So, how do players obtain these skins? By purchasing a “Mount Adoption License.” That gets you one of 30 random skins, and there’s no chance you’ll get a duplicate. You can purchase Licenses/skins individually for 400 gems/$5, or in bundles of 10 (3400/$42.50) or all 30 (9600/$120), with the 30-pack only being available for one week.
(Yes, they’re only cosmetics. We know.)
The issue stems from the fact that you can’t buy any specific skin from the set individually — not for gold, gems, cash, nothing — though you can buy one other skin, the Reforged Warhound Mount, for 2,000 gems/$25. Other than that, if there’s a particular skin you really, really want, you’ll have to put your fate in the hands of the RNG gods, or shell out $120 for the 30-pack — for a limited time only, so act now!
Not surprisingly, some people are upset about these pseudo-loot boxes. There are multiple threads on Reddit decrying them, which also include the usual “they’re only cosmetic” and “devs gotta eat” replies. The cycle of news and outrage is pretty familiar by now.
This has all happened before, and it will all happen again. Me, I’m just reading a couple of my old MMOBomb articles today, one that says full-featured AAA MMOs need to squeeze money out of their players through whatever means necessary to survive, and one that says that they especially need to do that after about five years.
Guild Wars 2 turned five in August, so take that for what it’s worth. Also, next week we should see NCSoft’s Q3 financial report, to get an idea of how much Path of Fire propped up GW2’s fortunes, which have been on the downturn for the past year and a half. It should be quite the interesting week.