Jagex has announced a new scheme for the long-running MMO Runescape, dubbed "Pay-through-Play." It relies on bonds, creating an in-game economy that can be used for premium content and other goodies. It seems squarely aimed at stamping out gold-farming.
Bonds will cost $5 in real money, but can then be traded freely like any normal in-game item for gold, items and whatnot. Once you hold one, you can exchange it for 14 days of premium membership, eight 'Squeal of Fortune' spins for random gear, or 160 microtransaction currency RuneCoins. If you have multiple Bonds, you can use them towards tickets to the annual RuneFest gathering in London.
"The launch of Bonds for RuneScape is a really positive move, which will improve the game's economy and give players more choice in how they get membership," said executive producer Phil Mansell, in the announcement. "We care as passionately about RuneScape as the game's community, and are committed to laying the foundations for the next 10 years of RuneScape growth. This update is a firm step in that direction. Many players will have accrued a small fortune's worth of GP and valuable items in-game over their years of playing RuneScape. By introducing Bonds, millions of dedicated players will now have the choice to fund their membership and other services for free through the exchange of in-game wealth for Bonds."