And in the strict sense of the word “furor” this is good or bad. The Celestial Steed, available from the Blizzard.net store, was released a few days ago to a very mixed reception from the community. For myself, I did spend the 25 Euros on it, but to me its actually incredibly useful. Seeing as its account-wide, and I am a serious altaholic, I now have a mount available, both flying and ground based, for all my characters to use as soon as they get trained.

Tyrandus, the Night Elf Hunter, with the starry steed

Epeens R Us

After buying my mount and logging onto Shandrys, my druid alt, I was perusing the Auction House when a comment was popped onto trade channel:

“Anyone who has the Celestial Steed is an idiot!”

Ok. So if you think that, and you don’t particularly want one, why make a comment like that? As the chat progressed and the initial commenter expounded on how it sucked and in-game items bought for real cash was soooo stupid, a realisation dawned on me which I tested by whispering the guy:

Me: “If you really want I can gift one to you. 25 Euro’s isn’t really that much”.
Him: “Really? Why would you send a gift like that to someone?”
Me: “Because, it really isn’t that expensive. Would you like me too?”
Him: “It would be nice but I my guild hates them too much”

Tada. My evidence had been granted. The only reason he made the initial comment was that he is probably reliant on someone else, probably his parents, for paying his WoW subscription. To him, it is important to have all the willy-waving accouterments he can get his little paws on, but because the latest and greatest Epeen item was only available out of game and he knew the people paying his subscription would never pay for the mount, he felt he had to denigrate everyone else with one just to make himself feel better about not being able to get one.

I work hard everyday of my life. I earn that pay check at the end of the month. One of the rare, selfish things I spend my cash on after paying all the bills is my WoW subscription. If I choose to purchase a spangly bunch of pixels with my cash, thats my prerogative. There really is no need to try and belittle everyone else just because you are not able to do the same thing. In all honesty if I had only one or two characters and already had all the mounts I need, I wouldn’t have bothered with it.

As I said before, for me the mount was a worthwhile investment. Having as many alts as I do and the purchase being account-wide, its handy for me. Other bloggers I have read have also purchased the sparkly little creature and love it. It does, to me at least, have a pretty interesting look. Uniqueness though is not an attribute this little critter bears. It seems everyone and their uncle has bought one (naysayers aside). This is, in and of itself, probably one of the causes for the QQ I mentioned above. (“Why can’t I have one? WAH!”)

Another funny comment that cropped up on that chat in Trade channel:

“So, to all the 80’s that own the Celestial Mount … How does it feel that a level 20 can ride around on it as well? lolz”

I fail to see the point. In fact, that IS the point. That anyone and all the alts can ride it as well. I guess for someone like me who isn’t an Epeen waver, I don’t care that everyone has one. I tend to value items on their usefulness (be that the fun they provide or the utility the serve) and not on bragging rights. I’ll probably never own a Mechano Hog, simply because it doesn’t do anything none of my other mounts do. As a last resort if I decided to try and collect all the mounts available in game as a fun thing to do to complete a collection, then maybe. Otherwise I can’t be bothered.

But I am not about to go mock others who have the Hog just to make myself feel better. I am not that insecure in my own worth, in game and out.

What should/n’t Blizzard sell in its store

One thing I would warn Blizzard against is selling anything that is related to allowing progression on its store. Anything from gear to materials to any other item (including gold) that has a much broader use than just getting around or cosmetic. There are already games out there that use that business model. Games where there are no subs to pay but make their money by selling items for players to use in game.

Why? Doing that would cause a serious rift in the game’s demographic. The rich kids would be the ones with the latest uber gear from the Blizzard store, able to get right through all the latest content and only accept other rich kids into their guilds.

Thankfully Blizzard have stated many times that they would never sell gold or other items required to progress the game further. Anything essential to playing the game will only ever be available in-game so that anyone that pays their subscription can attain it with enough effort and/or practice. Hopefully that always stays the same.

One last comment to sign off on. Someone else said in that now infamous Trade channel spat that we pay subs, and buying the Celestial Steed is just money in Blizzards back pocket that won’t help in improving the game. Really? I didn’t know that Blizzard had published their budget plans for the next quarter and specifically pointed out that “Celestial Steed Sales” where pre-allocated to director bonuses or some-such. Do people really think that your small subscription fee per month can keep Blizzard going as strong as they want to go with all the competition out there and all the changes they want to make? Sure, multiplied by 11 million subscribers, it sounds like a lot, but working in the IT industry I can tell you that maintaining enough servers and services (remember there are support sites, support personal, developers, forums and a host of other things we don’t see that add to the running costs) cost enough that not a very large percentage can actually be counted as profit. Sales of in-game items like the Celestial Steed help add to the bottom line that can then be ear marked for things like hiring more developers, artists, or whatever else they might need to help produce a better gave for ALL of us.

I don’t think Blizzard is stupid enough to squander its financial resources, no matter the source, when there is so much that we as players are constantly demanding from them.

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