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Posts with tag pet-store

The Lawbringer: Fighting the gold fight -- the world as it is

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?

The Lawbringer has in the past been used as a personal launching pad for some of the more out-there or esoteric ideas that I have in regards to the World of Warcraft and virtual currency in general. You guys seem to love it, and there's always plenty of great discussion about these ideas. For the next two weeks, I want to introduce you to my thoughts on how Blizzard should be attacking gold sellers and, at the same time, working to remove some of the content gates that gold has erected in the MMO we all love. This week, we will set up the story and the history of it all, and next week, we will talk about hard conclusions.

Gold selling isn't going away as long as fungible and liquid currency exists in MMOs. Gold is "fungible" because it can be exchanged for something exactly like it, at a 1:1 ratio -- gold is gold. Gold is also liquid, as it can be used and exchanged for other goods or services. Short of Blizzard's getting rid of this type of currency altogether or selling its own currency for a cheaper price than gold sellers can furnish it, people will sell gold and items that can be traded.

Blizzard has shown that it has the guts to go after gold selling as an industry but has so far failed in scope to bring down the snake that slowly poisons everything it has worked to build. As sellers become hackers, and as hacking chips away at the good will, reputation, and stability of the game we love to play and the company we love to patronize, there has never been a more urgent time to fight the gold fight. The strategy needs to change from focusing on the people who sell gold to a combination of those that sell and the gold itself.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Economy, The Lawbringer

Lil' Ragnaros and Moonkin Hatchlings now available at the pet store

Blizzard had previously promised new pets Lil' Ragnaros and the Moonkin Hatchling before the end of November and it has delivered, just barely. Right now, you can purchase both pets in the pet store. Lil' Ragnaros will ignite nearby critters, do his famous submerge, and even counts as a cooking fire! The Moonkin Hatchling comes in Horde and Alliance versions, depending on your faction, and will plant flowers around your feet and even /dance with your friends. Check out the pet store here.

Filed under: Cataclysm

Breakfast Topic: Here, plushie plushie plushie...

My wife and daughter love their Murky and Kwurky murloc plush dolls that I got for them during last year's BlizzCon. In hindsight, I really should've gotten a Lurky plush for myself. I mean, you gotta admit, those suckers are cute! Blizzard apparently knows it, too, and they're about to release two new plushies soon with the added bonus of including a code for an in-game pet! Those wyvern cub and gryphon hatchling models have been in the game files for a while now, but we've only just found out about where to get them.

Blizzard has already hinted at this kind of merchandising, noting when the Blizzard pet store was announced that plushies with codes for in-game pets would be introduced soon. I'm likely to pick up a plush wyvern or two to join our murloc brood, and I'll get the added bonus of getting an in-game pet for myself (take that, Lurky!). Do you plan to pick up a plushie, either for its real or pixel cuteness? Which one interests you? It's highly likely that Blizzard will introduce more plushies in the future -- what other stuff do you think they'll come up with? Plush Deathwing, maybe? A plushie Yogg Saron might not sell too well, I think. Future plushies should expectedly have equivalent in-game pets, so the possibilities are pretty exciting...
Are you getting one of the new plushies from the Blizzard store?
Yes, I plan to get the Wyvern Cub952 (15.7%)
Yes, I plan to get the Gryphon Hatchling660 (10.9%)
Yes, I plan to get both the Wyvern and the Gryphon2040 (33.6%)
No, I'm not interested in either plushie2412 (39.8%)

Filed under: Blizzard, Breakfast Topics

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

Tom Chilton talks about the in-game pet store

The guys over at The Instance podcast got a chance to talk to Blizzard's Tom Chilton about the recent decision to sell in-game noncombat pets for real money, and the interview is now up in the latest episode on their site. He talks first about the pets' development, and it sounds like they designed the pets thinking they'd be sold on a real-money store eventually. He says the price point was "arrived at by trying to figure out what it would have to be to make sense for us to spend time working on it." And he mentions the TCG and their loot prizes -- he says those were meant to be a bonus, and they ended up being a roundabout way for players to buy pets anyway, so Blizzard decided to go with this more direct plan.

He doesn't say much about the future, but he does say that Blizzard is planning on doing some "pet and plushie" deals, where you'll be able to buy a plushie from the Blizzard store, and get an in-game pet with it. For the game specifically, he mentions the guild transfer service that's coming (we heard about that back at BlizzCon -- you'll be able to server transfer an entire guild rather than do it account-by-account), but otherwise he tells players that the pet store is just a "side project" -- right now, it's not taking away from development at all, and if it does grow, Chilton says Blizzard would hire more people rather than using current developers. We'll have to see what happens in the future.

Filed under: Items, Blizzard, Making money, Interviews

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

Forum Post of the Day: WoW is ruined (again!)

Yeah, here at the WoW.com high-rise, we were all a little surprised by the announcement of the Pet Store and its microtransactionalized non-combat pets -- but seriously, it's not that big a deal, people. Hitch your bandwagons to that slippery slope fallacy all you want, but pets offer no plausible in-game advantage. The whole experience is roughly equivalent to buying a TCG pet off of eBay, just slightly more convenient and reasonably easier to live with.

Anyway, of course the forums are mad about it, or at least the incredibly vocal minority on the forums is. And they've made post after post about how the Pet Store has completely ruined WoW. Well, official forums MVP Palehoof has a rebuttal, and it's the largest green wall this side of Fenway Park.

If you want a rundown of just how many times WoW has been "ruined" by an addition, deletion, or alteration to the game, you can read Palehoof's post on the official forums.

Filed under: Forum Post of the Day

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

Breakfast Topic: Will you buy the new in-game pets?

In-case you missed it, which really is only possible if you were living under a rock or had something else going on, yesterday's news was some of the largest out of WoW this year. Blizzard is now allowing you to purchase in-game pets for real life money through the Blizzard store. There are two pets, pictured about, available for sale now. The Pandaren Monk and Lil K'T'. Both pets cost $10, and the Pandaren Monk will see 50% of its sale price go towards the Make-a-Wish foundation (for the remainder of the year).

This firmly brings WoW into the arena of microtransactions -- purchasing in-game items for real life money. Some games, not WoW, allow you purchase items which make you stronger in the game. Other games, like WoW, allow the purchase of vanity items, such as these pets, which do nothing other than look cool or count towards vanity achievements. Some people really don't like this model of gaming, others are indifferent, and others are in love with it.

I'm personally in love with it. I think the items are cheap enough to be affordable to a large portion of the player base, and are cool enough to warrant the purchase. Further, since the items don't provide in-game power ups for people, they are essentially meaningless toys. This makes it an ideal luxury item for the virtual-nerd to spend $10 on. So will I buy the new in-game pets? Absolutely, I already have.

But what will you do? Are you going to go out and buy them? Vote in the poll and leave a comment, we want to know.

Are you going to buy the new in-game pets?
Yes.5781 (33.8%)
No.5481 (32.0%)
This is the third sign of the apocalypse.5865 (34.2%)

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Breakfast Topics

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