Better late than never: WoW players who want an adorable baby flying eagle-horse-reindeer-thing as a companion can help Japanese relief efforts at the same time.
Though the world may have turned its attention to other things these days, the nation of Japan is still rebuilding after the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami that hit last March. Gamers and developers alike have banded together to help financially, and WoW maker Blizzard is finally throwing its hat into the ring to do the same with a special in-game pet.
The little Cenarion Hatchling pet is a miniature version of the hippogryphs (hippogriffs? Blast, I hate that word) already in the game as flying mounts and monsters. It's cute as the proverbial dickens, and will fly around behind your character wherever he or she goes.
The Hatchling will run players $10, and once purchased will give the little pet to all characters - past, present and future - on a World of Warcraft account. 100% of the sales will be donated to Red Cross relief efforts in Japan. Considering that WoW players previously raised $1.1 million on sales of the Pandaren Monk in-game pet - of which only $5 went to charity per sale - one can only assume that this will result in a lot of money where it's needed.
I love this new pet, and it's for a great cause, if a little bit slow on the uptake - let it never be said that Blizzard was quick to act, after all. My only (minor) disappointment is that I'd have loved something more Japanese-themed, like the hats Valve added to TF2. Maybe a pet tanuki or nine-tailed fox?
Oh, I know - Blizzard should have called Studio Ghibli and gotten permission to create an in-game pet modeled after Totoro. I would have bought, like, ten of those.