Everquest 2 Introduces It’s Own Greed Steed

These cats can smell the money

These cats can smell the money

Well, it was bound to happen at some point wasn’t it? Today a nice little email popped through my cyber mailbox promoting SOE’s new purchasable mount for Everquest 2 called the Prowler (there are actually three varieties, Ethereal, Ulteran and Sinister). And guess how much it costs? Yep, $25.

I don’t really know what to make of the Prowler other than it’s a rather unoriginal and obvious attempt to cash in and copy Blizzard’s success with the Celestial Steed. It doesn’t really bother me or excite me and it probably won’t make as many waves as the Sparkly Pony did so I guess you could say that I’m pretty ambivalent about the whole thing. Funny how the idea of a $25 mount doesn’t even spark an emotion in me anymore.

If anything though this action marks the dawn of an era many MMO gamers feared the most: the rise of the mega-transaction. It’s here in force and it’s going to stay. Online shops for the purchase of additional little “goodies” via micro-transactions have been around for a while now but with the arrival of the $25 Celestial Steed and it’s staggering profit, Blizzard managed to open a Pandora’s box, setting a precedent for all other games companies to follow. It’s never going to end now.

I suppose the real question is whether or not the profit from these items is being used to fuel the continued development of the MMOs we love or if it’s just cold cash that’s going straight into the pockets of the money-men at the top. Whilst I believe (and hope) that some of the revenue being generated is being pumped back into the original product to help sustain it, I can’t help but be cynical and imagine that it’s probably quite a small percentage. I’d love to be proven wrong (and maybe it’s more likely in the case of EQ2) but I’d be curious to see how much of the millions of dollars profit earned by the Celestial Steed went back into the development team behind WoW. My guess is not that much.

On a final note, I’d say that these mounts are more feline than equine so I’m going to be the first to coin a gimicky name for them: the Cash Cat (clever huh?). So who’s with me? Who’s going to take this term and make it synonymous with the EQ2 Prowler?!… No one, eh? Fine… be that way…

-Gordon

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24 Comments

  1. Longasc says:

    Arkenor already dubbed it the Copy Cat.

    What irks me is that Blizzard got largely away and so many people bought their silly steed. While EQ2 of course gets much more blame for the same crap cash grab.

  2. Aprill (CheekieMonkie17) says:

    The whole Real Money Transactions actually started over in China. However most games that originally offered this, were free of monthly subscription. I don’t mind buy a few things here and there, but if the mount costs more than a month of play…..they need to re-evaluate it.

  3. Gremrod says:

    Makes me hope that the AAA MMO publishers can use this type of extra income as a way to help lower their monthly subscription cost. But I am sure they don’t look at business like that……

  4. Have it all says:

    [...] As it turns out Cryptic was just faster off the draw then other developers.  Even while the part of the blogosphere still carries missives bitching about having to pay to play some of the new Star Trek Online races,  Blizzard was busy pumping out Starry Ponies for players who wanted to be the only one, or maybe the first one on their virtual block without one – and ended up being neither.  Then the hue and cry of those who felt betrayed began anew (Hey Activision has to do something to pay for West and Zampella vs. Activision don’t they?).  At least before with the Panderan Monk you could point to the fact that they were giving 50% of the take…er…profits to charity.  Now, of course,  Sony’s Cash Station has their own new mount for $25.00 .   For those who want to see a nice picture of the three new big kitties on the EQ2 block head on over to We Fly Spitfires and take a gander at their latest entry Everquest 2 Introduces it’s own greed steed. [...]

  5. [...] over — the big question remains: which is a better title for SOE’s new mount, Copykat, Cash Cat, or Greed [...]

  6. Wasdstomp says:

    I heard you can unlock a jedi class in SWTOR for $75.

    Actually I find the prowlers worth spending money on if I played EQII compared to the stupid looking celestial steed.

  7. [...] Gordon Predicts the era of “see how much we can gouge our subscribers.” [...]

  8. Amuntoth says:

    Just kind of sad to know that soon it’s going to cost us $25+ a month to play AAA MMOs and remain competitive, counting sub and extra goodies that seem to be coming out quicker and quicker.

    I for one understand the need for many AAA MMOs to do something like this, but it doesn’t mean I am happy about it.

  9. [...] and I’d stop criticizing MMO companies for going down the overpriced RMT + sub route. With SOE jumping on the bandwagon, giving the critics more fuel for their already very hot fires, I’m going to ask the question [...]

  10. [...] Everquet 2 Introduces It's Own Greed Steed – We Fly Spitfires … [...]

  11. Ferrel says:

    I suppose it was only a matter of time before SOE (and I’m sure other developers too) looked at Sparkle Pony and said, “We should do that.”

    At least it is relatively non-game changing. I’m cynical though. My guess is that $24.80 goes to the share holders.

  12. boatorious says:

    Five million bucks (or whatever the steed made) would be an enormous amount of money if it was in your bank account today. It would not be an enormous amount of money if you decided to spend it on game development. Not to mention that money spent on more content (aka new talent) is going to get diminishing returns compared to what you are getting from the seasoned veterans Bliz already employs.

    As to people wondering “where the money goes”, well, profit goes to the stockholders, and I’m imagining that the Blizzard guys are not lacking in the stockholding department.

    And the stockholders not working for Blizzard are essentially funding Blizzard, and I have no problem with them making money either. In fact, I want the executives at Activision-Blizzard, and the developers, and the stockholders practically choking on money, because I Want More Blizzard Games.

    I’m not sure why gamers are so bitter when games are profitable, because when franchises or genres quit being profitable those games are no longer made. All I Want Is To Have Fun Playing Games, and if people are not making money from the games I like that will not happen.

    • Gordon says:

      That’s a really interesting perspective and I can’t argue with it. I want to see Blizzard produce more games too! I guess my concern is that we start seeing less bang for our buck, so to speak, and end up getting less content in initial releases and are forced to pay through the nose for the stuff we want. Either way, the future is going to be interesting!

  13. [...] introduced their sparkle pony for $25. Suddenly, $10 didn’t look so bad, and $25 became the new industry standard. You want a cool mount, you forked over a couple of sawbucks with a Lincoln [...]

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