I like pets in WoW. They’re fun and cute and I even have a few from the store. I think they were all gifts.

I like that they don’t affect gameplay. You can take them or leave them and do just as well as anyone else in raids or heroics or pvp. Or the auction house game. They’re optional flavor.

Blizzard just announced they’ll soon be selling a $10 tradable Guardian Cub. It’ll be a one-use item, so unlike other pet store pets, you can only have it on one character. You can sell it on the auction house and trade it in game. For gold, services, gratitude – whatever you negotiate!

Guardian Cub us.battle.net

I’m guessing my reaction to this is a common one. I’m uneasy and unsure about it. I want to outright condemn it, but on the other hand maybe it won’t be that bad.

Blizzard has always taken a hard line against gold selling. I thought that was because they didn’t want real world wealth to equal in-game advantages. I was wrong! From their announcement:

 Also, it’s important to note that we take a firm stance against buying gold from outside sources because in most cases, the gold these companies offer has been stolen from compromised accounts.

I found their lengthier stance against gold-selling here. Man, I feel dumb. These annoying exploits that gold-sellers use are great reasons to be against the practice, and I was aware of them. But I thought that a greater philosophy of economic equality was also part of it. Nope. If they can figure out how to bypass these exploits, there’s nothing stopping Blizzard from completely legalizing gold-selling in WoW. And this guardian cub may be the beginning of that.

Time iz money friend!

And now this has me thinking. One aspect of WoW and other MMOs I’ve never cared for is that it often seems that they reward players for putting time in. And not putting time in to practice and improve a skill, but just PUTTING TIME IN. Farming for raid mats. Farming for gear in dungeons you’ve done so many times you could do them blindfolded. Leveling a character through a zone you’ve done countless times on other characters. Players vary widely how much time they can put in, just as they vary in their economic reality. Is there any difference between a player paying for an advantage and a player grinding away many hours for that same advantage? After all, time is money.

I guess I’m getting pretty jaded as I write this. What it comes down to is how much advantage can gold buy in World of Warcraft? You can buy raid mats, and dungeon runs, and some gear. What do you guys think about all this? What do you think a $10 pet will buy you?