So Blizzrad has entered the world of micro-transactions as reported on WoW Insider, and are offering two vanity pets, a kung fu dancing panda and a baby lich. As cool as these may be, with the entrance of WoW into the category of games like Second Life we are finally going to be able to have a sure-fire way to play a little game I like to call, “Spot the Moron.”

Vanity pets are exactly that, a vanity item. They say, “Look at me, check out what I’ve got!” And you are supposed to feel envy and want them for yourself as well. I have a few vanity pets, all of them having dropped into my lap by chance except for one – I got the baby worg puppy on purpose as I found a cool video on how to sneak into Blackrock depths as a rogue to get it, which I did. It was a challenge, but I managed to do it the first time without dying, and I still have it to this day. I can’t remember the last time that I pulled it out, I almost never do. What would be the point? Oh, that’s right, to say “Look at me, aren’t I cool!”

But paying real money for an in-game vanity item is not something for which to envy another player. It may arouse pity, but certainly not envy. There is no intrinsic problem with paying money for something that you want, hell, I do that every day, just ask that girl who lives in apartment 7b down the hall. But the whole point of vanity pets is having something to show off. It is thus inevitable that the rarer the item the more showing off one can achieve. I have a turtle mount that I fished up one day, the chances of which finding one are extremely low. This mount, when mounted in Dalaran for example, induces a steady stream of satisfying envy. But how rare is something which anyone can buy if they decide to fork out even more money to Blizzard? Not very rare at all, about as rare as one of those pets they’re giving us for switiching to a Battlenet account, which incedently is why that vanity pet has not been much of an inducement – how attractive is an envy-inducing item that everyone will have? Answer – not very fucking much.

So we have two so-called vanity pets, that anyone can get if they pay some money. This is brilliant. It is brilliant because finally there is a way to clearly set the morons out on their own moron pedestal for us to view. If someone pulls one of these out in Dalaran, to induce envy, then they are obviously riding the moron train. So you can mark them on your moron list and avoid them in any PUG’s or what have you. I love it.

If it ended here then that would be okay, but it gets even better, even better! Because with the panda vanity pet, Blizzard is offering 50% of the sales proceeds to the Make a wish foundation or some other type of charity whose name I forget now and couldn’t be bothered looking up. Why is this so good? Well, we will have the morons that will staright out buy this to be “cooler” than everyone else. But then we will have the other group of players who will justify buying this by the fact that half the money is going to chairty. So we will be able to identify the morons and the clueless in one fell swoop. This is a brilliant move on Blizzards part – they’re going to scoop up all of these idiots in one fell swoop and take their cash. And don’t think that it will stop there, oh no my dear readers. You can bet your bottoms that there will be something else next month to buy, something just as “cool” and individual and unique. Maybe you will be able to purchase your own travelling pet menagerie where you can get ALL the pets that you own to follow you around at the same time. One would hope so.

How to differentiate between a moron and just a straight clueless idiot? Easy – when they pull out the pet use the old /facepalm emote. If they explain themselves by saying that they purchased it because Blizz gives money to chairty then you have your straight-up clueless idiot. If they offer no explanation then you’re just dealing with your basic moron. Either way it’s a win-win for you, apart from the fact that we’re going to be tripping over these things in the major cities for some time to come.