The Call Of The WoW Pets

April 16, 2010

Everyone’s going insane over the new additions in the Blizzard Store. I’m going to talk about them too, but with a little spin on things. My topic may be slightly different from the usual complaints, but it’s also a bit more personal.

People who game with me know that I’m a collector. I like to play my games the way they’re meant to be played, but I’m also attracted to the little frivolities in my MMOs like holiday events and vanity pets. In fact, I think I may enjoy collecting special in-game items more then I like getting epic loot! As silly as it sounds, that’s what really gnawed at me when I left World of Warcraft — I didn’t miss the instances, the boss fights, or the purple gear…but I did miss my mini-pet collection. I always thought I’d go back to collecting them when I return to WoW once Cataclysm hits, but I don’t think I will anymore. I’ve lost the drive, because the Blizzard pet store has killed it for me.

While some people might think vanity pets are pointless, they weren’t for me. I put a lot of time into my collection, which numbered around 100 pets at the time of my departure about 6 months ago. It’s nowhere near complete, and I know there are some pets I’ll never be able to obtain, but I’m still quite proud of what I’ve managed to collect. I still like looking at my collection on my WarcraftPets.com page sometimes, because it’s full of so many cool stories and good memories from my time in WoW. My Phoenix Hatchling, for example, I got just days after the Magister’s Terrace instance first came out, because when it dropped my wonderful guildies all passed so I could have it, since they knew how much I liked vanity pets. Another example was my Magical Crawdad. I still remember the hours spent fishing in Terrokar Forest until that heart-stopping moment when I finally hooked the elusive Mr. Pinchy. And speaking of heart-stopping moments, nothing beats a good old-fashioned pet hunt. I hardly ever bought pets off the auction house, as I did all the farming myself — it’s how I got my Firefly, the Disgusting Oozling and the Azure Whelpling, among many others. It’s such a great feeling when you’ve killed what feels like your 1,145th mob and then you open up that loot window, and BAM! there it is!

It didn’t matter if the pet was a rep grind, random drop, quest-related or whatever. The point I’m trying to make is that obtaining each pet was a rewarding process, in some cases more than others. The best ones were always the toughest to get, and each of them was a challenge I couldn’t wait to tackle. I was bouncing up and down with excitement when I first heard that the Pandaren Monk pet would be added in-game, but was immediately disappointed when I found out it was to be sold in the online Blizzard store. I was already a little irked by the fact that certain pets were only available through the trading card game, but this just made it worse.

I still wanted to be able to collect as many pets as possible, but having to spend real-life money to make that happen just takes some of that exhilaration away. Not to mention Blizzard can potentially make hundreds of dollars off of pet collectors like me by simply adding more and more items to their pet store as time goes by. On that front, it doesn’t bode well at all — in just the last few months, in addition to the Pandaren Monk they’ve already added Lil’ K.T., the Gryphon Hatchling, the Wind Rider Cub and now Lil’ XT. Uh yeah, the price tags on these have definitely made me rethink my collection. I also can’t help but feel pain for any mount collectors out there. I mean, $25 a pop when it comes to the new Celestial Steed? Ouch.

Anyway, this isn’t a post whining about RMTs in MMORPGs. I’ve never had a problem with them, actually. In most cases, they are a choice; no one is forcing players to purchase anything and items like vanity pets are obviously not required to play the game. I still believe in this, but while I certainly have much better things to do with my cash than to drop $80+ on pretty pixels, not buying pets off the Blizzard store has less to do with a conscious choice but more to do with my increasingly waning interest in pet collecting. What’s the point now, when having to maintain an up-to-date collection involves shelling out real dollars? And somehow, I doubt I would continue my collection even if I happen to strike it rich and get to sleep on a huge pile of money every night.

The thrill of the hunt is dead and gone, now that the coolest pets are the easiest (and most boring) ones to get, with just a credit card and a few clicks of a mouse.


  1. I hadn’t really thought about it that way. I went from immediate outrage at Activision for the $25 price point on a mount that doesn’t even look that cool compared to already in game mounts, to a feeling of sad reflection. Why this change? Because it’s not Acitivision or Blizzard that is doing this, just as it’s not Ubisoft doing their terrible DRM. It’s us, the consumers, who refuse to NOT buy things no matter how borked, broken or expensive they are….

    Ugh. Can you link the page with your vanity pets? Just because I’m curious.

    • Sure, it’s here: http://www.warcraftpets.com/account/profile.asp?user=caylinn

      It’s actually there in the post, it’s the warcraftpets.com link. I guess I’ll edit the post to make it clearer that it’s my actual warcraftpets.com profile page. It’s mostly up to date, but I’m sure there are a few pets I might have missed. It’s been way too long.

    • And yes, it’s a little maddening and sad, but I knew people were still going to buy it, simply because it’s WoW.

      Anyway, kinda makes you want to give Cryptic a hug, doesn’t it? They’ve caught a lot of flak from their STO C-store in the past, but at least they’ve never had the gall to charge $25 for anything in there.

  2. It is kind of a sad moment isn’t it.

  3. It is sad trend, the item shop is in full swing in Guild Wars, STO, WoW and others will soon follow.

    It is like alchemy, they did not turn lead into gold, but a few pixels into half the price of a full expansion.

    Discussion about this is all over the web. I just posted at http://spinksville.wordpress.com/ about that. We are in the revival of the item shop cycle. I know that years ago people hated item shops with a passion. Nowadays they pay 25 bucks for a pixel pony. So much about that.

    Guild Wars did something similar recently with the “War in Kryta” costumes.

    And yeah, it is funny that such stuff makes the silly C-Store look rather good.

  4. Basically it is Capitalist Greed and there are those who will do it.


    I suggest a better cause Put your 25 bucks to helping others

    You will feel better

  5. GeCe, you’re feelings about pet collecting kind of mirror my feelings for WoW in general. Around the time that Burning Crusade came out, I realized that the game was no longer about exploring, experiencing the content, and leveling. Warcraft had become all about getting to the level cap and raiding, something which I didn’t have the time or inclination for. So, even though my highest character was only 45, and there was more that I could do, I just lost interested in continuing to play.

    • You know, Blue, I’ve never thought about it that way. Your comment has made me realize something else as well…I used to roll my eyes at people who complained about things like welfare epics, easy-mode heroics and other things they deemed were put in for the casuals. But for the first time, I can actually kinda understand where they’re coming from. This isn’t the same thing, but it follows a similar thread — in either case, we feel that our past efforts mean very little anymore.

  6. Game company’s and their employees exist to make money and to make it which ever way they see fit as it relates to their business. They are a Business first and a Game company second and if they cant do the business part first the second part aren’t going to exist for long. Customers may not like one thing to the next as to what they may do but its your choice as a customer to decide what you whether you want their product or service or to pay for a transaction.

    Personally not a pet collector in any game i play. And yes I did buy the new Blizzard Mount for $25 on my WoW account and bought it for my own reasons which won’t be the same for someone else who may collect pets and buy it for that reasons or any other reason. I personally on a game basis have my own limits and rational as to what I will buy for micro purchases in any game. Personally haven’t bought anything from Cryptic C-Store, haven’t cared to since at this point not sure if will have longevity playing that game to care that much to purchase anything from the C-Store even if its cheaper than micro transitions in another game.

    What a person may choose to purchase from one game company may not always be the same or reasons they may choose to purchase or not to purchase something of from a different game company. As well as it relates to their interest and the game.

    I’m sure in any or future games there is a limit as to what or how much most people will tolerate to buy on a micro purchase $level when compared to game cost, subscription, game company, interest level and longevity playing a game itself. When you have reached your limit as to what you are likely to purchase from a game company on a micro transaction level all you have to do is simply not purchase anything.

    If people stop making micro transactions based on cost or frequency of purchase then their is a limit as to what can be sold or offered as a service as well at some point above what others are willing to pay. However what someone or anyone else does or chooses to do with their “own” money is totally their business as well.

    • Like I said, I have no problems with RMT and I respect the fact companies have the right to want to make money. It’s the beauty of capitalism. As long as no one’s putting a gun to your head and forcing you to buy, I really don’t see a problem. And I’ve lived in countries where that happens!

      My point is, capitalist greed may suck, but the alternative is much worse, and as long as we all still have natural regulatory factors like free choice and supply and demand, I’m sure things will figure themselves out. I personally won’t buy the mount for $25 but I have my own reasons for that. As well I respect the fact that you have yours for buying it. I actually think it’s quite pretty, and wouldn’t mind getting it if it was at a more reasonable price. I wouldn’t mind if I got it as a gift either.

      Anyway, I do think people are panicking prematurely. Thousands might have bought the celestial steed on the first day, but that does not mean thousands will be lining up tomorrow, or next week, or next month. Like I said, things will figure themselves out eventually, Blizzard and Activision will take what they’ve learned and adjust, it’s their prerogative, just like any other private corporation.

  7. http://www.warcraftpets.com/account/profile.asp?user=ruzgork

    I find myself at a different end of the spectrum on this.

    I look back at all the pets I acquired over the years in WoW, I don’t remember any cool stories involved with getting any of them. I remember long, boring, frustrating grinds of some sort or another. Endless amounts of fishing to acquire all the crocs, crabs and rats. The long search for the Emerald Whelpling when they only dropped from one of the mobs in the farm zone. Repeatedly killing the same lowbie player over and over (pvp server player here) because he’s killing bugs for a quest he needs to do while I’m killing the same bugs for a Firefly pet. And this was all after finishing my first goal at 60: to grind out the rep, gold, and honor rank needed for a Black War Mount (back before they started handing them out to anyone with the right combo of tokens). The few ccg pets I have I got extremely lucky in finding them, because I got them randomly out of purchased card packs, instead off of ebay for $50 to $300 dollars.

    So I look at the pets and mounts offered in the store and judge how much they cost vs. how much time it would take to get them. Would I rather spend a month of game time in game grinding a random mob to get a random drop of the pet, or pay an amount less than the cost of a month of game time to get that pet and do what I would normally do in game instead?

    The same with the mount. Pay an amount less than the cost of two months of game time for one, or spend probably over two months of game time trying to win the roll to get the mount when it drops after spending the time to find the raid group geared and skilled enough to give you a chance at the drop every week? And don’t forget to multiply the game time spent in this case by the number of characters on your account that you want to have the mount.

    • That’s pretty awesome, you and I joined warcraftpets.com within a week of each other.

      Anyway, I guess collectors collect for different reasons as well. Some people do it just to be completists and some do it just because it’s there, and I can understand that because I’m that way with achievements points LOL. It’s different for me when it comes to pets though. Was it a painful grind to get some of them? Yes, but I didn’t really mind. The process was what made it fun for me, and the rewarding feeling afterward was what I sought. And I guess that’s something no one can put a price tag on. That’s why I can’t really look at $10 for a pet vs. hours of grinding and see it as a great bargain, because I can’t really even wrap my head around that comparison. It’s somewhat related to what I said in my reply to Blue Kae, and that’s just my personal take on it.

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