It’s shiny, it’s new and once you see it you can
instantly imagine yourself driving it. Riding fast and hard in all your
glory around town, the complete envy of all your friends. Everyone you
pass takes a double glance making it obvious that they wish they had
one too. You can’t help but feel a tad bit sorry for the poor
saps and their used up has been rides.
Surprisingly enough we aren’t talking about a brand new
Ferrari, Porsche, or even an Aston Martin. In fact this ride has no
place in the real world at all. Made of virtual bits and pieces this
mode of transportation exists in the World of Warcraft universe only,
but it still comes with what some (myself included) may consider a
hefty price tag.
If you’re still confused the ride referred to above is none
other than the brand spanking new mount that Blizzard recently
previewed via their Facebook page. While no official release date has
been set we can assume that this mount will be making an appearance in
the Blizzard Store sometime in the near future. Looking like something
of a cross between a dog, horse, and bird this new mount certainly has
visual appeal and if you’ll direct your attention below this
paragraph you can view a screenshot of the mount, taken from
Blizzard’s Facebook page, in all it's freakish mutant glory.
Due to the awesomeness exuded by this mount and because of the innate
desire to have something, even if it’s a virtual something,
that sets you apart from the masses, not to mention the amazing success
of this mount’s predecessor the Celestial Steed, makes me
positive that players will come out in droves with their credit cards
in hand. And while there is nothing wrong with purchasing this mount,
and of course it’s each individual’s prerogative as
to how they spend their hard earned cash, the thought of the masses
flocking to purchase this makes me cringe.
Why you might ask does this seemingly harmless thing put this writer on
edge? It’s simple; while this newest mount may seem benign it
is potentially just another brick in the long and expensive road of
micro transactions. Most WoW players won’t even see the
danger coming until it's too late because unlike other MMOs where micro
transactions are common, Blizzard has stealthily worked them in,
starting small (server transfers, race changes) and slowly working up
to bigger more expensive items.
It started out with cutsie rather inexpensive pets such as the
Lil’ Ragnaros, Lil’ K.T. and even the Pandaren
Monk. Finding that most players were more than willing to buy these
Blizzard began to slowly up the ante much like the well known story of
the frog who eventually found himself, much to his surprise, in boiling
water. Because of this tactic the WoW community became complacent, so
when Blizzard introduced their first mount to the store hardly an eye
was batted. The Celestial Steed took the WoW world by storm, and
players everywhere waited in virtual lines for hours with credit cards
eagerly in hand just to have one of their own. And much like the frog
mentioned above WoW players never seemed to sense the impending danger.
So because of this series of events we find ourselves here, with
another mount set to make its appearance and no reason to believe that
this mount won’t have the stunning success of it’s
predecessor. If this holds true then we, the player, may find that the
water that has slowly been heating up and will have finally reached
it’s boiling point, allowing the wave of micro transactions
to bubble over and become the norm.
The worst part of this scenario is that mounts, which seem to be
Blizzards current focus, are readily available in game and can be
purchased for in game money, no real money required. Sure Blizzard has
slapped some fancy new skins on and taught these new mounts some new
tricks but are they worth it? Because when it comes down to the nitty
gritty a mount is a mount and will take you from point A to B and
nothing more so why spend your hard earned cash on it?
In the end it’s up to each individual player if the mount is
worth the cost and I personally won‘t hold it against those
that do decide to make the purchase. However, at the risk of sounding
like Chicken Little, one can’t help but wonder if the newest
mount has the success and selling power of the Celestial Steed if
indeed a new era of micro transactions will be swept in and
“free” in game mounts will become farther and fewer
between. While one person can’t make much of a difference, I
personally will not be feeding Blizzards new founded micro transaction
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