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Reader Comments (210)

Posted: Apr 19th 2010 8:27AM (Unverified) said

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ppl, please dont buy anything from item shop, no matter how cool those things may look, dont encourage blizzard-activision to expand it. If they see that they can earn huge amounts of money by it, they will never stop putting better and better things out there.

1. 25 dollars isnt so much for this mount, but who knows what will be next, and you wont ever afford everything that you want to get, so maybe its time to show blizz a message that this is a wrong way.
2. I play wow for a few years, so i want this game to be better, i dont want blizz to charge 30$ per month and tell me to pay for everything else i want in game. Its not that easy to just quit the game you spend years playing. Blizzard should consider more ppl playing their game, not just money. Just look at CCP (creators of EVE online) They are holding quite well without microtransactions, without 11 millions of players, but caring about everyone that plays their game.
3. In other games there are mirotransactions and its not a big deal, but there isnt any with microtransactions AND monthly fee. Wow was bette than those "free" mmo's because here all of us pay every month for it, and everyone have the same chances, everything in game depends on ow much effort you put in playing, WIth blizz policy about gold sellers and other that kind of issues, we can be sure that world of Warcraft was divided from Real world. Doesnt matter who you are in real, in wow everyone was equal.

So please, dont buy anything from item shop. Now you may think that it isnt a big deal, but buying it we show blizzard to go further that way. I like the look of it, i can afford it, but i wont buy it for the sake of all wow players.

Stop thinking about yourself and try make our game a better place.

Posted: Apr 19th 2010 5:55PM (Unverified) said

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It's plain and simple World of Warcraft can get away with a lot, because it is and has been the greatest MMO. Argue one thing or another but profits and subscribers speak louder than cry baby wanna be non conformist

Posted: Apr 19th 2010 3:58PM (Unverified) said

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Time for math! Let's look at personal economics:

To buy just the mount for one character makes the equation: 161g = 25 dollars.

A fresh level 80 can get 161g in an hour through dailies or quests. 10 dailies would net you that amount. It is an amazingly trivial amount of gold. Most people, if they need 200g, don't need to do dailies anymore. They can take a few items from their bags, spend 10 minutes at the AH, and make cash via herbs, skins, items, jewels, etc. Making small amounts of money via WoW is an almost trivial venture.

In other words, the equation is really something like 1 hour of time = 161g = 25 dollars.

Assuming no tax, a 40 hour work week, and a 49 week work year, 25/hr = 49,000 dollar salary. That's close to the national median. It's not an impossible sum. That said, though, this is post-tax money. 25 dollars taxed can be a lot less. You lose about 11% of your money to federal income tax if you make 49,000 a year, plus a bunch more in state tax. So let's say we're rocking a 15% tax burden. You're going to be looking at a salary closer to 60,000 to make this equation work well...for a single character!

Unless you're making 60,000+ a year or have only 1 character with epic flying, your mount is a waste of money (like eating at a restaurant when you can eat at home).

Most people don't have only one character. I'm guessing that most people have something like...6 or 7 that they'll get to 80. Most of these characters are likely level 80 by now, but let me make another pretend situation:

A person who has a maximum level character buys the mount and then levels 7 characters to 80. This does take some amount of time. These characters also accumulate the 44,128g (6304 per character for every ride speed up to 280% flying and cold weather flying, no discounts) total needed for flying but not the 1,127g total for the mounts themselves.

Now, instead of 1 hour, you need 7 hours of dailies to get the required gold.

7 hours = 1,127g = 25dollars/7 hours = 3.5 dollars an hour. That's pretty easy to do by, say, begging in the subway if that's your bag. So in this case, when a person has multiple fresh 80's that need epic flying mounts, the economics works out pretty well.

...excceepppt if people don't get to epic flying. 100/161g of the cost comes from buying the epic flying mount (which, by the way, can be gotten for free if you run a heroic instance that has a 280% mount drop every time you complete it in a certain period of time). 61g is WoW pocket change. Every time you make a level 80 and don't buy it epic flying, you're pushing the sparkle pony mount towards being a waste of money than a time saver. If you're like me and have 7 characters with flying, only 3 of whom have epic flying, and don't make 60K a year, you're not really saving game time by buying the sparkle pony.

In other words, those who are crying about the in-game advantage are neglecting the much larger, 6038g 80s, barrier to spending that whole 161g. If they had to talk about the 61g barrier, I think that most people would laugh them off the podium.




FYI, to get $25 in real, post-tax money in an

Posted: Apr 19th 2010 5:26PM (Unverified) said

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Math is universal :)
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Posted: Apr 19th 2010 8:11PM (Unverified) said

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Thank you Sera for a thought provoking article. I appreciate the discussion, but ultimately disagree with your conclusions. Many of the comments already posted reflect my thoughts as well- such as the demographics of WoW players and those who have decried paying for content for other games could be very different. In other words, the sample base used for your analysis simply could not have been reflective of the total MMO population ,conversely as one commentator stated "140,000 is not a significant total of WoW players", therefore relative to the total number of WoW users, those who purchased the horse is statistically insignificant and a double standard would not exist.
A couple of additional comments for this discussion:
1.) There is something to be said of the silent majority. If you assume that the140k users purchasing the mount indicates a significant portion of WoW users, then you could argue that the forum posters represent a vocal minority of users.
2.) Perhaps, due to its reputation, Blizzard can create content priced at a premium, and there will be very little backlash. Users trust Blizzard to make quality products and the cost merely the price of quality.
3.) Since the mount is not required for gameplay, should the complaints of the forum posts apply? If Blizzard decides to create some new feature and charges $100 to purchase it, but the item is not required for gameplay, ultimately what does it matter? If I choose to purchase it, that would be my choice, just as much as if another user chooses not to purchase, that's their business.

Posted: Apr 20th 2010 12:41AM (Unverified) said

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"Here's a question for you -- why is Blizzard allowed to do what so many other companies can't do?"

Because, for one, as others have said: Blizzard is a wellknown and reliable brand.

For two, you compare it to a variety of things such as Cryptics micro-transaction for respecs and what not. As a beta tester and former player of Champions Online - I would not pay for something extra in the game when they dont even have their shit straight in the basics of the game. Unstable game play, bugs, no real upper level content, etcetera. Dont charge me for superfluous things when you cant nail down the basics Im already paying you a monthly subscription fee for.

The WoW player base is a fickle thing - so I'm not understanding why anyone is surprised. Alliance get worgen? I QUIT! Horde get paladins? I QUIT! Theyre not expanding bank slots with the expansion? I QUIT!

Its not unusual for the fanbase to work itself into a frothing wellspring of internet warriors over the smallest of issues - so, for once, allow yourself to be pleasantly surprised at something that the community, at least for the most part, can enjoy.

Not only did I buy the pony, I reactivated my account to do so.

Why? Because Im not caught up in the hypocrisy of this game versus that game, or the world shattering ramifications thereof - and I wanted one.

Its a pixel horse - no one is marching orcs to a gas chamber. Calm down.

Posted: Apr 20th 2010 2:36PM (Unverified) said

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in business Q1 Bliz breaks even for the year, thats operating cost, employee payment etc. in Q2-4 thats profit... all of it. If you need to complain shouldn't you complain about that? hey $15 a month is rediculous if they don't *need* to make anything after that the profit they can squeeze out of us players is immense, my hats off to them if they can make even more by selling cosmetic in game items, now if it were gear on the other hand....

Posted: Apr 20th 2010 2:44PM (Unverified) said

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If Blizzard were selling bag extensions for real dollars I would be pissed as hell and I would consider leaving the game, thinking that things were only going downhill from there, and feeling like I couldn't play the game properly without shelling out those extra dollars. If Blizzard were selling respecs for real money instead of in-game money I would most definitely be pissed. Even if they were selling one of the mounts that you previously had to earn like an Amani Warbear, or a Plagued Proto-Drake I'd be angry. But a mount that has no prestige attached to it other than the prestige of everyone knowing you shelled out $25? A different skin for the thing you ride on? What's the big deal?

As for giving an in-game advantage in that you don't have to buy mounts for your alts: that is pretty lame. That's a total savings of 161g before faction discounts per character. If you can find me someone who is buying a mount because they want to pay $25 for somewhere between 130g and 150g and not because they want a pretty horsey I will tip my hat to you for sure, but I think we all know that's not why people are buying this.

None of the examples you give show any kind of double standard. Your subscription gives you access to the game, all solo/dungeon/raid/PvP content and all items that are relevant to participating in that content. A few vanity items that have no impact on the game cost extra for those that want to pay. If people screamed blue murder about Champions online selling new costumes for real money then that would be comparable to this, but bag extensions and respecs are *very* different than pretty colours. Blizzard, so far, has shown they understand the line where paying for extra content changes from being an optional extra to affecting game play. You, it would seem, have not.

Posted: Apr 20th 2010 2:46PM (Unverified) said

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I think it's widely acceptable for Wow not because of any trust in the company, but because the vast percentage of players simply don't have any frame of reference. From the young with no real idea of how many days of food $25 is to those who only play WoW and get the fee taken out automatically and so don't really remember on a day to day basis they are paying it, you have people that

1. Don't really put a value on the $25 to what the general populace would in another MMO
2. Don't play any other MMO, so don't know that $25 is more than others would charge, or what those communities think. WoW players are, largely, playing in a bubble.
3. Have played WoW for a pretty long time, and don't really consider the subscription fee.
4. See the price of an expansion as negligible to begin with, and it's been awhile now since they had to pay that anyway, so it's not at the forefront of people's brains.

Posted: Apr 20th 2010 2:57PM (Unverified) said

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Christ.

If you don't like it, just don't play. If you don't play, then WTF are you crying about.

I won't buy this thing but I could give a rats patoot if others find value in it. Good on them. Stop worrying about others so much.

Posted: Apr 20th 2010 3:01PM Tridus said

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It's not a double standard at all.

Respecs and backpack space are things that affect gameplay.

A sparkly horse does not affect gameplay.

If Blizzard tries to sell an uber sword, THEN you will see people blow up. However unlike other games, they don't have money influencing gameplay.


I'm kind of amazed that the author on a site like this can't see such an obvious difference.

Posted: Apr 20th 2010 3:25PM (Unverified) said

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I think it's unfair to accuse people who bought the horse of having a double standard when it comes to other cases of micro transactions, but only because I seriously doubt many (if any) of the people who actually bought one had an opinion about micro transactions before they bought the thing.

Not everyone follows the wider mmo community as closely as you, or for that matter most of us reading this article. It would be interesting to see a poll of those who bought the mount to see how many of them:

a. Had played any other mmo besides wow.
b. Had played any mmo with micro transactions.
c. Had played console games where different character skins and the like can be purchased through DLC.

Posted: Apr 20th 2010 3:38PM (Unverified) said

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Perspective.

There are 11 million people playing WoW. 140,000+ bought the horse at the time of your writing. 140,000/11,000,000 a bit more than 1%.

So 1-2% of the population bought the horse at the time you wrote this article.
One to two percent. One or two out of a hundred.

These are the numbers you had. And you concluded that WoW players are hypocrites. Despite Blizzard locking down every thread on the boards - there were hundreds of them for the first few hour - which even remotely complained about the horse. Despite the fact that the vast majority of players - the other 98% or so - did not purchase the steed. Despite all that, you concluded that your sample of 1% adequately captured everyone in WoW.

For your own sake, I'll be generous and assume you're trolling. Otherwise... lol?

Posted: Apr 20th 2010 3:50PM (Unverified) said

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I didn't comment over on the wow site but what you said is pretty much what I feel, more or less. The price for the horse just seems out of whack. So do some of the character change and customization services if were talking about it. I didn't even think about the fact that its practically half the price of an expansion. Overall, I think its the relation of the price with the monthly subscription fee which gets me. I pay 14 buck a months or so and the mount is almost twice that amount, so it doesn't compute for me.

Posted: Apr 20th 2010 4:27PM (Unverified) said

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The benefit of skipping the mount costs is a small one. The real gold-sucker is the riding training, not the mounts themselves. Added up all your mounts mounts are going to cost around 160g while the riding training costs around 5,300g, so it's the riding training that gouges you and the celestial steed does nothing to circumvent this, only the paltry mount cost.

Another thing is this has nothing to do with actual gameplay. Forcing people to pay $20 to upgrade their bags...THEIR FREAKING BAGS...now that's outrageous because it effects gameplay. If you want to get the biggest bags currently in wow you'd have to shell out quite a bit of gold, so it would be seen as a slap in the face if Blizzard suddenly announced a "Big Crate" for $20 that would be a super-bag. It would be a slap in the face to everyone who get their bags in a traditional manner.

Mounts in WoW are pretty much a joke now...I won't be surprised if in Cataclysm you just do some quest where you help some old dude with his horse and you bond with the animal or something and he just gives it to you. And then you rescue and injured Gryphon for your flyer. I don't really feel cheated that people can pay $25 for the celestial steed, in fact, if anyone's being cheated it's them.

Posted: Apr 20th 2010 5:39PM (Unverified) said

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There's a Simple reason people have let Blizzard get away with this for so long......they're TOOLS. Ofcourse it's not alright to pay for an expansion in a game with subscription fees. Ofcourse it's not right for them to post items up for microtransaction if they're charging a subscription fee. But many hipocrites will site this as ok cause they just love the game too much and can't conceive ever leaving it. You're pretty stupid if you think people gripping about this is due to a lack of funds to BUY one. It's mainly due to ethics from a company swearing it's not a sellout. Blizz will never sell Gold online; phsht wait a while. Enjoy your new CelesTOOL Steed Mount in the meantime =)

Posted: Apr 20th 2010 6:02PM (Unverified) said

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Blizzard has explicitly stated that they will never sell in-game advantages to players for money. If and when they ever violate this policy you will see most of the apologists in this discussion agree with you. In the meantime, Blizzard has clearly established their philosophy on these transactions and has been following it faithfully. There's little reason, especially given their history, to doubt them on this point.
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Posted: Apr 20th 2010 10:37PM (Unverified) said

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i myself purchased this mount. i wasnt happy to be spending 25 dollars on something that technically does not even exist. i wasnt happy knowing that i just help pay for some rich assholes new condo. what made it ok is that i spend 50 bucks or more a week on cigs and drinks, wich disapear almost instantly. so for 25 bucks i got his mount for every toon, present and future, that scales and will exist longer than a few packs of smokes and a rockstar.

Posted: Apr 20th 2010 10:59PM (Unverified) said

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Great rant...I liked it. I got to say though that I don't really agree with it. Buying a mount is not the same thing as buying backpackspace or items with real gameplay changing effects. The mount is more or less a cosmetic change, although the fact that all your characters get one is a bit much imo, they should have probably limited it to one character, but I suppose then people would be up in arms that they'd have to spend $125 to get one for their main AND their 4 alts.

I honestly don't like it that much, but I'm not going to quit the game over it. If they ever implement a gear purchasing system I'd definitely quit though.

Posted: Apr 20th 2010 11:49PM (Unverified) said

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I think the reason the reaction is different is because the transactions are different. The WoW micro transactions are only vanity items. Yes you don't have to buy a mount, but buying mounts in WoW is CHEAP. You still HAVE TO BUY THE RIDING SKILL and that has always been the expensive part of riding a mount in WoW. Now if it granted that 310% riding speed without a need for already having such a mount THAT would have jumping the shark.

Spending IRL cash for extra bag space? For a Respec? That's outrageous and completely different than a sparkly horse I can easily live without. The horse is no different than buying a loot card for the WoW TCG from ebay. It was already socially acceptable long before the Blizzard Store came online.

There's one last difference I saw mentioned in another Blog. We all know we'll be playing WoW a few years from now. It's where we LIVE. I don't even know if other MMO's will still be online and I sure don't know that I'll still be playing them.

It's also a no-brainer gift for one's significant other.

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