Friday, April 23, 2010

Blizzard's New Sparkle-Pony.

I bought one. Well, first I told Anakha I thought they were cute and I was going to think about it. Then I just flat-out bought one. They were available from an early time on release day and by the time I jumped into queue at 5:00p PST, I was told it would be a 6-hour wait and I was 160,000-ish in line. Well, it only took about an hour and a half to get to the checkout and after logging out and in again, I had a new sparkle-pony. So did everyone else.

The design is actually quite pretty and the main reason I wanted one. It has, however, prompted some interesting claims by a few who believe Blizzard made the wrong move.

"Next Blizzard will start selling gear!"
Really? What makes you say that? I'll be the first to say that if they do begin selling gear, like actual stat-increasing epics not dresses and silly costumes, I'll be gone. I quit playing Dungeons and Dragons Online because of their switch to micro-transactions; why earn gear when you could just pay for it? I'm not the only one who feels that way, and I doubt the money Blizz would make in one-shot gear would balance out the amount of monthly subscription money they lose. The items that they have placed for sale are cosmetic only and don't change your game experience in any way (well, maybe not; see further below).

"By selling a mount, something commonly purchased with gold, for real-world cash, Blizzard is now no better than a gold-seller, giving people with money to burn an advantage over other players."
Really? I didn't see so many complaints with the release of the non-combat pets in the Blizzard Store. Now, the sparkle-pony does grant a nice boon: never having to remember to buy a mount for an alt again. But let's look at the gold break-down for this mount.
50 characters per account. We're assuming all 50 are level 70 for epic flying and are not Warlocks, Paladins, Druids, or anyone else who trains for their forms/mounts instead of buying them. For each character you'll have a standard ground mount (1g), an epic ground mount (10g), a standard flying mount (50g), and an epic flying mount (100g). That's 161g per character. 161g*50 = 8050g (this figure does *not* include faction discounts).

Just a quick Google search tells me that $4 per 1000g seems to be normal right now for the gold-buying crowd, so that's 8.05kg*$4 = $32.20 equivalent cash-to-gold value, but that's with *50* 70s on one account. Who the heck has that many on one account?

A friend I know does have 17 70+ characters on one account, (though I'm not sure how many of those toons have epic flying, I'll assume all of them) making the gold-to-cash value 17*161*4/1000=$10.95. Sounds to me like Blizz is over-charging for this 'benefit' if you look at it from that aspect. As for me, I have one character with epic flying, three with regular flying, one with epic ground, and one with regular ground riding training. Pretending they all used it at every level of training, my equivalent gold-to-cash value from this mount is (100+(50*4)+(10*5)+(1*6))*4/1000=$1.42. How am I getting a significant gain from this?

And looking at it from a gold standpoint, yesterday alone I made 3.5k profit from the AH and that was a slow day.

The only real gain I get from this mount is having to use only one bar slot for my mount rather than one for flying and one for ground. Though I really wish Blizzard would make the ground-to-flight transition in Dalaran without having to dismount and remount.

"Blizzard's selling a 310% mount!? Fsck them!"
All I have to say is... lrn2readnub.

The mount scales with your actual riding level, it doesn't grant 310% off-the-bat, but if you already have a 310% mount, it will move at 310% itself. This is great for those who don't like their current speedy ride and want something a bit more starry.

"This was supposed to be a limited item, but every player has one! I'm no longer a unique snowflake, QQ"
I never saw anything that said it was limited. Now, I *assumed* it was limited because there was a 'number in stock' listing when sitting in the checkout queue. However, a blue posted stating that the sparkle-pony was never intended to be a limited item and that if they ran out of stock, they simply needed to generate a new set of codes to add to the cart system. No big deal to me because I wanted it for looks, but a lot of folks seemed to be pissed because they thought it was going to be rare. Guess who assuming makes an ass out of?

Now, the first day, everyone with a sparkle-pony was out riding it. Today, I've seen a few but not as many, at least not on level 80s. I have seen a ton of alts with it, though, since it saves a bit of gold and, well, it's there!

And no, you are not a unique snowflake. You're gonna have to do more than sit in queue and give Blizz $25 to garner that sort of reputation. Try farming for the Time-Lost Proto Drake... heh.

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