How can a guy this cute cause so much controversy?
Let me tell you a little story. I went to a private catholic high school. Even though we were only middle class my parents put a high value on education so they sent me to a school they thought would provide me with better opportunities in the future. There were plenty of people in that school who had parents that were very, very well off. There once was a concert of some popular band coming to the city, and some of my classmates decided to go… not only did they get the best sits that money could afford, they also made a big sign with the word “Poor” to show to the rest of the crowd. It even made the paper. It was probably just a stupid teenager move, but it illustrates something that happens in WoW quite a bit.
“I have something you don’t have.”
From raiders displaying their hard to obtain mounts, to people riding their celestial pony. Many people like to show off what they can get. It used to be that the game was “pure” and you could only get certain things through grinding or skill, but the celestial pony, at least to the masses, told everyone… I can afford to buy this.
Sure, there are plenty of people that buy it just because they like it, are “completionists”, or think is ubber-cute, but there will be a segment that gets stuff like this to tell others, “I have the money to spend that you don’t.” I think that is what rubs most people the wrong way, that they either can’t afford or chose not to spend real money beyond their monthly fees for the game.
The real issue with this cute guy is that he comes packed with tons of issues.
The most important in my opinion is value. It used to be that if you bought a pet at the store you got it on all your characters. Say you have 10 toons you play, at 10 dollars you are paying about 1 dollar per toon to have that pet. Now if you want that cute little guy on all of your 10 toons… you have to dish out 100 USD!
You say ridiculous… I say really? Yeap, there are people with multiple mains that love pets and might end up dishing out money to get it on all their toons. I think the value for the customer there is at that point diminished greatly.
The second side-effect is that since this item is now trade-able you now have an indirect way of converting real money into WoW money. This is not new, the WoW admins pointed out already that you could do that with the loot cards. Easier and more available to players it is though. It will depend greatly on your servers economy, but in essence now you CAN buy gold in a legal way if you want to.
Blizzard is being really smart about a lot of things, and this one might rub a lot of people the wrong way, but you cannot blame them for trying. Will this curve gold selling? I have no idea, I don’t know what that market looks like at all anymore. I have always been against buying gold. Is this annoying to the people that don’t want to or can afford the extra money? It depends on how much you care.
I never bought the celestial steed, I did not like how it looked. I still might some day buy the winged guardian… it will be for the convenience of having a ready mount that flies when I am leveling an alt. The game is so easy right now that I doubt it will really give anyone a big advantage to be able to sell those cubs and make gold. I don’t think it will translate into progression for anyone unless the market for them is super high. What I will be doing is waiting to see what happens with the prices for it. I know I won’t be shelling out 1000k for a pet, the cuteness factor will probably make my wife pay 10 bucks. I don’t think it will break the game… will it open the gates for other things, more than likely. Blizzard has to make money to keep the lights on, and overall I think they do a good job at not making the game all about micro transactions.
In all reality, all they are doing is keeping us talking about WoW for another week before Blizzcon. That they are obviously masters at.
WoW insider has now posted the official response, which back ups what I mentioned about the card game already doing this. I also like the fact that Matthew Rossi bring up the point that with the cub you don’t have to hope you get a card, you actually know you are getting the cub.