Blizzard has announced that it will soon be introducing a system in World of Warcraft to allow players to sell game time for in-game gold on the auction house – effectively meaning that players are able to spend real money for in-game currency.
The new system is rougly analogous to purchasing PLEX in Eve Online. Players can purchase a Token for real money, before selling it on the Auction House for in-game gold. Once purchased by a player, the Token becomes soulbound – preventing resales at higher price. Once redeemed, the Token grants the owner an additional 30 days of game time.
“The WoW Token was created to give players with lots of extra gold the option to use it to help cover their subscription cost, and give those who want to purchase gold a way to do so from fellow players through a secure, easy-to-use system,” the developer explained via a post on Battle.net.
“When you visit the Auction House, you’ll be presented with the current market price for a WoW Token in your game region—there’s no bidding involved, and all Tokens in a game region are priced the same at any given moment. If you decide to purchase one, you’ll receive it in your mailbox, and can then immediately redeem it for game time,” the post continues.
The value of the Token has yet to be announced, though presumably it will be about the same – if not slightly more – than the current subscription fee of $14.99/ £9.99/ €12.99. Blizzard said that a large part of the reason for the change is to combat the problem of account theft, as well as the prevalence of unauthorized third-party gold-selling services. It will also help to stabilize the game’s economy, which has suffered from significant price inflation over the years.
Lastly, the addition of Tokens will address concerns that WoW is one of the few remaining MMOs to feature a mandatory subscription fee – thought to be one of the reasons that the game has seen a decline in player numbers over the last few years.
Just in case you’re worried, the Tokens can’t be deleted once acquired – a relief if you’re one of those players who just clears out their inventory at vendors en masse. And Token sellers won’t be able to set the auction price, either – preventing more unscrupulous players from taking advantage.
Juding by the comments over on Battle.net, players seem to be generally in favor of the move – though some will no doubt argue that it takes the game closer to becoming pay-to-win.