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Blizzard Entertainment | Official Site
MMORPG | Setting:Fantasy | Status:Final  (rel 11/23/04)  | Pub:Blizzard Entertainment
PVP:Yes | Distribution:Download,Retail | Retail Price:$19.99 | Pay Type:Hybrid | Monthly Fee:$14.99
System Req: PC Mac | ESRB:TOut of date info? Let us know!

Play to Play for Free

World of Warcraft Columns - By Reza Lackey on March 02, 2015

Play to Play for Free

Big news today for World of Warcraft players. Blizzard has announced plans to allow players to purchase game time with gold! Similar to the PLEX system in EVE or C.R.E.D.D. in Wildstar, you’ll soon be able to purchase a WoW Token from the auction house using gold that can be consumed for 30 days of game time. This is huge.

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Players will also be able to purchase a WoW Token from the in-game shop using real money to then sell on the auction house if they would like to make some gold. The gold value of a WoW Token can fluctuate based on its current market value which will be determined by supply and demand. This provides a safe and secure way for players to purchase gold without turning to shady 3rd party farmers who could potentially compromise an account.

The real money cost of the WoW Token has yet to be announced but I imagine it will fall somewhere near the current monthly subscription cost of the game.

It’s important to note that these tokens are sold for a fixed buyout price on the auction house with no bidding involved. Players do not set the buyout price either as the cost is determined entirely by its current market value.

When you go to place a WoW Token on the auction house you will be quoted a price based on the current market value. When you put the token up for auction your quote will be locked in and that's exactly how much gold you will receive when another player buys the token, even if the market price changes before it’s sold.

Once a player purchases a WoW Token from the auction house it will become Soulbound and can be consumed at any time for game time, there's no expiration or decay of the token.

Basically it all boils down to this: Blizzard is creating a way for Warcraft players to safely exchange game-time for gold and vice versa.

I am completely in favor of this payment system. It offers players with a surplus of gold an opportunity to pay for their subscription costs and those looking to purchase gold a safe way of doing so. There are a few immediate benefits to this system. First, it will hopefully cut down on in-game spam from gold sellers and also decrease the amount of compromised accounts players experience when attempting to buy or sell gold. It will also be great for player retention. I imagine many players will be able to come back to the game.

During a quick chat with Ion Hazzikostas, Lead Game Designer, he brought up a great example of how the WoW Token could really help players and guilds. We’ve all seen players need to take a break from the game, whether guildies or friends, because of financial circumstances. They may need to take a month or two off for a variety of reasons but with the WoW Token system a guild could give such a player gold from the guild bank to help pay for their subscription. I love this idea of players being able to help one another.

The one downside that I can think of is how this will affect the cost of in-game items that cost gold such as mounts or pets. There’s a possibility that Blizzard could increase their gold cost to incentivize players to sell WoW Tokens (and thus spend real money) to earn more gold to afford these items. Hopefully we don’t see this happen but it is a possibility worth thinking about.

The big question remaining is how much will WoW Tokens cost in terms of both gold and real money. How much gold would you be willing to spend to for 30 days of game time? That question I think could help answer how much real money people would be willing to spend for a WoW Token.

What do you think about the WoW Token and this new payment method? How do you think it will affect the game? Let us know in the comments below!