Friday, April 16, 2010

Dude, It's Just a Mount

I admit it.  I bought the mount.

Yet I'm still a bit surprised at the sheer disappointment and disapproval (albeit sometimes comically stated) coming from the WoW blogsphere, as apparently my decision to spend my own money on something that increases my enjoyment -- in an activity I'm participating in for enjoyment to begin with -- apparently makes me a bad player, or an attention whore, or perhaps this kind of whore:

So here are some of my own thoughts on the mount, and why I bought it, why I don't think it's the end of the world, and why I think anyone getting their panties on a knot should relax and take a deep breath.

"OMG Blizzard!  Way to stab us in the back!  You said you'd never support RMT, what do you call this?  $25 for a reskinned mount?  You greedy bastards!  What's next, $50 to buy tier pieces?  $100 to buy a Gladiator title?  GrrraaauguguggugRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGE!"

My counter-argument is admittedly an anecdote, but I think it's a telling one:

My friend has had his eye on buying the Traveler's Tundra Mammoth since WotLK was released.  In December, he decided it was finally time to start trying to save up for it.  He always seemed to struggle making gold, doing dailies religiously yet just barely able to meet his raiding costs for flasks, repairs, gems, etc.  Meanwhile he saw that I never did a single daily but never seemed hard up for gold.  I wasn't exactly Gevlon but I did pretty well for myself.

He knew I primarily made gold by selling scrolls with vanilla enchants, presumably for twinks and alts and their heirloom items.  So we talked and put together a plan.  We'd do old school raids and rep grinds so I could pick up more vanilla enchants.  He'd farm annoying mats for me like Righteous Orbs and Golden Pearls.  We had another friend who was a scribe so he provided us with lots of Armor Vellum and Weapon Vellum at cost.  When the scrolls sold we'd split the profits.

In just a couple of weeks, but he got his Traveler's Tundra Mammoth and I had earned well over 15k for myself.

If the Tundra Mammoth was something that you could just buy at the Blizzard store for $25, then he may have bought it, and in the process, think about all the things that wouldn't have happened.  All the mats we bought on the AH for rep grinds, all the stuff we sold on the AH that we picked up rep farming, all the herbs we bought for our friend to make scrolls, and all those twinks and alts running around with their agility, crusader, or spellpower enchants.  The WoW economy runs on stuff like this happening, and throwing that all out so they can make $25 would quickly damage the fundamentals of the game.

That being said, RMT (Real Money Transactions) in WoW are not going away, and the success of the Celestial Steed is just going to confirm what the execs at Activision theorized: people will pay real money for this shit, just like they've been paying real money for years in games like Farmville.  Here are some ideas you could possibly see:
- Items with an "on use" like the Horseman's Horrific Helm.
- Shirts or tabards that have some sort of cosmetic effect.
- Items like the Toy Train Set.

Does any of this stuff put you at a mechanical disadvantage for any part of the game?  Will you think, "man, this guy has a fatter wallet than me, I can't even begin to compete with him"?  No, or at least, you shouldn't.  Skill and time will still be required to achieve almost anything worthwhile in the game, and as long as Blizzard keeps it that way, what exactly is the problem if some guy wants to blow part of his paycheck on some pixels that look cool to him?

"You attention whore!  You just got it because you want to be a beautiful unique snowflake!  I spent hard work for my character's accomplishments, you just spent 30 seconds with a credit card!  GrrraaauguguggugRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGE!"

Let's just get this out of the way: I definitely didn't get it because I wanted to be unique.  By the time I bought it and logged in to use it, Dalaran looked like Algalon took a dump on it and everyone was riding his turds.  Spending $200,000 on a Ferrari is a purchase that says, "look at how amazing and unique I am."  Spending $25 to have some extra glowing pixels in a video game is not.

I've tried to word this next paragraph as politically correct as possible, but I can't seem to say anything without coming off as blunt, so here it goes: if you're 'offended' by the mere idea of this mount, and if you see someone riding it and think, "I just don't have any respect for that person," then you're probably the kind of player that compares himself to others and justifies any shortcomings.  Someone in full ICC gear?  He's probably GM of his guild and loot councils everything to himself.  Someone with the Kingslayer title?  Well he has time for a raiding guild, you don't.  Someone with a Tundra Mammoth or Mechano-Hog?  They don't actually play the game, just rip off noobs at the Auction House.  Someone with The Insane achievement?  Well, there's a guy with no life!

If you disagree, if you really are offended by the mere idea that someone would purchase this mount but can give a reason besides, "I don't like that it reminds me that someone has allocated more of their disposable income to World of Warcraft than me," then please, I'd love to know what that reason is.

Because... seriously, guys.  It's just a freaking mount.

1 comment:

  1. **Your comment system won't let me comment, so this is TAM not Snottydin**

    I support sparkly ponies. I wasn't allowed one as a small Tam (for obvious reasons) so I will damn well have one now.

    Also I love your depiction of an angry WoW player: "GrrraaauguguggugRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGE!" Part nerdrage / part murloc.

    But, yes, on a more serious note the increasing desire of players to find reasons to feel contemptuous towards other players is ... irritating.