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World of Warcraft Column: In-game Store and Movie Update

By Reza Lackey on July 15, 2013

In this week’s edition of the WoW Factor we’re going to take a look at the recently announced in-game store that will soon enter testing in certain markets and take a look at some Hollywood news that may impact the upcoming Warcraft film.

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A New Way to Shop

Whenever a new build of an upcoming patch hits the Private Test Realm, the WoW community devours it, trying to data mine as much as they possibly can for juicy bits of goodness. Sometimes the discoveries will make it through to the shipment of the patch or be cut beforehand. Sometimes what the community finds are remnants of features from long ago or the bones of something coming far down the pipeline. The PTR’s are very fluid and things can and and always will be in flux so when interesting discoveries are made, we must always take them with a grain of salt. Recently however, data miners discovered something a little more unique - an in-game store.

The item that was data mined on the PTR is the Enduring Elixir of Wisdom which is an elixir that increases XP gains by 100% from monster kills and quest turn-ins. What makes this item even more fascinating is that it is listed as being available from an in-game store which up until this point hasn’t even been rumored. As you can imagine, this finding triggered a variety of reactions across the community ranging from excitement of having more options for convenience (such as this elixir) to fear of what microtransactions might bring to the future of our game.

Soon after this discovery spread across the internet, Bashiok over on the official WoW forums confirmed that an in-game store was indeed in the works. The current plan is to roll out this XP boosting elixir, as well as a way to gain Lesser Charms of Good Fortune, first in the Asian market. There is no indication if any other markets will see these items. However, that’s not to say that other convenience items or cosmetic upgrades couldn’t find their way into a new in-game store. As mentioned in Bashiok's post, this new store has the potential to also stock the mounts and pets that are currently available on the battle.net store. Even if all we see in this new store is mounts and pets, it would make things much easier for potential buyers as they wouldn’t need to leave the client to make a purchase.

Obviously though the idea of microtransactions coming to WoW raises several questions about what we can expect to see and how it could potentially alter the way we play and perceive the game. Assuming that Blizzard - and I imagine they would never - avoids a “pay-to-win” scenario, what would you find acceptable in an in-game store? I’m very interested to see what you think about this significant update so let me know in the comments below!

Warcraft Film Update

Last week it was announced that Legendary Pictures has struck a new partnership with NBC Universal leaving behind Warner Brothers beginning sometime in 2014 according to Deadline (via slashfilm). As of now it’s unclear how this new deal will affect the Warcraft film but it could offer a glimpse of a unique way that the film could be marketed as we approach it’s release date (which is still unannounced) and that’s through Universal’s theme parks. How much control WB will have over the films distribution and marketing is still up in the air but if Universal could have their way, it would be a good bet that there would be some theme park tie-ins for the film. I’m not talking about an entire land or ride but rather smaller experiences such as themed food, merchandise or even a chance to see props from the film on future excursions of the back lot tour. Perhaps even some cross promotion between the game and the parks as well, who knows!

For those of you worried that this new deal between Legendary Pictures and NBC Universal could adversely affect the future of the film, it’s worth noting that Legendary is primarily responsible for funding the film so it would appear that this deal shouldn’t slow things down too much, if at all. I’ll do my best to keep you posted on the progress of the film as we learn more. I’m anticipating more Warcraft film related announcements at BlizzCon this fall.

This week’s throwback item: Seal of Archmagus

Follow me on Twitter @rezalackey

Reza Lackey / Reza is a giant nerd who loves video games, board games, film and way too many other things. Works in the film industry, on some startups and thinks science is cool. Also launches rockets.

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