty on treasures such as this.

Also, that poll seems to be fairly balanced between the pros and cons for charging $25.

11. Jeremy S. - April 16, 2010

This is my touche. I hope it is fair, and I think it may be critical of some, but also that it is a rally call for us not to divide ourselves. http://www.justonemoar.com/2010/04/16/thank-you-sir-may-i-have-another/

12. Besse - April 16, 2010

Is it a 310% mount? The buff description in game that I’ve seen seems to suggest just 280%.

The latter, in fact, i have no problem with – a pretty, non-game-changing mount and anyone can obtain an in-game equivalent with very little effort, but not quite such a nice model. If it’s 310% though, it does pretty much devalue the efforts that people have had to go through beforehand to obtain those mounts, which is a real shame.

13. pitrelli - April 16, 2010

@ besse, the mount scales to what ever riding skill you have or alternatively if you already own a 310% mount then it will also fly at 310%

14. pitrelli - April 16, 2010

@ jeremy cant read your post as your feed reader only gives me 4 lines.

But yeah your a F2P gamer so your opinion doesnt count ;) just kiddin haha I’ll check it out when Im home from work

15. Jeremy S. - April 16, 2010

@ pitrelli You cad! :) I know I was a bit whiney and preachy, but it’s too expensive for me, and I feel they were shady about creating the artificial scarcity and the waiting queue.

16. pitrelli - April 16, 2010

@ Jeremy, na didnt think you were whiny or preachy at all. Guess it comes down to individuals thoughts and preferences. In an ideal world I’d love it if RMT didnt exist in WoW but hey there is obviously a market for it as shown and as long as it remains relatively low impact items such as pets or mounts Im fine with it to an extent (aka i can stomach it), the day they sell welfare epics or the like then I’ll be lighting my torch and joining the pitch fork crew :)

I do wonder how people would react if blizzard upped the sub fee instead?! Its been the same price since launch so we have been lucky that it has not been subjected to inflation….yet ;)

17. Misty M. - April 16, 2010

The mount is issued to all of your characters across all realms (current and future characters). I feel that $25 is not that much money when it encompasses all mount types, and you would not have to buy a starter mount, epic land mount, flying mount, and epic flying mount. If they had not made that stipulation, I would agree that $25 is too much. However, I have 3 level 80s and more in works. Note: I have not bought it yet as I am still debating the $25.

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19. Kithik Bloodmoon - April 16, 2010

The mount Blizzard created is worth $25 of entertainment value to me so I am going to buy it. That is the equation a lot of people take when making buying decisions. The blog-o-sphere can ponder and beard scratch about but the average Joe is going to look at it and say is that worth $25 to me and that will be that.

20. Wilhelm2451 - April 16, 2010

@Kithik –
Begin Sarcasm
Wow, outstanding. I was just wondering who held the position of correct truth and knowledge and could speak for the average Joe. Because, of course, bloggers are some kind of strange space monkeys that live in a world apart from normal people, and therefore could never reflect the variety of opinions that real people do.

But then again, there isn’t a variety of opinions according to you, just one correct average Joe opinion. That must be right.
End sarcasm

Seriously though, you were doing great until you got to that last sentence. I totally buy into and support you and your point of view when applied to yourself. But as soon as somebody starts speaking for the masses, the bullshit siren goes off and credibility drops through the floor. And you can throw that back in my face should I slip and start speaking for some group at large.

The most common form of self-delusion is the projection of our own values onto others. When you run across somebody with a wild and crazy opinion or philosophy, remember than part of what sustains them in their world view is the belief that most people… reasonable people… or at least intelligent people… agree with them.

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