Updated Mon, Oct 10, 2011 by Xerin
It seems that we can never catch much of a break when it comes to World of Warcraft’s Pet Store. We’re going to see the introduction of a new pet that costs $10 and, in turn, can be traded (or even sold) to other players. On the surface this looks like a great idea because we’ve often wanted to give away pets we’ve no longer wanted – but, deeper down, this means that you can engage in a form of gold buying/selling via the official Blizzard Store.
The hilarious thing is that I’m not even rambling incoherently frothing at the mouth with this news, Blizzard has even given the full go ahead to prospective buyers to purchase the new pet as a way to buy some in-game gold.
Well, this could be big news for the future of WoW and could, possibly, result in the decline (or even downfall) of the RMT business and those nefarious gold sellers. On the other hand, this could herald a new wave of hardcore stigma as people, with a safe and secure way to buy gold, overextend their finances to purchase these incredibly cute little pets to gain an in-game advantage.
I’m going to go ahead and run with the positive first. Those of us who took online economics (preferably from our armchairs) know and understand the basic fundamentals. Supply and demand are intricately linked to the price of the item. So for the Guardian Cub we’re going to see a huge fluctuation of the price. Then it’s going to level out to wherever the community decides for it to go.
This could mean that in the future, WoW will work similarly to EVE Online where you can buy time cards and sell them on the market. If you need a little bit of extra gold on a new server or want to buy some kind of item you can take your $10 and shove it into the Blizzard Pet Store, grab the cub, and list it on the AH to gain let’s say 5k gold. On the other hand, players could see no demand in this item after it launches (with the entire relevant population snagging one up) while the market floods with them and the price hovers around a non-issue 500 to 1,000 gold.
Either way, it’s a either a non-factor or a positive alternative to giving the nefarious gold sellers our hard earned money for Blizzard’s intellectual property. We’ve had long and hard debates (including removing all gold selling ads from Ten Ton Hammer) on why the RMT industry is horrible for games and our communities. So having an official channel for people to go is definitely awesome.
On the bad side, we’ve got the whole stigma aspect of things. Because you know someone might go out and spend their entire life savings on these pets only to not get a return on their gold or make the news as to why WoW is horrible for everyone else. It’s also promoting buying gold – which of course, many people find to be terrible.
The pets are also character bound, not account bound, meaning that they’re a one-time use kind of deal. However, for this to work for the whole “circumventing RMT” thing it’d have to be a highly consumable item or the market would flood with them in no time. I don’t like the restriction, but I wouldn’t mind if there was a version that wasn’t sellable but account bound. That’s just me though.
How will this turn out? I’m not sure, but for some odd reason I like it. The game has aged enough that maybe we can begin to look at progressive methods for allowing people to purchase gold (something that exists since the RMT industry is still alive and kicking). I’m sure a lot of people out there will think to themselves that this is terrible allowing people to buy gold, but I see this as something that, if the community so wills, to be a good thing.
First, it cuts off the gold sellers profits because people will much rather spend their money here in America on an American company that they know for sure will not be stealing their identity/account/real life money. Then, they can turn that item into gold using the fair market value of it (whatever the community dictates). If the community doesn’t want to use this as an RMT method then no one will buy them off of the auction house (or sell them for the regard). If they choose to use it as a valid method of buying/selling gold then they will, and everyone will be happy.
Time will tell where this goes, but me specifically, I believe that this is a great direction for the game to go. What are your thoughts? Do you think that this heralds the “end of World of Warcraft” or are you in the “pretty cool” camp? Leave your interesting or creative comments below.