Seriously, Blizzard? Does your shame know no bounds?

People!  They’re not going to stop this insanity unless you stop buying every obscenely overpriced item they keep dishing out to you!  You’re being a Blizzard enabler!  Bad, bad public!

By the way, when we’ve reached that glorious point of MMO history when a company is selling a flying horse for HALF the cost of an expansion pack, we no longer get to call such transactions “micro”.  Just saying.

Right here, right now, I’m going to make a prediction — Blizzard is going to cross the $100 RMT boundary in the next year for some “must have” virtual item.

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57 thoughts on “Seriously, Blizzard? Does your shame know no bounds?

  1. If they had a mount, that looked purely awesome for a forsaken….yeah I would buy it.

    That thing is pure bleh.

  2. Worrying thing is that there’s enough of a market for a digital flying horse that the ordering queue on the website is 2 HOURS LONG! and thats to stop the website from going under >.>

  3. Surprised it took them so long. They could have started doing this three years ago and would have been making even more money. Imagine, every dungeon boss having a mini-pet version that you can buy via RMT…

  4. I knew it was going to happen. It is way too easy money. I predict buying gold, and powerleveling in the future. Why wouldn’t they want to get a piece of a multi-billion dollar empire which they enabled by making MMO’s so popular.

  5. How fast is the mount?

    I mean… outrageous! Actually is is pretty outrageous. $25 bucks most certainly isn’t a micro transaction.

    People will pay it though! WoW and EQ2 make me curious as to if the non-payers are going to get new art ever again.

    I imagine soon we’ll be stick people.

  6. I find it ironic that ghostcrawler stated in a blue post to the druid community that they didn’t have time to do the artwork of new tree/moonkin forms. He even used as an example having one less raid boss model if his design team spend so much time on these new forms. Apparently, the do have time to make new artwork for paid mounts though gg.

    P.S. I’m going to buy the horse, and i hate myself.

  7. LOUD NOISES!

    Bit of an over reaction imo, its there if you want it but its not a game breaker.

    Deep breaths people, you personally do not have to buy it! If blizz keep it to just vanity stuff then im okay with it, when it starts to have an impact on the game ala Allods Online?! then I’ll walk away

    It looks a bit crap anyway to be honest

    @ fezzel the mount takes on the speed of you other fastest mount i.e if you have a 310% flying mount then thats what it will be

  8. “I imagine soon we’ll be stick people.”

    Thank you for making me cough up a lung forcing down a swig of Mountain Dew that desperately wanted to make its way all over my monitor!

  9. This is Activisions business model. I know people like to pretend that Bobby Kotick exploitive views on games and gamers has no influence over Blizzard, but that is clearly not the
    case.

    Sucessful companies have to make more money than they did the year before. And as Blizzard’s market share is starting to plateau that leaves them with very few options. Providing more content/services for free isn’t one of them. Finding ways to get more money from existing players is all they have left.

    Not buying this isn’t going to help. if this doesn’t sell they will try to sell you something else. If you want more for free then they have to fear a loss of existing players (ie income). But good luck trying to tell people not to play WoW.

  10. The mount is as fast as your training allows, up to 310%. And I think people buying it know very well what they are getting. So what’s the problem, really?

  11. I’d be a lot angrier if this was the only mount available in the game. As it is, there are a couple hundred mounts in game you don’t have to spend real money on.

  12. I asked for a pony and I got it at the low, low price of $25.

    What’s your problem?

  13. Pingback: When Baby Murlocs Cry: The Celestial Steed Now For Sale « Im Talkin Games

  14. I’m glad I don’t play so I wouldn’t have the urge to buy one, it’s pretty…

    Seriously though 25$ is a bit steep for a cash shop item.

  15. Waah waah RMT waah. Grow up. If people are spending money so be it, they’re gonna make money. It isn’t game breaking, there are plenty of other mounts, it isn’t the best mount anyway. Now can we all go back to WoW and stop pretending we care?

  16. Well the Lil XT is ugly as sin so that’s not a temptation… but the mount is kind of nifty (plus all your characters get it), and I don’t have a problem paying for something that I genuinely like and would use. Compared to the Spectral Tiger mount that goes for $1500 on eBay, $25 is a steal.

    Most folks already have a mount of some sort or can easily get one. It isn’t like this particular mount gives you an edge over other mounts, since it only goes as fast as the fastest mount you already have. So what is the problem again?

  17. “Let every player know, whether it thinks us uber or newbs, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure that we feel more special than they are.”-Anyone that buys this mount

  18. Commenter on another blog said he was number 37,000 in the queue when he tried to buy one!

    It’s funny, I remember like it was only yesterday when Runes of Magic was being castigated for selling mounts for $10. And that actually gave you, y’know, a mount. Not just a funky skin (riding skill not included!)

  19. I don’t think we’ll see a single item for $100 but I have no doubt we’re going to start seeing A LOT more items. I bet it won’t be long before we start seeing weapons and armor too.

  20. It was odd, I saw the Joystiq headline in my RSS feed and thought “You have got to be kidding me”, then I saw the picture, and something in my brain screamed “OMG I WANT!”

    …What is wrong with me?

  21. i see the future: price tiers for items
    if you want to be able to equip green items, pay X amt
    for blues XX amt, etc
    Noooooooooooo!

  22. 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.

    I predict that there is lots more of this to come.

  23. How to recognize a WoW fanboy:

    “Dude, that game has a cash shop, I’ll never play a game with a cash shop, I want to just pay a sub and be done with it. Paying extra is for retards.”

    WoW releases cash shop items:

    “Dude, what’s your problem? The mount is only TWENTY-FIVE dollars. If you don’t want to be cool you don’t have to buy it. I’m gonna go get mine now!”

    Sigh.

  24. But, because they had stars, all the Star-Belly Sneetches would brag, “We’re the best kind of Sneetch on the beaches.” With their snoots in the air, they would sniff and they’d snort “We’ll have nothing to do with the Plain-Belly sort.”

  25. I do enjoy how every other company that had microtransactions was money-grubbing and greedy (something I agree with), but WoW was somehow immune to any of those complaints, when they have pretty much had at least some MT’s for a long, long time now (server transfers, name changes, etc.) and none of them were ever cheap.

  26. It’s a vanity item. It doesn’t effect someone’s gameplay, doesn’t make them more powerful, or give them some sort of advantage; it’s just a mount with a cool model. It takes much more than $25 to create, implement, and sell, but then the price is decided by supply and demand principles. Ultimately, Blizzard is a business. Clearly hundreds of thousands of people are interested and think the mount is priced fairly, and the pet store is giving them a service they want; and in the process, Blizzard gains revenue, which benefits everyone.

    I’m not sure why some have so much beef with the entire concept of a pet store, or with the idea of selling a mount. This is where the evolution of games is going: with variance among particular games, there’s going to be some synthesis between microtransactions/DLC, subscriptions, and front-loaded costs. Blizzard hasn’t missed this.

    Why does this all seem so insane to you, Syp?

  27. Pingback: Game by Night » Screw the Pony, Think of the Sub

  28. Nerokis: It seems insane to some because it’s $25 and like you pointed out “it’s just a mount with a cool model.”

    The price is not decided by supply and demand, it hasn’t been available long enough for demand to have caused a price fluctuation nor, being a digital item, is supply a limiting factor.

    The price was set more on “what the market will bear” principles based upun historical transaction performance of similar items and services.

    If there was an option to earn these items via in game activites as well as the option of simply paying for them that would make all the difference.

  29. “How to recognize a WoW fanboy:

    “Dude, that game has a cash shop, I’ll never play a game with a cash shop, I want to just pay a sub and be done with it. Paying extra is for retards.”

    WoW releases cash shop items:

    “Dude, what’s your problem? The mount is only TWENTY-FIVE dollars. If you don’t want to be cool you don’t have to buy it. I’m gonna go get mine now!”

    Sigh.”

    – PeterD

    So true, so true… one commenter on here in particular sticks out to me like a sore thumb. Railed against Allods online before it even was open to the public, but now that their beloved WoW is doing it, excuses Blizzard because “it’s just a vanity item and doesn’t affect the game ala Allods.” LOL, LOL!

    And for the other defender who asks, “what’s the problem?” I think the problem is that once proven that there are a ton of people out there willing to pay those ridiculous prices for “vanity” items, it won’t be long before they realize that the same people will pay even more for things such as weapons, armor etc. Which is all fine and dandy if it would just stay confined to WoW, since I don’t play it… but you know it won’t. WoW being the game against which all other MMO’s like to compare themselves against, it won’t be long before 90% of MMO’s out there are following the same model. THAT’s the PROBLEM!

  30. This is absolutely hilarious and I think Blizzard are rock stars for exploiting our consumerist tendencies. They aren’t forcing anyone to buy it and it doesn’t offer any competitive advantage so what’s the harm? In a few months people won’t even remember they bought this silly toy and will be ready for the next not-so-microtransaction.

    No recession can halt western consumerism. It’s just our nature. In fact, we’re not in a depression because we simply spent ourselves out of one.

    Let’s see how long we can keep it up for though. My guess is that it will eventually catch up with us.

  31. Pingback: The Sky Is Falling! « The Beast Within

  32. Mojeaux – While SynCaine may be a bit insane sometimes, he’s spot-on when it comes to the flaw of the F2P model, which is exactly what your commenter in question (Pitrelli) has argued all along, too. The F2P model is fundamentally flawed – the developers have a vested interest to ensure you pay to play. Here, WoW is taking advantage of the Facebook market to have people show off their virtual goods – items that have no bearing on game play whatsoever. I guess it’s kind of like buying an online magazine subscription to get in-game dyes and wings, huh?

    http://yetanothergamingblog.wordpress.com/2010/03/04/aion-magazine/

  33. The reason this irks rational people is simple when you allow yourself to be objective.

    This isn’t a case of: “Hey, guys. Just to let you know there is a cool looking mount you can buy for $25 in the store. Take it or leave it, it’ll make no difference to your gaming experience nor give you an edge in the game”.

    This is a case of: “Hey, guys. You know how we designed this game as a giant treadmill with carrots on string dangling from every conceivable space on the walls, ceiling and floor? Well, here’s another carrot and the only way you’re gonna get it is if you cough up some cash.”

    The argument that this is a take it or leave it, non gamebreaking item is moot. This is a moral issue. Blizzard knows its demographic VERY well and they know how best to exploit that demographic (by being an exceptionally run business).
    With the millions of people who depend on WoW these days, blizzard know people are going to buy not because it’s a trivial luxury that’s a little fun but because people NEED this.

    They have blurred the lines between gameplay goals and rewards for lining their pockets. They are taking advantage of their playerbase because a lot of people just don’t care how they get in game items now: they just have to have them.

    Players have shown that this market is now ‘justified’ because they’ve been conditioned to NEED new things. Blizzard sets examples which is more than evident with the amount of MMOs released on the WoW template.
    By this example, other MMOs will start doing it. Blizzard will up the bar and soon enough we’ll be paying for things instead of playing for things.

    If you want to buy it, buy it: but preserve your dignity by accepting you are being exploited. Whatever, that’s cool. We all get exploited everyday for things we don’t need but don’t think Blizzard are doing you any favours…

    If you’re prepared to pay for these things you’re informing Blizzard and other companies that this is the right way forward – that this is the future of gaming.

    I find that depressing.

  34. @Drew —

    You can flip that argument to the subscription model too. Developers have a vested interest in ensuring your progress is throttled so you spend more time playing.

    This is why we have experience/skillup curves, achievements, random drops, expensive toys, raiding treadmills, rare ingredient/critical chance crafting, and countless other artificial timesinks.

    Aion exemplifies this better than any other MMO, which you obviously seem to have experience with. Can you think of any good reason for the extreme grind present in that game?

  35. @ Drew
    Maybe ( but I think you’re stretching the comparison a bit), However I didn’t rail against Allods online and then turn around and then question what all the drama was about when MY game started acting in a similar fashion. Double standard is all I’m saying.

    And you’re comparing me buying a magazine subscription, which happens to have some goodies attached to it, to buying an in game mount, which costs about 3/4 of the magazine subscription? Really? Do you seriously think that’s a fair comparison?

  36. Claiming it costs Blizzard $25 to manufacture and sell a single skin for a flying mount is one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever heard. You are aware that many developers can make and distribute entire GAMES for less than that right? Check out the price of Torchlight please, then tell me $25 for 1 model/skin is a fair price based on labor required with a straight face. Geez.

  37. “Mojeaux – While SynCaine may be a bit insane sometimes, he’s spot-on when it comes to the flaw of the F2P model, which is exactly what your commenter in question (Pitrelli) has argued all along, too.”

    – Drew

    Ok, so what is WoW now? F2P model + Subscription? And you can argue semantics all day long about “needed items” vs. “fluff items” and how it’s somehow ok so long as it’s fluff items and not “game changing” items.. whatever.

    “The F2P model is fundamentally flawed – the developers have a vested interest to ensure you pay to play.”

    – Drew

    Couldn’t that be said about the subscription based model too? So what’s your point kimosabe?

  38. @Snafzg: Oh I’m sure that’s why AION is such a grind. As for the subscription model, though, you’re paying a set amount and it’s not going to cost you another dime more regardless of what changes take place in the game. In the F2P model, they have to tailor the game to push you into the cash shop. I should note that I was thinking specifically of the Russian patch to Allods that was increasing the punishment for the death penalty or what have you. The cost to play (seriously) literally changed overnight.

    @Mojeaux: It’s more fair than the comparison of a zero-impact mount to the perfumes in Allods, absolutely. In this case, you’re calling out WoW players for contributing to the “problem” when you’d already done so yourself by purchasing fluff for AION. I’ll say the same thing I did elsewhere about the magazine content – I’m sure people bought it for that and not the wings and dyes, just like millions of men subscribe to Playboy for the enlightening articles. ;)

    And the slippery slope fallacy with the weapons/armor going up for sale has not yet happened, so it’s an invalid argument, to boot.

  39. “Ok, so what is WoW now? F2P model + Subscription? And you can argue semantics all day long about “needed items” vs. “fluff items” and how it’s somehow ok so long as it’s fluff items and not “game changing” items.. whatever.”

    You cannot dismiss that argument with “whatever” – it IS the crux of the argument. Yes it’s absolutely okay to sell fluff stuff alongside the subscription model as far as I’m concerned. My game experience is not changed by the lack of a Celestial Steed, so if people want to donate $25 to Blizzard for a prettier horse, more power to them.

  40. So I have to admit that it does *matter* whether a RMT item is a vanity item, a convenience item, or a gameplay item. All of these, and subscription fees too, change the way a game is developed. Pick your poison, as far as what conflicts of interest you want the dev team to have.

    Vanity items in RMT make the dev team less willing to make cool game-achievable vanity items, so as not to compete with the moneymakers. The celestial steed now forms a cap on how cool game achievable mounts can be (excluding ultra rares).

    Convenience items (teleportation tokens, +x% xp potions) disincentivize patches that make the game more convenient, like a fast travel system.

    Gameplay items might be the worst conflict of interest, but only because we tend to expect more from the dev team in terms of game balance than in terms of convenience or aesthetics.

  41. Bah, no arguing with a Blizzard fan, you’re always going to find a way to excuse whatever they do.

    And just because you might not believe that people do actually read the articles in Playboy, doesn’t mean that they don’t. If you wanted porn there are far cheaper ways of getting it. Not only getting it, but getting more of it, since Playboy, doesn’t really have as much skin as it used to. So yeah, even though you might not, people do like the articles.

    As for me, I won’t deny that the bonus items included with the subscription had an impact on my decision to buy the subscription, but I can honestly say that had the bonus items come up for sale in game without a subscription attached, I wouldn’t have bought them. They’re actually sitting on character that I don’t even play any more rotting away. So yeah…. real important…..

  42. Drew – You might want to contact Turbine with your conclusion that the F2P model is “fundamentally flawed” so they can stop waisting time on DDO Of course their accountants and the gaming community may disagree but I’m sure your research and data analysis will prove to them wrong.

  43. I guarantee you – guarantee you – that when Blizzard finally releases the dance studio that was originally supposed to come out with WotLK, they will charge for teaching your character custom dances.

    Blizzard PR and players alike will then say, “Look, it doesn’t affect progression or gear or gold or your success in the game, right? It’s just cosmetic, isn’t it? If people want to pay, let them pay!”

    The cynical side of me thinks this is the reason we haven’t seen the dance studio yet. They wanted to get the infrastructure in place and get the players to accept RMT as a social norm.

  44. No sense arguing with a Blizzard hater, they’ll just find a way to trash everything they do. (See what I did there?)

    As for the alarmist, I clarified that my comments were geared toward the Allods debacle. Given their recent marketing tactics (taking after Evony of all things?) I suspect they’re in dire straits. Granted, DDO has it mainly right, charging for content as you go, much like “expansions”.

  45. Pingback: Blizzard – You are both ingenious and insane « Massively Multiverse

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  47. So when, for example, Cryptic put Klingon and Ferengi skins on cash shop and not for free as they are subscription model the general voice in intawebs is:
    “Boo! Shame on you for putting something in cash shop that should have come for free, since we pay for it in subscription.”

    But when Blizz puts a skin model in cash shop: “It’s ok, you don’t need to buy it!”

    Subscription used to be payment for the extra content. Now it’s just “Well you get most of it, but some of this stuff.. well.. cough it up!”

  48. Pingback: $25 for Virtual Mount

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