Would it be wrong of us to lead off this week's [1.Local] with a comment from someplace other than WoW.com? This comment on Blizzard's astounding sales of the Celestial Steed comes from our sister publication, Massively, where one would think readers would be a little more objective about MMOs and microtransactions as a whole.
Back here at home at WoW.com, opinion about the new ride seems fairly split. Pull up a seat and let's chew on it some more. Oh, and you'll want to be sure to check out a truly epic take on the situation from [1.Local] regular (cutaia), whose fiancée Autumn Kosik created the headline photo, above. (Thanks for sharing!) Most definitely worth a trip to the end of the post.Pingles: I play Allods, a free-to-play cash shop game and have purchased items to support the game. So at first I was a bit perturbed at how anyone can accept a subscription game charging for things in a cash shop but I think that Blizzard may very well get a pass on this one.
The reason: WoW is a behemoth. People don't mind throwing $25 at something that ALL of their friends are going to see and that they envision spending the next few years playing with. This isn't just a game to some folks. This is a social and long-term commitment.
I have to admit that when I purchased a bag in Allods I wondered whether I'd be playing the game a year from now. I don't think folks wonder the same thing with WoW.
In a week filled with cataclymic reponse to cataclysmic class preview announcements for Cataclysm, the talk around [1.Local] still managed to find a focus on the Celestial Steed.
Atdt1991: I voted "okay", and I think it's really perty and all, but damn it, $25 is too expensive. More than a month of playtime for a mount? Come on, that isn't fair. Though I guess it is fair - they want to keep it semi-rare, and that's how you do it in a capitalist society - it's rare because only people who can afford to put $25 bucks in will have one.
I guess by getting one you'll never have to buy a beginning mount again - not that that's much hassle, since you have to get the skill at least.
borderguard: My personal reason behind not buying it is because I do not like this trend of only having the coolest looking stuff available through real world purchase. I personally love non-combat pets and mounts, they are something which I really love about the game. If blizzard continues to have the coolest looking ones only available through external purchase, then it kind of ruins the game for people like me.
Also, I really do not like the way the games industry is going with not all of the content being included with the initial game purchase. Developers have increasingly begun to see how much of a game they can take out and then offer as DLC/microtransactions etc.
The only reason that a lot of the coolest mounts/pets which can be exclusively acquired through playing the game are available this way is because the microtransaction system was not set up yet (at least in wow). Now that the store is operational, I think that nearly all the coolest stuff will be available through this means.
Sicadastra: I've got to be honest, I do not understand the issue.
First off, Blizzard can sell whatever they want. It is irelevant that I pay a monthly subscription, it is irrelevent that I bought the game. Blizzard wants to charge $199 for an expansion, $50 a month to play, and $25 for each gear upgrade... they can do it. They are allowed to, nothing can stop them except the market value of doing so. If people pay it, then they do it. If people don't pay it, they don't do it. Simple.
Second off, how is a mount any more or less "useful" than a companion pet? No one, I repeat no one is going to play WoW, level to 20, pay game gold for riding training, pay real money for this mount and then never buy another in game mount. No one. Even if they did, why would it matter? If this was a 400% mount, shot lasers from it's eyes in PVP, pooped gold bunnies, and the only way to get it was to shell out real world dollars, I'd understand. I wouldn't agree per se, but I'd understand. But it's not, it matches whatever you've already acquired in game. Getting this mount conveys no PVE, PVP, Soloing or Questing advantage to those who buy it.
Slippery slope? To what exactly? To Blizzard selling gear upgrades? New abilities? Gold? Whole characters and accounts? Maybe. I don't believe they will go any farther than vanity items, but even if they did, what does it matter? See point #1. If people are willing to do it, it will exist. If enough people want to consider it "not ok" it will go away.
Your little starry pony is never going to compete with my Turbocharged Flying Machine for sheer awesomeness. I had to *bleed* for this baby, let me tell you. Just like I'm bleeding to get the 'hog that WILL be mine one day. Will I have a single mount that pulls double duty? Nope, unless Blizz listens to my suggestion and makes an engineering mount that **transforms**, which would be wickedly cool. But until then, my flying mount tells anyone who sees it that I have been through the sadistic profession-grind that is Engineering, and I survived mostly intact! What does your "pony" tell people, besides that you're a sappy magpie with $25 laying loose in an account? Nothing! NOTHING, I SAY!!
But I will say this: your starry hexaped is adorable compared to the abomination that is Lil XT.
WTB: PET WRECKER, WILL PAY WELL. PST.
True, there are already rocket mounts and motorcycles that seem a bit incongrous for Azeroth. However, seeing as how popular the Celestial Steed is (obviously Blizzard knew it would be) it would've been hard to justify something previously unseen dropping from any current or planned pre-Cata bosses. Most (if not all) in-game mounts drop in the context of the instance/boss you're dealing with. Bronze Drake from a CoT instance, HHM from Hallow's End, Baron Rivendare's mount, etc.
(cutaia): Rather than engage in the debate, I decided to sit down and write a story about who's really behind this nefarious plot. Now, I don't know much about fan-fiction, mind you, but I'm positive it's always better when set to the Fresh Prince theme song.
Now this is a story all about how,
Your game got flipped, turned upside down.
And I'd like to take a minute, just sit right there,
I'll tell you all about the star-ponies flying though the air.
In Westfall the Defias were born and raised.
In the Deadmines was where we spent most of our days.
Chilling out, maxin', relaxin' all cool,
And all stunnin' some landlubbers just to be cruel.
when a couple of goblins who were up to no good,
Had a great idea while they were chopping wood.
So I sold one little steed and the world got scared,
They said, "Your micro-transactions are simply just not fair."
I whistled for a ride and when it came near,
It was a two person rocket...recruit-a-friend gear?!
If anything i could say that this mount was sweet,
So I kicked him off and took it 'cause hell, I'm Van Cleef!
I pulled up to my ship about seven or eight,
And I yelled to my guildies, "Hey guys, I'll be back later."
I looked at my money, i was finally home,
To sit at my desk as the Blizzard CEO.
Have a celestial weekend, everyone!
Ha, caughtcha looking! Hey, don't scroll away ... Come join the conversation on these and other posts around the WoW.com community. We'll see you around in [1.Local]!