Friday, April 16, 2010

A couple of words about that mount

I guess I should write something about the topic on everyone's lips today. But Ixobelle and TotalBiscuit beat me to it and I haven't much to add really. Read Ixo's post and watch TB:s movie and have a laugh. Basically they cover it all.

It felt absurd to watch the army of horses hovering over Krasus Landing tonight. Exactly how special and imba could those kids really feel? As I pressed my random-mount key and took off riding my classic epic gryphon, I felt like a truly unique snowflake compared to the others. It didn't cost me a single extra cent. And it felt SO good.

But my heart is bleeding a little once again because I'm reminded of what I feel about RMT connected to WoW. They aggro me pretty badly there. As it appears Blizzard is getting greedier and more daring. There surely must be a line somewhere but I wonder where it goes.
And that's all I have to say.

Now to the post I had planned for today! Some more Blizzard bashing actually.


Tebla said...

Well, I bought one. I like it a lot, especially because it is account bound, so my lowbies can have a mount that scales and looks cool. Plus, on my main I am at 97 mounts now, with two more from the Argent Tournament and the Wyrmrest drake left for my dragonhawk.

Aloix said...

Maybe some people bought one simply because they like it, fully understanding that yes everyone else will have one too. Being a special snowflake is overrated IMO, and there are many ways to 'prove' that one is indeed 'unique' if that really is a 'big deal'.
Sorry if I sound harsh, is not my intention, the snowflake thing is just a bit of a personal peeve.

Christopher D. said...

Blizzard is starting to bother me with their game. They seem to be taking off after the Facebook games. Don't feel like putting in time or effort to get stuff? Whip out your charge card! They way things are going, emblems and gold will be for sale come Cataclysm... cause, its the end of the world right? Loads of people have been dropping subscriptions lately, because there isnt much going on now that hasnt already been done many times. Blizzard has to make money some way. Next thing you know, you will be able to hire a squire to farm materials for you while you are offline. Damn World of Farmcraft....

Klepsacovic said...

I don't see the big deal in useless items being sold. Once that crosses into useful items: gold, emblems, gear, etc., that's when a problem emerges. As for being unique:

D.: What has Blizzard sold that gives any actual in-game benefit? Pets and mounts, that help the achievements for... more pets and mounts.

Christopher D. said...

lil XT is also a train wrecker, so not entirely useless. I guess you have a point with the useless angle, but still, I liked it much better when Blizzards take on it was "you pay your subscription, no other transactions allowed". Yes people still bought accounts and gold, but as they open up the gates to purchasing things, it adds into the depth of the gray area on whats acceptable and whats not. I'm sure they would have an issue for say, me giving you a truckload of mats and you buying me a mount, etc.

Another one was people offering to farm stuff in exchange for the wow subscription cards they sell at the supermarkets. They said no, because it was a RMT and those were not allowed.

I have extra time I could use to get a mount, but not extra money. There used to be a lot of people that used to farm gold to sell to the goldsellers to pay for thier subscriptions. But again, the gray area of RMT. Guess I will stick with my chopper and drake combo for now...

Leah said...

meh. its a pretty mount with a functionality of headless horseman's mount, and its basically Blizzard's sneaky way to at least partially prevent all those random people profiting off loot cards on e-bay. "if you're going to pay for cute in-game things, might as well pay us directly"

incidentally, I'm sorry, but I found that video to be a perfect example of trying to hard to be cool and funny. to me, it was actually kinda sad and yet another reminder of why I canceled my subscription :/ poor blizzard, trying so hard to give us all equal opportunities and players just find new ways to act superior and look down on others.

Monsieur said...

Poor blizzard? :o Equal opportunities my ass, i've seen this argument flying around a couple of times. It devaluates cool mounts obtained by people who worked for them ingame, an every time you buy one of these, you reward blizzard for their decision to sell more ingame stuff for real money. Hence, they will continue to do so, because profits run businesses. Do people really want that? I don't know what to say, I hate that mount and everything it stands for. And the way they sell it is even worse.

Larísa said...

@Tebla: Grats!, I suppose? I never was any mount collector but I used to care about pets. For some reason - yeah, I know I'm emo - this RMT store thing kills a bit of my interest for pets overall.

@Aloix: good point Aloix, about special snowflake. I wrote the post a bit quick and carelessly. But the RMT thing is a personal peeve for me, that's for sure.

D: I think I would have an easier time accepting it if I knew that Blizzard had serious economical problems and was almost broken, about to shut down. Then I could buy a horse in an action of support I suppose to keep the game I love going. But I don't think this is the case yet.

: it's not the end of the world. But I'm just not a fan of it.

@Leah: well, everone doesn't appreciate the same sort of humor. I thought it was funny and it will certainly give some comfort to the kids who can't afford that mount.

. The sad thing is that it works. What would have happened if no one had bought it? If we flat refused? Maybe we would have gotten that mount - or a future equivalent - for free. I shiver when I think about the signal Blizzard gets now with the crazy queues.

Monsieur said...

@Larisa: They probably wouldn't do give it out for free :) But so now you can buy all the mount you need for all the characters, maybe the next step is buying epic flying for real money. Because, buying a mount is actually saving you ingame gold. Looking at this, i'm going to bet they're gonna add a lot of new stuff for their store at the cataclysm launch. I'm guessing heirloom ring and neck at least. And people will say "well, it's ok since you can already get heirlooms ingame, and ooo! I want to level my goblin as fast as possible!".

And about the queues, that's a sneaky mindtrick. I used to work in advertising, and what you do with that kind of fake line, is make people believe they are progressing in a real line, and form the image of a physical demand for the product in peoples brains. The way we work is very visual. What and advertiser wants, is for you to imagine 80 000 people standing in front of you, wanting that mount that is of limited supply. And the 15 minutes "limit" to be able to pay for it, is creating a "window of opportunity" in your mind, and makes you base your decision on instincts instead of intellect.

This is plain manipulation, and not illegal and fairly common in the US. You don't really see it this blatant in Europe that often.

Anonymous said...

My flying gnome friend, I am a bit puzzled that you worry about that.
It's plain economics, Merchandising as you find it in any other field.

Do you care about some Achievementpoints earned through buying a stupid T-Shirt? Probably not.

But obviously seeing somebody with something that we can not get on the regular way, makes us kind of envious.

So either you fight your urge for more and keep smiling on your classic gryphon or you surrender o your urge and throw your money after Merchandising Products.

Jen said...

I don't see any problem with Blizzard selling this or pets. If people want to buy it - fine. They won't get any advantage over me (except they get the pets/mounts achievement a bit easier, and gain... useless achievement points). They're not even unique snowflakes as we all saw.

Personally, I won't buy the mount. I can think of much better things to spend my 20 euro on, and for my characters I have 2 options: have a non-unique mount for little to no effort (just as non-unique as the Steed is becoming) or have a rarer mount with some effort (will stand out among the starry horses). The way I see it, I win both ways.

I can't get angry though, I seriously don't see any problem with people spending real money on vanity items. If they start selling gear for real money, that will be a major problem; so far, I can only congratulate Blizzard for a very good business decision.

Anonymous said...

Forgot to sign 8:57 AM anonymous comment again.



Daergel said...

I don't see it as much of a big deal, but I won't be buying one either - I have more than enough flying mounts to keep me happy.

Saying that, I do like my Brewfest mount, and there are fewer of them around these days; I guess people got bored of them after a couple of weeks?

The same will happen with these new mounts.

Larísa said...

: yeah, the queue trick. You really must give them an applause for it. And yet... I can't help getting baffled when I watch it. I overrate the intelligence of the WoW audience I suppose.

@Usiel: no, I'm not envious and I'm not raging. I can agree with The Noisy Rogue that it even might be a good thing if stupid people are willing to pump more money into the game which possibly may help keeping subscription fees down. I'm not raging. But yet - those things somehow change the idea of this game slightly. It takes the game out of the game if you get what I mean. Basically I think that stuff - even fluff stuff - is something your character should get as they lead their life in Azeroth.... Am I somehow naïve about that? Probably.

@Jen: actually I think I will get much more annoyed with the new pet. It's already driving me nuts. The pony may sparkle but he shuts up.

@Daergel: yeah, there will definitely be a clock-shaped curve on the use of those mounts. But I think it will be a longer all-time-high period since the price for it was so high. People want to feel they got value for their investment.

Markus said...

If people want to buy the mount, then that is there choice. Just because Blizzard makes it available doesn't mean you have to buy it. I prefer to get my mounts through achievements and I have just about all the vendor mounts in game, but only on one character. No point in flooding my account with the same mounts.

I think my favorite mount in the game is the one I just got on my BE mage: Venomous Ravesaur. It's a quest in Un'Goro that becomes a daily where you have to collect the ravesaur's baby teeth and then turn them in with materials to make the saddle. The best part is that it actually grows as you progress through the 20 dailies, so you end up with a real attachment to it.

I really don't see a need to give Blizzard another $25 (but I do like that kung-fu panda pet lol!). I'll stick to the in-game mounts and pets. I just love my Kirin Tor pet. :)

Anonymous said...

Well, here's the old fogey comment, "When I was a kid, we use to ride horses in Northrend, if we were lucky they were epic landmounts. The only way we flew before grinding our ass off to earn gold for cold weather flying was to hijack the mounts at K3."

In all seriousness, one part of me says, meh, you wanna waste your cash, somebody's always there to help you along with that. The other, stronger, part says that I play the game to get away from the real life merchandising which assaults us all on a daily basis, can't we keep the real world out of the pixilated world? Naive? Yes. Asking too much in my opinion? No.


Tesh said...

Is WoW about *playing* or about *having stuff and showing it off*? Where you fall on that decision will naturally change how you approach the game. Since Blizzard has been monetizing the first, it shouldn't be a surprise that they would monetize the second.

Holycrepe said...

Out of curiosity I looked at the price of the mount, £17! Plus there is a new pet for £9. Why would Blizzard need to sell expansion packs when people will spend as much on items like this?

Anonymous said...

I don't think anyone bought the new mount believing they would be the only one. You obviously define yourself by your stuff (you feel so good being "unique" on your griffin), but you shouldn't really project that onto others.

Be annoyed that Blizzard is selling content if you want, but don't use it as a way of looking down on those that are happy to pay for the items. I have no interest in trying to get the various card game items, but I don't begrudge those that want to do that sort of thing. They arne't lesser beings because they happen to have the same mount as a million other ppl.

If the celestial steed had been made available to every mount vendor across factions for 25 gold, there would still be a subset of ppl complaining it wasn't a rare hard to get item. I don't believe there is any harm in having something that a lot of ppl want and have it easy to obtain as well.

Larísa said...

@Markus: the mount of my heart is the AV ram for some reason. It just fits a gnome so well.

Personally I would really feel embarrassed showing the sparkling pony. But as you say - it's their money, their choice. However it isn't a development of the game that I appreciate.

: well: at least we don't see any posters advertising the mount ingame. But who knows what comes next?

@Tesh: I think they need to balance it somehow though. If the showing-off-items-you-got-by-showing-your-credit-card part of it will grow too strong it will eventually feel a bit absurd. Where's the gameplay so to say?

: I bet they're baffled at the success themselves. Expect more to come....

: I've never heard anyone complaining about the pets you can buy for gold ingame, such as the skull and others. Or the mounts for that sake. People may giggle at it but not really look down on it. Anyway. I think you're projecting more into my post than there really is. I just reflected over the fact that that mount suddenly will become the most common one in the game, making the vanilla mounts look rare and exclusive, something that makes your character differ from others. There is some humor factor in this that I can't rid myself of. But come on. I'm not a forum troll! And I have guildies who have bought the mount and enjoy it and I'm fine with that. I promise not to bully them for it. Not much at least. :)

Talarian said...

I'm a programmer/developer as my day job and I just wanted to make a comment about the queue "trick".

First, a history lesson. Does anyone remember when the first BlizzCon tickets went on sale? Blizzard's servers melted, essentially. Couldn't buy the tickets, couldn't navigate to nor It took down their entire web front-end. Why did this occur? Because thousands of people were trying to buy tickets simultaneously.

Blizzard has at least a few smart software engineers, and I'd be highly disappointed if they hadn't figured out what caused all of those people trying to buy something at the same time to DOS (Denial of Service) their server. I'd be willing to bet a large sum of money that the credit card transactions were a large part of that.

The solution here is to reduce the number of possible concurrent transactions, by implementing a queue. Your routers use this technique when there's too many data packets to shove through, and multithread applications use this technique as well to prevent one program from clogging your processor with too many threads. Heck, most browsers do this when making web requests to get pictures/html/etc.

"What and advertiser wants, is for you to imagine 80 000 people standing in front of you, wanting that mount that is of limited supply. And the 15 minutes "limit" to be able to pay for it, is creating a "window of opportunity" in your mind, and makes you base your decision on instincts instead of intellect."

This bit of psychology clearly does not apply, for two primary reasons:

1) Someone waiting in line has already decided to purchase the mount, they're just waiting to pay. Making them wait 20 to 60 minutes in a queue will actually make them less likely to stick around and pay for it. Instant gratification and all.

2) The mount is not limited quantity. The percentage left is just how many codes they have generated at that period of time, since their code generation code (hah!) is not part of their store technology. They've explained it once with the Pandaren pet, and they've explained it a second time now with a blue post on this, though admittedly they could do better at explaining this on the page itself.

The tl;dr here is that a queue is a basic software engineering technique, and after seeing their servers meltdown once already I'd bet this is a technical solution rather than a marketing device.

Anonymous said...

One of my guildes is married to a hardcore raider who is incensed that it isn't some uber rare item - he has a chance at Invincible but that's not enough for him. So yeah, there is a subset of ppl who would be incensed that it was an easy to get gold item in game. Most of the in game mounts that are a gold purchase require some kind of grind, even if it is just rep. Plus the price tag of the chopper makes it an expensive item.

*shrug* bronze drakes were all the rage at one point, as were each level of achievement raiding mount. The ICC frostwyrm mounts are currently getting a work out on my server. I tend to find a mount I like for each toon and stick with that, it saves me a lot of time, effort and gold.