Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Blizzard's 'Micro Transactions'

The bush costume that started it all....

I'm sure some of you may remember this screenshot from a few posts ago. I was lucky enough to have it featured on WoW Insider's "Around Azeroth" column. I was very, very excited! If only I'd known what a hullabaloo that Celestial Steed in the picture was going to cause!

** Also, I have changed the address to my blog! Please check that you are following the correct one- it is no longer, it is now Sorry for any inconvenience, but it was bugging me seriously since I'd changed the name and focus of my blog. Don't worry, I won't ever be doing that again! **

Growing like a Weed (Where I'll be pulling quotes from)  is the name they gave my cute little screenshot- I'd taken it in Loch Modan while working on my Loremaster Achievement. A quest out there requires one to wear a 'clever plant disguise' and I discovered much to my amusement that you can wear it while mounted! That Celestial Steed there is the mount my addon picked for me, and it looked cute so I snapped the picture and submitted it! Unfortunately for me, my couple of nano seconds in the limelight was tainted by some rather negative comments that turned somewhat nasty when someone hijacked my screenshot to use as a stand for their soapbox. 

Someone who bought their in-game mount on a website talking about completing an in-game achievement for prestige. How ironic.

This comment is what set it off. I'd like to start off by explaining my reasons for buying this mount.

I've collected mounts and mini pets in WoW for the entire lifetime of my account. I collected them before you got achievements from it. I collected them back when they used to be items you had to carry with you. I carried a bag FULL of mounts and minipets and had macros setup to randomly select one for me. 

On top of this, I use ALL of them. I have so darned many mounts and pets, I have an addon specifically to manage them for me. I don't pick the most illustrious mount I have, or the hardest one to achieve at the time to use, I use them all. I have friends who 'collect mounts' but whichever ones going to get them the most notice and praise is the only one they'll use. A new mount just came out? That's the one they'll be on. I'm just as likely to be using my unpainted Mechanostrider as I am my Mechgineer's Chopper, because I love them all. The only reason I even took that screenshot on my Celestial Steed is because it was the mount that GUP pets happened to select based on random choice.

Would I  have bought it if it weren't bound to account? Yes, I would have. I like the mount, and I wnated it for Brunn. The fact that it was available to all my toons as well was really more of a perk for me, not a reason for buying it. In fact, I would have bought it if it hadn't have counted towards my hundred mount achievement as well.

Will I be buying the next mount? Yes! I mean come on, it's a lion with wings. How nifty is that? I buy them because I like the look of them. There are some of the mini pets that I did  not bother to buy because I didn;t like them enough. I have the money to spare, and it's something that gives me pleasure, so why not? It doesn't matter to me that the item is not 'real', I've gotten countless hours of enjoyment from riding the steed in game, just as much as any of my other mounts! 

And for heaven's sake, it's a PONY MADE OF STARS! I'm a GIRL! Of course I want one!!

Thanks to people who bought the Steed, Blizzard are set to introduce another mount which can also only be bought with real cash. 

You are ruining the game by buying items, Blizzard will just keep churning out more and more. Why do you think gold sellers are in the game still? Because people like you pay them real life cash for in-game items. Gold or hoses, makes no difference, it's exactly the same thing. 

This might be fine for you if you have the real cash to pay for them and you don't mind paying for items in a game you're already paying a subscription for, but what if you don't? You're penalised from competing in the game you're paying the same as everyone else for. So what you effectively have is a two-tier subscription.
Really now? Ruining the game? That's quite impressive. Hmm, I also appear to pay real life money to play the game each month. And if I say, wanted a T-shirt to show my support of WoW, why I'd have to pay real life money for that too! Heaven forbid they churn out those T-shirts!

All joking aside, YES Blizzard is going to continue selling in game items for real money. BUT they have explicitly stated that they will not sell in game items that offer any kind of an advantage. And on top of that, I truly see no difference in buying this mount, then in buying a wow logo T-shirt. I need neither item. They are produced to give blizzard money; buying either of them is one way to get the enjoyment of that item, as well as show your support to those who made it. Win-win!

Now then as this person says that if you don't have the money to buy the mount your 'penalized' in game for it. Penalized how? I haven't the time to hardcore raid, therefore I cannot gain the raid achievement mounts. I haven't the skill to hardcore PVP, therefore I cannot gain the Arena mounts. How is that any different from people being unable to purchase said mount, just because it uses real money? I do not feel penalized because I am unable to have a chance at gaining these in game items.

And no, we do not 'effectively have a two tier subscription'. A subscription is recuring. I made a one time purchase, the same as if I'd purchased a mug with Thrall's picture plastered on the side.

No, I think the REAL issue people have with these items is that you're paying real life money one gets from their real life job for a bunch of intangible pixels. And for some, it's likely jealousy that they feel they cannot afford to get these items themselves. 
  Blizzard should be rewarded for things like Netherwing and Amani War Bear and all the other mounts which have had content created for them. They should not be rewarded for doing absolutely NOTHING to the game and even worse, charging you for that nothing.
Yes sir, they should be! And they are, with your subscription fees. Items such as the Netherwing Drakes are payed for with a  person's time, and Blizzard is payed for their production of them with the fee you pay to play the game. The Celestial Steed is more like an 'expansion pack'. It's not something that's neccesary to enjoy the game at all, but something I can pay for if I want to add to my enjoyment.

People who pay Blizzard directly for in-game items are ruining the future of the game for all of us. There's one mount now, two soon, in another two years, thanks to you, there will be 50. Web bought items aren't rewards for in-game progression, they're rewards for people who give Blizzard back handers to make up for shortfalls in subscription revenue due to game design. You're sick, you need help. You're turning the classic game of Wow into a game of monopoly where the player with the highest amount of real life cash wins.

Yes, they are rewards for people who give Blizzard money. No one is questioning that. And yes, they aren't for in game progression, that's kind of the point. It's something neat to look at. And who cares if there's 50 purchasable mounts in the future? Big deal! As for turning World of Warcraft into a monopoly geared towards rich people who are the only ones who will 'win'... win what? What are trying to win in game? More importantly, what is this person trying to win in game that I don't know about yet? O.O

How pathetic. Every single thing you do in Wow is a symbol to others. The gear you wear, the title you have, the mount you ride. All you're saying to others by riding the steed is that you resorted to buying items as it's quick and easy. It makes no difference if you have 85 more mounts in your inventory, nobody will see them, everyone will just see a prat on a web bought horse. If you want that, keep up the good work.
Wow, really? So my spending hours of time grinding Frostsaber Trainer reputation means nothing? The 51 times I've run Stratholme hoping for Rivendare's Deathcharger mean nothing?  The fact that I spent seven hours killing ogres at level 70 to get my Talbuks is meaningless? Or the countless hours killing those poor cultists in Silithis so I could be a Guardian of Cenarius? All of that means absolutely nothing. Weird...

Maybe it's just me because I do try not to cause waves, but I've certainly never looked at someone who was riding on a Celestial Steed and thought "Huh, that jerk just bought that mount! That took no effort! Clearly they are less of a person than me!" I usually think "Oh, pony made of stars! Neat!"

No, I don't bother looking up anyone who buys their in-game items from websites, they probably buy gold too (after all, buying gold and horses is exactly the same thing).
What difference does it make if he has every epic in the game? He buys his gear from a website, he probably bought his epics too (there are websites that sell them).
Once you start down the road of real cash for game progression, which scammers started and Blizzard have continued, you find that you can do anything for real life cash. You can even pay some Chinese kid to deck you out in full tier 11 with a million gold and every mount in the game... if you have the money.
And this prat looks like he has.
This is perhaps my favorite part of this person's argument. Because I bought an officially released bonus item for real life money, I've CLEARLY bought all my gear and gold from against TOS goldsellers.  Aside from the fact that I haven't, and if he HAD taken the time to armory me before attempting to back up his argument with false information he'd see that, buying a Celestial Steed is not akin to buying gold in the slightest. This is called a slippery slope argument, and is a type of rhetorical fallacy.  That's basically saying the same thing as "If we let Johnny buy energy drinks, he'll eventually start buying crack!" There's no evidence to support this behavior in the slightest and this type of argument is used as a scare tactic.

Thank you Logic and Critical Thinking class.

And don't call me a prat.

SO- And if you stuck with me through all of this HOORAY!- what do YOU think of Blizzard's new micro transactions? I think they're quite wonderful and offer some fantastic items that are fun IF you want to pay for them. I find that the majority of people's arguments against them tend to be based upon a "but I don't have the money for that :(" background, and I'd like to hear some more valid thoughts on the subject. Why or why don't you, like the release of these new purchasable in game items? Is there an in game item you'd like to see added? Is there something that if Blizzard ever started selling would make you quit the game?



Heather said...

I bought the sparkle pony the day it came out. My boyfriend did as well. We're both happy with the purchase & use it mostly for alts. In the beginning we used it on our mains constantly.

Not sure why people would make a fuss over the screenshot just because of the mount featured. People on the internet can be ugly for no reason.

I remember when screenshots first appeared on a WoW MMO website showing the mount. Everyone was excited & thought perhaps it would be a rare mount drop from Algalon or something. These same people now no longer value the mount because it cost money..meh. I understand if people don't want to add an extra expense to WoW, but just because some of us enjoy collecting pretty pixels doesn't make us any less or more of a gamer.

The only thing I would ever be against WoW selling is something game breaking. Such as, having to spend money (IRL) to have BiS gear. I'd much rather them keep their current method. Allow us to raid with a group of people to get them. This does require time, but encourages people to work together to complete a common goal.

Excuse the long comment.

redcow said...

I'm really sorry some jerks rained on your awesome-screenshot parade. I too thought that the sparklepony would be some outrageous raid-only mount that I would never have the chance to obtain and despaired. But they made it purchasable, so when I finally had the money to get one, I could have my very own! (Of course, this was well after they had come out so I avoided being part of the shimmering crowd in Orgrimmar and also dodged some heckling from guildmates)

If possible, I'd love to be able to either do a long quest-chain or buy a mount from the store. I'd say that you could buy the quest chain from the store, then complete in game to receive the mount, but I think that would border too much on what people are already QQing about, which is paying for bonus content.

In the end, it's your money and you are entitled to spend it how you like. I don't think Blizzard is dumb enough to stray into "pay for extra content" foolishness, and no one is punished by not buying a store mount, or *gasp* having to see one out in the world. Enjoy your sparklepony, and grats on being featured on Wow Insider!!