Thursday, November 5, 2009

A Brief History Of Paying Blizzard Cash For WoW Pets

Ways to Pay Blizzard Cash For WoW Pets:
  • Pay $30 for a Collector's Edition of the game or its expansions (fee includes some books and other stuff)
  • Pay potentially hundreds of dollars for TCG cards, or engage in a difficult-to-secure transaction to buy one off another player who spent big bucks on TCG cards
  • Pay something like $100 plus travel costs for a ticket to a convention with an exclusive pet
  • Pay $40 for the online streaming feed of the most recent Blizzcon
  • Pay something like $20-25 (forgot the exact price) for entry in the most recent arena tournament, followed by finding someone willing to log in with you to play the minimum number of games to qualify as a participant and receive the prize.
  • Pay $10 to get the pet straight from the item shop, not bundled with anything.
Basically, WoW has been selling minipets since the day it launched. The new item store just cuts out the middleman and incidentally lowers the price by a substantial margin by no longer requiring pet-seekers to purchase anything else to get the pet. (As Syp points out, this "lower" price is still 2/3 of a monthly subscription, but I'd still call the Blizzard store pets a bargain compared to the rest of the above.)

That isn't to say that this store won't spread to what Tobold calls "classics" of item stores - gameplay affecting items like potions and mounts. Spinks says that every game will now charge both a subscription and not-so-microtransactions. The precedent of having the genre's largest player on board is significant - in my view, there continues to be some market pressure against charging more than WoW which is now officially off the table, not that it deterred all the games Zubon mentions from beating Blizzard to the punch.

I'm just saying that, as a cataclysmic event, this one is a bit more of a whimper than a bang.

8 comments:

Klepsacovic said...

I'm not happy about it. The indirect nature of the previous premium minipets made them seem different somehow; more linked to events than money. Still, this is hardly the end of WoW. I'm not quitting over a couple minipets or even more if they add to them (as I'd expect). They still don't affect the game and pets aren't especially noticeable most of the time.

I would be more annoyed about mounts if they were especially flashy (which I imagine they would be). But even those aren't WoW-destroyers.

Where is the line? I think it's somewhere around in-game effects. Maybe not leveling speed boosts, but a professions speed-up perhaps.

wilhelm2451 said...

I think saying attending or watching BlizzCon is just for a pet is a pretty thin argument. You at least admitted with the CEs that you get additional stuff, but somehow everything at BlizzCon is just about the pet?

Stripes said...

I assume very few attended blizzcon just for the pet, but it still belongs on the list of how to pay blizz for a pet. It is likely cheaper then some of the card game pets...

I'm happy with blizz selling stuff as long as it remains cosmetic (and I count achivment points as cosmetic, and some achivments/titles too). If they start selling leveling or raiding items then I'm unhappy (I'm not thrilled with add-a-friend)

Chris said...

You are incorrect when you state that these vanity pets do not affect gameplay; they do indeed affect gameplay for those who participate in the Pet acquisition achievements in the hopes of getting Lil Stinker or the Fawn Salt Lick.

Since Blizzard has indicated that they will be adding additional pets in the future, all one has to do now is just sit back and open their wallet and buy their way to the pet achievements.

Minimize the importance of this all you want, but a meta-game such as the achievement system is already being affected by the use of RMT in this case, and if players dont think this is an issue to get all worked up about, then we might as well be able to buy Epics, experience scrolls...ect.

Since my schedule prevents me from raiding, and since these pet store pet codes can be gifted, I think I might just buy me one and sell the code for the in-game gold I need to buy my Ulduar blacksmithing plans(and associated Orbs) off the Auction House so I can craft me some ILevel 226 epics. Voila'...I just used RMT to leapfrog and advance past quite a few players of the game.

Klepsacovic said...

@Chris: The achievements you mentioned give: pets. No achievement affects any aspect of the game besides a tally of points. You will never lose an arena match, wipe on a boss, or make less gold because of achievement points. They are specifically designed to do nothing.

Ayr said...

@Chris

You can get the pet achievements solely through in-game pets...courtesy of the various updates and events that reward pets that have been added through the years by Blizzard, free.

You can also sell monthly game card codes for in-game gold, should you not be enraged about those as well?

Chris said...

@Chris: The achievements you mentioned give: pets. No achievement affects any aspect of the game besides a tally of points.

You are correct in your first sentence, but there are two very different mechanics involved with obtaining pets to reach the same achievement now. Yes, I can pay my monthly subscription fee and obtain the pets using a time investment, or now I can log in and spend cash in a Blizzard sanctioned transaction and pay cash to reach the same milestone. Simply pulling out my wallet and buying the pets diminishes the gameplay experience in that regard and that is the only point that I am trying to make here. Using the in-game mechanics to reach a goal or a milestone is very much a part of the game experience, regardless of how trivial you, or anyone else choose to label that experience.

The main issue that people are overlooking here deals with my above point: in that developers are sending the message that ones wallet can overcome time constraints where the subscription model is concerned. Blizzard could have easily put these pets in the game as part of a raid drop or as part of an annual event reward and maintained the ability for ALL players to at least have a chance to obtain them using the in-game mechanics, but they chose not to.

I am not against developers using RMT to derive revenue for their games if the game was designed solely to rely upon RMT as it's only revenue model. What I am against is the mixing of RMT in games that are based on the subscription model. I purchased my copy of WoW and I pay my monthly subscription fee. Now I'm basically being told that my monthly subscription fee is no longer enough to fund the development of ongoing content, and that Blizzard needs the money from the usage of RMT as a way to make ends meet.

Why could they not keep RMT out of the game and just charge me a few dollars more each month on my sub fee and call it a day? I would gladly pay a few dollars more each month to fund ongoing development if it meant that I had access to -ALL- of the same content as equally as everyone else using the in-game mechanics.

Flex said...

The first WoW pet for cash was buying the BC expansion at all. If you couldn't afford to buy your way into Outland, you couldn't get new toys.

When I started playing in 2005 it was a subscription-only game. No transfers, no expansions, no microtransactions. When BC came out I felt ripped off.

But then I paid, just like all the other sheep, and this is where we are now.