Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Money for Virtual Goods - Intrinsic Value versus Personal Value

This past weekend, my fiance and myself were discussing things that we do in games that cost money.  We both play Smurfs Village on the iPad, which is a cross between a party game and Farmville with adorable Smurfs as the workers.  We both have probably spent around $25 buying Smurfberries in the game to help us along.  The game doesn't require it, but it makes it easier to play.  With some of the players in game, that is probably nothing.  I'm sure some people have put hundreds of dollars into their Smurf village.

During the course of this discussion, we came up to the fact that it is kind of weird to pay for things which have no intrensic value.  I brought up that in the course of playing World of Warcraft, which she does not play, I have bought two virtual pets for myself, a mount, and pay monthly to watch an AH that doesn't really exist.  That is outside of the normal fee just to play the game.  However, these items have personal value for me.  I still use my sparkle pony in my rotation of mounts since I use Gogo Mount to randomly pick a mount.  I also still pull out my little moonkin and my pandaren monk every so often.  And of course, I use my remote AH all the time.  Add in all the time getting gear that just helps me play the game better, and I have probably spent as much as people who put hundreds of dollars into Smurf Village.

The reason I bring this up is we have the newest mount that can be bought in game soon, the Winged Lion.  A lot of people are going to complain again that they are having to spend money to get a mount.  To those people, I say that it may not hold any intrinsic value to you, but to some, it may hold a personal value.  If they want to spend their money on a flying lion, it is their money and not of importance to you.  You both have different values.  In addition, some people may not get achievements like "Glory of the Cataclysm Raider" where they can get mounts and this is their way to get something new.  Basically, whether or not you pay for a mount, it is your decision.  You must determine the value for you, not for everybody else.

Will I be getting a winged lion?  It depends.  I will be honest, from the datamined pictures on MMO - Champion, he kind of looks ugly, so I'm thinking no.  However, new pictures may come out where it looks incredible and I may change my mind.  But the value for me is how cool the mount looks?  The Sparkle Pony looked awesome, almost like something out of Ulduar.   Unfortunately, I can't say the same thing for the winged lion.  Maybe seeing it in action will change my mind about this one.    

The point is to all the people QQing about another mount, just let go of it.  It is not your money, it is not required, and it does not give an unfair advantage to someone.  It is a mount.  And if you do buy one when they come out and are on the Ner'zhul server, fly around the dwarven district in Stormwind so I can take a look at it.  You may sway my decision.


Anonymous said...

But they're buying something that has an in game gold value by making it so they don't have to buy other mou....

I'm sorry, I just can't keep from laughing at that argument so hard it hurts for long enough to actually finish it.

Anonymous said...

Preface: I have never spent $ for a mount or pet (the moonkin pet tempted me though...)

Point: Anyone who has exerted any in-game effort for a mount (or pet) over and above he bare minimum of convenience has spent far more money than what blizzard charges for a mount. Everyone's time has some value and so can be understood as a dollar amount. The amount of time required to knockout in game requirements to earn mounts (or pets) in game exceeds what Blizzard charges for mounts (or pets) (indeed FAR exceeds in the case of raid achievement mounts).

There is no legitimate criticism of mount/pet purchasing on the grounds of spending 'real money' on a game. Subscription or purchase fees are a tiny fraction of our overall investment in games. Mount/pet purchases are laughably small. Especially for a 'hardcore' player.

That is not to say that there aren't other possible criticisms (although, as noted in the post, these are all a matter of personal preference and taste, so I doubt there are in fact other worthwhile criticisms).

Redhawks said...


Yeah, that is really a silly argument to use against it and is very laughable. Oh, I don't have to spend the money in game to buy a mount at level 20, 40, 60, etc. That is not a valid reason for a person to say they are against in-game mount purchases.


Very true. I know when I got my 25 man Glory of the Icecrown Raider mount about a month before Cataclysm came out, it was something I worked on for months between downing hardmodes and doing the special achievements. It is also why it is one of my favorite mounts in game because of the effort taken to get them done.