By Wes Smith
World of Warcraft announced today the introduction of Game Tokens that players will be able to redeem for gold or game time.
Amid a changing landscape in MMO payment methods, the change means WoW will join EVE Online and other games in allowing players to purchase playtime using in-game currency via user-based economics on the in-game auction house.
According to an FAQ released on the official website, Game Tokens will be sold for real money through the Blizzard shop. Players can then buy and sell these tokens in WoW‘s auction houses with prices fluctuating based on supply-and-demand. Once bought by another user, they will become Soulbound (usable only by that player) and redeemable for either 30-days of game time or a shifting amount of gold based on the economy.
“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 Token will be making its debut in an upcoming patch,” Blizzard posted in their FAQ.
World of Warcraft remains one of the most popular MMO’s in the world but remains one of the last holdouts of an older monthly subscription model. Modern counterparts often rely on a free-to-play models with in-app purchases or a one-time purchasing fee. Though WoW has seen a resurgence of players since the release of its newest expansion, Warlords of Draenor, many players have wondered when Blizzard would follow suit on its pricing model.
The Token system is similar to that in EVE Online and ArcheAge,both of which use monthly subscriptions for content but allow players to purchase those subscriptions with in-game items instead of using real money. Since someone must originally purchase those items in the first place, lower-income or younger players are not necessarily locked out of playing a game if they make enough in-game currency. It is essentially a subsidy system.
Blizzard did not release a fixed date on when Game Tokens would be included, only stating that they would be implemented in a future patch.
You can read the entire FAQ on the official World of Warcraft site.