We’d like to thank everyone who’s provided feedback or questions on the Guardian Cub announcement and how allowing it to be traded relates to our stance against gold selling. Our hope today is to discuss our desire for a more secure and enjoyable game environment, and provide some clarity on how the Guardian Cub fits into that goal in its own small way.
To begin with, we need to reiterate what we know are the facts of third-party gold sales, and how they impact World of Warcraft players. We've been hard at work for years now thwarting gold farming tactics, and we know that only a very small percentage of gold is actually "farmed" these days. The vast majority of gold that third parties sell to players is obtained through account compromises. Your friend, guild mate, or family member who had their account hacked was specifically targeted for their gold so that it could be turned around and sold to another player looking to buy some. Having your account compromised is one of the most negative experiences a player can have, and dealing with hacked accounts makes up a significant portion of customer support time on a day-to-day basis. These issues have serious and far-reaching consequences on our ability to continue delivering epic game experiences and high-quality support for our players.
We’ve gone to great lengths to educate, inform, and provide increased account security for players through devices like the mobile and physical Battle.net Authenticator. We provide fun incentives for people to use those devices, and we continue to increase our efforts to educate players, block countless phishing and scamming attempts, improve our detection methods to stop account compromises before they begin, and take a harsher stance on third-party gold buying itself.
With all that in mind, we come to the new tradable Guardian Cub pet. By letting players trade this pet, we’re giving those who want to participate in the Pet Store without spending real money a way to buy the pet with gold instead. This also means that players can buy one for the purpose of trying to sell it in-game, creating the potential for players to exchange real money for gold in a way that does not lead to account compromises. Of course, all that comes with the pretty important caveat that demand for the pet will be finite, and there’s no guarantee you’ll be able to find a buyer.
While this one little pet can never come close to “solving” the above issues with third-party gold selling and account compromises, it may help us determine whether we’re able address these ongoing problems in a safe, creative way that ultimately has a positive impact on the game experience overall. Our hope is that through all of our increased efforts we can make World of Warcraft a safer, more secure, and more enjoyable game for all of our players.