A widdle pet for only $10? Sold!

Blizzards decision to add $10 vanity pets to the game has stirred up the blogging community. Some are “meh”, others think it’s poor form and others think it’s inevitable. For me it’s a “meh” issue. Logging in last night just before my Ulduar run there was a fair bit of guild chat about it: consensus was it was “kinda cool”. Most people wanted the mini- Kel’Thuzad (Lil’KT).

How many players are willing to buy them? Hard to say, but this morning when I logged in to play the Auction House I counted two Pandas and one Lil’KT. “Gosh, that was fast” I thought.

Having spent a lot of time in other F2P games I’m surprised it took Blizzard this long to move into a micro transactions. I don’t see this as a desperate move by Blizzard, but inevitable given this is becoming the predominant industry trend. Big name “AAA” MMOs are adopting the model. Simply put, it would be foolish of Blizzard to ignore the trend.

Consider the following moves by their competitors:

  • Dungeons & Dragons Online- F2P with store. DDO has been a notable success, their actual paid subscription went up 40% after they went F2P.
  • Warhammer – tier one content becomes free (ie.e up to level 12) in order to attract more players.

Hmmmm… I can directly download DDO to my PC drive and start playing right now (and it’s a good game). I can do the same for a host of other MMOs. It would be foolish of Blizzard to ignore the moves of their competitors and miss out on the additional revenue. Why not get some of that action?

“Slippery slope argument”

Slippery slope arguments are a logical fallacy. One step does not inevitably lead to another.

Most of the criticism I’ve seen of Blizzard’s move falls into this category. RMT, or micro transactions will not be the “death” of WoW (whatever that means). Blizzards vanity pets are simply another signal of the changes taking place in the industry.

Heck, if they offered a cool looking dragon/drake mount for $9.99 I’d buy it. I don’t have the time to farm Onyxia for the rare mount. It’s very unlikely I’m ever going to get it. Now, if I can buy it for $9.99, I would. Why? For no better reason than I’d like my avatar to fly around on a cool looking dragon. What are those rare mounts but vanity items? That a player has to farm an instance for months does not indicate they worked for it. It means they have a luxory of time others don’t have.

Time is money. If I cant’ farm an instance for a rare mount drop – which neither detracts or impacts from the actual gameplay – due to RL commitments, then why can’t I buy it? Makes me happy, give Blizzard another ten bucks. Everyone happy.

Remember guys and gals, Warcraft is a franchise just like Star Wars, Transformers, the X-Files and Star Trek. The new pets are simply merchandise, just like all the other Warcraft related products out there. It just so happens they’re virtual and you can view them “in-game”. There isn’t a nerd out there without some collectibles related to their favourite franchised IP.

Saying Lil’KT is “ruining” the game is like saying Bobba Fett figurines ruined Star Wars.