EverQuest II Jumps on the Sparkle Pony Bandwagon

It was only a matter of time. Members of the WoW audience were not the only ones who took notice last month when Blizzard made the move to sell its first mount for IRL dollars. Of course not. At 25 bucks a pop, those sparkle ponies sold like hotcakes (and I, too, am guilty of this indulgence.) And in result, Blizzard surely made millions off of one single in-game item that looks pretty. How could the world not take notice of such a large amount of real-life cash being spent on a virtual item?

Some of us worried that this would set a precedent for things to come. And it looks like that is starting to unfold. Today, Sony Online Entertainment announced that it would sell its first ever marketplace mounts, called the Prowlers — available in “Ethereal” purple, “Sinister” green and “Ulteran” blue. And unlike the Celestial Steed that looks pretty but pretty much offers no advantage otherwise, these guys come with built-in buffs:

“Each mount comes in your choice of one of the following versions: Fierce and Arcane. The Fierce version increases Slashing, Aggression, Ranged, Piercing and Crushing of caster by 5, while the Arcane version increases Focus, Ordination, Disruption, Subjugation and Ministration of caster by 5. Both versions of the mount have a 65% run speed.

The Prowlers are guaranteed to be available for at least one month and adventurers can now purchase these new mounts for 2500SC (Pixie’s note – this equates to $25 each, the same as the Celestial Steed) from the Marketplace.  These are the first Station Cash items of their kind and are immediately available in-game, upon purchase.

So even though we all pretty much saw this coming, it still bothers me. One of the huge caveats that supporters of the Celestial Steed — including myself — have been saying all along is that they support it because it does not provide any in-game advantage over other mounts. Not the case with The Prowlers. Does this raise the bar for what we’ll see in the future? Slippery slope, folks. That’s all I’m sayin’.

I love my shiny pony. But what will be the price that we ultimately pay for this service? Would those of you who supported the Celestial Steed like myself still agree with the idea  if we start seeing more items that provide an in-game advantage?


  1. I don’t think it’s so much a slippery slope Pixy. I mean really? Everquest? It’s a matter of EQ wanting to compete with WoW and all it shows is they can’t really come up with ideas of their own.

    Sure, in EQ it may or may NOT be a game-breaker or maker, BUT I also think that Blizzard realizes that they have a far larger and more passionate fanbase that they’d be LOATHE to upset with cash for ingame advantage deal. A simple perusal of the forums can tell you that.

  2. I do think it is only going to get worse. When mass amounts of people buy anything in large quantity, this creates a market. The market for digital goods aka things that you lose when you stop playing the game. The reason this will open up is because people who always want to be the best in games like WoW, EQ, and ECT. Will pay more money for the advantage, once the market opens I will be done with mmo’s for good. To all that purchased the mounts I just want to let you know that by doing so i believe you just opened the flood gates. As far as what highwayman says, if I owned a company such as blizzard.

    I would realize that 90% of my player base plays because of friends. I do not know the numbers to do this properly, but let’s say of the 100% that play, 25% leave due to the advantage items; but by selling the in game items with advantages 25% of the player base bought the items. 25% is modest for players that will purchase the item. My point is if every month they come up with a new item that players can buy for an advantage they would make up the amount that they would lose from player base quitting. If it is 25 bucks for something that does nothing you can bet for an advantage it will be about 30-50.

    With this example only 25% of the players have to purchase it, if 50% do they would make a profit; this is also under the guise that they would put something new out each month. I know a lot of people that play wow both in game and in real life. There would be a lot of people that would not leave the game because of the social aspect. I hope this doesn’t happen, but watching pixie’s vid when she bought her mount she was in a LARGE queue. The sad thing is that this kind of thing has shown up on another mmo DDO. You can pay real money for large advantage in the game. Those who have played it will know what I mean.

  3. You make a pretty good argument Alpha, however, your comparison to DDO is a poor one. All FTP games such as DDO are going to offer tons of product to offer in-game advantage simply because the game itself is free. I’ve not yet run across a FTP game that didn’t sell premium content and that’s cool. It’s why I stay away from FTP games myself.

    WoW on the other hand sells their premium content in the form of expansion packs in which they offer free ‘upgrades’ if you will in the form of armor/weapons/quests/raids etc. ad infinitum. The issue with Blizzard that most of the players seem to have is that questing/raiding have gotten ‘stale’ and even then it’s a minority rather than a majority of the playerbase and therefore, imo a moot point.

    WoW will always continue to sell in-game mounts, vanity pets etc. as an incentive (IF you can call such things an incentive) to boost income (by a small margin, I might add, since the majority of income comes from purchasing games, expansions and subscription renewals) and such things do not and simply CANNOT constitute a game-breaker.

    The difference between EQ and WoW is that the EQ mount is a) a total ripoff of the Celestial Steed (just a mini-rant on my part!) and b) clearly giving players an ingame advantage. Now, is it a slippery slope for EQ to be on? Absolutely, no argument there. But for all the doomcriers and naysayers claiming Blizzard to be on that same slope, I simply have not seen the proof.

  4. The only advantage in DDO is the 32 point build, which is certainly an advantage. And you can earn the 32 point build from favor, so you don’t HAVE to buy it. There’s nothing else in the game that gives a huge advantage (XP gains are not advantages IMO).

    Am I missing something else that gives an advantage in DDO?

  5. EQ2 has had an active RL cash market place for some time now. It’s extensive and full of cosmetic and minor buff items (xp potions and the like). It’s also had mounts with combat buffs for a very long time too. The mounts are notable for being the first to be added to the marketplace, but the rest isn’t note worthy.

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