Gevlon has a post up which touches on the expensive vanity Tundra Mammoth and Mekgineer’s Chopper. The whole thing came up by lots of people asking why he refuses to help people who want to learn how to make more gold in order to buy these vanity items. “What’s wrong with buying these items if I have excess gold?” they ask.
Quite simply, why does anyone ever buy any good, whether in WoW or in real life? I think no one will disagree with the following:
You would buy a good if the condition “Value of good >= Price of good” is satisfied.
Notice something about that equation? The amount of money you currently have is not involved in any way. I do not buy a Tundra Mammoth or a Chopper because it is not worth 18k gold. The fact that I have 125k gold does not change the value of the Mammoth/Chopper, it still does exactly the same thing (which is… nothing). My 125k gold also does not change the purchasing power of the 18k gold price. I could still buy Cold-weather flying for 18 characters, or 900 stacks of Icethorn, regardless of how much gold I have left after I spend that 18k gold.
In short, there is no reason to buy a Mammoth/Chopper just because you have excess gold. If it was a bad deal before, it is still a bad deal now. If it wasn’t a bad deal, you’d already have one, and the discussion would be moot.
So now excess gold is out of the way. The Mammoth advocates now say their 18k gold is worth it because of the convenience of having a reagent vendor and repair NPC. It takes less than 30 seconds to reach any vendor in any capital city, plus there is no faction discount for purchasing from the mammoth vendors. It is simply impossible to justify any amount of time/gold savings from this unless you intend to play WoW for the next 50 years, without even considering the amount of time most people spend AFK in Dalaran. This is also similar to paying 1000g for 2 extra bag spaces. There’s no way you can recover the cost of the additional spaces unless Blizzard starts having mobs drop vendor trash that sell for 20g each or something.
The value of a Mammoth/Chopper is not in the item itself, which is essentially the same as any other mount, but in the fact that it costs 18k gold in the first place and as such is just a sign of conspicuous consumption. If these players were the only players on their servers, and there was no one to look at them, would they still buy it? I seriously doubt they would. If the mount you rode was only displayed on your own PC, it would be worth the same as any other mount.
So what’s wrong with a Mammoth/Chopper? The answer is nothing. There’s nothing wrong with buying one, it’s not illegal. But there’s no rational reason to buy one either, as it is just a huge signpost saying “hai guyz i really want to look rich”. Just as there is nothing inherently wrong with buying a LV bag. It’s simply irrational behaviour that a lot of people display out of feelings of insecurity. Of course, if you ask the people who are carrying those hideous bags around, those things are worth their weight in gold. Those bags can protect them from ultraviolet rays, knock out would-be muggers in a single blow, and in the event that a meteor descends from the sky and raises a giant dust cloud that blocks out the sun causing all life on Earth to die out, the carriers of LV bags would be able to survive by gnawing on the genuine patent leather handles of their beloved bags.
Because to do otherwise would be to admit that they basically wasted their money, and obviously they wouldn’t be dumb enough to do that…
Side note: If people thought 10 USD for a horse in Runes of Magic was bad, isn’t 18k gold worth a hell of a lot more than 10 USD for a mount that doesn’t even have any additional benefits?