World of Warcraft players will be able to add the Mystic Runesaber mount to their collection in a matters of days. It'll cost them, though.
The assets for the Mystic Runesaber were first added in Patch 6.1 but hasn't been released to date. The mount is a purple tiger covered in runes and armor. Its tail and paws are crackling with energy. Pink translucent wings spring from its back when you try to fly:
The official WoW Twitter account announced this weekend that the Runesaber will be available starting on Wednesday:
The addition of yet another premium mount led some players to complain on the game's forums. They found the timing of the mount's release suspicious too. As they point out, Blizzard had announced a significant drop in WoW's subscription just days earlier. As Blizzard points out, though, they've had the Runesaber in the works for awhile.
"A lot of people have been excited for the mount since it was originally datamined in the 6.1 files back in February, and we actually get pretty regular questions on when it'll arrive," said community manager Bashiok. "Originally it was planned to release much earlier but we decided to wait as it'd potentially add some complexities while we're still trying to launch the WoW Token in all regions (Korea and Taiwan had the WoW Token launch yesterday, for example). So the next available release timeframe was next week, and that's what we [went] with."
If anything, we're bound to see more optional cash purchases in WoW rather than less in the future. With fewer players paying for subscriptions, Blizzard is finding alternate ways to boost their revenue. They might have fewer players playing the game so they're trying to find ways to make more money off that smaller player base.
For years, Blizzard has made money on the side off World of Warcraft services like realm transfers and cosmetic items like pets or mounts. In the past year, they've also introduced $60 boosts that instantly raise a character to level 90 so they can jump right into the Warlords of Draenor expansion. Last month, they introduced Tokens that players can purchase with real-world money. Tokens, which provide 30 days of game time, can be sold on the auction house to other players for gold. The players who buy Tokens with gold can therefore avoid paying for subscriptions.
It seems unlikely that Blizzard's ever going to completely remove WoW's subscription. It seems they'd rather go with this hybrid approach and keep the steady revenue that millions of subscribers bring. We'll see if their growing collection of microtransactions can offset the decline in subscribers, though.