Tobold's Blog
Friday, November 06, 2009
 
Some random WoW pet store thoughts


Comments:
I sold ATVI last week. Looks like it was more timely than I thought.

Let the Murloc crying begin. (as long as we only get the Murloc's in the marketing department).
 
I'd add a last point:

- Where's the credibility/immersive experience/consistency/lore if you have a baby KT run next to you?

Where they live: the population of baby KTs?
What is their place in World of Warcraft?

I know, it's probably just me. But this annoys me at least as much as the MT itself.

As soon as there is money on the horizon Blizzard forgets about the lore in an instant. A baby murloc might beok, but a baby Kael'Thuzad ??
 
If you want to pay less for your online gaming, you have two options: sabotage your country's economy to lower the value of the currency, or move to the U.S. and enjoy the wonderful prices we enjoy. If neither option is appealing, then perhaps you should be glad about your tradeoffs. ;)

Thank you for keeping "microtransaction" and "RMT" separate. Confusing terms like that doesn't help any discussion.

Finally, microtransactions make baby murlocs giggle with glee, just like eating babies or strangling puppies makes politicians happy. ;)
 
Microtransactions do make baby murlocs cry.

My posts in support of Blizz in your last thread had another user questioning if I was a PR shill for Activision/Blizzard.

But am I a hypocrite? I grimaced and thought WoW had really jumped the shark when they offered faction changes, yet here I am playing horde on the same server after convincing all my friends and family to change sides - and having alot more fun playing with different people and seeing new content.

I guess the bottom line is for me, it is discretionary time and income. None of it is being forced upon me and I like when Blizz comes out with new things. And no one remembers the content Blizz does add for free, such as all of 3.3, the Polar Bear Cub and soon Onyxian Whelp pets, Holiday Content, etc - a whole lot of entertainment for only $15 a month, and major patches like 3.1, 3.2, 3.3 with all the features, battlegrounds, and instances they introduce would be $40 expansions in a game like Everquest or Guild Wars.

That said, the European exchange rate is unfair and I am sorry for that.
 
The charity deal isn't a scam (unless you have proof that the money isn't going where they said that it would go).

And Tobold, if you want to sell a service that is worth $10 to me, I'll be happy to send you that cash. And feel free to donate half to a charity of your choice.

Point is, the charity aspect IS a strong marketing tool, but people are happily paying $10 for the other minipet so they clearly think it is worth that much. They'd happily pay $10 for the panda as well, and Blizzard wasn't forced to give half away. (It's actually quite generous, compare to some of the charity christmas cards you can buy and what proportion of that cost ever gets to the charity.)
 
"why would you pay for vanity items in a single-player game?"

Look at it this way.

If you were producing a game and it was brought to your attention that people would pay extra for a fluff pet, that basically an afternoon's work by a member of your art staff would begin a torrent of free money for as long as your game is paid, then why would you not make such things available in an item shop?

Looking back to when the first player bought a Windforce in Diablo 2 for $2000 we players have created a monster and it's taken over our games.
 
Yes, baby murlocs do cry over this :)
 
Micro-transactions make baby murlocs die. (

And as soon as they implement buying gear with real money the pandarens die too.
 
Tobold, what evidence do you have that the charity deal is a scam? It certainly is not a purely altruistic move on Blizzard's part, but that does not make it a scam.

To put all my cards on the table, I take a scam to be an intentional deception, and in this case the deception that you seem to be implying is that blizzard will not send the 5$ to the Make a Wish foundation.
 
> Do microtransactions make baby murlocs cry?
Yes.

Honestly I am a bit concerned about this WoW twist to microtransaction.
It is true that, for now, it's only for vanity and this is (imho) the less dangerous of microtransactions; but nevertheless is a trend.
WoW used to offer only payed services (transfers and such) not virtual items.
I sincerely hope that it stops here.

I like virtual worlds self contained and not "tainted" by the outside world. WoW, Lotro and probably other old games are still good from this point of view.

By the way, i didn't liked the exp bonus for friends (the zebra offer) for the same reason.

Anyway, just venting.
 
As I said in yesterdays post: if they ask €10 & $10 that will make me feel like ripped of..

It's been my major complaining with steam so far as it's basic psychology. Let's say you see an item for €15. Two stores later you see it for €12 and buy it. You're happy as you made a good deal.

Now let's say you find the item for €10. You walk two stores further and you see them item for €12. You'll feel they rip you off as they're asking more for the same item.

You'll pay the same price but in one scenario you feel ripped of while in the other you feel happy to get it cheap. Every time I see that an item is up for $10 at a US store and €10 at a European store I won't buy it. There is no way that I am overpaying 50%.
 
Microtransactions DO in fact make baby murlocs cry, but this doesn't mean much as they cry at the drop of a hat to get attention. Spoiled, the lot of them.
 
I'm sure blizzard has a suitable way of silencing murloc babies.
 
Thanks for not lumping RMT and micro-transactions together. It drives me nuts that very few bloggers separate the two when they are very different things, as you noted.
 
Microtransactions make me cry!

Well, ok, not really, but I would never play a game where you have to pay extra for this or that.

I would far rather have a set amount that I pay on a regular basis and get the same content as everyone else; I don't want to have to pay for things to enable me to just survive in the game.

£46 every 6 months for playing WoW suits me fine
 
I can answer the last one for you. Microtransactions do not make baby murlocs cry. I know this because Murkimus the Gladiator murloc cost $20 via the guise of special arena server, and Grunty cost $40 via directtv stream. Baby murlocs fully support microtransactions.
 
SOE actually beat them to the charity thing, with a similar program to benefit Child's Play when the EQ2 store launched. On the plus side, SOE was willing to make a 100% exclusive pet that went away when the charity drive ended. However, as far as I'm aware, there has never been a second charity drive. It's basically a red herring in the hopes that some people will react less harshly to the "micro"transaction announcement.
 
I don't disagree with your thoughts, though I mentioned in a thread that I had purchased both pets. I don't expect I will continue to do that (I don't go out and pursue the cards for pets either).
 
As said before, you are not forced to buy them. Fact is, a lot of people simply like to spend money on vanity stuff.
If you think that's a waste, then why does it bother you that much anyway?
 
Well, if consumers with disposable income like to be kicked in the nuts so be it. Blizzard is being quite clever in disguising it's Cash Shop and we would have to be naive if we think that it will end in vanity items.

But, alas, the market has spoken and there are hordes of players who can hardly wait to be milked.

As for me I'll go back to CO... Now that Blizzard has done it there is really no way to stop it, might as well enjoy the game.
 
I logged in and bought the panda pet minutes after I heard about it.

The charity aspect made it easier to make the decision (can tell my wife that it's for charity, lol). But I would have bought at least one pet anyway.

Beside the fact that I like the panda pet, I also want Blizzard to know I am willing to give them more money for things I value in the game. I'm hoping for expansion of the item store, thus I 'voted with my dollars'.

But your point about the Euro pricing is not missed, sounds like you guys are really getting screwed by Blizz over there. That's certainly reason enough to skip this offer.
 
I think you are misunderstanding what tobold means by the charity offer being just a "scam".

I think he's implying that its just some clever marketing to help justify to the player base the introduction of the pay for content service its now by the looks of it setting up.

The overall benefits to the charity are needless to say great, but dont overlook the benifits blizzard takes from the deal. It gets to justify the sale of in game items under the banner of "its for charity", and hidding in the small print that its a time limited offer. There will be fanfare announcing it's charity status at the start that sticks in players mind long after its passed the deadline, but many will still consider it to be the "charity pet" and buy it thinking money is being sent.
There are usually tax benifits for donating money to charity and is a handy way to get access to this.
All this and blizzard gets to attach its name to a nice worthy cause and be seen to be giving something back to society, the sort of PR that shareholders love.

So "scam" is probably the wrong choice of words. "scheme" woulda been better.

As to gamers giving to charity, better to check out http://www.childsplaycharity.org/ which is gamers using games to make a difference to kids that need it.
 
Would you agree that my offer that I give $5 to charity for every $10 you give me is a scam? I'd call that a scam, because that's $5 in my pocket which I didn't deserve, and obviously you sending the $10 to charity directly would be a lot better.

Now instead of asking you to just give me the $10 for nothing, I "sell" you something for $10 which only cost me $0.10, and do the same $5-to-charity promise. I'm saying that is still a scam, because there are still $4.90 of undeserved profit. To qualify as charity, Blizzard shouldn't make any profit from the deal.

That the charity deal is only valid for one of the two pets, and only until December 31st makes it look even more like a publicity stunt.
 
Or Blizzard could have sold the Panda pet for $10 like they are doing now, and not donated any money to charity.

And still thousands of people would have bought it, just as they've already bought the other pet not associated with charity.

Did Blizzard have to give one cent to charity?
No.

Did the charity get money they wouldn't have otherwise received?
Yes.

Do you think the charity or its recipients think Blizzard is running a scam.
No.

Ultimately, there is no high-horse here. The game is ALWAYS a "micro transaction". You are paying real money every month to be able to log in and actively work in order to get virtual "stuff". You can shuffle past that happy fact however you want.

Who are you to say the Panda pet isn't worth $10? I bet a lot of people disagree with you about its worth, since they've bought it for that amount.

This is all opinion and conjecture. For you the pet isn't worth $10 and hence a scam.

For other people, its a great deal and one that benefits charity to boot.

Don't pretend your personal feelings towards it makes it a scam rather than an extra business transaction. And as I said yesterday, this isn't new at all, but people apparently ignored every other microtransaction in WoW up until now...a god damn pet of all things.

Oh, and I haven't bought either pet, nor will I, just for the record. I only argue absolute logic, not biased opinion.
 
Did the charity get money they wouldn't have otherwise received?

Wrong question. The right one is: Did Blizzard get money they wouldn't have otherwise received? I think they did.

You send me $10, I give $20 to charity is charitable. You send me $10, I give $5 to charity isn't. Note that your "absolute logic" question have the same answer for Blizzard's charity pet deal as for my "you send me $10, I send $5 to charity" scam.
 
I totally agree with Tobold. Player's boycotting and protesting Blizzard's becoming a Gold Farmer is the only way to stop it from continuing. The price is so out-of-wack to the cost of making a pet, it is obscene. 1/5 the price of the entire game for one pet?? It is literally just free money for Blizzard hiding under a charity gimmick.

brindle
 
The pets are cute.

Am I going to buy them? No.

Do I mind that Blizzard has found a way to make more money? No.

I just don't want to try to pick up a quest some day and find I have to enter a code to access it.

Or even more injurious, get one-shot by someone only to look up their weapon in the armory and see it was store bought.

I don't want to find out player housing is implemented for those who paid for the Hermit Adventure pack.
 
Now instead of asking you to just give me the $10 for nothing, I "sell" you something for $10 which only cost me $0.10, and do the same $5-to-charity promise. I'm saying that is still a scam, because there are still $4.90 of undeserved profit.

Aha, but what is the PERCIEVED value of the item you are giving me? If I can only get it from you - say, a Tobold Action Figure, or my name posts in a purple EPIC color - that costs you nothing, it may still be a benefit I desire.

I bought the Lil' KT because I like liches and I like small liches who come in Lil Phylactorys and I want to have minilich following me aroudn blasting critters and laughing when I kill people in PvP.

So yes, Blizzard "suckered" me into buying this pet, this pet which is $10 in their pockets and cost them nothing to produce. This lore ruining mini-lich that donates nothing to charity.

Why?

Because it's cool. And fun. And I like it. And its funny. And it is a company providing me with a product that I am interested in at a price point I'm comfortable with.
 
You're actually scamming yourself if you buy the Panda pet with the rationalization that "$5 will go to charity so it's for a good cause."

Hypothetical. Blizzard sell 1,000,000 panda pets, generating $10,000,000 in revenue, half of which they'll donate to charity.

You paid $10 for the pet, $5 of which goes to charity. Can you claim that $5 as a charitable deduction next time you do your taxes? No, you can't, at least not legally.

Blizzard, however, get to write off $5,000,000 for a charitable donation that they made using other people's money.

That's your scam.
 
Many large charities such as Red Cross and others only give a percentage of your donation to the charity itself - anywhere from 10-50% or more of the money you donate to a non-profit could go to administrative or other costs - or the CEO's pockets.
 
"Would you agree that my offer that I give $5 to charity for every $10 you give me is a scam? I'd call that a scam, because that's $5 in my pocket which I didn't deserve, and obviously you sending the $10 to charity directly would be a lot better."

In what was does desert enter into this? I don't understand the moral judgment we are tying to make here.

Instead, let me offer this argument:

1. It is not wrong to make money lawfully.

2. It is praiseworthy to give to charity.

3. If money is made lawfully and some is given to charity, no wrong actions have been committed.

It seems to me that there is nothing controversial in any of the three premises above. Why, then, is there such outrage over substituting Blizzard in to these same statements?

Implicit here (and I think explicit in some people's comments, though I am too lazy to go back and quote them now) seems to be the idea that since Blizzard is a profitable company, they should not seek to make more profit off of their current products. But what other business is run that way? Why do we hold blizzard to standards that we (I think) do not apply to other companies?

There is some more to say here, but I would like to hear an argument that demonstrates some kind of misbehavior on Blizzard's part in order to justify the outrage that people have been expressing.
 
I don't understand your reasoning in calling the charity thing a scam. It's all above board. It's clear. You purchase the pet for $10 and Blizzard donates half of that purchase price to charity.

It only becomes a scam if Blizzard doesn't make good on the promise.

I even looked up the definition of scam. It's defined as a fraudulent business scheme. There is no way this fits that definition.
 
Tobold, I am fairly active in the philanthropy field, and I think it's not a scam. Here's how it plays out for the 3 parties involved:

Blizzard: pays money, gains extra goodwill publicity, may gain extra sales (vs. a non-charity pet)

Make-A-Wish: pays nothing, gains money and publicity

Pet Buyers: pay $10, get a pet and a bit of feeling like they did something good

You can argue about the proportion of profits which Blizzard "should" donate to the charity vs. the publicity they are getting. For example, if Blizzard donated 1%, then it would be more of a scam. But 50% seems like a reasonable number.

Here's a counteroffer to you. You agreed to pay 50% of any donations (we sent you) to charity. If you agree to put up a sidebar on your blog until Dec. 31st and list people's names who donate $10, and promise to pay 50% to the Make-A-Wish foundation, I'll happily Paypal you the $10. Sorry about the exchange rate, though.
 
Perhaps it might help to call the "charity" angle a "skim" rather than a "scam"?
 
Just a headsup, Zode, Blizzard/Vivendi doesn't add anything to WoW for free. You pay roughly $15 (or more in Europe) per month for all of their content updates as well as bug fixes. They hardly do it out of a sense of charity.

Regarding the charity pet, well, you folks who play WoW know what charity is being benefitted by the pet, right? So go ahead and donate the full $10 to the charity on your own. The charity would be MORE than happy to get 100% of the donation and all you "lose" is a useless, albeit pretty, pet. I agree with Tobold that the pet will be popular for about five minutes and will then go back into your pen never to be summoned again.

However, Tobold, you're wrong about Dragon Age DLC. None of it is fluff. There are new NPCs, quests, and items which are really only useful for the first ten hours or so of a playthrough. Now, any player who actually likes the game will play each of the five "origin stories" at least once, so even those DLC trinkets will be useful several times.

What's more, the only item players even need buy so far is the new quest. All the others are included with a new copy, or with a preorder.

Finally, if my single player game, which I buy and then own, wants to sell me new content every few months, I'm happy to either buy it or not. Compare that to WoW, where one is FORCED to pay Blizzard/Vivendi every single month regardless of the quality of garbage they continue pushing- and now one can pay microtransactions too!
 
""Did the charity get money they wouldn't have otherwise received?"

Wrong question. The right one is: Did Blizzard get money they wouldn't have otherwise received? I think they did."

Of course they did, but so what? They are currently making money because they took some action(s) - namely made a product/service (this distinction is a bit hazy in this case) that people were willing to pay money for. They are currently attempting to do the same thing again. That is what companies do. Again, I fail to see any source for the outrage.

If a charity benefits, that is good. If a company makes more money lawfully, that is not bad. What is the downside? More importantly, what moral principles are you basing your judgment of their actions on?
 
You can't be serious.

Blizzard didn't have customers send them $10 so that they would give $5 to charity.

Again you are missing the point. The pet is worth $10 to people. Maybe not for you, but I would almost guarantee tens of thousands of people have bought the 'Lil KT Pet.

How much did Blizzard charge for 'Lil KT? $10. How much went to charity? $0.

By your logic, Blizzard apparently just stole $10 from the people who sent them money.

You can quibble about how much the pet cost Blizzard to make, but many people believe its worth $10. Blizzard could have not given $5 to charity, but they did.

Again, everyone here crying about the tragedy that has just occurred seem to forget that fact. Blizzard charged money, people paid, and they gave half to a charity.

No one has a right to either pet. Hence they are worth "something". Blizzard chose $10. If that is too much, a "macro" transaction, than so be it. But saying the pet isn't worth anything is either dishonest or naive.
 
Microtransactions such as pets don't really bother me all that much. I find that as long as they don't get an advantage over me by paying, I'm fine with that.

Of course, this only applies for as long as WoW is a subscription based game. I think there is a limit to how far microtransactions can go with WoW in its current state.
 
Tobold, no offense but I think you're rather wrong on this point. In my view, the correct premise to start with is that the pets offered in the new Pet Store are at a $10 price point. I have seen plenty of Lil'KTs running around to say that it's an attractive offer for quite a few Blizzard customers.

That being said, your "Did Blizzard get money they wouldn't have otherwise received? I think they did." doesn't make sense. They could have sold the Pandaren as is, without the charity offer, and they would have made sales.

So if X is number of sales without charity, and Y is number of sales with charity included, do you really think Y >= 2*X? Because if it's less than double of X, which is a very reasonable assumption to make (let's be honest, charity is not the biggest driver here), then basically Blizzard is cheating itself out of potential revenue. I'm not sure that deserves the title of 'scam'.
 
Your justification for using the term "scam" about Blizzard's charity office is not going to suffice as a defence if their lawyers decide your original accusation might be actionable. I almost did a double-take when I read that line in your original post.

Whatever you think of the Panda, or Blizzard moving into microtransactions (why can't we just call them "transactions" if they are going up to $10 a shot?), the practice of giving a proportion of the sale price of a product or service to charity is extremely well-established and understood. I find it hard to see how it could meaningfully be described as a "scam" unless it could be proved that none, or not all, of the money was actually going to charity.
 
So you really think Blizzard is giving that money to charity out of the goodness of their hearts? And the fact that many players are strongly opposed to microtransactions being balanced by the goodwill created by this charity has absolutely nothing to do with it?

Well, was nice chatting with you, but you must excuse me, I'm off setting up that "your name in epic purple on the sidebar for $10, half of which goes to charity" scam. P.T. Barnum appears to have been right.
 
Whether it's a scam or not, it's distasteful for everybody involved enough to understand Blizzards motivation here.
 
This really doesn't feel any different than the Spectral Tigers I see people riding all over. Those beautiful mounts are available only by spending lots of real money on the WoW trading card game, which trickles into Blizzard's pockets. You have a random chance to get a redemption code and then you have something in-game that people who do not play the TCG will never have -- unless they fork over $900 on eBay.

Some people can afford to go to Blizzcon and get Murky or Grunty as a perk. That's a very expensive way to get a silly vanity pet.

I like that there is something in the Blizzard store (besides t-shirts, hats, and mouse pads) that I can buy for my loved ones who play WoW. More silly vanity items, please.

You know what Lil' KT is missing? shadow fissures! Every few minutes, you should get a heart-stopping scare as a giant fissure encircles you and disappears harmlessly... then Lil' KT laughs at you.
 
Honestly, if there weren't tax incentives for giving to charity, at least over here in the states, I'd guarantee that charity in general would be lower.

I don't really care whether Blizzard is the super niciest MMO company out there. They chose to give a part of the proceeds to charity, rather than keeping all of it, which was their legal right.

Did they do it out of the "goodness of their heart"? I'm not sure.

But I bet the kids who benefit from the charity aren't yelling and screaming that Blizzard just committed a huge scam.

Who cares whether it was to be super nice guys, or for a tax break, or for a little publicity, or just to make people aware of the charity.

Does it really matter why? Or, may I ask, would it have been better if Blizzard not donated $5 to charity for each Pandaren pet bought and just added it to their coffers?
 
Or, may I ask, would it have been better if Blizzard not donated $5 to charity for each Pandaren pet bought and just added it to their coffers?

It would have been better if Blizzard had given money to charity without making it conditional on people buying overpriced pets. I think Blizzard is profiting more from this "charity" than the recipients of the money are.
 
Tobold,

I think it's just marketing. It's like arguing about regular bottled water (750ml). That may cost you $1,50 for a regular one or buy a bottle of 10 Thousand BC, that is above $40.

For me, water is water and I would never pay that much for a bottle of water. But for other people, there are untangible values, like status and others that make it worthy spending.

I bought the 2 pets, because they are fun, specially the Lil KT.

And others pointed, until Blizz keeps these transactions only for fancy items, that really have no difference on how you play, it's fine for me.

I don't care if they sell a giraffe for $15. It will run as fast as my regular mounts. If I collect mounts, may worthy. If not, I would stay with the regular ones.
 
Not out of the goodness of their hearts, no. It clearly has marketing intentions as well, just like every single other corporate charity event in the world, no?

The fact remains that unless they sell twice as many units by using the "charity scam" then they would have otherwise, they are losing revenue. I am not sure how to reconcile with your scam qualifier.

Regarding the Barnum reference, I fail to see the difference between paying $10 for a virtual pet and paying $15 for virtual epic bars and lootz. We're all suckers if we pay for pixels, no?
 
"So you really think Blizzard is giving that money to charity out of the goodness of their hearts? And the fact that many players are strongly opposed to microtransactions being balanced by the goodwill created by this charity has absolutely nothing to do with it?"

I don't think that anyone is claiming that Blizzard ever does anything out of the 'goodness of their hearts". The issue is whether or not is wrong, or a scam, to do something for less than altruistic motivations. As yet, I have seen no evidence that it is, ans as such remain unconvinced that we should be heaping the blame on Blizzard as some here are doing.

At the risk of sounding redundant, I'll ask again, on the basis of what principles are people judging Blizzard to be in the wrong here?

Some questions for thought:

Do we judge moral actions based on their motivations or on their consequences? What are the standards of behavior that we require of companies in our society? Is Blizzard violating any of them?
 
Sorry Blizz-defenders, it's a scam. You can attempt to rationalize all you want, but the fact is it's a marketing ploy and you bought into it, hook, line, and sinker.

Also, I'd like to say that "NO ONE IS FORCING YOU TO BUY IT" meme is worn out and wrong. Yes, Blizzard *is* forcing you to buy it as they provide no in-game method for you to obtain the pet. Everything is optional when it comes to entertainment, so appealing to some kind of "no one is making do this" argument is pointless.

Observe:
If you'd like a new piece of armor, you are forced to play the game.

Now, if you want either of these two pets, you are forced to pay $10, playing the game is not required.
 
Tobold! If you really DID have a feature where my name appeared in EPIC PURPLE on your b log for $10, and you donated half to a good charity, I would do it in a heartbeat - both to show my support of your blog, do a nice thing for a charity on the side, which I don't donate to unless I get something out of it (like most people), and also EPIC PURPLE! omg it makes me more special then those who don't donate.

Which I think is a large motivation for having the pets, something that says "hey look at me, I had to whip out my credit card to get this, and it's new and cool!"

Surprised no-one has mentioned that angle. For just a day the casual can have their item that a stingy raider won't be able to get :)
 
I believe Tobold's main objection (and the reason he uses the word "scam") is the following deception:

Blizzard looks like it's doing something GOOD by donating money to charity.

But you could argue that Blizzard is doing a few BAD things: enticing players to spend money, conditioning them to accept more micro-payments, and softening their objections by using the charity angle.

The use of the charity's name, and the resulting goodwill, further tips the balance towards Blizzard's profit.

However, let's also consider Blizzard's costs. They had to design/animate/code the pet, decide on the charity and percentage, do the accounting (until 12/31), and set up the payment to charity. Those are largely fixed costs. If not enough people buy the panda, then Blizzard takes a loss on the project. Shouldn't they be compensated for that risk?

I estimate Tobold's wages at $100k/year = $50 per hour. If it takes him 2 hours to design and add a sidebar and Paypal-donate-button to his page, then he's out $100. He has to get 20 people to pay $10 each to recoup his $100 (and donate the other $100 to charity as promised). Otherwise he suffers a loss in the same way that Blizzard might, in the above example. On the other hand, his resulting publicity, goodwill, and increase in readership might be worth the loss.
 
"Where's the credibility/immersive experience/consistency/lore if you have a baby KT run next to you?

Where they live: the population of baby KTs?
What is their place in World of Warcraft?
"

It isn't all that credible, nor is grunty the space marine. Nor does it make much sense that I slaughter murlocs anywhere I find them, except when a guildie has the minipet, then I do "oh how cute!".

Why do I slay Ony and hope for a minipet Ony? Does it make sense lore wise?

For the most part, the minipets make very little lore sense. They make zero practical sense since I can fetch them out for show, but never have to care for them, or clean up manawyrmling poop from my yard.

I don't see the minipets from the new blizz store as any more nonsensical then the minipets that came before them though.
 
" Would you agree that my offer that I give $5 to charity for every $10 you give me is a scam? "

Nope, but it would be a bad deal for me.

This is more like those "Product Red" things where companies sell a "(Red)" version of their product and some of the proceeds go to fighting AIDS.

If you were going to buy the product at that price anyway "hey free charity!", good deal. If you were going to buy it at less then that price, but also donate to charity, then depending on whether you think _that_ charity is worthy, how much you were donating, and what part of your purchase becomes donation it could be a good deal or not.

So if the minipet is worth $5 to someone, and they think make-a-wish is a great charity and they were going to donate $5 but haven't gotten around to it yet, then the Panda is a good deal to them. If they panda had been worth $7 to them, and they hated make-a-wish for some reason, then this is a bad deal. If they figured the panda was worth $10 and were pretty neutral on make-a-wish, then this is an ok deal.

It is a good deal for make-a-wish. They get donations from folks who would never have bothered. They get a little more publicity. About all they lose out is the folks who might have donated, but now figure they gave some to charity, and now there is no need. Frankly those folks probably already donated $1 to some charity when they bought groceries, and weren't donating anywhere anyway.

If Blizz didn't make it clear that $5 was going to charity and made folks think it was $10 it would be a scam. If they said charity, and really the money went to "VP of sales' new car fund" then it would be a scam. It would also be a scam if they said $5 and really donated like $3.

I don't think any of that is happening. It isn't a scam. It could be a bad deal (mostly if you don't think a minipet is worth $5).

You are totally right, if what someone wants to do is donate money to make-a-wish buying a minipet isn't a good way to do it.
 
"This really doesn't feel any different than the Spectral Tigers...unless they fork over $900 on eBay."

I've seen this mentioned around on various blogs discussing this and the thought that came to me, was Blizzard is "beta" testing the pet store to combat the above mentioned behavior by “virtual scalpers”.

Wouldn't it make sense that Blizzard would rather get all of the money from the tiger mount rather than a small percentage(ie the cost of a pack of cards) and have Joe-Scalper get that $900 US dollars?
 
Doesn't matter if you want to call it a scam or not, it is cheap. Blizzard implementend a new way of making money and they knew there would be an outcry. To lessen this outcry they implemented the charity thing.
However I don't give them the slightest bit of credit for that (I don't do that for any 'charitable' company), because thanks to tax incentives I'm quite sure Blizzard isn't giving anything to charity, Blizzard is just telling some government to give to charity.
I would be very surprised if they wouldn't get back every single dollar they give to charity through taxes.
 
I would buy a crying baby Murloc pet for ten dollars, but not for nine pounds sterling or ten euros.

Microtransaction stems from the micropayments concept and has a specific meaning which involves buying a second currency in chunks big enough to make the credit card transaction financially viable.

Because of that, I have just started using the terms "Cash Shop" and "Item Shop" to avoid the entanglements of the other terms we throw around.
 
Oh, and the charity thing is a bit of a scam.

I give ten dollars to Blizzard. They give five dollars to said charity. Blizzard gets a tax deduction for a charitable donation, but I do not despite the fact that it was my money.
 
I don't understand the distaste over Blizzard donating half the proceeds from one pet to charity.

Yes, it's an obvious marketing ploy. That doesn't change the fact that a public company is donating some proceeds to charity. Blizzard found a way to do something good, while benefiting from it. That doesn't lessen the goodness being done.
 
You're right on the money Tobold. In fact I just posted a similar article on the subject http://wowalone.blogspot.com/2009/11/its-all-downhill-from-here-baby.html
 
If anyone is seriously only buying the pet because its for charity, they are a rarity.

Most people, I think, are just buying the pet, and rationialising the expense to themselves by saying "oh, some money is going to charity".

If the charity excuse wasn't there, they'd simply invent some other reason to feel good about the purchase.
 
"I don't understand the distaste over Blizzard donating half the proceeds from one pet to charity.

Yes, it's an obvious marketing ploy. That doesn't change the fact that a public company is donating some proceeds to charity. Blizzard found a way to do something good, while benefiting from it. That doesn't lessen the goodness being done."

This is spot on.

What continues to be un-discussed, and again I apologize for being redundant, is why it is bad for a company to make more money lawfully?

Kiseran said, "Doesn't matter if you want to call it a scam or not, it is cheap. Blizzard implementend a new way of making money and they knew there would be an outcry."

Why should there be an outcry at all? When General Motors releases a new model of car, is there an cry of rage from current owners of other GM cars? What sense does it make to bemoan the fact that a company who's product people like (I am assuming that most of the people involved in this discussion play and enjoy WoW) finds ways to make more money?

fester says, "Also, I'd like to say that "NO ONE IS FORCING YOU TO BUY IT" meme is worn out and wrong. Yes, Blizzard *is* forcing you to buy it as they provide no in-game method for you to obtain the pet."

Why should there be an in game way to obtain everything? Again, what moral principle are you appealing to? We are discussing 'wants' not 'needs' or 'necessities'. So, if you 'want' a new car, should GM be forced to provide a way for you to obtain one that does not involve you paying them money?
 
Let's take a look at opportunity cost.

If I told you, you could grind for 2 hours to get a new pet, would you do it?


You've effectively spent over $10.
Nothing went to charity.
 
Let's take a look at opportunity cost. If I told you, you could grind for 2 hours to get a new pet, would you do it? You've effectively spent over $10. Nothing went to charity.

The opportunity cost isn't "over $10", it is about *minus* $0.15 for me. I pay $15 per month for 100 hours of entertainment. So every hour spend in the game is *not* a cost, but a gain of entertainment time, and thus has negative opportunity cost.
 
I don't know about you all, but I didn't buy the pet because I wanted to make a charitable donation. when I want to donate to charity, I do so directly. I bought a pet becasue I collect vanity pets, I wanted to have that particular pet and it was cheap, especially compared to what card pets go for on e-bay (or collector's edition price markup).

the same way as when I buy my regular shampoo or toothpaste, I don't buy it becasue this month they are donating the proceeds to some charity, but becasue its the shampoo and toothpaste that I like and would have bought it whether proceeds went to a good cause or the entire profit off the sales remained in manufacturer's hands.

Donating portion of a profit is not a scam. its a marketing ploy probably, but its not a scam. If someone purchased a pet solely becasue proceeds are going to charity? I don't know what to say about them. if someone feels just a bit better about their pet, becasue some of the profits went to charity, well, they have issues IMO, but whatever.

A lot of us bought the pets, first and foremost, becasue they are fun.

and no its not the same as selling gear or extra features. Every collector's edition of WoW (or a battle chest) that was sold did NOT offer ANY in game advantages (one could say that strategy guides offer advantages, but its not like you cannot buy them separately or better yet, get information for free online) All they offered were extra frills. Same as collectible cards.

they do NOT give you a single in game advantage. they are vanity items, pure and simple. now if they start selling traveler's tundra mammoths (the ones with vendors and extra 2 spots for your friends) for real money, that's when I'd start worrying about them selling gear, gold etc. As it is, every single item that you could buy was a vanity item, something that you can chose to buy, or avoid, just like you can choose to have 100 mounts in a game, or just stick to one. Overall game play doesn't change one bit becasue of that choice.

This move is neither new nor outrageous in my opinion, its just a more organized and in your face extension of merchandising Blizzard has been doing for years.
 
oh and about the whole "they are forcing you to buy it because there's no ingame way of getting it" thing.

really?

so you are FORCED to buy a spectral tiger mount? Or pet biscuits? or a disco ball? or a foam sword rack? or a life stream of Blizcon, just to get the pet?

none of the above is available through in game means. and yet, no one is crying about the above items, but these 2 pets are suddenly the beginning of the end of the world...of Warcraft.
 
The fact that some people are outraged for no clearly articulated reason doesn't mean Blizzard is right.

This is a discussion of pricing. An MMO subscription is like an all-you-can-eat buffet. There's a big (400 seat) Asian restaurant near me that works on that kind of single-price deal. Due to scale and they have more choice of dishes, replaced more regularly, than a buffet in smaller restaurants, which can look a bit wilted by 1:30 on a Sunday. They also have stuff like sashimi, individually sliced and fried in front of you by a chef. That's included in the cost, but you have to wait in line, which if it is 4 or 5 people long is 15 minutes.

If they changed their deal so the optional extras like sashimi were added to your bill, that's a change of the terms of service, probably a cost increase.

If they further changed their deal so that chopsticks, water, even (Ryanair style) assistance with a wheelchair or going to the toilet are all charged for, then that would make the experience completely unfun, destroying the actual experience it was originally offering (eating without worrying about the price, or how to split the bill).

The thing to remember is other restaurants are available.
 
If this is not a scam, please explain why I can't give my $10 donation to Make-A-Wish foundation and ASK THEM to pay Blizzard $5. Then Make-A-Wish foundation can bequeath me a mini-pet.

I get my pet, the charity gets their donation and Blizzard gets its $5 cash downpayment.
 
"none of the above is available through in game means. and yet, no one is crying about the above items, but these 2 pets are suddenly the beginning of the end of the world...of Warcraft."

You obviously have not been paying attention for the past couple of years. The dissapointment has been ongoing ever since Blizzard implemented the recruit a friend, the TCG pets, character recustomization and other means of obtaining services or items outside the scope of the in-game mechanics. Coming late to the table does not bolster your argument anymore than it reduces the importance of the ones who feel that these things are not good for a game such as WoW, which -started out- as a subscription based game where everyone had equal access to -ALL- of the same content EQUALLY thru the use of the in-game mechanics.

What we are being told now by Blizzard is that they are capitulating to the industry wide shift to the notion that people are willing to pay for things outside of the game that -should- be included in the game and supported by the price of the monthly subscription fee.

The blogosphere is full of pundits and, yes, industry developers who are all engaged in playing the Pied Piper to gamers in the hopes that this slow and incremental destruction of our games will go unnoticed.

The problem here is not how much we as gamers are willing to pay to play our favorite past time, the problem is with the horrendously broken game development bussiness that cant seem to get its head out of its rear long enough to realize the fact that it is, indeed broken.

I am not against developers using RMT to derive revenue for their games if the game was designed solely to rely upon RMT as it's only revenue model. What I am against is the mixing of RMT in games that are based on the subscription model. I purchased my copy of WoW and I pay my monthly subscription fee. Now I'm basically being told that my monthly subscription fee is no longer enough to fund the development of ongoing content, and that Blizzard has caved to the corporate shills who see green as this becomes an embraced practice.

Imagine a movie buff going to the movie theater and having to pay 20 dollars for a special set of headphones and glasses that reveals a totally different movie experience than what regular ticket holders see. Depending on your perspective, you can see no harm in this based on the fact that you are willing to pay for this or, you can see the harm in this and pay anyway or, you can detest the change and vow to never support it with your money.

But, at the end of the day people -will- pay for and support something like this without the least bit of regard to the fact that the person sitting next to them might not be able to afford the 100 bucks it would take for him, and his wife and three kids to see the same content.

Money. The Haves and the Have-nots. The decade in in which caste systems entered gaming and drew lines based on ones wealth.
 
"But, at the end of the day people -will- pay for and support something like this without the least bit of regard to the fact that the person sitting next to them might not be able to afford the 100 bucks it would take for him, and his wife and three kids to see the same content."

Why should they? (Not a snark; really and truly, why should they care about how other people are playing and/or paying?)
 
Seeing as how I stopped the whole WoW business almost half a year ago now, though uT (= microTransactions, see what I did there?) are still near and dear to my heart thanks to DDO, I don't have much to say on the WoW side of things other than, I don't get all the hype this has gotten over tweets and podcasts. Yes, you might find them cute, but minipets have always had one glaring issue for me:
You only get to pick one. Even then, you have to do something as stupid as use addon if you want to fully enjoy the pet. Nothing in the interface to support auto-summoning of a favored pet.
I collected minipets, but only to fill some sick completionist fetish. Unless this truly is your ultimate minipet, it will end up being "just another" in the collection.

As for DAO. As far as I know, Bioware, aside from certain preorder items, have no plans on giving straight out items as paid addins. If they give out ingame items post-launch, it is for something such as "Play DA:Journeys and recieve this minor ingame item". Promotional, free stuff.
I still did buy the digital deluxe edition, however for other reasons, which I hope is why the majority bought this:
1. To support Bioware, to vote with my money, saying "More of this please". The world (sadly) doesn't know what it's missing with the old BG-style games, and hopefully other companies will try to do their own take on the genre after seeing the success of DAO, and not fail horribly.
2. The soundtrack. (yes, it does come with it, even on Steam).

As for the DLC, emphasize CONTENT, I have this to say:
These first small packs seemed like more of a disguised "buy X feature", than an adventure pack. The adventure itself, while well made, was disappointingly short and linear, with only 1 major branch in each. I hope their future mini-packs amount to more than 1 minor dungeon with 1 insignificant split in the questline and some goodies (be it an ally or a new base). Less Oblivionesque Orrery, more Knights of the Nine.

It is, however, interesting the way they have chosen to include great loot in the packs. Begs the questions whether they did so not to look as dirty moneygrubbers, but still (through mouth of word) give a possiblity for people willing to pay for good items, to pay a fee, enter the DLC and get good equipment for a minimum of effort.
 
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