Daily Archives: April 15, 2010

Getting on the Greed Steed

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.

Safety in the Runes

As mentioned in the last installment of “As the Instance Turns,” the group is about to level themselves out of classic Azeroth and into the… Outland…


Sorry, I don’t care if it is correct, Outland sounds lame to my ear.

And he word itself (again, maybe just to me) implies a unity of environment that is clearly not present in the Burning Crusade expansion.  The place looks like it was assembled from several different jigsaw puzzles that happen to have been cut out using the same template, allowing a lush forest, a prairie, a hellish desert, and the land of the giant mushrooms to exit in close proximity.

Not that that is any different from the rest of the game.  But the word “land” that is so prominent there at the end of “Outland” says (at least to me) that there ought to be a single, unified place.  Whereas “Outlands” seems to at least be an admission that you might, in fact, be facing a hodgepodge of environments mashed together in one seemingly randomly assembled package.

I’ll soon start an internet petition to force Blizzard to change the location of the Burning Crusade to the “Outlands.”  Until that comes to pass, I’ll be using the term as though it was the right one and will thank you not to rain on my little self-induced psychosis of a parade.  Or something.

Anyway, after all of that, we’re not going to the Outlands.  Enthusiasm does not seem to be there for that venture.  I’m sorry I even brought it up.

Neither does there seem to be much enthusiasm for another proposal, which is to pretend no expansions have occurred, turn off our experience at level 60, and just run around pretending we’re at the end game, circa 2006.

And there still is no positive response to the call of heroics back with our original set of characters.

Which leaves bugger all when it comes to options in Azeroth.

Time, perhaps, to look elsewhere?

Yes, time to look for some new place, some new game, some new world.

On a whim, Potshot and I both plunged into Vanguard to see if it retained more vitality than its launch day companion, Windows Vista.

The answer, for us, was no.  After a couple of hours in the starting area, I logged off and felt no urge ever to return again.

And so the search went on.

Potshot then suggested Runes of Magic.  Through the portal into yet another world!

Virtual Wolrd on the Edge of Forever?

I had dabbled in the game a bit around the time it launched, just a little over a year ago.  However, with too much other stuff on my plate, never found much time to attend to it.  There wasn’t much wrong with the game, it was just 4th on my list of things to play, and most days I rarely get past the first item.  Now, though, might be the time to give the game another look.

I still had the game installed, I just had to patch.  I mentioned a year ago that I hated the patcher.  I still do, for the very same reasons, but patch I did.  Fortunately, the patcher will run unattended for the most part.  I left it to run over night and it only got caught up at a point where I had to choose my language.  After that, it ran on to the end without any input needed from me.

We rolled up characters on the Osha server, which gets us to the feeble joke in the title.  OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Safety Administration is part of the US Department of Labor, and rarely appears in the context of video games, aside from a having a role in Hard Hat Mack back in the early 80s.  Anyway, “safety” is our byword in Runes of Magic because Potshot and I find OSHA references amusing, even if nobody else does.

The character creation was a bit spotty for me.  I am not big on the Asian MMO character models.  Well, not the male models anyway.  On my first attempt with a scout named Wlad, I ended up with something like Conan O’Brien.

I'm with Coco?

Then, after we had been in game for a while and decided we ought to start thinking about group roles, I went back to character creation and made a priest named Rathelar.

It is pronounced "Wrath-El-Argh," not "Rat-Healer"

He’s got more the Anime “elder” look to him, the lord or fleet admiral who sends the young warrior off on a suicide mission.

I decided I could be the healer since a quick run through Curse.com’s list of Addons for RoM showed that somebody created a version of HealBot for the game.

It is a little busier than the WoW version, but it is effective.  No need to target people to heal, which is the biggest pain for me in the job.

We were short two people on Saturday night, so I even got a chance to test it out.  We ran a low level instance with a knight, a scout, and a priest and it looks good so far.

Now we have to start figuring out the dynamics of the game.  There isn’t anything in Runes of Magic that we haven’t seen in some other game, but the way it is all mixed together will make things interesting.  Dual classing, talent points, trade skills, housing, quests, and so are all familiar but all have their own RoM spin to them.

And then there is, of course, the cash shop.  Or the diamond shop, since you spend cash to buy an in-game currency called diamonds which you can, in turn, spend on things like a $10 horse.  Or gold.  You can trade your diamonds at the auction house for the other in-game currency, gold.

There you have it.  A legitimate and safe way to buy in-game currency.  That should kill off all the gold farmers, right?  I mean, I keep hearing people say that if only Blizzard created some way to buy gold, the gold farmer problem would go away.

Let me show you something I do WAY more often in Runes of Magic than in WoW.

Gold spammers are all over in RoM.  Back to the drawing board on that issue I guess.

But Runes of Magic might be our filler game, the game that fits in between the end of classic Azeroth and the coming Cataclysm.