Thursday, April 15, 2010

Celestial Steed Mount Now Available.. For a Price

Blizzard has just announced the location of the Celestial Steed, a rather cool looking mount which was found hidden away within World of Warcraft's game files. Some had speculated the mount would be available from some reincarnation of Ulduar's Algalon the Observer. Unfortunately, however, the reality is more terrifying than the possibility of another Code Omega. The Celestial Steed will only be available through the Blizzard Store for the hefty price of $25.00.

Along with Lil' XT, this new "Pet Store" offering continues World of Warcrafts slippery slide into the world of micro-transactions. What is a micro-transaction? It is an in game item or feature which is available only at extra real world cost. For a full primer on the subject, check out any of the many games offered by Zynga or Nexon. Those games are built around the concept of micro-transactions.

Zynga and Nexon games are also, however, free to download and play. World of Warcraft at $15 per month on top of the cost of actually purchasing the game, is distinctly not. Hence my growing gripe with the Pet Store. I can understand, to a certain extent, the need to charge for services like faction changes and server transfers. The cost does serve after all as a deterrent for over use. For pets and mounts, however, there is no real need for deterrence.

Lil' XT could drop of XT. The Celestial Steed Mount could drop off Algalon. World of Warcraft's many denizens pay a monthly fee so that Blizzard can grow and maintain the virtual world in which they live. They do not pay so that the company can R & D some virtual goods to sell back to them. Now that the veil of charity is lifted, it is hard to see the Pet Store as anything but a greedy, player-unfriendly enterprise. Sure, Blizzard is a company out to make money, but when does the risk of alienating their player base outweigh the short term cash boost of micro-transactions?

For me, if I wanted to play Farmville, I would, but I would rather play World of Warcraft. I hope that Blizzard keeps that in mind.


  1. Once the pet store opened up, I knew it was only a matter of time before they started selling mounts. My next question is how much further will Blizzard go? For a set fee, you can pay for a character with the same kind of gear you'd find on a ptr premade character. Want a title? 25$ Can't afford to raid? Well guess what, you can now afford to buy those things!!

    Do I think Blizz will eventually go that far? Not really. Its still a fear though.

  2. Yeah, I think it is only a matter of time until titles make their way to the Pet Store. I am with you that it seems unlikely pre-made characters will find their way in as that would rob Blizzard of precious play time.

    Once they start selling gold themselves, that's when we will know it is all over.