SPARKLE HATS! (Original picture taken by Bree Royce at the California Expo, 2012)
Two years ago, a marketing firm produced a study showing that 75% of gamers partake of microtransactions in their online games. Not long after that study was published, World of Warcraft enraged opponents of "double-dipping" by kicking off the sale of a $25 luxury mount that gamers pseudo-affectionately dubbed the sparkle pony. And then EverQuest II released a mount for a similar fee. And then TERA. And then RIFT. For all the hatred these high-end cash-shop mounts provoke, people are buying them -- enough people to make it a model worth copying. Some of these subscription games will sell sparkle anything.

I'll fess up first: I bought myself a sparkle pony when Blizzard put the mount on sale for 10 bucks a while back, and I love it (it reminds me of celestial gear and creatures in Guild Wars, so I was weak!). But I still feel a little guilty. What about you? Have you ever bought an overpriced mount for cash in an MMO? Why did you do it, and do you feel the pang of guilt I do about supporting a double-dipping subscription game?

Every morning, the Massively bloggers probe the minds of their readers with deep, thought-provoking questions about that most serious of topics: massively online gaming. We crave your opinions, so grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and chime in on today's Daily Grind!

This article was originally published on Massively.
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