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?