Did SOE Really CopyCat Blizzard?

By now you’ve probably heard of SOEs introduction of a $25 mount that bloggers are affectionality calling the Copy Cat.

The inference is that bigwigs at Sony Online HQ noticed how amazingly well Blizzards Celestial Steed performed in the WoW store and decided that they wanted a piece of that action. The lure of the cold hard was much too difficult to resist and they put the belt sander to the noses of their developers and cranked out a rideable kitty cat.

The problem I have with this scenario is that the timeframe is too short. It’s only a few short weeks ago that Blizzard released their sparkle pony.

Sure it’s possible to crank out a piece of content quickly, but that tends to shortcut all the development practices that are necessary to stop a game collapsing in a buggy heap. Something like a new mount should by all rights require a couple of months of development and testing, especially considering that this particular mount actually affects combat stats. That alone means there are balance issues to sort out.

What’s more likely is that SOE were already developing the Prowler mounts, possibly for addition to the in-game vendors, maybe even for the mount vendors in the new New Halas area. Perhaps the idea for the Prowler came from the Rise of the Godslayer expansion for Age of Conan. That expansion has some gorgeous tiger mounts available for players.

Blizzards success with the Celestial Steed may have redirected the mount to the Station Store, and prompted the high price, but I doubt it inspired the Prowler in the first place.