Microtransactions? In World Of Warcraft? It Could Happen

In-game purchases? In World of Warcraft? Could happen, says a Blizzard community manager. Earlier this week, World of Warcraft players on the game's public test server discovered an item called the Enduring Elixir of Wisdom. The item description: "Experience gained from killing monsters and completing quests increased by 100%."

In other words, it makes grinding twice as fast. This isn't the type of item you'd just buy at a store with in-game currency: it's a purchase-with-real-money, "pay-to-win" feature that represents a lot of what people hate about microtransactions in online games. And although World of Warcraft already sells virtual pets and mounts for real money, they're mostly aesthetic, and you buy them outside of the game.

The thought of "pay-to-win" buttons freaked out a whole bunch of WoW forum users, and Blizzard community manager Zarhym didn't do much to quell those fears while posting on battle.net yesterday.

"We are currently exploring the possibility of adding a way for players in certain regions to make purchases directly within the game," Zarhym wrote. "As part of this process, elements related to this will be appearing on the [Public Test Realm]. We’ll provide additional updates on our plans as development progresses."

World of Warcraft is still gigantic, but it's regularly losing subscribers: is Blizzard going to try to milk more from their longrunning cash cow? Is the next move to make WoW free-to-play? We reached out to Blizzard this morning for comment, and we'll update should they have any updates for us.


Comments

    "In certain regions"
    Probably in the declining Asian regions.

    XP boost is the only thing I'm ok with being sold. Has no correlation whatsoever on your skill, ability to kill, etc since the game itself brackets all of its modes into levels. Nail in coffin would be gear =/

      Yeah I wouldn't really consider this "pay to win" it's more "pay to skip", it isn't actually going to make you win, it's just there for impatient people wanting to skip the grind, I'm 100% ok with that

    Honestly, if a game is going to implement a pay2win option I think it should free to play.

    This is being tested for the Chinese/Korean market, where the payment model is based on short term time cards, not a sub. I suspect Kotaku already knew that this wasnt happening in Western markets, but posted this open ended article anyway in order to drive up clicks and bring people like me out in the open.........Mission accomplished.

    Is this really an issue for anyone? As others have said above hitting max level is hardly the end, it's kinda like you're starting Part 2 of the game. Blizzard regularly do things to speed up leveling anyway (heirlooms, random xp buffs, lowering XP required in expansion, etc) this is just another option for lazy people or people who want tons of alts.

    I guess this is a way to encourage people to keep playing rather than logging out for a week or so to fill up their Rest XP, if it even still exists. (I haven't played for years)

    WoW is already kind of pay to win in some areas. Like anything which is boe, you can buy for gold, and gold you can buy for money... at least in roundabout ways. For example... you buy the boe pet off the Blizzard store, you sell the boe pet in game for gold, you then use that gold to buy boe items which improve your character. Or someone carries you in pvp or pve content if you pay them enough. In terms of this elixir... there is a 300% version which drops from a rare in the Dread Wastes... which is BoA. So you could farm that or get someone to farm that for you. Oh and if you had money, the RAF thing is garbagely stupid for levelling... because not only are your exp gains like triple but you can grant levels and get a mount too.

    Pay to power level would help get rid of power leveling services.

    I can imagine some people would pay to have a new character start at 85 so they only need to play the new content.

      I'm honestly surprised they haven't implemented that yet.
      It makes sense, though. They were holding back. It'll come out when they do the full F2P conversion.

      I can see it now... All those transmog limitations? Pay in the store to lift them. Extra bank tabs for your personal bank. Increase the limit on number of items in mails. Improve the size of your default starting bag. Non-standard class/race combos (gnome pallies? Blood elf druids?). Start a character from 85, or even 90. Mounts. Pets. Pet battle supplies. Tabards and cloaks. HATS. Early guildless access to heirloom gear.
      All RIPE for the cash shop!

      When WoW goes F2P, the impact on all the other F2P MMOs could well be devastating. Way to extend your life there, WoW. Good on you for buying Titan a few extra years.

    (non-related) In my sleepy state, I read the article title as "Microtyrannosaurus Transactions..." think the image lead my brain a little there.

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