World of WarCraft's new Guardian Pet provides officially-sanctioned cash-for-gold trading

Blizzard's upcoming addition to World of WarCraft, the tradable Guardian Cub pet, serves a dual purpose besides providing players with some animal company on long treks across Azeroth. Thanks to a loophole in the game's rules regarding item trading and gold selling, the Guardian Pet is Blizzard's way of allowing cash-for-gold exchanges into the game on a manageable, monitored scale.

Buyable in WoW's Pet Store for $10 in real-world dollars-money, the Guardian Cutb is unique in that it doesn't bind to a character on purchase. This means the pet's owner can gift or trade it in exchange for in-game goods or loot, such as through the game's Auction House. Putting two and two together – as anyone with an eye for low-yield short-cons ought to be able to do – this means you're free to pay actual monies for a Guardian Cub then trade it at auction for WoW gold.

“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,” says Blizzard'sblog post on the matter. The company stresses, though, that auctions are by their nature an imprecise and unreliable way of getting a given amount of gold for your goods. Anyone who reads the Business pages (or, failing that, has seen Wall Street) will realize the risks here: relying on Guardian Cubs as a moneymaking scheme could lead to a “bubble” in which the pets quickly lose their in-game value, leading to would-be speculators losing dollars on the scheme. Best stick to low-value trades on the Cubs for pocket money – and the very simple reason that they're adorable. Just look at that little face.

Oct 13, 2011

Source: BattleNet Blog