The release of the Collector’s Edition mounts into the in game store has caused a rampant tsunami of hatred flood the internet.
All seemingly because in order to get these mounts, you can’t just grind out a million kills spread out over all your characters to get them to drop… it involves the spending of real money.
The Blizzard in-game store debuted back in Wrath with the Celestial Steed (which was my first purchase) being the first mount to be sold and has slowly introduced more mounts and pets in there over many years.
While these mounts are ones you can’t just grind out, they aren’t anything game changing.
In fact, the only game changing mounts you can get are in game only. These are the ones with repairs or are two people + mounts. Anything on the store is purely cosmetic.
Some of the controversy started when Activison brought Blizzard into the fold and the rumours of how corporate company tactics would overshadow the ‘small indy games company’ style of Blizzard started to appear.
The merger also wasn’t too far behind the controversy of EA and the Star Wars Battlefront fiasco. So the tarnished image of microtransactions and what they do to companies were still fresh in players minds.
However, certainly for Blizzard, small payments in exchange for digital goodies is nothing new.
Overwatch loot boxes have provided a windfall for the company but haven’t been marred by the controversy. The OW loot boxes contain purely cosmetic items and offer nothing at all that gives you an advantage over other players but, and this is the big but, it’s a gamble to see what you get.
The loot boxes themselves contain a vast collection of items that is RNG as to what you get. Even on the OW forums the players are lamenting about how they would prefer to pay a little more to target what they want than having to potentially spent hundreds to get the skin they want.
The difference with this concept of loot boxes and the current mount store is that in OW you can get loot boxes by just playing. Yet, you can get gold in WoW by just playing and then buy a token. It might be an extra step but you can still get the mounts in the store by just playing the game.
Yes, there is the issue that the tokens are only there because someone bought them with real money to sell on the Auction House, but, the people who are selling them are not using them to buy a Mount. They are selling them to make gold, which was the point of the tokens in the first place, to squeeze out all the dodgy gold selling sites by having an approved method of buying your gold with clod, hard, cash…
So why is there such hatred for the mount store?
Judging by the forums and also Twitter, the controversy lands at the feet of three issues.
1- the mounts in the store are ‘cooler’ than what you can get in game.
2- the ‘cool’ looking mounts require you to pay ‘real money’ for them.
3- you pay a sub so you shouldn’t have to pay for content.
Let’s break these down point by point.
Cool mounts that you can’t obtain in game by just playing.
The forum was awash with posts about how Blizzard is being greedy by putting these awesome mounts in the store, locked behind real money when the ones you get in game are just reskinned current models.
The sparkle pony (Celestial Steed) was the first one out and used the same model as Invincible. While it was a horse, it’s texture was reminiscent of Alganon. So the mount was an amalgamation of Northrend, almost a souvenir of the WotLK expansion.
While at the time the mount was unable to be paid for via gold/token/Bnet balance, it is now. While there was some criticism laid at the Steeds feet, it seemed that players themselves couldn’t get enough of it.
Not only that but the pets being sold would frequently support a charity, giving you something cute to look at in game and giving helping a good cause along the way…
While now you can pay with gold earned in game, the feelings towards the store have not softened.
With regards to the mounts in store being ‘cooler’ most of them are a texture change or are a prototype of a mount that comes out later in game.
With the Anniversary Mounts, there were people on the internet taking great pains to point out how ‘we’ were being screwed over by the corporate greed due to these ‘100% different mounts’ being on the store.
Not only does this completely invalidate the issue of people wanting something from this event, just like any ‘anniversary’ edition of any other franchise. (And there hasn’t been any of the complaints levelled at the Gear Store and the re-runs of the Anniversary t-shirts…) It also dismisses the fact that the Anniversary Collectors Edition were limited in numbers and people have been buying them up to just resell of Ebay… So these mounts enabled people to have a bit of the Collectors Edition even when they missed out on the main thing.
And I for one am not going to be paying someone nearly $145 more than what the set was being sold for so that someone else can just profit…
Going back to the mounts being 100% different.
They’re not really.
People are really getting excited over hating on the Anniversary mounts and trying to validate that hatred by trying to prove they are 100% different and therefore Blizzard is in the wrong by releasing them on the store like this.
Lets face it, the current BfA Gryphons are the same as the MoP PvP one with the fancy wings and gear. They just have an updated ‘swift’ armour colour scheme for each of the Houses. And the Alabaster one? Yeah it’s pretty much that but with the armour trimmed down to the breastplate and just a statue texture.
Is it enough to shout that its “100% different!”
No, lets be honest here…
Have there been any that are so out of this world different that we should be angry at Blizzard? Not really…
Even the Dreadwake used the same rig as the Alliance Gunship ‘Stormwind Skychaser’ that was a Blizzcon exclusive, so if you didn’t fork out £30+ for your Virtual ticket (let alone a ticket to actually attend in person + travel expenses) then you wouldn’t ever have that. But no one seemed to scream about it.
Or there’s always this option…
Tyrael’s Charger was only obtainable if you bought an annual pass back in 2011, which was a years sub. The only time is made it onto the store was for those in the Korean and Taiwan regions as they never had the opportunity to have an annual pass. If you didn’t want to commit to a whole year but liked the mount, tough.
To be cruel to be kind, there seems to be some selective memory from some of the players expressing outrage. And there also doesn’t seem to be the same energy directed at other Blizzard products that ‘could just be in the game’ like canon books that set up the story for the actual damn expansion…
These sentiments tie into the third point which is:
You pay a sub and therefore you should be able to get them in game…
I can understand how people view mounts as ‘content’. A mount gets added to the end boss of a raid or dungeon and it means that people will farm it over and over until they get the mount. (Or get it when they aren’t even trying…) It is an incentive to do something, even if it is repetitive but the buzz as you loot the boss is the best drug. It’s that which makes people want these mounts in game rather than in the store.
However, there are plenty of people who are very vocal on the forum about not wanting to grind things to get rewards. The store has evolved to be the best of both worlds. You can grind gold to get what you want, or you can get it instantly with cold hard cash.
When you think about the in game mounts however that are locked behind large amounts of gold (Longboi, I’m looking at you) then it surely should be obvious that people can also buy that with real money by purchasing tokens to sell…
Yet, it is overall cheaper for people to use gold to buy mounts from the store than it is for people to buy tokens for the in game mounts…
Longboi = 5,000,000g
1 Token = 195,000g (approx)
But one token also costs £17.00 and you would need 26 of them to get enough gold at that conversion rate to get a Longboi, whereas each token gives you about £15 in Bnet balance, meaning most mounts only require 400,000g, which even I have…
So all those in game mounts that require a shit tonne of gold to get, all those gryphons and horses the Alliance can get from the different Kul Tiras Houses, the sky patrolling asshat robot that shoots you in Mechagon, Longboi, all the vendor mounts etc… they can all be bought with cold hard cash. If someone had enough disposable income to spend £442.00 on tokens to get a Longboi then that is up to them. Just the same as you can spend time getting the 400,000g to buy a store mount with Bnet balance acquired through tokens.
So how exactly are these mounts unobtainable from in game?
Hint: they’re not.
People seem pissed that those with the disposable income can just get it instantly and those without the disposable income would have to grind the gold.
People are mad pissed because they believe that people buying the store mounts means that Blizzard are spending more time on those mounts than ones to obtain in game.
Did we see the Obsidian ‘Deathwing’ Worldbreaker that you can only get in game?
You wouldn’t be wrong in thinking you’ve seen something similar before as it’s based off the Valarjar Stormwing, which is a drop in game…
If we are classing mounts as content and something to work towards rather than throwing your credit card at your screen, the it is very apparent that the sheer number of mounts that you can get in game far outstrips those offered on the store.
Here is my mount list of those obtainable just in game, no other outside factors like promotions, trading cards or the shop.
There is 548 of them to get this way.
If we break down how you can get them in game a little:
- 162 are drops
- 56 are from quests
- 239 are paid for by gold
So you can get 239 via gold (however you obtained the gold) of which some you may need to grind rep for but some are also obtainable by just logging in, going to the vendor and buying it.
But, the bigger point is that there are 548 mounts to get in game.
As for the store….
There is only seventeen…
Since this store sold the first mount, the Celestial Steed, they have only added sixteen other mounts.
Compared to what you can get in game, those available on the store only make up 3.1%.
This means that people are loosing their shit over and additional 3% of mounts compared to if you just got those in game.
Whats more, Blizz are not compelling you to purchase them for achievements.
In game only mounts drastically over compensate for the requirement for 400 mounts. Those in the store are not needed at all.
There are those who are arguing that completionists are having to forsake their perfect score because they can’t get these mounts in game.
Again, you can. Just farm the gold.
And also, what about the people who joined later in the games life. That 2008 Blizzard Bear is a gaping hole in their ‘completion’ and is also currently nearly £750 to purchase. Trading Card Game mounts are hella expensive, if you buy them from Ebay, but also an undefinable amount of money if you try and get packs to obtain it yourself.
When you think back to the argument that “Blizzard just puts this money back into the store rather than the game”, where is that £750 going? As that sure as hell isn’t getting reinvesting into anything Blizzard is creating.
People seem to forget that Blizzard is a buisness. Those without a steady income in one way or another invariably fail. Overwatch needs loot boxes and the like to ensure that it has a flow of money. People unsubbing from WoW due to “shitty content” are not helping WoW be sustainable at all. So maybe, it just might be that they got 3.5 million from a mount on the store actually does help fund WoW. All of it.
Because lets face it, you need the fucking game to be there to be able to use the mount you just bought. If they just used mount money on mounts, the pool of money to pay writers, designers, CM’s etc would diminish.
People want the most fantastic game ever, but they don’t want to have to pay much for it.
That is the problem, not the store.