Yes, people are still talking about it and being very passionate about their view points. Yes, I realize this post may appear late in the game, but I had one major reason for postponing it – hoping some of the hype would die down a bit. I mean, I love having discussions with you, dear readers, but during the heat of big news… trolls tend to come out of the woodwork. They tromp through everywhere, leaving signs of foulness in their wake, never to look back.
Don't get me wrong, you can disagree with me all you want – but there is still a level of respect that I expect in return and trolls (true trolls) don't follow the rules. (Hell, they are worse at following them than me. I at least read and acknowledge the rules, they just chew 'em up and spit 'em out.)
So where were we? Oh yes – pets. More specifically: mini-pets.
Before we move on, I want to give you some choices a la Bioware-esque style:
1. Yes, I'm interested in reading your views and commentary on this whole thing.
2. Please share, I may be interested in some of your points.
3. (Lie) Yes, please tell me what you think! (Mark post as read)
4. I don't give a crap what you have to say. (Mark post as read)
I'm assuming if you have moved on to this point, you selected option 1 or 2. (Not physically selected, mind you, but mentally selected.)
Honestly, when the news of the mini-pet store came out and Twitter was lit up with every viewpoint possible on the matter… I had a much more ranty post in mind. Obviously, my mind has cooled off a bit since then, but there are still some points I want to share and get off my chest.
Beginning of the end?
There are a lot of people that are crying the apocalypse and the end of the world while using the slippery slope debate. I'm not really sure how purchasing two mini-pets is a sure sign of purchasable epics on the horizon. To me, two mini-pets in the store means…more mini-pets on the horizon!
I'm sure there are a least a few other people like me who have said in the past that they'd happily pay a few bucks out of game to have more vanity items in game. The flavor of those vanity items vary: pets, RP clothes, armor dyes, hair styles, tattoos, mounts, etc.
And you know, the argument about Blizzard milking us for every penny?
They aren't. These pets are ACCOUNT bound.
Yup, that means I pay $20 for both of them and ALL my gazillion alts spread across numerous servers as well as ALL 10 of my Eitrigg characters can have these lil' companions at their side. If Blizz wanted to nickel and dime us, then they'd take the Free Realm approach (or other F2P MMOs that rely heavily on RMTs) where you'd pay real money to buy some convaluted currency system so you aren't equating the “points” value of an item as easily to real dollars, then have to buy one of each for every character (if you want them on separate characters).
For example, when I was trying out Free Realms, there were pets you could buy for the pet training job. They cost about 3 real dollars, but the market cash that converted my real money into the game was different (I honestly can't remember if it was like 250 points or something like that) so I'd have to do some actual math to figure out the true cost.
Oh, and on those games types of games that thrive off RMT, yes, they do sell weapons, gear, and consumables. Yes, they tend to be better than anything you can get in game. But, they are also hoping/expecting you to buy those in order to progress with the thought that, you know, after all, you are playing for “free.”
So, no, I don't think this is the beginning of the end. If the items in the Blizz store continue to be vanity items, then I'm golden. Selling vanity items is not the gateway drug to selling epics, however. I would say that if they started to sell gear that is comparable to what you can obtain in game, that would be them starting to slide down a slippery slope to selling epics. But, I really don't think that's going to happen.
Giving a little is better than nothing
Some people have an issue with the $5 contribution to the Make-A-Wish foundation from the pandaren monk sales. Some say Blizzard is being greedy by not donating the full cost, others don't trust giving money to Blizz to donate on their behalf.
Well, Blizzard has a history with Make-A-Wish and I highly doubt they'd get away with pocketing all the money in the end. It would seem silly to tarnish their name and reputation by not following through. But, if you really don't trust giving it to them first, then donate straight to Make-A-Wish. Although, when someone says they don't trust donated funds to go through an organization, that makes me curious…
Do you trust the bell ringers will turn in the change to the Salvation Army?
Do you trust churches and charitable organizations are using the money appropriately?
Or is it that you just don't trust Blizzard but mask it by saying you don't trust donating to an organization?
(No right or wrong answer, by the way.)
My view on it is this – donating some is better than nothing. And you know, of all the subscribers that buy that cute lil' monk, $5 a pop will add up to a sizable contribution.
Cutting edge for achievements
I was quite surprised when I saw people talking about the pet store providing an unfair advantage to the pet collecting achievements. Seriously? 2 mini-pets is an unfair advantage?
Ok, so you may be saying “what if they add more later, then you would have a greater advantage.” Well, I say, right now, people that can buy loot cards have an advantage over me. Or people that have enough gold to buy pets off the auction house. Sure, I've bought rare mini-pets from the auction house, but I don't always have that kind of gold laying around!
And please, I don't really want to hear another “but the loot cards are a bonus for those that play the card game” response. Exactly how many people with loot card items found that card by pure luck as they bought packs for the card game?
Yeah, sure, there are a few. But a lot of people buy the cards off eBay. Some of those cards go for upwards of hundreds of dollars. Others of us win them from contests. Some of us buy the packs trying to FIND a loot card, but have no interest in the trading card game itself.
I guess my point here is this: there have been ways to obtain in-game vanity/fun items by way of REAL cashmoney for quite some time now. I say, it's cheaper and safer when there is no middleman.
If the pet achievements provided you with something other than yet another pet, I could possibly see this being an issue. But really, the people after the pet collecting achievements are in fact pet collectors, yes? (For the most part anyway.) I was collecting pets back when they took up most of my bank slots. They were not summonable, they took up space, and there were no achievements.
Classist vs. Timist
I'm not quite sure that being able to buy a $10 mini-pet is the way to show off my richness to the masses. For one, I'm not rich and am certainly not of the upperclass. But, I do have some disposable income for gaming. $10 isn't much for me to scrape together… it means I don't go out for lunch for 2 days or something.
When I bring these lil guys out, it's because I think they are cute or they came up randomly from my pet selector macro. I don't summon them so I can be all “hey, look at me, I have more money than you and therefore am better than you. I'ma stick my panda in yer face.”
I'd sound ridiculous if I said that.
But you know, while I may have some extra dollars to buy vanity items, what I don't have is the time to put into hardcore raiding. And I see all you timists hanging out in Dalaran with your top tier gear. You wear that gear just so you can flaunt it in my face that you have more time than me.
…Yeah, that sounds kinda silly too, doesn't it?
To be honest, I really don't even know why classism was brought up with this whole thing. I mean, I looked at this list of 7 Great Products for Telling the World You're a Rich Dick and mini-pets wasn't on there.
Sure, if you don't like 'em – don't buy 'em. You don't need them. You don't need to feel lesser because you don't have them for whatever reason. They are unnecessary, but some of us like knickknacks. They brighten our virtual world.
And if someone is trying to use mini-pets to enhance their epeen…. *sigh* Well, I just remember that people who live in the city and never go off road don't need Hummers either, but I'm not going to be the one to tell them they are making up for something and can't have it.
Moral of the story:
You can't make all the people happy all the time. Focus on yourself and have fun. Focus on everyone else too often, and you lose sight of your fun. And lastly, if it isn't gaming changing or required, it's nothing to lose sleep or popped blood vessels over.
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