The big news this week is that Blizzard is going to sell a new pet, a Winged Guardian cub (or kitten, as everyone is referring to it), in their Real Money store. Unlike the previous pets, however, this new pet will be trade-able, and thus can be sold on the Auction House for gold.
Here are some assorted quick thoughts:
- Yes, it's technically a way to indirectly trade real money for gold.
- Prices will probably start pretty high, and then fall rapidly as people get kittens.
- As an experiment, it's good, because it won't permanently distort the game. At some point, we'll probably reach a kitten saturation level and everything will calm down.
- I think people are paying a lot of attention to the real money aspect. But I think Blizzard might actually see more gain in reducing or eliminating support costs dealing with scams.
- We may also see an increase in liquidity in the markets. There's probably a lot of goblins hoarding large amounts of gold, simply because there's nothing for them to buy. Some of that gold will go to kitten sellers, and then get turned into things like mounts, motorcycles, and Vials of Sands.
- I wonder if a lot of people who don't normally purchase pets might take a flier on one. You buy a pet and put it on the AH. If it sells, great. If not, well, you can add it to your own pet collection. Right now, I'm thinking of going this route, even though I've never bought a mount or pet before.
- I much prefer this to Eve Online's method of selling game time. As I've mentioned before, I think it's important that everyone in the audience spends a little money, shares some of the burden of paying for the game, and that good players do not end up playing for free.
- I think that the effects of gold-selling in WoW are more nebulous than in a lot of games. It is actually somewhat hard to purchase "power" with gold. You could buy BoEs or crafted equipment. It might help you in a GDKP run. You might be able to purchase a raid spot if guilds still sell them. But realistically, I think the vast majority of kitten gold will probably get turned into other pets or mounts.