Blizzard's online pet store wouldn't raise any eyebrows. This time, however, the company is making one small change with a vanity pet that could have huge consequences in the game itself.
World of Warcraft's newly announced Guardian Cub is on its way to the pet store and will retail for $10. The difference between this and other pets available in the store is that the Cub will not bind to the player who purchased it but rather will remain bind-on-equip -- and tradable -- until it is used. Effectively, this turns the Cub into a $10 currency item that can be traded for in-game gold, a fact that Blizzard openly acknowledges in the pet's FAQ:
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. 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.Player reaction has been strong and varied, with many seeing this as a full endorsement of RMT in WoW.
[Thanks to everyone who sent this in!]