It’s a Pet Store not a Gear Store

Blizzard’s opened up the virtual pet store where you can purchase the first of several pets to come. I don’t actually know this, but I’m fairly certain we’ll be seeing more purchasable pets later.

What’s the big deal?

In a nutshell, the micro-transaction MMO model involves consumers paying for certain items. I have a friend of mine who plays Maple Story and I routinely tease her about buying a wedding dress for 5 bucks or other stuff only for it to disappear about 3 months.

Gear has an expiry date it seems.

The Korean “free” MMOs employ this model very well. I’ve briefly participated in some but I broke off from it seeing as I couldn’t sustain it. Figured I was better off investing in WoW instead.

Anyway, there seems to be this slippery slope argument that’s making the waves on Twitter and in some of the comments I’ve seen.

“If Blizzard sells in game vanity pets for real money, we’re now one step closer to being able to purchase real epics and gold for real money too!”

Since we can buy pets, we’re much closer to being able to buy weapons and other equipment to boost our characters and make them that much better.

I don’t think so

This is a great move by Blizzard from a profitability standpoint. Being able to purchase pets isn’t something that’s brand spankin’ new.

Players can redeem loot codes from the CCG booster packs for in game bonuses. I’ve got guildies with the Ogre Suit, the Turkey mount, the Spectral Tiger and so forth.

Being able to directly buy the pets removes the RNG aspect of popping open card booster packs and wasting money until you found one with the vanity item you want.

I don’t quite see this as being a punch in the face of players who spent countless hours farming for those Raptor eggs. I had guildies who would stay up late riding around and tying to find the right raptor for that particular pet.

A Pandaren Monk does not equal a raptor pet, just like the Rusted Protodrake does not equal a Spectral Tiger.

Players who invested their time and efforts into getting those bonuses earned them. If Blizzard was actually putting up Ashes of Al’ar or the Mimiron head mount for sale, then an argument and an uproar could be made then. 

But guys, it’s just a pet.

It’s a vanity pet.

It does not increase your stats.

It doesn’t do anything to increase or decrease your performance. It doesn’t affect your game in anyway. All it does is grant you a simulated neon sign above your head that says “I CAN AFFORD A PANDA THEREFORE I AM AWESOME!”

I can see them adding like tabards, more in game pets and mounts. These are items that you can already acquire from the CCG. It’s logical to assume they wouldn’t be out of bounds.

Save your rage for when it really matters.

If the day comes that Blizzard decides to sell gold, weapons, or the shirt of +1000 stats, feel free to raise hell.

Because I know I will.

Now I think I’m going to pick me up a Panda.

Tobold Interviews a Gold Seller

MMO Blogging enthusiast Tobold managed get in an interview with a gold selling company that’s not based in China. I don’t support RMT at all in any shape. With that being said, that does not mean I’m not curious as to the motivations and foundations behind them. Im always interested to learn about everything and anything (I have Wikipedia as my home page for crying out loud). Tobold asked some intriguing questions and received some ever interesting answers.

EDIT: RMT stands for Real Money Trading (or the process of exchanging real money for virtual currency and items).

After posing this perspective I’m often asked, “So why do Blizzard ban RMT accounts then?”, and the answer is always the same. To open a WoW account requires both a CD Key and subscription, but as Chinese credit cards are not accepted this become a 60-day pre-paid game card. A Chinese workroom would pay around $35 for both these resources, the majority of which goes right into Blizzard’s pockets. As a rough estimate based on experience within Chinese workrooms, I would say 200,000 workroom accounts were banned in 2007, 99.5% of which would have been replaced by a new account (with a new CD key and pre-paid card) right away. Based on these numbers, the banning of Chinese “Gold Farmer” accounts was worth approximately $7,000,000 last year alone. Now you can better understand why RMT continues to exist and why legal action against RMT is extremely selective.

Obviously a controversial piece like this would garner a few negative comments. Sure enough, a brief look at the comments showed several dissatisfied readers. True, Tobold had to publicize the address of the company in question but I think a link is a fair trade off in order to ask honest questions and get honest answers. The world revolves around a give and take relationship and you can’t expect to get something for nothing.

There’s been documentaries and interviews of serial murderers and rapists and other criminals done before in the past. It doesn’t mean we support what they do. Interviews like this help in expanding our understanding and view of deviant acts like this.

If you’re against buying gold or RMT in general, then it’s highly unlikely that reading an interview like this will change your mind.

In Vancouver, we have a special place in the Downtown East side called a Insite. It’s essentially a safe injection site for drug users to go to in order for them to practice what they do in a safe place. This government funded installation is meant to help drug users in a controlled environment that is fully staffed. Obviously a place like this can send the wrong kind of message; namely that the government supports illegal drug use. On the other hand, if an individual is going to shoot cocaine or do drugs anyway, at least there’s a hygienic place that exists where they can go to in order to do it safely without overdosing themselves.

Applying this to WoW and RMT, I’m more aware of the trades and practices that dealing with Chinese RMTers can do. This organization reports itself as being in America which means it is subject to American laws and business practices. I’d like to say that offers an element of comfort to players who might be desperate enough to turn to RMT in the first place.

Disclaimer: I mentioned it earlier and I’ll say it again. I don’t support RMT at all. But I still like to learn. If you’re going to comment, please do it respectfully with regards to the views of others.

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