The Torticoli Rebuttal

Our goal with the Guardian Cub is to provide alternative ways for players who don’t want to spend real money to add these pets to their collection.

Bashiok, in the explanation for the Guardian Cub being BoE.

I know, right? It’s not like there’s a game where players can obtain non-combat pets through in-game means, such as looting bosses and grinding reputation. Or crafting. Or achievements. Stuff that does not require real world money.

Torticoli’s rebuttal, on the MMO-Champ forums.

Ouch.

Philosophically, I do not see this as the beginning of some slippery slope – it is just, in fact, a slalom flag more than halfway down the ski course. In many respects, the Diablo 3 RMT AH deal was a dry run for this and future F2P-lite experiments without killing the subscription cow outright. The more, ahem, diabolical aspect of the Disco Cub is how Blizzard once again pulled an utterly massive business coup in the rollout. While it is getting some ire in the forums, what is typically being glossed over is:

  1. Store pet is no longer BoA, meaning more sales to have them on multiple toons.
  2. The customer base for pets is being broadened to include speculators.

It is pure, insidious genius, when you think about it. Hypothetically, if market for this pet was ~200,000 accounts, those two changes might have just doubled revenue at zero cost to Blizzard. One of my guild officers was/is a pet collector and she has bought every single pet in the store. She might up and decide to buy two, one to keep and one to sell. Or perhaps she will try and buy one off the AH and save money, but the sale itself is exactly the same to Blizzard… except now she won’t have that same pet on all her toons. And if she ever switches mains… cha-ching!

Edit: In case it wasn’t clear, I’m 100% fine with these cash shop shenanigans, and cannot wait until I can buy level-capped characters on the AH like we will be doing in Diablo 3, or perhaps EVE-esque game cards. You cannot fight the future. It’s simply that the “community managing” spin is pretty grating, especially when Blizzard employees treat it as if value is being added to the transaction, when the reality is quite different. If BoE pets converted into a BoA version of itself after “using” it, that would be a different story.

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Posted on October 12, 2011, in WoW and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Ummm. What’s so wonderful about Torticoli rebuttal? Who cares if pets in general are available in game? We’re talking about a *specific* pet here which would not be available if you were not willing to buy it from the store without the special treatment (when Blizzard is intent upon selling, not granting access to it). Ah, people, you do not know the collector’s soul.

    Ofc, the pet is quite bit overpriced compared to the rest of them… But the idea in general, I like. They should make a “binds to account after use” setting and do it to all the pets/mounts in the store.

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    • Right. But it is a bit disingenuous as an argument to say that the “goal” was to offer alternate means of acquiring a cash shop pet when alternate means (i.e. in-game) are available. Hell, I think most people who object to cash shops in WoW would be fine with the idea if these items available to be earned through in-game activity, even if it took months of grinding or whatever.

      As for me personally, I do not mind these transactions. I would absolutely buy high-level WoW characters to avoid the level grind if Blizzard sold them in a cash shop or let players buy them in the AH ala the way Diablo 3 will work. Or buying game time with gold, which would be the best gold sink ever made. So in this sense, they cannot get to the end of the slope fast enough.

      I do think though that players like Torticoli have a point, insofar as these kind of claims take on the sleezy level of spin as political ads. Blizzard’s goal was to make more money through this decision, and it actually removes value (lack of BoA) from collectors in the process. No one is doing anyone favors here.

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  2. Honestly, I don’t even remotely see where the problem is. It’s not an item which has any in-game use, except as a collector item (it’s not even needed to complete some weird achievement). It’s nothing new, as trading card loots were also tradable, and people have been buying/selling/scamming codes even for non-BoE items.

    So what does this change? The only change is exactly the one they mention: contrary to old pets, which were only obtainable through real money or semi-illegal transactions, this one can be bought for game gold. Game gold which, in today’s game, is completely useless, since you can buy mostly nothing with it.

    They seem to be very clear: they are selling you a cosmetic item, end of story. The fact that the previous ones were BoA and this isn’t changes nothing except showing that they want to be able to make more money, which is hardly a surprise.

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