SEARCH REVIEWS    LIVING WITH LATE FEES    FEATURES    LINKS    BIO    MISSION    EMAIL    MAIN PAGE >


World of Warcraft Plush Pets - Blizzard Entertainment
Wind Rider Cub and Gryphon Hatchling

World of Warcraft plush Wind Rider Cub by Blizzard


I don't play World of Warcraft. I understand it and it's appeal - I did play it's predecessors for years, but I know longer have the kind of free time to put towards a game of its complexity or depth.

But that doesn't mean I can't appreciate the game, or it's various offshoots. And with any game with this sort of popularity, collectibles and extras of all kinds are sure to follow. Some of the best have been from DC Direct in their action figure series, but they aren't the only ones providing goodies. Blizzard, the makers of the game (as well as hits like Diablo and Starcraft) have started a new line of plush pets, based on the creatures in the game.

The first two are the Wind Rider Cub (for the game virgins, that's the one that looks like a lion) and the Gryphon Hatchling (the one that looks eagle-ish). These are similar to Webkinz in a way, as they come with a 'loot code' on the tags that can be used to activate their game counterpart. Once you've activated the little guy, he'll remain available for any characters on that single software license.
World of Warcraft plush Wind Rider Cub and Griphon Hatchling by Blizzard
World of Warcraft plush Wind Rider Cub by Blizzard
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
World of Warcraft plush Griphon Hatchling by Blizzard
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
World of Warcraft plush Wind Rider Cub by Blizzard
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
World of Warcraft plush Griphon Hatchling by Blizzard
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
World of Warcraft plush Wind Rider Cub and Griphon Hatchling by Blizzard

Blizzard has offered the digital version of pets already, usually at a $10 price point. They've also offered some plush characters, without the digital component. It only makes sense that they are looking to marry the two, bridging the online and offline experience.

These are both available through the Blizzard Store for $25 each right now, and I suspect that we'll see additional plush released over time.

Packaging - ****
A great score for plush packaging? What's this? Why, yes, it is the exception to the rule!

Blizzard sends these your way in their own little black bag, just like a fine bottle of single malt scotch. It doesn't matter if you're an adult picking these up or a kid getting them as a present, you'll be able to find something cool to do with this bag beyond just carrying your adorable plush around.

Design - ***1/2
The Blizzard website advertises these as 'ridiculously cute'. I'd have to agree with that statement wholeheartedly. Just like adorable babe tigers and grizzly bears, these little guys (assuming they're 'guys') show only a hint of the ferocious creatures they'll become.

From the soft tufts of hair on their heads to the cute little pads on their feet, these two are about as adorable as you can get.

Both are posed in a 'give me a hug' pose, which looks sweet here, but would be pretty menacing if they were all grown up.

These are fairly large as well, coming in at around 9" tall. They dwarf other similar plush, such as Webkinz.

Quality - ****
These are a very, very high quality plush, with tight, strong stitching and the best materials.

While most plush are made up of just one or two materials, these have several. There's the usually soft fur, but also longer hair-like fur, tight patterns (like on the eyes and symbols) created with stitching, softer felt-like material for the claws, and even some nylon material for the lining of the wings.  All of these materials are high quality, and the assembly is excellent. These are plush animals that could start their life with a new born, and still be their regular bedtime pal in Kindergarten.

Online Extras - ***
Obviously, I'm not the best person to determine just how useful the online aspect of the pet is. Technically, it works as advertised, and Blizzard has had success with marketing these sorts of non-combat pets in digital form already.

It is important to note though that these characters are intended to be cute more than anything else. They hang around, they may do or say amusing things at times, but they won't effect the game itself.

I understand Blizzard's intention here, since allowing people to purchase objects outside of the game that could effect outcome does not align with their strategy. 

Still, it does surprise me somewhat that these slightly silly characters are as well received as they are. I think it would be great if I could purchase a weapon, (The Sword of a Thousand Truths, for example), and not only be able to use it in the game but get a sixth scale die cast metal version!  But obviously, this would not be in alignment with their strategy, and I certainly understand why.

The online code arrives on a card attached to the animal, similar to the online codes you get with Webkinz.

Value - **
At $25 each, the price is a tad steep for a plush. I understand where they get the pricing though, since they charge $15 for the plushes without a digital counterpart, and $10 for the digital pets without the plush counterpart. Add the two together, and what do you get?

Still, most folks are used to that $15 price point, which even Webkinz seem to be hitting these days. It might be a hard sell to convince players that it's worth the full combo price for these.

Things to Watch Out For -
Remember the Simpsons episode where Bart was the Shadow Knight...until his mom starts playing the game and embarrasses him? I'm just sayin'...

Overall - ***1/2
While the attraction of the non-combat cutesy characters within WoW is lost on me, I have to say that as plush toys these are extremely well made. The quality is obvious the minute you pick them up, and fans of the concept are sure to be pleased with both or either.

I have to admit that if they did a plush of the Pandaren Monk, I'd have to snag one of those. As it is, I'm itching to get one of the Pandaren Brewmaster figures, but I haven't quite been able to convince myself that I can part with the $50...yet.

Score Recap:
Packaging - ****
Design - ***1/2
Quality - ****
Online Extras - ***
Value - **
Overall - ***1/2

Where to Buy -
You can pick these up directly from Blizzard. They have the Wind Rider Cub and Gryphon Hatchling in stock, $25 each.

Related Links -
I checked out the first wave of action figures when they hit. They've continued to produce some terrific figures in the series since, and they are well worth checking out!

Discussion:
Want to chat about this review?  Try out one of these terrific forums where I'll be discussing it!

Enjoyed this review? Be sure to head back to the main page to find thousands more just like it!



Share this review with others! 
  Digg it!    StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble It!      Reddit

World of Warcraft plush Wind Rider Cub and Griphon Hatchling by Blizzard


This product was provided free for the review by the manufacturer. Photos and text by Michael Crawford.

This page copyright 2000 - 2009, Michael Crawford. All rights reserved. Click here for copyright permissions! Hosted by 1 Hour Hosting.com