Procrastination Amplification: Punditry on MMOs and games in general.

It’s not Blizzard, it’s You

Surely you’ve heard about That Retarded Horse, the new mount sold in Blizzard’s cash shop for World of Warcraft. For $25 (or €20) you get a purely cosmetic in-game pegasus mount – if you manage to make it through the queues that have reportedly been building in the online shop. Like Ixobelle (and many others) I find this newest money-grabbing scheme hilarious – but I really can’t blame Blizzard for it at all.

I'd rather have a nice dinner. Or go to the movies twice (in 3D!). Or, you know, give those $25 to someone in need.

First of all, no harm, no foul. The mount is purely cosmetic and spending those $25 doesn’t give any advantage within the game. Scott “Lum the Mad” Jennings claims that the horse blurs the line between purely cosmetic items and buying in-game power but I really can’t see any advantage whatsoever to having the mount. Unlike such moves as pricing Starcraft 2 at $60 and translating that price into Euros 1:1, the sale of this mount only has negative impact on those stupid enough to buy it. The rest of us might actually see benefits from these shenanigans. If Blizzactivison realizes that they can milk a certain part of their customer base for money this easily, maybe, just maybe, us other customers will be spared further increases in the price of games. Selling a lot of games relatively cheap and then selling additional fluff to less-than-clever players to make up for the low margin on the box sales seems like a good idea.

Even if our friends over at Blizzactivision don’t go that far (and the announcement of the Starcraft II collectors edition alludes to that), we don’t lose anything. In the worst case scenario, nothing changes. In the best cases we’ll see more money invested in games and those games sold for less money. Sure, there’s no such thing as free lunch – but the people who are paying for it are those who are stupid (or rich) enough to buy the horse in the first place. I don’t mind that at all.

  • Thing is, I don’t think games will get cheaper and, in fact, I believe SC2 was just charged at a higher price because Blizzvision reckon they can get away with charging it. They would still make a tidy profit selling the game for $50 but have just decided that they want to make more because they can.

    Ultimately though it’s the consumer who has the power to say ‘no’ to these things and we have to stop paying if we don’t like it. We have a choice!!
    .-= We Fly Spitfires´s last blog ..How A Paper Clip Saved My Sanity =-.

  • Hi. I feel kind of bad that you’re calling me stupid for buying the mount. I enjoy looking at it as I ride around Azeroth. It brings me pleasure. Dare I say it, the same kind of pleasure that you and everybody else who pays to watch colorful pixels and smash buttons for hours on end gets? Besides, if you think about it, I spent way less time earning those $25 than a lot of people spend farming for Rivendare’s Deathcharger. So, who is the stupid one?

  • Hey, thanks for commenting intelligently instead of just rage-quitting my blog 😉
    If you actually get $25 worth of enjoyment out of the horse – kudos to you. I just find that hard to believe since there are so many things I can think of that I could get for $25 that are way more fun than any item I’ve ever had in WoW – especially considering the fact that the mount is hardly rare.

    On a sidenote, I don’t mean to say that people buying the horse are stupid – for all I know many of them are much more clever than I am. What I mean to say is that I consider the act of buying the horse stupid because I can’t see people getting remotely their money’s worth out of it.

  • I understand your point and it’s an argument I’ve made in the past about other things. I guess I’m thinking more in terms of “how much do I value my time” rather than “how much do I value my money”. I think that the only advantage a rare mount has over a store-bought-everybody-else-has-it mount are bragging rights. Perhaps my sense of in-game fun isn’t quite the same as yours?

    You will have your opinion and I will have mine. My point in leaving a comment isn’t to argue whether or not it’s a good idea to buy the mount. My problem is that you’re separating people who buy the mount and people who don’t into the groups of “stupid enough to buy it” and “the rest of us”. It certainly doesn’t sound like the act of buying it is stupid, but rather that the people themselves are stupid.

    It just irked me at the time, that’s all. 🙂 But it doesn’t really matter… I just like to argue a little. Sigh.

  • Oh arguing is fine with me. I do it all the time on the most moot of points.

    I see why you’d get the feeling that I meant to separate people into stupid and not stupid, but that’s not what I meant. Me, I do stupid things all the time (even knowingly) but I don’t consider myself generally stupid because of that.

    The main point I was trying to make was not “buying the horse is stupid” but rather “Don’t blame Blizzard for selling it, blame yourself for buying it” in response to all those who criticized the sale of the horse in the first place. I think I was simply a bit loose in my terminology using the word stupid.

  • yeah this is kind of a pointless “discussion” and I feel that the longer I keep it up the more it makes me seem stupid or thick-headed.

    So, i’ll agree with you here that it is pretty stupid to buy this mount especially for such a ridiculous price. It is just as stupid as paying $300 for a pair of sunglasses with an ugly brand name plastered in gold all over it.

  • Apparently 120.000 players have already ordered the item.
    I guess it’s really up to each person to decide whether they find in necessary to buy/ not to buy.
    Although I paid some money to see the blizzcon stream I agree with you on this one.