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Posts with tag microtransaction

Breakfast Topic: Do you buy in-game items?

I admit it: I've spent real money to buy in-game mounts and pets. After all, who could resist the adorableness of Lil' Ragnaros or the Cinder Kitten? Sure, it can be silly to spend real dollars on items that are purely virtual in nature, but with as much time as we all spend in World of Warcraft, why not? The new cosmetic helms in the Blizzard store -- more expensive than pets, less expensive than mounts -- have recently brought the question of buying cosmetic items into conversation once more.

So do you or have you bought in-game items in the past? And are you planning on picking up a shiny new helm? Let us know!

Are you buying a cosmetic helm?
I already have one, and I'm considering getting another.321 (5.7%)
I've bought mine!243 (4.3%)
I'd consider buying cosmetic items, but I don't like the looks of any of these.1678 (29.8%)
I haven't decided yet.965 (17.1%)
No way! Buying virtual items is a waste of money.2423 (43.0%)

Patch 5.4 PTR Datamine: 100% XP Buff via Microtransaction

Patch 54 Datamine 100% XP Buff via Microtransaction
Datamining should always, always be taken with a pinch of salt. But, when Perculia of Wowhead dropped WoW Insider a line with one particular object from the latest PTR build, we had to let you all know about it.

Enduring Elixir of Wisdom is an elixir that increases experience gained from killing monsters and completing quests by 100%. Wow, that's quite the buff, right? But not really stop the presses news? Wait until you hear the rest. It's currently listed as coming from the "5.4 In-Game Store". Yes, that's right, at the moment all signs point to this being purchased via a microtransaction.

Now, we didn't even know about the in-game store. Maybe they mean the battle.net shop, maybe they don't, but this is a controversial step by Blizzard if the datamining turns out to be accurate. Of course, leveling isn't exactly an onerous task, but nonetheless, exchanging what might be real money for faster leveling would add considerable convenience.

Do remember that this is datamining. It might not be accurate, it might be a placeholder, it might come to nothing at all.

Filed under: Blizzard

How Blizzard's over-caution saved it from a PR nightmare

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Pop law abounds in The Lawbringer, your weekly dose of WoW, the law, video games and the MMO genre. Mathew McCurley takes you through the world running parallel to the games we love and enjoy, full of rules, regulations, and esoteroic topics that slip through the cracks.

The Titanic was the largest cruise ship ever built. It was proclaimed to be unsinkable, defying natural laws to those who did not understand how the behemoth could float. In the end, the Titanic sunk not because she was a weak ship but because the ship tried to turn from an iceberg, causing catastrophic hull damage. If the ship had plowed through the iceberg and not changed course, there is a greater chance it could have avoided catastrophe.

While comparing Blizzard to the Titanic doesn't exactly evoke a positive connotation, it should. The Titanic sunk because of mistakes made. Blizzard's conservative game design attitude and philosophy have served it well -- being open to change and modification while holding on to the core concepts of WoW and trying not to deviate in profound, risky ways. The risk sometimes works -- transmogrification, void storage, Raid Finder, Real ID (and soon Battletags), etc. Sometimes, the risk doesn't exactly lead to the best reward -- the Real ID debacle, the vocal hardcore minority and Cataclysm heroics, and the Dance Studio. Blizzard understands that the juggernaut cannot turn too quickly, or it risks the type of deep, jagged incision that sinks the unsinkable.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Lawbringer

Blizzard responds to Guardian Cub controversy

If you were struggling against horrible killer androids yesterday (like I was, thanks to Ziebart the Destroyer) you may have missed the news of the Guardian Cub pet, or as Young Master McCurley likes to call it, gold on the paw. There's been a lot of discussion as to what this pet actually means, if it's opening the door to real money trading in World of Warcraft, whether it (and not Deathwing) is the true harbinger of Cataclysm, etc etc. Now Blizzard comes out swinging (okay, more like comes out with cool rationality) in response to a forum thread.

Bashiok - Re: Blizzard, you've crossed the line
TCG Loot card mounts like the Spectral Tiger have been BoE for a long time now (since patch 3.2), and that was and continues to be well-received, and as far as we've been able to tell hasn't had any adverse impact to the game or economy - despite them selling for sometimes astronomical amounts of gold.

It's potentially worth noting that no new gold is being introduced into the game's economy with those mounts or the new Guardian Cub pet.

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. Even though this has been available a while now with the TCG mounts, this is obviously a new kind of way to deliver Pet Store pets, and we're definitely interested to hear your feedback and ultimately see how this will play out.


To be fair, since this is exactly what I said about the Cub on the WoW Insider Show this week, I'm already on record as agreeing with him fully. The only difference between the Guardian Cub and loot cards is that you don't have to spend money hoping you'll get the Cub. You spend ten bucks and you know you have one.

Well, also, the thing is adorable. That's not really germane to the discussion, though. What do you think about our friendly Cub? Cute pet, money for gold, soul-meltingly cute step off of the slippery slope? Tell us.


Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items

The Lawbringer: Real money transactions and some eBay history

Pop law abounds in The Lawbringer, your weekly dose of WoW, the law, video games and the MMO genre. Running parallel to the games we love and enjoy is a world full of rules, regulations, pitfalls and traps. How about you hang out with us as we discuss some of the more esoteric aspects of the games we love to play?

eBay and massively multiplayer online role playing games have a deep, rich and occasionally sordid past. As social beings, we've been bartering, trading and selling our time and goods for the entirety of human history. The internet just made things even easier. Hell, buying some gold or an item off of eBay isn't the first time you've probably spent money for a work-around in a game. Ever heard of Game Genie? We paid money for that at one point in our lives.

This week, The Lawbringer delves into the past, remembering the good ol' days when the internet came in three varieties: 28.8k, 33.6k and 56k v.90. Also, 14.4k, but only losers had such weak baud. Please don't make me go back further in time. You're probably making modem sounds right now, pretending to go ksshhhh ksshhhh bee doo be dooo wha wha wha wha wha wha wha beeboobeeboobeebeeboobeep, so we should probably start this up.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Lawbringer

Celestial Steed mount and Lil' XT pet to be sold on the Blizzard store

Early this morning our staff uncovered pictographic evidence of the Celestial Steed and Lil' XT Pet being sold soon at the Blizzard Store. The image is no longer in their front page rotation, but likely it won't be gone for long.

We don't know any details. That's all there is to say on that. So any speculation about price, functionality, etc... it's all just that. Speculation.

We do know, however, that this is the first mount being sold at the store; and the first useful in-game item you can directly buy with real world money (if you don't count the mounts from the WoW TCG game).

Video of the steed after the break.

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Filed under: News items

Pandaren pet "sold out" on Blizzard store [Updated]

In an unexpected and strange twist in Blizzard's latest microtransaction saga, the Pandaren Monk vanity pet has apparently sold out on the Blizzard pet store. A mere week after the in-game pets were announced for sale on Blizzard's new pet store, the Pandaren Monk can no longer be purchased on US realms (as of this writing, it is still available on the Blizzard EU and Blizzard KR stores).

That the Pandaren Monk would sell out comes as a surprise because, well, it's a virtual item. It's like Agent Smith. It never runs out. Unless, of course, Blizzard designed it that way, in which case there must have been a massive failure of communication somewhere down the line because it doesn't say anything about the Pandaren Monk being a limited item anywhere. It's also notable that Blizzard had committed to donating 50% of all proceeds from Pandaren Monk sales to the Make-a-Wish Foundation all the way through December 31. If the Pandaren Monk were to disappear, it should at least be expected to last until the end of 2009, right?

We think this is an inventory error, where some number had to be inserted into the Blizzard Store's inventory management system, like some number "over 9000". Likely this will be easily corrected, and when it is, we'll update this post accordingly.

UPDATE 11:30am ET: Blizzard is looking into the matter, which should assuage most people's fears that the item is indeed sold out.

UPDATE 2:00pm ET: The Pandaren Monk is now back in stock and available for purchase! It was just a glitch in the Matrix, people. Nothing to see here.

Thanks to Papa Shok for the tip.

Filed under: Items, Fan stuff, Blizzard, Economy

Blizzard pet store now regional

In a short (but not necessarily sweet) announcement, Zarhym announced on the official forums that the recently opened Blizzard pet store are now regional. This means that pets purchased from, say, the European store can only be redeemed on European World of Warcraft accounts. He doesn't go into detail other than to say that pets that have already been purchased from one region and redeemed in another region are not affected by this change.

While it's a curious move on the surface, it effectively restricts players from Europe purchasing their Pandaren Monk and Lil' K.T. from the US store where the pets are cheaper at $10 compared to €10 or £10 in the EU (roughly $15). Interestingly enough, the pets are priced at ₩12,000 in the Korean version of the store, which is about the same price as in the US ($10.3). It's unclear why the European version of the pets -- along with a few other Blizzard store items -- are more expensive, a fact that makes Turpster huff and puff and blow Azerothian houses down.

Obvious business reasons aside, it also creates a minor inconvenience for people who would like to give the pets as gifts to players in other regions. However, considering that many vanity pet codes have been regional in the past, such as those given away during Blizzard special events, it's not a surprising move. Then again, this whole foray into microtransactions was a bit of a surprise, so we've learned to never underestimate those folks from Irvine.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Europe

Breakfast Topic: How far would you let WoW microtransactions go?

One of the hottest topics in the past week was Blizzard's foray into the microtransactions game. By announcing the Blizzard pet store, World of Warcraft had officially come on par with other MMOs and online games that sold in-game items for real world money. Our informal survey showed that views on the move were officially split... a good third of our readers would buy the pet, another third didn't plan to, while another full third thought that our world was coming to an end. Well, the World of Warcraft, at least.

At any rate, it looks like the Pet Store is here to stay. Besides, Blizzard has already been hawking in-game services for real money, so it's not as if these vanity pets are any different. I personally don't find anything wrong with these pets, and seeing the number of diminutive liches and kung fu pandas showing up all over Azeroth, it really seems like a lot of other people don't, either.

Blizzard states that these items, similar to the TCG loot cards, are "purely cosmetic and just for fun." They say that they'd be loathe to introduce things that are "detrimental to the game and (detracts) from the gameplay experience for players who choose not to use the service." So that probably means no epic weapons or anything of the sort.

How far does that go, though? Are heirloom items considered detrimental to the game? How about buying levels? Premades? I personally wouldn't mind paying a fair price to skip the painful leveling process (an attitude that might admittedly change during the Cataclysm). What's do you think is next for Blizzard? Armor dyes, perhaps? Vanity outfits such as the complete Brewfest set or gag items such as those found on the TCG? Titles? Now that the microtransactions gate has been opened, how far do you think Blizzard will go?

Filed under: Items, Blizzard, Economy, Breakfast Topics

The Daily Quest: Keepin' the Clouds Away

We here at WoW.com are on a Daily Quest to bring you interesting, informative and entertaining WoW-related links from around the blogosphere.

Filed under: Druid, The Daily Quest

Blizzard launches real money in-game pet store

In a surprising and stunning move, Blizzard has just launched a real money online in-game pet store. You spend real money, you get an in-game pet. This fully brings Blizzard into the world of microtransactions -- even if the cost of $10 for one of these pets isn't exactly micro.

While these are just vanity items, one has to wonder how far Blizzard can take this microtransaction model with the largest MMORPG game being played today. They already offer (and offer quite successfully) realm transfer, name change, character re-customization, and race and faction change services. This appears to be the next logical step for them to take. Could the next offering being in-game vanity outfits? A valid question that only time will answer.

The first offerings of microtransactionable in-game items include a Pandaren Monk pet and a Lil K'T pet. Half the proceeds from every Pandaren Monk pet (and only the Pandaren Monk) will go towards the Make-a-Wish foundation -- which is a nice gesture to a company Blizzard has previously supported.

The full details of the announcement, along with the images of the pets and an FAQ, after the break.

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Filed under: News items

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