In World of Warcraft you can buy pets that serve no purpose other than following you around. Most can be earned in the game by completing various quests or participating in any one of the many holiday events Blizzard hosts every year. The pets in WoW are no more than accessories for your character and in some ways could be considered status symbols, be it a small one.
Which leads to the next step, if pets are Cubic Zirconium then that would make your mounts Diamond Earrings? Mounts are the fastest means to travel in World of Warcraft and once you obtain a 330% speed increase mount there is no more room to improve upon, though the 100% is far more common. Why then do players spend so much time and effort trying to obtain rare and hard to get mounts? Simple, they are status symbols.
Just as in real life every video game has certain items that are so rare or difficult to obtain that simply owning it sets you apart from everyone else in the room, just like those over priced earrings sold in Beverly Hills, California. What’s the point though? Well that’s easy, it makes us feel good. My wife enjoys bragging about the jewelry I buy her even if she personally doesn’t care for it, it’s all about status symbols. Most guys in college refer to it as ‘peacocking’ by doing something to set them apart or above the competition much like a peacock’s feathers do for him.
In EverQuest I wasn’t immune to status symbols; I wore the Crismon Robe of Alendine for many months and proudly flaunted it to anyone who would look. At that it was a very rare drop in the Plane of Fear, we got it off Cazic Thule one of the harder gods at the time. The problem is in most MMOs now your worth is being judged on these status items rather than your merit or skill. Just because I had the Crismon Robe didn’t make me a better Enchanter, I didn’t solo Cazic. It took an entire guild to take him down and that item was given to me based on the guilds opinion of my performance. I had actually very little to do with obtaining it other than to be present.
In the end they are all just frivolous items we get to make ourselves feel better. Yes it feels good to be different and have that rare item. Just make sure you don’t judge your worth or other players worth simply on the size of their diamond earrings.