Diablo 3‘s auction house, Blizzard’s first attempt at a real money for in-game items system, was a pretty dramatic failure, but that isn’t stopping them from giving it one more go.
The company has announced that World of Warcraft will be getting a “token” system that will allow players to exchange in-game gold for game time, or on the flip side, buy gold using real money.
How does this system work?
Basically, players can now purchase a “Wow Token” through the in-game shop using real cash. If used, this item will add 30 days of game time to their account.
Instead of using it though, you can put a Wow Token on the Auction House at the current market price. Players interested in purchasing game time can then buy your token, at the previously set market price, using gold. The Auction House will be the only way to trade and sell Tokens.
This effectively allows players to use real money to buy in-game gold, or use gold to purchase additional game time for their account.
This sound risky…
After the D3 Auction House fiasco, I’ll agree, but I assume that Blizzard learned some important lessons there that they’re putting to use here.
While the idea of letting players use real money to effect the in-game economy sounds pretty iffy, there is some precedent. Games like EVE Online and Wildstar have similar systems in place, and nothing has caught on fire over in their communities quite yet.
From a gameplay standpoint, this will also allow players who spend a lot of time in WoW, and have excess gold lying around, to get a discounted (or even a complimentary) subscription to the game. Meanwhile, those who need a leg up now have a legit way to buy gold with money, instead of going through a dubious gold farming service.
So, do you think this is Blizzard trying to put a stop to gold farming?
More than likely (among other things of course). In their announcement, Blizzard flat out states that their goal is to provide “a secure, legitimate way to acquire gold that doesn’t involve the use of unauthorized third-party gold-selling services—one of the primary sources of account compromises.”
I’m sure gold farmers, and all of the scam risks that they entail, have been a major thorn in Blizzard’s side for years. This could be a pretty straightforward solution to cutting them out of the loop.
How much will the Tokens cost?
Blizzard hasn’t announced this yet. I’m sure there’s still quite a bit of balancing work that needs to be done, as this value will determine how much gold players are willing to give up for them.
When can we start buying/selling Tokens?
We also have no idea on this issue. A release date will likely be announced once Blizzard nails down a price point.