Crafty: WoW Sneaks In Real/Fake Cash Trades

By Alec Meer on October 11th, 2011 at 4:30 pm.

My real-life pet cost £25 and does a whole lot more than this. Bet I couldn't sell her for $10 though :(

The day has come. Pack your children into a suitcase, sell the dog, flee to the countryside and put all your energy into growing giant marrows. The end times are coming. The Great Doom has begun. The last bastion has fallen.

World of Warcraft now allows you, in a roundabout sort of way, to officially swap real money for in-game gold. RUN FOR THE HILLS.

Not directly, although Blizzard seem pretty cheerful about the loophole that enables real-virtual cash trades. It works like this: you buy one of the new Guardian Cub pets (a purely cosmetic flying thingy that follows you around) from Blizzard’s out-of-game Pet Store, and unlike the vast majority of WoW items it doesn’t bind on pick-up. This means that, instead of equipping it (at which point it does become locked to that character) you can sell it in the in-game Auction House – and in turn, your $10 ultimately becomes whatever the asking price for a Guardian Cub is in WoW gold. Blizzard are a-okay with that – in fact, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it was their major intention with it, in the same way the recent Celestial Steed was their first, and enormously successful, pop at microtransactions. Here’s what they say about Cubby:

“Since the introduction of the Pet Store, many players have been asking for ways to get the companions we offer there without having to spend real-world cash. By making the Guardian Cub tradable (much like the BoE mounts from the World of Warcraft Trading Card Game), players interested in the new pet will have fun, alternative in-game ways to get one. In addition to trading the pet, players can give the Guardian Cub as a gift to another character for a special occasion; guild leaders can use them to reward members for a job well done; and so on. We also hope this change will help reduce the number of incidents of scamming via trading for invalid pet codes.”

And:

“While our goal is to offer players alternative ways to add a Pet Store pet to their collection, we’re ok with it if some players choose to use the Guardian Cub as a safe and secure way to try to acquire a little extra in-game gold without turning to third-party gold-selling services. However, please keep in mind that there’s never any guarantee that someone will purchase what you put up for sale in the auction house, or how much they’ll pay for it. Also, it’s important to note that we take a firm stance against buying gold from outside sources because in most cases, the gold these companies offer has been stolen from compromised accounts. (You can read more about our stance here.) While some players might be able to acquire some extra gold by putting the Guardian Cub in the auction house, that’s preferable to players contributing to the gold-selling “black market” and account theft.”

So, it could be to defeat the undying problem of gold farmers and third-party sales sites. Or it could be coming up with a new way to extract more cash from WoW’s current, huge but gradually declining userbase while it’s still king of MMO hill. In that respect, it’s a very good idea. In other respects, it’s hard not to feel a little sad about it. Striving, working, hoping: these were part and parcel of gaining in-game cash for most WoW players. Spending $10 out of game is, regardless of the question of spending more money on a game you already pay a subscription fee for, somewhat taking away the challenge. Of course, it’s not like you have to do it- but the temptation will always be there.

On the other hand, it’s one way to even out the gulf between the endlessly-playing haves and and the time-starved have-nots – as Eve already introduced with its Plex system. Whether it’ll actually un/rebalance anything or just lead to more pocketmoney for some players remains to be seen. As does the extent of the demand for the pets – their value will surely slump as more and more Cubs flood the market (especially if professional scalps decide to try and game the system), so right now it only means a very short-term prospect of bonus in-game cash for those who buy the pets speculatively. Then again, Blizzard can always just release new kinds of tradable pets on a regular basis. The money train don’t stop until they say it stops.

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104 Comments »

  1. Bull0 says:

    I’ve been angry about this since I found out about it yesterday (that’s not a dig, by the way; warcraft isn’t the center of the universe no matter how much of my time it swallows up). They’re fairly systematically locking and deleting any threads that complain about it on the battle.net forums, which is discouraging. Honestly I’ve soured dramatically on WoW in the year ish since Cataclysm was released, and this is yet another nail in the coffin. Roll on GW2 and Old Republic, says I.

    Cute, though.

    Worthy of note: all the pets and mounts on the blizzard store historically have been account bound items, or items of which one is sent to every character you create. Not so with this one, for obvious reasons. So, while you can use it for some cheeky ingame gold, it’s substantially worse value if you just want it for your own characters, as you’ll need to pay for each character that will receive the pet.

    • mondomau says:

      “Roll on ….. Old Republic, says I.”

      Um, I may have some bad news for you.

    • Bull0 says:

      Yeah yeah, the new massive fully voiced bioware star wars RPG and sequel to KOTOR, one of my favourite games ever, is obviously going to be rubbish and you aren’t just being a bore

      In other news, different people in liking different things shocker

    • Aerothorn says:

      Woh there, Nelly. I read that as mondomau saying that The Old Republic has some sort of gold-buying system. Not that I would know.

    • Bull0 says:

      Doubt it. I think he’s just doing the tried and true RPS crowdpleaser bit.

      I may seem cynical but I see it every single time the game gets mentioned. RPS is the place to go to trash talk games you aren’t interested in to people who are.

    • Balm says:

      sequel to KOTOR, one of my favourite games ever

      You are aware that KOTOR’s Revan and HK-47 are mid-level dungeon bosses in TOR, yes?

    • Grygus says:

      @mondomau: is the bad news that you’re not in the beta and have no idea what you’re talking about? I’m just guessing.

    • Bull0 says:

      @Balm lol, if that’s true that’s quite fun. HK-47 I can believe, he cropped up in KOTOR 2 aswell

    • Wulf says:

      TOR fans get more butthurt by the hour.

      Silly Bull0, that’s exactly what he was saying. Bioware themselves said that by breaking any (and I stress, any) of WoW’s rules, you’re a moron. In TOR, we already see that TOR is WoW. I’m not adding anything to that, but simply that this is Bioware’s intention. TOR is WoW. And if TOR is going to copy every single thing that Blizzard does, then they’re also going to copy this.

      That’s all that he was saying.

      “@mondomau: is the bad news that you’re not in the beta and have no idea what you’re talking about? I’m just guessing.”

      I think the ‘bad news’ is that this is proof of just how ridiculous TOR fans are getting. He was saying that TOR would probably have a cash-to-gold system too, and since Bioware themselves have said that they want TOR to be WoW, it’s not outside of the realm of the possible.

      But there you go with your kneejerk reactions. See… what this says to me is that TOR fans know more than I do, and that that knowledge might imply that the game is terribad, and that right now TOR fans are in angry, hateful denial.

    • Bull0 says:

      final edit

      I’m bored of seeing the same unpleasant argument over and over again with you, Wulf. Since you think TOR looks rubbish and you believe everyone in the TOR community is a bad person with personality problems (which is what you’re saying) and you really know as much about it as you act like you do then do yourself a massive favour and stop seeking out stories about it and people who’re interested in it just to rain on their parade. It’s shitty behaviour and it makes you seem like an arsehole. Different people like different things, and if you can’t believe or accept that then we’re totally incompatible and I lose nothing from blocking you so that’s what I shall do. Ciao.

    • Big Daddy Dugger says:

      He’s being protective, he’s trying to help you realize your poor decisions lol. If you were on a pro “selling beer to toddlers” forum I’d probably go there and rain on your parade as well regardless of whether it makes you hate me or not the small chance that something gets through to someone and that company makes less money for it’s rude business practices makes it worth doing.

    • Bull0 says:

      BDD: Different people like different things, and if you can’t believe or accept that then we’re totally incompatible and I lose nothing from blocking you so that’s what I shall do.

    • stellyx says:

      let’s join conan! oh wait…
      let’s join aion! wait wot?
      let’s join Rift! omg fail
      let’s join tor…let’s join TOR!

      yeah playing wow again, you will be too.

  2. Baka says:

    “players interested in the new pet will have fun, alternative in-game ways to get one”

    Wow…

    • sneetch says:

      I don’t think there are all that many “fun, alternative in-game ways” to grind out gold.

  3. Tuor says:

    I was done with WoW after Cataclysm. This only helps me feel more certain that I made the right choice.

    • Jumwa says:

      My sentiments exactly.

      Can’t say I didn’t see this sort of thing coming though.

      And to clarify, I’m not saying I’m against microtransactions or this sort of thing. I’m against it in games where you pay a monthly fee to play, however. Monthly fees to play should mean that all the content is made accessible to me without added fees (although Blizzard also does one-time charges for the game and expansions, but we’ll leave that out for now), and if you want MTA then offer your game for free and let people buy of it what they wish. Please don’t be greedy and do both.

    • Zippy says:

      All of the content except for this one completely optional overly cute pet for my monthly fee is enough for me. I cannot see how this diminishes my game experience, at all.

    • Jumwa says:

      This one pet? Are you forgetting all the other real-money pets? And mounts? The fact you still have to buy expansions too on top of that?

      Other MMOs manage a healthy profit by charging for far less, this is just gouging your customer base. Hardly something to brag about supporting.

  4. pakoito says:

    So they implemented Diablo 3 Auction House in WoW to milk more money? I’m not surprised.

    • Ergates_Antius says:

      Er no. This is very different from the D3 auction house. Almost the exact opposite in fact.

      In D3, you can find items in the game and sell them for real money. Here you can buy things for real money and sell them in game for game-money.

    • Duffin says:

      No, its the same, you can use real money to buy items ingame (using the gold you get from selling the pet which you bought with rl money).

    • pakoito says:

      What Duffin, said. If you’re the seller, you can find some WoW item and make the buyer also buy 3 pets you bought for 10$, for 20$ each. Loopy but still works.

    • Ergates_Antius says:

      Firstly, there is no [legitmate] way of extracting cash back out of the game.

      I’m not sure how you think “you’re the seller, you can find some WoW item and make the buyer also buy 3 pets you bought for 10$, for 20$ each” You can’t sell things for real money once they’re in game (unless you just get someone to send you via some external mechanism, and there’s nothing to stop you doing that already – you don’t need the new pets.)

      Secondly, the items being sold for cash are being sold directly by Blizzard.
      Someone sells something for cash in the D3 AH, and Blizzard makes a small transaction fee. Someone buys one of these pets in the shop and Blizzard make $10 pure profit.

      It may, in a have the same net-result for people (i.e you can use cash to acquire in-game items), but it’s not the same implmentation of the AH by any stretch of the imagination.

    • simonh says:

      @pakoito
      If I’m understanding you correctly, you’re proposing that someone would:

      1. Pay real cash for the pets
      2. Find a valuable item in-game
      3. Trade the item with another player, and as part of the deal force that player to take pets that they don’t really want as well?

      How would you profit from that? Why not just sell that valuable found item alone?

      The only way these pets would work as a currency converting device (still $-to-gold only) was if there was a huge demand for them, which I doubt there will be. These are purely cosmetic and there’s already a bazillion different pets available, often given away free at in-game events. Unlike apparel and mounts, few people care that much about pets.

      Now if it was an Epic flying mount that they sold, that would be an entirely different thing, as there would definitely be a big demand for those.

      (disclaimer: it was 4 years ago since I last played, but I doubt the demand for vanity pets would have gone up radically since then)

    • SonofSeth says:

      Haha, called it the day they announced Diablo 3 RMAH.

      CH CHING!!

    • Big Daddy Dugger says:

      You can NOT make money from Diablo 3. You pay real life cash for in game auction house coins that can not be traded the other way around. On top of that in order to remove coins from the economy to ensure that people keep buying the auction house takes a small cut (10 or 15% i’d guess) of the coins that you paid for with real money and deletes them forever after you buy each item.

  5. Gundrea says:

    Not sure if I get this. I can buy these pets for a fixed amount of real cash then trade them away for in-game gold yes. But how does this allow me to transform my cash into gold in any kind of steady manner? They’re not a viable currency because they’re easily accessed by just paying the cash.

    • RF says:

      Because it’s basically printing cash, for all intents and purposes? A lot of people won’t be willing to buy items for cash but will for farming a metric crap tonne of gold?

    • Sassenach says:

      It comes down to the relative values of real currency and game currency to different people. If you imagine someone places ‘x’ value on a single unit of real money and ‘y’ value on game money then you have an exchange rate which is a ratio x:y. If one were to directly convert real money to game money lets say you’d place an exchange rate of 1:1.

      Then say you’d pay ‘x’ for this item, someone who places a lesser relative value on ingame currency will be willing to pay more then one ‘y’ (presuming they would buy it at the given price) and thus it is a favourable transaction for both parties. It might actually be interesting to see what the official gold buying conversion ratio comes to. It’s all dependent on a market for a vanity pet, which seems a bit of a fragile basis. Now if they were selling in-game hats…

    • simonh says:

      Exactly, from a Googling I found $10 would give you around 10 000 gold on the black market. For these pets to be worth that much, there would have to be a huge demand for them.

      There are already a bazillion different pets available in-game, many of which are handed out for free at in-game events and such. And while many players care a great deal about mounts and apparel, few care much about pets.

      I don’t really see these as a viable way of exchanging real money into gold. Sure you could get a small amount, but it’d likely be several orders of magnitude more expensive than the black market.

      (disclaimer: it was 4 years ago since I last played, but I doubt the demand for vanity pets would have gone up radically since then)

    • Smarag says:

      I would assume that those pets will just become $10 bills just like earbuds became a currency in TF2 (FYI one earbud is currently worth $24-26 in case you are not familiar with TF2). You want that epic uber weapon? Great, pay with a pet. The pets would probably just be sold for like $8-9 on a “black market”.

    • shitflap says:

      People in game back in Wrath used to pay 5k for a Hyacinth Macaw, cos it was like a 0.01% drop chance off a specific mob (from Wowhead).
      This will not be the same as there is an infinite supply. It’ll drop the arse right out of the market as soon as their released as anyone can pay cash will, driving AH prices down.
      Those people who thrive on the AH are a brutal lot, and this will be driven to a wildly low price as soon as possible, making it worthless for trading for gold (in any reliable sense).
      It will be interesting to see what they stablise out at, but it’ll be nominal, people thrive on mods that monitor this exact kind of thing..

  6. JackDandy says:

    I can hear Bobby Kotick laughing.

  7. Matt says:

    well as a former WoW player now in remission, i find this just plain…odd.

    As Alec says, it feels like PLEX, a way for time starved characters to get cash, but the value of the Kitten is going to be really messed up; massively divergant, i should think, by server and faction.

    If Blizz want to sell gold, why don’t they just sell gold? It’s hardly a scarce resource in game these days to start with, and this really busts the idea of them not-selling for cash anything that distorts the game mechanics. so why mess about doing it in a round-about way?

    odd.

    • Skabooga says:

      Combining the revenue streams of subscription and free-to-play models? Not a bad way to bring in the money if you can get people to buy into it.

      To any game developers reading this, I’m just joking around! :) Please don’t :(

  8. Stupoider says:

    Didn’t the naysayers say this stuff wasn’t going to happen when micro transactions were creeping into WoW?

    KACHING KACHING KACHING

    • RF says:

      Pretty much. But the yaysayers (since they’re not really naysayers) also said that Blizzard would make every single one for charity and all that usual crap.

      I’m just waiting for XP potions (although they came pretty close with the Invite-a-Friend business, it wasn’t quite the same thing) and selling non-top tier gear.

  9. Inigo says:

    And all I hear is the sound of Chinese sweatshop owners giggling while frenziedly masturbating into their Ducktales-style money vaults.

  10. diamondmx says:

    It’s a very cautious way to do this – the pet will very rapidly lose value due to market saturation – if Blizzard don’t like how it’s going, they can do many things to control the cash>gold market by either choosing not to release further iterations of this idea, or changing the prices of the follow ups.
    Until they release an item that is consumable and widely useful, this is going to have limited effect.

  11. misterk says:

    Um, will this bring cash into the game? I assume the mount has a fixed cost, say 10 pounds. But it has an unlimited supply, so if 1000 players on server A decide to spend their money to convert it into game gold, they will drastically devalue the mount in game value- after all, someone has to WANT the damn things

    Hmm, you made the same point at the end. Fair play. I’m still not convinced this would be a good way to buy gold.

    hmm, so some more thoughts. By doing this Blizzard are avoiding devaluing gold itself in the economy- if they sold gold direct to players for real life money this would cause a great deal of inflation (on the AH at least), while this keeps the flow of money constant, while greeeatly devaluing their mount.

    EDIT: Totally forgot there was an edit button!
    Double edit:… but no delete button. Sadface…

    • misterk says:

      Hmm, you made the same point at the end. Fair play. I’m still not convinced this would be a good way to buy gold.

    • misterk says:

      hmm, so some more thoughts. By doing this Blizzard are avoiding devaluing gold itself in the economy- if they sold gold direct to players for real life money this would cause a great deal of inflation (on the AH at least), while this keeps the flow of money constant, while greeeatly devaluing their mount.

    • Bull0 says:

      It’s a companion pet, not a mount. Otherwise yes, your analysis is broadly correct – selling gold would create new gold, this just moves the existing gold around and compromises the system less.

      The same thing has been going on with the trading card game loot cards for ages, but at least with them there was a vague semblance of scarcity – this is just a license for players with more cash to buy their way to the top (albeit very, very slowly and inefficiently)

  12. Daryl says:

    Wait, people still play WoW?

  13. BatmanBaggins says:

    Not sure it’s really a reliable way to turn real money into WoW gold… I doubt those things will go for much on the AH after a short while.

    • Starky says:

      Agreed, 3rd party gold is stupidly cheap – like $10 for 10k gold (or more)…

      I seriously doubt these pets will sell for half of that after a month or 2.

  14. Hoaxfish says:

    So, animals are a form of currency.

    How many puppies to the kitten?

    • Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

      It’s hard to say, but it’s approximately 1.6 million kittens to the dragon.

    • Sassenach says:

      Dragons to the peggle conversion ratio?

    • MD says:

      When Skyrim is released, we’re going to face infinite inflation.

  15. MiniMatt says:

    It’s been a while since I played WoW so please correct me if I’m wrong, but WoW pets are still essentially hats and monocles right? As in no game changing effect other than the (dubious to my mind, but my mind is no judge) ability to look purdy?

    Obviously it still could well be the beginning of a slippery slope toward pay-to-win.

    • Bull0 says:

      You buy it with real money and trade it for ingame gold, which you use to buy an epic weapon or some crafting materials or something that ordinarily you’d have to spend time working towards. It’s already pay to win.

    • NightKid says:

      @Bull0: You could already buy ingame gold from third party sites since vanilla WoW so wtf are you on about?

    • Sassenach says:

      It’s not directly pay to win as it is essentially a cosmetic item. But items that increase in game potency are available for in game currency but not real currency (directly). This provides a circuitious method of acquiring said advantageous items via real currency payment.

      Funnily enough said advantageous items are usually created via a third party who spends some time killing things or patrolling territory (if resource gathering hasn’t changed) to fabricate them, thus inflating dynamic (player set) prices and causing people to A: have to exploit this mechanism themselves to compete with player set prices and B: devalueing fixed in game currency prices.

      So mounts for all and potions for none!

  16. GenBanks says:

    Anyone who wants to pay for gold can already do so. I’m guessing this pet won’t sell for that much in the auction house, so buying them would be a very expensive way to buy gold.

    It’s only cost efficient for players to purchase gold if you’re going to be buying lower level items. The endgame loot is either really expensive or you need to raid to get it. If you’re spending enough time in game to have a lvl 85 char, you won’t need the gold anyway. So what if lvl 30-60 players buy better equipment for real cash while they work their way towards the endgame? I really don’t think it causes any imbalance.

    • Sassenach says:

      I think you may be discounting the attendant risk of account banning for real money trading. However I’m rather ignorant about the actual consequences of such and thus can only make this assertion tenuously. In any case I’m sure there are those who would prefer an officially endorsed method regardless.

      Plus the endorsement itself is signficant in legitimising the practice.

  17. mjig says:

    I’m glad I no longer play this garbage. The $25 mount would have been the final straw if I had still been playing when it came out.

    They could have at least done something like a PLEX with this.

    • diamondmx says:

      You’re assuming PLEX was a good idea for EVE.
      Look what they’re doing with it now…

    • Dave Mongoose says:

      The PLEX system is great – EVE has very few problems with isk farmers/sellers as a result. Wouldn’t work so well in WoW because of the crazy inflation, though.

      All they’ve done with PLEX now is let you waste hours of play or fistfuls of dollars for silly trinkets.. if anything they’ve gone the opposite route (“Tired of gaining a tangible benefit from your hard earned cash? Here are some pixel hats”).

    • diamondmx says:

      I’m more referring to the fact that PLEX is an open excuse for all possible P2W options.
      Pro-MT players say “But PLEX can do…”, even CCP has said on a couple of occassions “But PLEX can do…” as an excuse for MT stuff.

      It’s an example of the slippery slope argument being correct.

  18. Battlehenkie says:

    I wouldn’t go back to WoW if I got $10 per hour of playing it. This type of behaviour informs me I’ve made the right decision. Disgusting.

    • Ergates_Antius says:

      Disgusting? Really? You don’t think that’s a little bit of an over-reaction?

      They’re allowing people an inefficient way of getting hold of in game cash using real world money – no kidnapping children off the streets and selling their organs on the black market!

    • Battlehenkie says:

      It definitely is if you choose to read it like that. To me it signifies how ‘the’ company with high standards has fallen so low it okays the morally grey area it took such a strong stance against before. The cynic in me could suggest Blizzard exploit the intelligence of a large part of their customer base. Then again, what else is new in game land.

    • Stephen Roberts says:

      I would definitely go back to wow if they (who, the masters of space and time, of course) paid my ten bucks an hour to play it. Or make it pounds. I’m Britishy anyway.

      I just remain amazed that gold is still ‘valuable’ it’s basically everywhere. You kicked some dirt! GOLD! You looked a picture! GOLD! You had a thought (possibly)! GOLD!

  19. Deano2099 says:

    It’s not that new, few things worth bearing in mind:

    1. This could already be done by going on Ebay and buying one of the TCG mount codes, then selling that for gold.

    2. Gold isn’t worthless in WoW, but it almost is. The vast majority of gear is bound to your character, it can’t be bought on the auction house. One or two pieces can, but mostly gold goes towards consumables, leveling crafting skills and upgrading your flying mount so it goes faster. Nothing actually game-breaking in there.

    3. Before we cite this as evidence of how Blizzard are evil, consider: X amount of players worldwide will want this pet. If they just sold it for $10 non-tradeable, most would just buy it. Now some will buy it, while others will buy it and sell it some of group X for in-game gold instead. But note that at no point does the value of X increase. Only so many people will want this thing, and that’s how many they will sell. They might eek out a few more sales to younger players who can’t use a credit-card to buy one but this isn’t going to make them any more mega-bucks than just releasing a new pet normally would

    • UnravThreads says:

      TCG mounts were much harder to get hold of and were in arguably limited supply, so the effects of it were tiny. On a busy server you might have one or two of those auctions a month at most, whereas with this one there’s no entry barrier bar that $10.

  20. bakka bakka bakka says:

    Spyro?

    • Kollega says:

      My thought exactly. He (or is it a she?) does look like Spyro. But at the end of the day, there are only so much ways you can draw a cute cartoonish dragon.

  21. Hentzau says:

    This might be the first step on a slippery slope towards pay-to-win, but taken on its own it’s not that harmful. The reason certain pets/mounts fetch absurdly high prices on the AH is because they are very limited in supply, but the supply of these cubs is technically infinite and anyone who really wants one can fork out $10 for one so it’s not like someone who tries to offload stacks of cubs is going to be rolling in gold.

    • Bull0 says:

      You’re correct, and in fact I foresee some very very disappointed shortcut-buyers in the future getting upset that their cubs won’t fetch more than a few hundred gold a pop

  22. zeroskill says:

    Blizzard is going down the wrong road, I really hope they realize this soon. I personally think its no coincidence that Blizzard started to make strange decisions pretty much from the point forward when they joined up with Activision. Its such a shame I have to think twice now before buying any Blizzard products in the future. A real shame indeed.

  23. aircool says:

    I think Cubby is probably a safer investement that the Euro at the moment.

    • mondomau says:

      This wooden doorstop I just found is a safer investment than the Euro.

  24. Ovno says:

    Almost like plex, apart from that was always about swapping gametime for Isk (well more about swapping cash for gametime and then gametime for isk) which I thought was a nice way of doing it, money poor but time rich players could play by grinding isk while money rich but time poor players could get what they would get from grinding.

    Of course it had its problems, i.e. selling gametime to buy titans and poses but all in all it wasn’t a bad way to give gold farmers a kick in the knackers.

    Whereas doing it with vanity items is more like what ccp have tried to do with that monocle and thats not quite as good for the game imo….

  25. nuh uh no way says:

    back in my day nickels had mounts on ‘em. “gimme five guardian cubs for a quarter!” you’d say

    • vodkarn says:

      Where was I? Oh yeah. The important thing was that I had an onion tied to my belt, which was the style at the time.

  26. Mutak says:

    I’ve never bought gold and I don’t even play WoW any more, but I have no problem with the idea that those with more money than time should be able to use that to their advantage, so long as those with more time than money can achieve the same things. After that, it’s just dickering over exchange rates.

    IMO, the people that care about this stuff have too much e-peen invested in the game. Play for fun, not for the respect of others or a sense of self worth.

  27. Tolkfan says:

    You’re about 2 years late with the outrage, ladies. This was possible with spectral tiger mounts and other Card Game crap. Nobody cared and it didn’t change a thing. The game didn’t collapse into rubble. Do some research instead of pasting quotes from their FAQ.

    http://blue.mmo-champion.com/topic/202477/blizzard-youve-crossed-the-line

    And to the nuts shouting about Activision ruining Blizzard: why don’t you check who’s the “boss” of Acti-Blizz. It’s Vivendi (54% of shares). That name sounds familiar, right? Because it’s the same people who owned Blizzard since 1998.

    If you don’t like what Blizz is doing, blame them and not some bogeyman.

    • UnravThreads says:

      As I said above, it’s not the same. TCG mounts were incredibly rare and often went for pretty sums of money. You had people buying them to sell, and you had people buying them to use. The latter group likely took a considerable number out of the market, and people would generally pay for the card rather than the mount, thus meaning no transfer of funds happened in-game.

  28. VeliV says:

    As you get older and get a job and/or family you might notice that money isnt the limit for you. The limit is time. I fail to see how this change somehow makes the game worse, as these pets will prolly saturate very quickly, since they are not consumable and does not hold any bonuses for the player.

    I welcome this as a good thing since it enables players like me to enjoy the game more without having to spend my evenings grinding gold for a faster mount. This is also a very, very non-intrusive way of introducing real money -> gold to the economy. Just look what kind of mess EVE online made it to be.

    • vodkarn says:

      Mostly, because of people with time AND money, and the fact that gear determines the victor in Player versus Player. So you have people able to either grind for or outright buy just about anything now.

  29. AMonkey says:

    I’m so glad I quit WoW a year ago because its become visibly worse as have Blizzard.

  30. Ertard says:

    If it was the other way around I’d have a pretty fine extra income. Bring on D3.

  31. The Greatness says:

    Hold on a minute. Isn’t this a great idea? This should completely destroy gold farming. Because you can’t sell the pet for real money (at least that’s how I understand it) there is no way gold farmers will be able to sell their in-game money for real money through this system, whereas people who want to buy in-game money can now do it in a safe and secure way. I don’t actually play WoW myself but I don’t really see the problem with people spending real money to get in-game money if they want, you only waste your time grinding for it anyway. On the other hand of course, Blizzard are clearly doing this for the money. But that’s always been the case.

  32. archimandrite says:

    A few things:

    1. Blizzard charges for expansions because they can. If other, less successful MMOs could get away with charging for expansions, they would. They’re not giving away that content out of the goodness of their hearts.

    2. The other micro-transaction items that Blizzard sells are purely cosmetic. Mounts, non-combat pets and race/sex/faction changes.

    3. Though there are a few high-end items in the game that can be bought with gold, for the most part they must be acquired by dungeoning, raiding, or PvPing. Tokens from dungeons, raids and PvP are non-tradable, as is the gear you get from dungeons, raids and PvP.

    This is a definite shift, and maybe eventually we’ll see a Blizzard store where you can buy a decked out level 85 character, but we’re not even close to that right now.

  33. Orvidos says:

    Call me when we can buy level XXX, whatever it is by that point.

  34. InternetBatman says:

    They’re milking what they can out of WoW before the next big thing comes along. I think it’s disgraceful behavior in a game that charges a monthly fee and expansion fees, but I don’t think it’s out of line with the greedy behavior that is common in the rest of the industry.

  35. Obc says:

    ehm i dont understand the hate?

    a pure cosmetic item is sold. something that noone NEEDS for the competitive stuff in WoW.

    you can sell the pet for gold. the highest price would be 10k coz one can already by 10k for 10euros from illegal sites. the thing is NOT one pet on any server i looked is worth that much. not even the highest pet afficiandos would give that much money for a pet. so who is willing to shell out that much gold? i don’t know.

    with the gold one can buy items. only a few select items. items which aren’t even necassery to buy. which are also not high level but always average niveau to the latest tier and always cost way more than 10k. so one item = 30 dollars? no one would pay that much for a average level item.

    i don’t know if any of you played WoW for the past months. But i never had to buy ANY items from the AH to be competitive at all. there is no need for them. from mid WotLK onwards its pretty easy to gear oneself. one can do about everything in the game without ever having to buy anything from the AH. and it doesn’t give you any real edge. what do you need to buy items for anyway? to play? just play and you will get the items and stuff to play further anyway.

    besides that: there is no money gain from the puppy at all.
    so yes one can technically buy gold with it but
    1. its a legal way to do so, people are already buying gold en masse and this way account don’t have to be compromised. so its a good thing that Blizz is giving those who really have to have gold another option than shady sites who promote hacking
    2. the game is designed in such a way that its totally stupid to even buy gold. gold is lying around EVERYWHERE as are items so why even bother. when i first saw it i thought: oh nice something i can gift to someone.
    3. there is really no real money gain unlike the diablo AH. the diablo AH is the real controversial stuff. this is pancakes that has more good then people want to see and less harm and value than people say it has.

    so why the hate? people might think this is a slope towards pay for win item? but wow is already designed in a way that everybody feels like a winner all the time and content is nerfed after a few weeks so that everyone can enjoy it anyway.

    there might be things wrong at blizz considering WoW but thats not it.

  36. Obc says:

    and to everyone complaining about all that they are selling stuff in the shop? why not? you have about everything in game already. just a few needless stuff that is only for the looks for those who care. so why does it enrage so many people? you don’t have to have it. all you have to have is ingame. and even there you don’t have to collect all the mounts and pets there are? is it destroying your enjoyment that there are things like a pet in a shop that you don’t have? i simply don’t get all the whining.

    this new thing has something that should be considerd because it leads to selling gold which i have pointed above is not that big of deal. but just selling some “jewelery” shouldn’t be something to ragequit over.

  37. shoptroll says:

    I don’t really see a problem with this. I’ve been playing Kingdom of Loathing for over 6 years and this sort of thing is standard there. With minimal impact on the game and economy too.

  38. Big Daddy Dugger says:

    The thing is even though the price will drop on these things to near worthless in days blizzard will make a killing because no longer are just people who want the pets buying them, but now an equal or greater amount of people who believe they’ll buy a pet then sell it for a lotta gold are going to buy them. They’ll sell more of this pet than any of their previous, that’s a prediction.

  39. Chaz says:

    So WoW F2P in another couple of years then, or maybe less.

  40. Acry says:

    This article to me is nitpicking at something that has been in WoW ever since TCG items became trade-able. Although, this is easily more accessible.

    Problem with the above is people whom want sell the TCG items want a small fortune that would only be obtained by hardcore farmers and or buying gold from gold selling websites. It will no doubt be the same here. Although, as I said more accessible. Good thing is they are all vanity and provide no perks to the character besides e-peen.

    Fortunately,
    Gold just doesn’t come out of thin air nor does gold have a huge impact on the game as some people think. Most of the stuff that costs a truckload of gold is usually all vanity. BoE’s that are bought for gold are not always the best in slot but there is some that is. I also feel people who buy a full BoE set are gold buyers/not really good players anyway. Mount speeds are easy to earn the gold for if you’re lazy, as well already without any malicious methods.

    There is also many players who will sell gametime ingame for gold for no problem and I don’t think Blizzard does anything about that as well.

  41. Ajh says:

    I’m upset that my $10 only gets the pet on 1 of my 10 characters. I’m not paying $100 for a pet for everyone, at the same time I’m not worried about the gold selling aspect of this.

    You can put something up on the auction house for 10,000 gold, but if people don’t want to pay that, it won’t sell. The in game currency value of these depend entirely on the players and how much (or how little) they’re willing to pay. Since most players I know with that kind of money tend to hoard it or at least not be stupid about spending it…well I suspect this won’t be your magic ticket to in game riches.

  42. Zaideros says:

    If you go out of your way to grind gold to buy one of these in the AH for 83 minutes or more, you are officially working for less than minimum wage.

    • jrodman says:

      Unless you have a perverse sense of enjoyment of grinding gold for trinkets. I could see it. I mean a certain component of wow endgame is exactly that, and I suspect some do enjoy it. I enjoyed herbing extremely extensively, at one point. Although I found actually selling the stuff to be tedious, and preferred to turn it into things to give away.

  43. anduin1 says:

    This game jumped the shark long before this and I hope more and more players realize it as time goes on. It’s still a fun game at it’s core but a lot of the side things that Blizzard does with the game rubs me the wrong way. It’s like they keep pushing the boundary of what will piss off the community while the die hards put their fingers in their ears.