“There’s nothing noble about being poor.”
– Brian Kinney, Queer As Folk
This afternoon, I was on my lunch break when my Twitter feed suddenly exploded with Tweets talking about a new companion pet at the Blizzard Store and how people thought it was a bad idea. Now, most people tend to get really excited at the idea of a new pet being introduced to the game, so I couldn’t figure out why this one had everyone up in arms. I asked for more information, before heading back to the office and discovering this announcement:
Q: How does the Guardian Cub pet work? How is it different from other Pet Store pets?
Unlike the other Pet Store companions, the Guardian Cub is a tradable, one-time-use pet that permanently binds to a single character upon use. When you purchase the Guardian Cub from the online store, the character you designate will receive a bind-on-use item to carry in his or her inventory. You can either use the item yourself to permanently add the pet to your character’s collection (consuming the item in the process), or — after a brief initial cooldown period — you can trade the item to another player so he or she can add it to one of their character’s collections. Note that once the pet has been added to a character’s Companions list, it can no longer be traded, so make sure you’re giving the cub a happy home.
This indicates that the new companion pet will not be Bind on Pickup, like the others were, and you could potentially sell this new pet on the Auction House to make some gold. Blizzard seems to be aware of this and doesn’t seem to mind:
While our goal is to offer players alternative ways to add a Pet Store pet to their collection, we’re ok with it if some players choose to use the Guardian Cub as a safe and secure way to try to acquire a little extra in-game gold without turning to third-party gold-selling services. However, please keep in mind that there’s never any guarantee that someone will purchase what you put up for sale in the auction house, or how much they’ll pay for it. 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. (You can read more about our stance here.) While some players might be able to acquire some extra gold by putting the Guardian Cub in the auction house, that’s preferable to players contributing to the gold-selling “black market” and account theft.
To tell you the truth, I don’t mind, either.
I have never been someone that has had a lot of money, in any game that I have ever played. I have never had more than 10,000 gold on my character, at any given time in World of Warcraft and didn’t even buy my epic flying mount until Wrath of the Lich King and that was only because I discovered that I could sell my Bind on Equip bracers to raise the money to do so. I’m sitting on a little over 100 platinum in Rift, and when I played Vampire the Masquerade, I was the poorest Ventrue in the history of the chronicle. Antitribu or not, I was po.’ I couldn’t even afford the last two letters. I was that poor.
So, for someone like me who has no concept of how the Auction House works and who really doesn’t have the time or the patience to download seventeen different add-ons, plus the mobile armory application to make a piece of gold, I’m all for this addition to the game. I’ll even go one step further and say I approve of purchasing gold, in general.
I mean, really. Who is it hurting? Don’t get me wrong, I don’t approve of the more illicit means that people go about earning a living from farming gold. I do not condone stealing accounts, hacking into people’s accounts, spamming in chat channels, or any of the other shadier aspects of the business. Were such business conducted in a more ethically sound manner, I would probably partake in a little bit of gold purchasing, myself.
I have achieved some fantastic accomplishments in World of Warcraft while being broke. I have been in top raiding guilds (at least for the servers I was on), earned a number of impressive mounts, and even netted myself a Legendary weapon. How much gold I had in my account didn’t factor into any of that. People didn’t take me to raids because they assumed I was wealthy, they took me because I knew how to play my class and because I did my job. There’s a reason you don’t see “How much gold do you currently have?” on a guild application (or at least no guilds that I’ve applied to). Because it ultimately doesn’t matter.
You might have been able to buy a chopper or purchase Maelstrom Crystals before the rest of us could afford them, but what did that really get you? Did it make you a better tank? Did it make your Arena Rating shoot up by 300 points? What did having all that money really do for your character? There are people that were probably doing more with their game time than you were, who had less currency than you did and one could even argue that they were doing better, because they weren’t spending all of their time being consumed with how to make more money. They could have been busy theorycrafting or farming BGs or getting by on the gold they made from doing dailies, while grinding rep for shoulder enchants.
In a gaming environment, money is great to have, but it does not make you who you are. It certainly provides a certain level of comfort, but it doesn’t buy everything. You can’t buy skill with gold. You can’t buy situational awareness with platinum. You can’t purchase manners or social skills with Resources at 5. So, for all of these reasons, I think the issue of whether or not it’s morally sound to purchase in game currency should really be put to bed. If someone wants to take money from their bank accounts that could be going towards real life pursuits and put it towards financing their pursuits in game, so what? Does it bother you that someone might have more money than you do and that they may not have had to work as hard as you did to get it? What’s wrong with someone wanting a little piece of what you already have?
At the end of the day, I’m glad that I don’t play a game where money makes me what I am and where I can’t get better if I don’t spend money. Anyone who has ever spent time playing a collectible card game will know what exactly what I’m talking about. Magic the Gathering. Pokemon. Marvel Overpower. Those were games where money could buy you skill and could give you a huge advantage over someone else who may not have had the means to buy a box of the newest expansion the day it was released. Those were games that made you feel like crap, when the other kids showed up with binders of the newest cards that you had never even heard of that you knew you could not afford. That was something to get upset about. This situation with the new companion pet? Not even close.