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Blizzard confirm new World of Warcraft in-game purchase system, headed for Asia first


Cor, that happened fast. On Thursday, Blizzard were “exploring the possibility” of an in-game store for World of Warcraft. Today, they’ve got Plans. While the developers admit they’re “still pretty early in the exploration process”, they expect to roll out their new microtransaction system first in the Public Test Realm, then across Asia, and then – well, by then it’ll be too late to stop.

Blizzard community manager Micah ‘Bashiok’ Whiple took to the official WoW forums to take us through their thinking. In a $0.99 nutshell: convenience and ease of levelling

“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,” he said. “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.”

New kinds of items due to be tested in Asian regions will be based on player feedback, and will serve to further sand down that already-slick difficulty curve. Whiple cites the “experience buff to assist with the leveling process” spotted last week, 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,” he wrote.

“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.”

From Blizzard’s (or rather, Activision-Blizzard’s) perspective, there’s no question that WoW needs to find new routes to make more money. Subs are slipping away at a steady rate, and the next expansion will come too late to lure them back. But is this the right way?

Thanks, Gamespot.