Like any good subject, Blizzard’s latest online purchase for World of Warcraft, the Celestial Steed (i.e., the Sparklepony) created a lot of back and forth commentary around the blogosphere. Thankfully, some clarity poked through the clouds. Guild Wars also released another buyable costume set for the War in Kryta chapter of Guild Wars Beyond. Parallel discussions of item-worth, self-worth, happiness, and greed occurred on all affected forums.
Yet, when a collector’s edition for an untried, over-hyped (read: untrue) MMO drops for $30 more than the commoner’s edition, there is barely a peep. It seems that collector’s editions can contain nearly any in-game bonus, and unless it provides game breaking balance issues, the bonuses are merely seen as value added to the collector’s edition.
The last collector’s edition I bought was for Warhammer Online, which came with a pewter miniature, a graphic novel, in-game appearance items, in-game exclusive quests, and an in-game buff! The buff, Librams of Insight, gives a player +15% experience, Renown, and Influence for two hours, and it was usable three times. That means by paying an extra $30, a collector’s edition player was going to be objectively better than a commoner’s edition player for at least 6 hours. Yet, the masses shrugged. People talked about the visual look of the exclusive appearance items or how they were going to paint the pewter miniature with regard to the worth of paying up to the collector’s edition.
Another collector’s edition I remember was for Guild Wars Factions. There was a big shipping error at the base level so players having preordered the collector’s edition would not get them for an untold time beyond launch. Being a rabid fan, I went out and bought the commoner’s edition. Then a few months later I re-bought the game by adding a collector’s edition code to my same account. I already had the Prophecies collector’s edition (complete with sparkly hands) on that account, and I wanted the Factions collector’s edition on the same account. It was worth spending $120 for what I wanted.
Here’s what I see, when people with the collector’s edition sparklies are noticed, the commoners, who have since put a lot of stock into the MMO, want the ability to gain sparklies as well. I cannot count the amount of times I have seen a Guild Wars player suggest that ArenaNet sell the Prophecies collector’s edition sparkly hands. Well, Blizzard did just that for World of Warcraft players.
Blizzard gave players the option to buy a reverse collector’s edition. Players finding tons of value in World of Warcraft could now buy the feeling of the attachment that normally only came with the collector’s edition. Latecomers could now buy something special. And, there was heavy outrage: It’s a waste of company resources. It’s too expensive. Too many people will have them for it to be special. And, my favorite eye-roller, players should be donating this money to a good cause instead. This outrage was over a mere appearance item.
Now, imagine that an MMO company chose instead to sell a one-time reverse collector’s edition containing the in-game items contained in the Warhammer Online collector’s edition including the Librams of Insight. The internet would explode. This hypocrisy is absolutely amazing to me. My thoughts are that the feeling of attachment that is used to sell things like the Celestial Steed and War in Kryta costumes is a double-edged sword with “fairness” protectionists on the other side. No one cares much what is in the collector’s edition because no one is yet that attached to the game that has not gone live. There are not yet any defenders of morality embedded in the community.
People that have bought the collector’s editions for a successful game are viewed with silent jealousy like a lucky investor that caught wind of a lucky stock before the market changed. People that buy sparkleponies are viewed with open derision as if the buyer was a spoiled trust fund baby flaunting the Porsche he did not earn.
I wish this hypocrisy would stop. I like this type of reverse collector’s edition because it gives the player the option to buy something special when the player safely feels that it is worth becoming more attached to the game. I don’t even want to count the amount of collector’s editions I own, that I bought as some sort of risky bet that the game would be good, that are now gathering dust. Yet, developers be warned, if these reverse collector’s editions purchases become too commonplace then the special feeling that I think these purchases are riding upon will dissipate. For now, I think that Blizzard and ArenaNet are doing a good job pacing themselves.
got no time for grousers