The Guardian Cub Pet and WoW Economy

Morynne —  October 10, 2011 — 11 Comments

Guardian CubFirst of all I’d like to point out that in no way am I a WoW gold expert, nor am I an economist, but I’d like to throw in some thought to the change that Blizzard has done for the Guardian Cub pet.

For those of you that aren’t aware, the Guardian Cub is Blizzard’s first tradeable in game non-combat pet.  It does not lock to your account, and is one-time use.  The pet will cost $10US when it comes out, and there is no limit to the number that any character can carry.

Doing some quick research, the $10 that the Guardian Cub costs will get you roughly 8k gold on most sites that sell gold from gold farmers.

Initially you should expect those pets to sell for significantly more until the market is flooded and drives down the cost.  Knowing that everyone has access to these pets, and industrious folks probably have the same idea, this will happen pretty quickly. (Just look at the Winterspring Cub market — people still buy those for 200g when they cost 50g in Winterspring with unlimited supply)

Part of me thinks Blizzard is genius for doing this, part of me is angry.

Guardian Cub 2The genius part is that they’re effectively bringing in a real money Auction House to WoW.  It’s 1-directional, and they’re basically making it legal to buy gold — there’s just less instant gratification because you still have to find a buyer. In a way I hope this cuts into the profits of the gold farmers out there — particularly those that earn the gold through unscrupulous means.

Do I think that will really happen? Probably not.  People are strange.  There will be people out there who would rather buy the gold than send Blizzard the same $10 to buy the pet, just furthering account hacking, and reinforcing the need to have an authenticator on your account. Always.

The part of me that is angry is mostly frustrated that they’re changing the model.  I liked the fact that I could spend $10 and get a new pet on all of my characters, no matter when they are created.  On this new model? If I want the winged guardian cub on all of my characters, I’d have to spend $10 for each character, or buy them off of someone who has spent that $10.  For me, that’d easily be $100 across different servers.  Why not just make the in game item Bind on Account after one character on that account learns it? Seems like a simple, happy medium to me.

In an economy where people are having a difficult time finding a job in some areas, Blizzard is asking for another $10.  Is it critical to gameplay? No. Do you have to have it? No.  Is it so cute I can’t stand it? Yes. Shut up.

I’ll test the market with the Guardian Cub when it comes out, see if I can’t make a ridiculous amount of gold for one. (FOR SCIENCE!)  Will I buy one myself from the Auction House? Absolutely not.  I don’t want to chance reinforcing people buying currency from gold farmers long term.

What’s your take on the Guardian Cub?


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Morynne is an avid hunter, and prefers Marksmanship. She has co-hosted the Hunting Party Podcast, and appeared on the Twisted Nether Blogcast. For more information, click here.

11 responses to The Guardian Cub Pet and WoW Economy

  1. I don't really have any opinion on the matter, because I don't collect pets myself, but I just wanted to say:

    "Is it critical to gameplay? No. Do you have to have it? No. Is it so cute I can’t stand it? Yes. Shut up."

    This is why I love reading your blog! :P

  2. I don’t have a problem with this, just as I don’t have a problem with the D3 cash AH.

    I’d prefer if the pet was BoA, though. That’s the only part I’m not fond of, the fact that the format of these pets is changing – that’s what irritates me a bit. If I were to buy it, I’d probably just buy it directly from Blizzard for my pet collecting toon.

    • Largely it doesn't bother me either.

      I'm mostly concerned about what the larger population will do to buy one instead of just giving Blizzard ten more dollars. I just think a happier medium could be attained by keeping the pet bind on account, but leave it tradable until one character on the account learns it. I'm sure that's some reasonably intense programming on the back end, but I think it might need to be done in the future.
      My recent post Strategy: Heroic Shannox

  3. The trading card pets and mounts are also BoE and can be sold on the auction house for gold. Obviously it's notnquite as straightforward as buying it from the blizzard pet store for however much it costs and listing it on the AH, but that will influence it's saleable price in game.

    You're right re: making it BoA once you equip it though — that part smells less like a "can we sell gold?" and more like "I wonder if people'd buy it twice?"
    My recent post Class feedback, 4.3 and other wibbling

  4. Nice post – the only one I’ve seen that’s really hitting the hidden point of the Cub, which is that by making the pet single-character it might open up a lot more revenue for Blizz and cost for players.

    As you probably know by now, I’ve featured it on our Kitten Standard Roundup Pt 2

  5. In an upcoming expansion I predict that you will be able to purchase something like a “sack of coins” or a “dusty old strongbox” from Blizzard that will contain WoW gold and effectively put Bliz into the gold selling business :)

  6. That’s a great idea – making it BOA once one toon on the account learns it. I had suggested, elsewhere, that they sell two versions of it: BOA, for those who just wanted it on all their toons, and BOE, for those who wanted to just sell it. Your idea and mine are similar – you just roll both into a single version.

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  3. The Daily Quest: Oh no no no no no no no | gQuit's WoWPress - October 14, 2011

    [...] to point out what is bothering me about this whole situation: $10 spent, and I only get the pet on one character? Oh, no no no no no no no. Is there a story out there we ought to link or a blog we should be [...]

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