Blizzard Entertainment’s hugely popular World of Warcraft has run on subscription-based payments for years. Now, the MMORPG announced a new way for players to pay for their game time – WoW Tokens, which can be paid for with in-game gold.
Here’s how it works: Players with extra cash can pay real money for a WoW Token. They then sell that Token at the Auction House at a pre-set current market price. Players with extra in-game gold can buy the Token, which becomes Soulbound to them, and they then can redeemed the Token for 30 days of game time.
According to the announcement, “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.”
How much gold these WoW Tokens will sell for is determined by Blizzard themselves. Players who spend real money for a WoW Token can choose when they want to put it for up for sale, and they will be guaranteed that amount when the Token is bought by another player. When players attempt to buy Tokens with in-game gold, all of the Tokens at the Auction House will appear the same price, which is also controlled by Blizzard. Despite its store location, there will be no bidding involved.
Lead game designer Ion Hazzikostas told Polygon that WoW Tokens are not a sign of any movement towards a ‘free-to-play model.’ Instead, they are an answer to third-party gold sellers who often scam innocent players who wish to pay real money for in-game gold.
The official announcement hints to this as well, with an entire section of their FAQ devoted to addressing these third-parties in which they say: “The WoW Token allows players to exchange real money for gold in a secure and sanctioned way . . . we hope the Token can help make World of Warcraft a safer and more enjoyable game for all of our players.”
More specific details on how WoW Tokens pricing are set will be revealed at a later date, but according to Hazzikostas the prices will be partly determined so that they are competitive to third-party gold sellers. As of now there is no set date to when Tokens will be added to the game, but it will be available in the Americas (including ANZ realms), Europe, Taiwan, Korea, and China.