Soon the top-dog in the MMO world will only be taxing your virtual wallet, as opposed to your real one. World of Warcraft, the MMORPG, has been running as a subscription based service since day one. While over time, various ways of paying for game-time popped up, Blizzard always steered clear of a solution many avid fans of the game were asking for: buying game-time with gold.

Gold, WoW’s primary in-game currency, can be used to buy most things encountered in stores throughout Azeroth and Outland. There are some specialized currencies, Gold is what keeps the wheels of the community powered economy turning. The game’s auction house is a bustling marketplace, where players can buy and sell almost any items amongst each other, scouring the interface for the most favorable auctions and bidding with fervor. It has been many years since I played WoW, and I recall an extremely active and competitive market, and according what I’ve heard since, it has only increased in complexity and flourished further through the years after I quit.

Soon, Blizzard will make the option to buy so called “WoW tokens” for real-life currency, which can then be sold on the auction house, bought buy anyone for in-game gold, not having to spend a cent of money. Each token can then be redeemed for 30 days of game-time. With this move, Blizzard effectively solved two of World of Warcraft’s primary issues, as now not only is game-time available for purchase using only in-game currency, but the illegal black-market selling of gold for real money is also effectively eliminated.

Differing from regular items, tokens won’t be bid upon, but rather there will be a global price that will fluctuate based on supply/demand as well as average selling price. If you find the then-current set sale price agreeable, you sell your token to the auction house and get paid instantly in in-game gold. The players looking to buy game-time can check the current market price of tokens, and buy them at the set price from the auction house’s supply of tokens sold by those who bought them for real currency. This way the auction house steps in as a third party, as opposed to being a go-between for a transaction between two players. The tokens will be made soulbound once bought for gold off of the AH, to prevent anyone form manipulating and playing the market.


“Buying gold from third-party services negatively impacts the game experience for everyone,” Blizzard says. “The overwhelming majority of the gold these services provide comes from stolen player accounts, halting the victims’ ability to play the game and contribute to their guilds. On top of this, gold selling companies often farm resources using hack programs, sell fake product codes as a scam, and spam entire realms with ads to buy gold, disrupting the game in very real ways.”

“The WoW Token allows players to exchange real money for gold in a secure and sanctioned way—together with the ongoing efforts of our developers, support staff, and anti-hack teams to stop the exploits these companies use and help players who have become victims of their operations, we hope the Token can help make World of Warcraft a safer and more enjoyable game for all of our players.”

Seems like Blizzard is trying really hard to get me, and other former players, back into World of Warcraft, first with the recent expansion being, reportedly, really good and returning to the original feel and atmosphere of the game, and now the option to, basically, play without having to pay real money every month.

Keep it up Blizz, you’re on the right track!


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