The lights are on
Blizzard says it's in the first steps of introducing an in-game microtransaction store for World of Warcraft, allowing players to purchase items that will help in leveling their players.
The company says the store will start up initially in Asia, but that it does intend to spread it to all of the game's territories.
Here's more info on the upcoming store from the Blizzard official forums from a community manager named Bashiok:
Thanks for all the feedback so far, everyone. We're still pretty early in the exploration process, but we did want to go into more detail about our rationale for introducing an in-game store, as well as provide some insight into what you might ultimately see available there.
For players who are already interested in the in-game items we offer, such as Pet Store pets and mounts, the benefits of an in-game store are pretty clear. We think everyone would appreciate the convenience of being able to make such purchases without having to leave the game, and ultimately that's our long-term goal for the system, though there's quite a bit of work involved in retrofitting those existing items into the new system.
First, we'll be testing the in-game store with some new kinds of items we're looking into introducing (in Asian regions, at the outset) based on player feedback: specifically, an experience buff to assist with the leveling process, as well as an alternate way to acquire Lesser Charms of Good Fortune. We've had a lot of requests from players in different regions for convenience-oriented items such as these, and as with other new ideas we've introduced as WoW has evolved-including Pet Store pets, mounts, and more-your feedback plays a hugely important part in determining what we add to the game.
Ultimately it's still too early in the process to make any final determinations about our plans, but in the meantime, we hope you'll check out the in-game store once it's implemented on the PTR and let us know what you think.
Our TakeSpending money to help your avatar level up is commonplace in Asia, but it will be really interesting to see the outcry when the store eventually comes to the West. However, this late in the game's life, such changes away from the core – especially as player numbers naturally dip – can't be unexpected.
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This was only a matter of time. I personally don't mind, but they have to figure out what should and shouldn't be in that store. Anything that could potentially be game-breaking like raid gear, potions, high level items, and all of that should not be included in the store. Mounts, cosmetic items, even experience buffs to help level alts would be okay. But this has the potential of killing off the fan-base if people can exploit these transactions.
Wildstar, don't fail me now.
As easy as leveling currently is, it no doubt still feels like a slog for many people since it requires having to grind through a total of 90 levels. I'm sure an experience booster will help encourage more people to try leveling alts, especially those who don't have a bunch of heirlooms or a friend to RaF with.
So glad I convinced my friend not to go back to this game.
I understand companies exist to make money, but you have to wonder how this will tarnish their reputation as well as the game they created in the long run.
Then again, that game came out like 10 years ago, so who really cares what they do to it at this point?
Nifty. Besides, this is a feature there for those who want it. No one HAS to buy it. But of course the community here and there blows it out of proportion per usual when none of them know how easy levelly ALREADY is. Le sigh.