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Blizzard Pet Store: A Cue for QQ?

November 5th, 2009

So if you haven’t heard the news, Blizzard has added two extremely adorable non-combat pets to the Blizzard Store.  This was instantly controversial, with people calling Blizzard out for adding ‘microtransactions’ to the game, and being profiteers or some such.

They announced it yesterday.  I’m sure half the blogging world has a post on it by now, that’s what we bloggers do, you see.  We hear juicy topics of debate and our mouths start watering until we get to our keyboard.

Well, I had a whole post typed up about this and why I think this is nothing new.  That it’s no different from buying loot cards and is in fact better because there is no middle man.

But when I told the news to Gadgets, his reaction was that it was cheating.  After a lengthy conversation about why he thinks it’s cheating and how it’s different from buying loot cards, I was enlightened and found there are other ways to look at this than I initially did.

So instead, I’m going to outline our different outlooks, and how in the end, they seem to converge.

You see, Gadgets LOVES his achievements.  He’s about halfway through his last reputation to get The Insane.  Seriously, him and achievements should like… get married.  Or something.

If you don’t already know my take on achievements, I’m a fan of them.  But I rarely go out of my way for them unless it’s something I am passionate about or particularly interested in (see my Brewmaster, Chef and of Sen’jin titles).

Him and I have both been casually working towards the [Lil' Game Hunter] achievement (he’s at 73, I’m at 72).  But we’re working at them for different reasons.  Like I said, his epeen is measured in achievement points, and that’s fine.  Me?  I love cuddly little pets.  Why do you think I rolled a hunter in the first place?!  I had quite a collection of non-combat pets before the achievement system was even mentioned.  If you ever see me in-game without a non-combat pet trailing behind me, assume my account has been hacked and notify the authorities!

Anyway, here’s how we each looked at the situation:

Brajana: When I saw these new pets, I equated them to buying a t-shirt or the murloc plushie from the Blizzard store.  No one really needs them, but people want to buy them because they are cute, or because they want to show how much they like the game/their class/murlocs/cuddly things.  $10 for an in-game plushie-type thing?  Nothing wrong with that.  Have you seen Lil’ K.T.?  He’s adorable!  And what’s different from the card game?  Nothing. Except this is cheaper. And directly from Blizzard.

Gadgets: Of course, the first thing in his mind was the fact that $20 could get him from 73 to 75 for that tasty, tasty achievement.  But he wouldn’t do it, because it wasn’t a reward for something and it wasn’t something he earned in-game.  It’s like buying achievement points.  Spend $20 and you’ll have this achievement is what he saw.  Because he doesn’t run around town with a different pet each day.  He doesn’t bring out holiday-specific pets when it’s appropriate, he doesn’t raid with a non-combat pet by his side. As for the card game, Gadgets thought of the loot cards as a reward for being a player of the TCG.  Even if you sell it, you’re making money as a reward for playing.

And so we found our point of convergence on the topic:

Buying non-combat pets from Blizzard for the non-combat pet:  Dandy.

Buying non-combat pets from Blizzard for achievement points: Stupid.

It’s a very small distinction.

Let me go back to my “Blizzard Merchandise” theory.  If I bought the Murloc plushie because it’s amazingly cute and cuddly and I’d love to have it sitting on my desk greeting me every morning, fine!

But if I was buying the Murloc plushie because I have a plushie fetish and I’d just shove him in my box labeled “Plushies”, that’s just dumb.

But of course… this is purely an opinion.

The fact is that Blizzard is doing nothing wrong here.  And I will continue to believe that until the day they start selling things that have a major effect on the game (i.e. gold, emblems or gear).

So what do you think?

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5 comments to “Blizzard Pet Store: A Cue for QQ?”

  1. A very valid point, thanks.

    It reminds me of a conversation we had in guild last night. My guild is full of guys that like to joke around, give links to random crap online, and so on. One of the guys last night asked if anybody wanted to roll some horde toons for him real quick so that he could kill us. We laughed and asked if he’d just gotten ganked or something and he said, “no, I just need to kill 3,777 more allies before I get my next PvP achievement”.

    The guy really was joking, though he does really want that achievement, but the conversation led into what you’re saying here – would he really be achieving anything if he just had people roll horde toons that he could repeatedly slay? The answer is obviously no.

    If you’re doing something for the sake of getting an achievement then you aren’t actually achieving anything if you cheat to get it. If you’re doing it for some other reason, then it’s not a big deal. If he had asked me to go roll horde toons so that he could slaughter us all and have a screenshot of him standing in the middle of a massive pile of corpses I’d have started rolling right then and there. But for a pvp achievement? Bah.

    So, TL;DR – I agree with you.
    Psynister´s last blog ..Pet Purchases My ComLuv Profile


  2. Wait what.. there’s a Murloc plushie?!
    That is true to be honest, paying money for achievements doesn’t make sense to me, it’s like.. I know somebody who went ahead and bought farm cash to level up faster in Farmville, what exactly has he gained? Because it’s beyond me. I am in your vein of thinking though, they’re both so cute!
    Jaedia´s last blog ..Catering to the Casual My ComLuv Profile


  3. A lot of QQ for NO reason compared to other MMO’s that do this already.

    Like I posted

    http://angrygamer09.wordpress.com/2009/11/05/oh-people-get-so-mad-about-blizzard-microtransactions/

    I am in the same boat as you are. People need to get used to the idea that this money making idea is not going away in these games
    Angry Gamer´s last blog ..Oh people get so mad about Blizzard microtransactions My ComLuv Profile


  4. I think they’re cute. No harm done as far as I’m concerned.


  5. I’m generally not big on the frills the game has to offer, so I never really got into the whole Vanity Pet thing. But with the little pug pet that’s going to be available in Patch 3.3, and the pets that seem to be offered up for every world event that rolls out, I can’t imagine needing to buy these two pets just to get an achievement.

    But as you said, it makes sense to get them if you’ll actually have a use for them other than as an achievement point. If you’re going to spend cash money, it better be for the goal itself rather than a means to an end.
    The Rokk´s last blog ..Don’t Hate The Game, Hate The Player My ComLuv Profile