Greedy Goblin

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Post about the posts about the stupid horse

No, I won't write about the horse. I wrote everything about it when the equally useless pets were sold. I wouldn't waste another bit on it unless almost everyone on my bloglist wouldn't write about them. There are so many posts that I can't link them unless I make a 2 pages long list and miss half of them.

So the question is: why do bloggers (mostly intelligent people) care if Blizzard rip off kids and idiots? The money and the dumb will be separated, period. OK, RMT was a new thing in WoW with the lich pet, worth discussing once. But why again? Why bloggers create megabytes of QQ about it?

Because even in the most intelligent people there is a little piece of social. And it hurts socials bad if the Joneses have something they can't afford. And none of us can afford a celestial horse, not because of the 25$ to pay, but because we know it's stupid. If you buy it, you feel stupid for wasting money for an imaginary horse, if you don't buy it, you feel bad because the Joneses have it.

The only solution for a social is decrease the item's social value: "only stupid kids have it". This way it's no longer something that the Joneses have, it's something like fleas or dirt on the clothes: "shame on the Joneses for having it!"

While this is the most advanced thing a social can reach, I'd suggest a much simpler solution: don't care about it, or at least act like it. Don't post about it, don't inspect the owner, don't click on blogposts talking about it! The sparkling pony changes your gameplay exactly like Samantha Swifthoof. She is in the game, but no one ever mentions her.

I guess if Blizzard would announce a Samantha Swifthoof companion, the socials would swarm to grind for her or pay $25. Good for Blizzard!

PS: and please stop writing "Blizzard is evil for X". Blizzard acts completely automatically, responding to customer requests. Blaming Blizzard is like blaming the knife for stabbing. Blame the guy who held the knife, blame the customers!


Carson 63000 said...

To be fair, the reason put forward by a lot of bloggers as to why they care is that they are concerned that this is a step along the road from Blizzard ripping of kids and idiots, towards Blizzard ripping off everyone, e.g. by adding actual content to the RMT store, a la D&D Online's dungeons.

Anonymous said...

I blogged about it but most definitely not because I am jealous of socials having a fairy pony in game. I wrote that I am happy that Blizzard is making so much money off these so they can justify keeping the monthly fee at the same level. So every time I see one I silently thank the social for being such a moron and saving me money.

Nextweek said...

I personally love the RMT items that Blizzard is putting into the game and I say bring more on.

They are subsidizing the development of the next expansion, rather than me pay for it all.

Lite said...

Isn't it a bit social to even care what other players use their own real life money on?

I mean it doesn't, in any way, affect you. The fact that I collect mounts and that this was a fast way to acquire another one to my collection doesn't make me any less great at playing the auction house, It doesn't interfere with any of your sales and it sure as hell doesn't hurt you personally.

What is the big deal with playerbase A being willing to spend slighter more money on World of Warcraft than playerbase B ?

Aren't we all spending money on a virtual world?

Dàchéng said...

"If you buy it, you feel stupid for wasting money for an imaginary horse, if you don't buy it, you feel bad because the Joneses have it."

I feel stupid for wasting money on an imaginary mage. Everything about WoW is imaginary, yet we spend real money on it. Is that rational?

Gevlon said...

@Dacheng: the playing experience is real and it's OK to pay for this service. You pay for content creation, server capacity and the profit of the owners. That's the same with every entertainment service.

However the horse is neither. It's nothing.

Genaro said...

If I was a Blizzard shareholder I would be very impressed by this initiative- it is clearly a license to print money.

However, as a Blizzard customer I am less impressed at what seems to be a real 'game changer' in terms of approach...

Of course it is a major convenience to be able to pick up such a mount for all your alts for a relatively reasonable price but is this the thin end of the wedge?

If the revenues from this exercise are as large as we all suspect then the Blizz bean counters will put the Devs under tremendous pressure to engineer other such 'opportunities' into the game...

Before you know it WOW could be just another Evony or similar where your ability to progress is more dictated by willingness to spend money than by skill or time spent.

Personally I have always disliked how so much of the game is more time than skill based but to make it reliant on an ability to pay would be disaster.

RL is already like that in so many ways: Why would we want our fantasy worlds to conform to the same capitalist constraints ?

Ulv said...

Again with missing the point Gevlon!

Apart from looking very cool (ok, so you've now labelled me M&S right?) it has great utility.

One mount now available on [i]every[/i] char I level. One button that will work anywhere.

You decry those of us who have bought this as being "kids and idiots". I'm not a kid and I'm not an idiot (I could go on to justify why not but I won't).

I do have a lot of disposable income and, along with fast cars, good food (and no loose women - the wife put paid to that), I have no major issues with shelling out a few pounds for something useful in game.

Your categorisation and ascribing of motivation to customers is too narrow and doesn't take into account the reality.

If someone had to go into debt to buy the mount then you can clearly tick the Idiot box. If people are motivated by wanting to keep up with the neighbours that is up to them.

As long as Bliz don't break the game's balance by making RMT have a real impact on the progression side of the game then it really doesn't matter what revfenue streams they open up.

Saying that: those of us who can afford it don't worry about it as we could, should we choose, buy our epics.

Anonymous said...

Why to QQ about a pony?It ain't a huge BLACK dragon with awesome red decoration, dual wielding frostmourne, with a breath of fire and skeletal wings 2meter each! The only thing that really counts on those sparkling pixels is 310%.

Countless idiotic M&S and socials already bought it.

Now, it's already starting been like bronze drake, you see many players with it.

It already lost it's social value, so it doesn't even upgrade your social status.

So brilliant for me, i am just laughing at them silently, as they gave 25 bucks for nothing.

Another thing of interest: The event of this mount, who took place on a digital world of 13 million persons, had the very same results i was expecting.
It's like your goverment(Blizz) in whom you are already paying taxes(Subscription) is giving a chance to get a shiny ribbon of honor(pet/mount) if you pay 25 bucks to reinforce the country's economy(Well you are NOT reinforcing economy, you just give em more money, same with Blizz, they just make more money).

It's so fucking idiotic to whine about that ribbon because, well, you knew before that that the gov(blizz) is greedy and always tries to make profits and you already knew that millions of ppl in your country are stupid enough to get lured by that ribbon.

So, better to blame yourself for not pushing your gov(blizz) to get taxes more cheap(blizz would make profit even if we paid 5 per month) or to assure that they won't ever try to milk the cows with appealing vanity items.

More or less you can say Blizz is like a gov. You can NOT fight just a tiny part of it's system and let everthing else be as it is. You have to either fight against the whole of it, or nothing.

EIther you like it or not, goldsellers, morons, socials, businessmen, hardcores, casuals, hackers, farmers, slackers, everyone is the game because- guess why- because the are necessary for the game to be systemically alive.

E.G. Blizz won't ever push "illegal" traders out of game for real cause a rather noticable part of the economy is functioning well due to them. Bots are helping businessmen getting their supplies, goldsellers are helping M&S get enough money to spend em on AH for items, which then go to farmers/crafters/businessmen.

Your friendly, nearly honored, Anonymous

Echo said...

I wanted a mount for all my characters. I bought it.

I find it hilarious that it's become something the M&S use. I use it a lot now purely because of that status. If someone wants to judge my ability or who I am off of one item I paid a little RL money for then I'm probably better off staying away from such small minded assholes. Already it's saved me from 2 fail VOAs and a fail Flame Leviathon (How do you wipe on it on 10man - seriously?).

Gevlon said...

@Echo: I'd love to hear how this cosmetic thing saved you, or was capable to do anything that a random mount cannot.

Anonymous said...

"So the question is: why do bloggers (mostly intelligent people) care if Blizzard rip off kids and idiots?"

No, the question is: why do YOU care if someone cares about anything? How is your post against posts any different?

Quicksilver said...

So do people who dont buy this mount do it out of principle or because they cannot afford it?? That's what I'd like to know...

20 euros for a stupid imaginary horse is seems like a big investment, but what about the guy with a paycheck of 10k/month ?

Is it a matter of pure principle (paying cash for virtually nothing), or its fixed cost is an issue in itself?? ... As you all know, the very definition of luxury is about useless expensive fluff, which few can afford.

Quicksilver said...

@Anonimous at 13:02

lol... if everyone went "omg, lol, I dont care" there wouldnt be too many blogs out there would it? Or at least they would all sound like "I've done ICC10 lately and bryntroll dropped. good for me yay"

the end of the world I tell ya... hahahahah

Anonymous said...


I can't believe you (and plenty others) are using the 'great utility' claim to justify buying the horse (not that you even need to justify it, its your money - unless of course you're trying to justify it to yourself).
Seriously, $25 of real money to save about 161g per character and not having to buy a mount from a vendor who stands right next to the riding trainer is great utility?

Klepsacovic said...

Keeping up with the Joneses isn't our fear. It's not a social vs. rational issue. We're worried that Blizzard will see the profitability of the pony and start only making ponies rather than a game. That's the problem. Not everything is explained by your social vs. rational paradigm.

@thenoisyrogue: You're assuming that the RMT is offsetting development costs which would otherwise drive up the subscription. More likely the RMT is just increasing profits and having no positive effects on development.

Gevlon said...

@Klepsacovic: I guess you just made my Monday post with the first part. On the second: separating "development cost" and "profit" is artificial. They are not good souls. They work for profit. Higher profit = higher motivation to keep the game running. Content development is needed to keep the game running.

Smashbolt said...

"@Echo: I'd love to hear how this cosmetic thing saved you, or was capable to do anything that a random mount cannot."

I think what Echo was referring to was the phenomenon where people are being pre-emptively judged for having a Celestial Steed.

It's happening quite a bit where riding that mount is used as the basis for rejecting players from a PUG (because clearly, paying cash for an aesthetic trifle speaks directly to the player's skill level).

Sleeper said...

Hold on a second. Maybe I'm missing something. I thought the utility of a horse that's available to ALL the present and future toons on your account and scales with the riding skill would be something the Goblin could appreciate.

My pals call me SK said...

I think that wasting money on That Retarded Horse* or another RMT mini-pet is stupid.

However, I'm happy with Blizz doing it, as long as they don't start selling epics or gold for real money.

* Check put this video Gevs, you might want to add it to the main post:

Anonymous said...

Whilst it has 'some' value, in that sense it would not be seen as having enough value. For example, someone in my guild managed to sell one of these mounts to someone for 15,000 Gold (which is effectively buying gold and something I would not advocate anyway, as it goes against the T and S). That amount of gold could easily buy someone more than enough mounts to use for all of their past, present and future characters. It is, then, a waste.

Taemojitsu said...

The first gnome to reach exalted with Stormwind and ride on a non-warlock horse was legendary in her time.

Anonymous said...

To those claiming that the mount has value: Do the math. Let's be extremely generous and say that you'll level 10 more alts in the future. Let's also assume that you buy each mount as soon as possible, and with no rep discounts.

Your total mount costs are [1g (Purple Elekk) + 10g (Great Purple Elekk) + 50g (Snowy Grpyhon) + 100g (Swift Purple Gryphon)] x 10 = 1610g.

You're paying $25 US for at most 1610g, whereas I've heard gold sellers offering 1k for $6. It's a bad value no matter how much you want to justify it.

Anonymous said...

As long as Blizzard keeps their word and doesn't sell "items giving in-game advantage" I'm fine, however many people are worried they will "change their mind" someday and follow the "cash shop MMO" model where you need to pay additionally for everything, new class, new race, new zone to explore, questlines, even bag storage, just read some blogs from your blogroll like Tobold or Player vs. Developer and you'll see there are games like this.

What prevents them from being more greedy? Possibly the same stuff that makes you undercut glyphs to the ground - you sell more for being cheaper and the overall profit is higher.

Anyway, we'll see.

The difference between pet and mount is that no one needs a pet, but you need a mount to travel around. However the in-game choice is so vast anyone can find something for them. Someone in the comments above laughed at Bronze Drake, actually I use it on my character because why pay for a mount if I've got one for free? Yes, I got it even before I bought epic flying, didn't have the skill for long but it's convenient to fly to Icecrown raid faster as there's no flight point there.

If you prefer "pretty mount" to "cheap" there's a lot of "pretty" mounts just open your eyes.

If you want "rare" mount Celestial Steed is not the way to go, it's gonna be very prolific, the most rare flying mounts now seem to be the TBC Nether Drakes and Nether Rays because no one bothers with the rep grind any more. I see them more rarely that Rusted Proto Drakes and what else you can get from "e-peening" achievements.

Anonymous said...

The costs of a mount, epic mount, flyer and epic flyer is about 160g for a character. A handful of mithril. It's not that much you're saving on all your characters as the mount money is trivial to acquire, especially in light of the necessary training fees. You have to go to the riding trainer so you're not even saving the travel time.

And the one button functionality can be acquired with that mount can be done with a two line macro for multiple mounts.

The horse is purely cosmetic and $25.

Cold said...

I bought the mount. I won't get into details, because at this point it's pretty much beating a dead horse.

What I don't get is how you label people M&S for buying an imaginary horse.

Did you not buy all three versions of WoW? Do you not pay your monthly subscription fee? I'm going to assume yes. You pay real money to play in an imaginary world.

How is that any different from buying the mount?

Klepsacovic said...

@Gevlon: The issue isn't profit or being nice or anything like that. It's the source of the profit and what that encourages. When the source of profit is making a good game, a good game will be made. When the source of profit is horses, then we will have more horses. While the horse only has value because of its presence in a good game, what is more profitable in the short term? That's what most stockholders and executives are watching: the short term, and that means ponies, not bug testing for raids. Over a longer term, more ponies rather than raids would kill WoW, but investors are not always patient, they're concerned with what profit you made today and yesterday, not the sustainability of the model two years from now.

unnamed said...

The argument that the starhorse has value by serving as a mount for every character on your account past/present/future seems moot to me. You still have to pay for the riding skill which will cost 6304g total. You are saving 161g per character I suppose by having the starhorse since it saves you the trouble of purchasing the various mounts along the way. There is also the time consideration of not having to run your character back to brill/mulgore/elwynn forest/wherever to purchase your mount. Still, I don’t think I could justify almost 2 months worth of subscription fees (@ $15 per) for the tradeoff of saving 161g in mandatory expenses and some saved travel time per character. Those savings are null for any character already in ownership of any of the mounts at the varying levels they come in.

The fact that the horse is available to anyone, anywhere, regardless of anything beyond available real world capital makes the mount itself very uninteresting to me. That’s simply because I place a higher value on harder to obtain pixels like amani warbears, even if they are ugly as sin I’ll still ride mine around just because you just can’t get them anymore.

Anonymous said...

I know you might not publish this but take 5 minutes to look at ebay, you'll see people selling the pets and mount for more than the blizzard store.

AND people seem to buy that's moronic.

Grasp said...

Everything is worth what its purchaser will pay for it.
- Publilius Syrus (~100 BC)

Unknown said...


while reading some of your posts gives me an experience that (to my non-economically trained mind) would probably be close to Buddhist enlightenment, I would like to disagree with you on your thesis that Blizzard is just a 'knife' with no free will, automatically following the customer's desires. If it were, all the QQing on class balance on the forums would really send the game balance into a rollercoaster ;)

There are simply cases where it is wise not to do things that are attractive in the short term, but may hurt you in the long term. For example, students flunking because they spend too much time on jobs and parties. Saying that those students are the victim of market forces and 'party power' would at least seem to me rather 'victimish'. I'd be perfectly willing to pay $10 for an official, epically geared level 80, and other people may feel the same, yet that may not be very sensible of Blizzard to do.

Shannon Fowler said...

Eh. I bought one for myself and my boyfriend when it came out, because ever since MMO first datamined the files I thought it looked awesome. It has it's upsides and downsides, but overall I'm happy with the purchase. I got something cool.

The issue for your typical player isn't so much 'keeping up with the Jonses' as 'keeping *ahead* of them'. Having something someone else doesn't makes you better. If it were really expensive, or hard to attain, it'd be perfect. The horse, as is, is a very *poor* status symbol, as evidenced by Dalaran being flooded with the things the night it was released. Everyone can have one and get one. Anyone who thought they'd be special for purchasing one is a fool.

Calling the horse 'stupid' deflects from what they're thinking - that it's 'unfair' they can't use it as a status symbol. The same people probably think being happy with your Bronze Drake is stupid - everyone has one, so why be proud of it?

Whether or not it's a waste of money, well, I'm sure nothing I say will change your mind. A pretty pixel horse that will be available to every character on my mount until the servers turn off permanently seems like a better investment than a meal at the Olive Garden I'll spend the next week on the treadmill trying to get rid off.

Lance D said...

@All - Remember Gevlon is a GOBLIN. The cost vs reward is all wrong here. For Gevlon it is all about function over style. For the "socials" or M&S it is about style over function. No matter how you slice it, it will always be a bad investment to a goblin. You can try and justify it any way you like but in the end it will make no difference.

@ Gevlon - The link in your blogroll to my blog is dead. I am now at

Anonymous said...

@ Ulv
Congratulations on your "..disposable income and, along with fast cars, good food". It's good to know that people still like to show off what they have. The mount sounds like it was developed specifically for you.

Joshua said...

Nothing looks more out of place than a Tauren on a celestial mount. That poor ethereal horse will get a broken back! Celestial horse? No way!

Celestial drake? Hmmmm. . . it is pretty, big, and shiney. All things I like. Might do it.

Come on, this mount is just something to buy your girlfriend on WoW because she'll think its nice. Nothing more.

Tonus said...

It does not bother me that Blizzard sells in-game fluff items for real cash. It does not bother me that people buy those things. It bothers me when they line up in front of the Dalaran bank, but only because it means that they are contributing to lag.

It amuses me to see people angrily denounce people who buy these items. They had the money to spend and they wanted to spend it on fluff, and that's fine with me. You are offended because someone bought a stack of colorful pixels? And you think the other guy is the dumb one. Heh...

I agree that it's a non-issue except for people who are desperate to be offended by something.

Anonymous said...

I bought this mount for two reasons.

1. I'd just rerolled a DK alt and didn't have enough money for a flying mount. Sure I could have gotten enough gold in a few hours but I wanted a mount straight away. To be honest £17 isn't that much money for me.

2. I was actually on the Blizzard store anyway because I'd finally gotten around to buying a Authenticator.

I'm also continuing to use it because it acts as an AOE taunt in PVP. Even better than a mammoth mount.

Kristophr said...

The time I used to earn $25 in real money is much less than the time I would have spent grinding in game gold or rep to get a just as fast replacement for ALL of my alts.

Simple cost effectiveness. I get more out of my $15/month.

That and amusement value at causing people to froth at the mouth ... Gevlon's advice to just ignore being the only defense against that.

Anonymous said...

Celestial horse = no stupid kodo. And that's the only reason I bought one.

Spitt said...

If you take into account the cost of the mount, versus the cost to purchase all your characters a flying mount, based upon the RMT value of 1k in gold (around $5.5-$6), then $25 is one heck of a deal. Assuming for a moment that I have 10 characters (actually I have 9, but only 5 need flying mounts), then 10x$6= $60. Paying $25 is the better move.

On the other hand, I don't see a reason we should be paying $180 a year, if Blizzard is going to move to a store with in game items. Thats the point of paying $180 a year for a game. We shouldn't be subjected to it.

And yes, I also blogged about it, and the previous critter store release. As long as people are willing to read about something with a new opinion from others, write about it! But then again, you already know that, since this post is just another attempt at write about it, but under another guise.

Truth be told, until people start complaining directly to Blizzard AND stopping their regular subscriptions, then Blizzard will keep this shizz up.

Esteban said...

I'm not sufficiently into pets/mounts to be suckered in by this, although I did buy my friend a pandaren when they first came out. (the charity part quelled the silly feeling somewhat)

That said, if they ever did come out with a Samantha Swifthoof companion, I'd give Blizzard half my paycheck for her.

I hope you're listening, Blizz. Gullible M&S, right here for the plucking! *waves*

Anonymous said...

'I'd just rerolled a DK alt and didn't have enough money for a flying mount. Sure I could have gotten enough gold in a few hours...'

You don't need to explain.
You're exactly the type of player Blizzard was targetting with the mount.

Anonymous said...

I bought mine with gold. 5 grand. By all logic, I was the winner in that exchange.

I wish I'd bought pants instead, quite frankly.

Baktru said...

Blizzard adds a shiny mount to the game for real money. B. goes 'meh' and ignores the whole thing. Non-issue.


Dan said...

The only practical reason for getting the horse would be because it would facilitate each one of your alts to have "only one" mount as you said. Since it scales with riding skill and acts as both a ground and a flying mount, you can easily ignore all other mounts for the sake of this one. However, it is not worth real-world currency, and if I were to get it, I would simply pay someone gold in order to buy it for me. I think that is more than reasonable for its practicality.

Cirian said...

I agree with a lot of the premises and insights that Gev has into various personalities and mind sets, but I don't fully support the fact that esthetics have no value in a game.

My arguement is that, as a game, there really isnt any way (short of venturing into RMT yourself) to extract your time from the game after investing in it, and as such what we get out of WOW is obviously self contained. We play WOW to have fun, and the only possible ungoblinish thing you could do in that case is to take any action in game with a purpose other than further entertainment.

Since that is the case making an active decision not to buy something you desire (using gold) for any reason is illogical. Use of RL money is a bit of a different question since it has value outside of mere entertainment. It is, however, very social to allow other people to dictate what you desire.

In regards to the objects purchasable from the Blizzard store:

Since you are playing the game, the contents of the game obviously have some degree of entertainment value, and entertainment obviously has some degree of RL monetary value, this mount, if for some reason it contributes to your source of enjoyment of the game, also has monetary value. Whether that is $25 worth of value depends entirely upon the person buying it. To some people $25 is not a very large amount, it is less than you might spend going to a theatre with your GF to watch a 2 hour movie.

That said, buying it to keep up with the Joneses is placing false value on it. There is no real enjoyment out of the mount if that is your motivation, you are not buying it because you want to, you are buying it because you feel you need to. Since this is a game, doing anything out of a sense of requirement is not a particularly good idea. Conversely, if you do actually wish to possess that mount for your own reasons (too lazy to save the gold to buy mounts for your 50 alts or whatever) or just like the appearance of the mount (and that is actually something that matters to you - which it obviously does matter to some people and not to others) then it may possibly be worth buying.

I did not personally buy the mount, not for any concern about the cost, nor for any concern about whether it would make me look like a social or anything, but merely because a sparkly horse with wings does not appeal to me. I may have considered it a bit more if it was a celestial proto drake. The skin is pretty cool in my opinion, Algalon was a kick ass fight, however the model doesnt do it for me.

Anonymous said...


Not sure where you got 1k from for the cost of one mount. The cost of an epic flying mount is 100g (before any reputation discount). Factoring in the regular mounts brings it to 161g. So, for 10 characters thats 1610g for $25.

Tonus said...

"On the other hand, I don't see a reason we should be paying $180 a year, if Blizzard is going to move to a store with in game items. Thats the point of paying $180 a year for a game. We shouldn't be subjected to it."

You're only subjected to it if you agree to continue to play and pay. Blizzard might ask 'what is the point of allowing you to play for free?' The reasoning is based purely on money concerns, and not on any other logic that I can see.

You are correct in that Blizzard would stop doing this if it directly led to cancellations, as that would be the logical move to make. But if it doesn't, then the point of paying $180 a year is that it puts more money in Blizz's pockets, and I don't see a compelling reason for them not to do that.

Zan said...


One of my friends sent me some links to Bliz's earning statements along with the analysis of them from an accounting major over on TN-US.

The student said that they're having a major loss in profits, the sparklepony was an attempt to raise abysmal sales.

Stephen said...

Hey, my ten year old really loved getting the pony. Mostly she runs around starter areas, being social and exploring in areas that are otherwise abandoned.

Of course I have a hard time understanding why someone older would want one, but if they do, more power to them.

I will say I was ready to quit the game over the XT pet until they fixed it.

Scattered said...

To be fair the thing looks un-proportioned. The very least they could do is make its legs the right length for the body so that it doesn't look more like a Celestial Pony.

IF money > Sense THEN
Buy Celestial Pony
ELSE stop bitching and play.