For its more than 10 years of existence, World of Warcraft has operated in two parallel economies: the in-game economy of gold redeemed for items, and the real-world economy of dollars (or other hard currency) redeemed for monthly playtime subscriptions. Now Blizzard says it’s considering bringing those two economies together through some sort of exchange in 2015.
“We are exploring the possibility of giving players a way to purchase tradable playtime tokens to trade for gold in-game with other players,” Blizzard writes in a preview of next year’s release. World of Warcraft plan. “Our current thinking on this is that it would give players a way to use their excess gold to cover part of their subscription costs, while giving players who may have less playing time an option to acquire gold from other players through a legitimate and safe system.” Blizzard goes on to say that many players have expressed interest in the feature and that the developers “agree that it could be a good fit for the game”.
As Blizzard points out, some other MMOs have a similar option. Eve online could be the prototypical example, where the relationship between in-game Aurum and pilot license extensions granted during the game helps create a robust economy where virtual items have real value. On the other end of the spectrum, many free-to-play games simply let players purchase in-game perks and currency directly with real money, a phenomenon that has made the term “pay-to-win” an epithet in most games. design circles.
Let’s not forget the last time Blizzard tried to integrate its real-world and in-game economies in a similar way. Diablo 3‘s Real Money Auction House was a debacle that almost single-handedly ruined the game’s balance before finally killing it off earlier this year. Outside of official exchanges like that, there have always been plenty of gray market ways to buy your way to riches in Blizzard games, through gold farmers or even players who will level up your account for you, for the right price.
Elsewhere in the 2015 update plans, Blizzard discusses upcoming features such as new legendary questlines, garrison improvements, increased focus on e-Sports tournaments, and new in-game models for certain character types.