World of Warcraft 'exploring' in-game purchases

Blizzard has confirmed that it's "exploring" in-game microtransactions for World of Warcraft, after an XP booster mentioning an in-game store was discovered in the latest test patch. It's not yet clear exactly what else it'll sell, and whether this is a global move or simply for regions friendlier to microtransactions.

18

Blizzard has confirmed that it's "exploring" in-game microtransactions for World of Warcraft, after an XP booster mentioning an in-game store was discovered in the latest test patch. It's not yet clear exactly what else it'll sell, and whether this is a global move or simply for regions friendlier to microtransactions.

The 5.4 public test realm patch includes the Enduring Elixir of Wisdom, a buff from an item which doubles XP earned by complete missions and killing monsters--and is tagged with "In Game Store" (via WoW Insider).

Blizzard senior community representative Jonathan 'Zarhym' Brown confirmed in a forum post that the developer is "currently exploring the possibility of adding a way for players in certain regions to make purchases directly within the game."

He explained, "As part of this process, elements related to this will be appearing on the PTR. We'll provide additional updates on our plans as development progresses."

An XP boost is a fairly innocuous microtransaction item, and certainly not rare for MMORPGs. And given how much Blizzard has accelerated levelling up over the years, it's hardly like boosters would destroy anything sacred. The mention that it's for "certain regions" may suggest it's intended for Asian markets, where such things are more common.

Let's remember that Blizzard does already sell in-game pets and mounts through its web storefront; moving all that in-game only seems sensible.

What will be interesting is discovering what other microtransaction doodads it's experimenting with. A more impetuous commenter would blurt out that it means WoW is going free-to-play soon, but let's not be so rash. While subscriber numbers are steadily falling and Blizzard does cite the rise of F2P MMOs as one cause, 8.3 million 'subscribers' (active players, really: the figure includes players in PC bangs and such who don't pay monthly subscription fees) is still nothing to scoff at.

Filed Under
From The Chatty
  • reply
    July 5, 2013 9:00 AM

    Alice O'Connor posted a new article, World of Warcraft 'exploring' in-game purchases.

    Blizzard has confirmed that it's "exploring" in-game microtransactions for World of Warcraft, after an XP booster mentioning an in-game store was discovered in the latest test patch. It's not yet clear exactly what else it'll sell, and whether this is a global move or simply for regions friendlier to microtransactions.

    • reply
      July 5, 2013 10:07 AM

      Ah, just shut the whole thing down. It's time has come, let it die gracefully instead of milking it out like a burnt out porn star.

      • reply
        July 5, 2013 10:17 AM

        It'd more like adapting, really. There's a ton of MMOs that already offer XP boost items for some nominal price or as bonuses of some sort.

        • reply
          July 5, 2013 11:11 AM

          It blows my mind that people would (and do, through black/grey markets) pay to level up faster in WoW of all places. The levels go so fast already in that game.

          • reply
            July 5, 2013 4:34 PM

            but leveling is boring. if this was like 3+ years ago when i still enjoyed the game i would have paid to level up a 4th 5th ect character instead of having to do it manually. theres only so many times you can go through the dead zones before you want to stab your eyeballs and being one of the guys that levels in 10.58 hours instead of 10.59 isn't my idea of a good time so they would have earned money from me and plenty of other people im guessing.

            • reply
              July 5, 2013 4:46 PM

              Duh, of course it's boring when you've played the game so many times and for so long. That doesn't make LEVELING itself boring.

              • reply
                July 7, 2013 5:21 PM

                leveling more than 1 or 2 characters is boring there does that make you feel better that I was specific

            • reply
              July 5, 2013 6:18 PM

              Leveling is boring, but running the same few raids, dungeons, and daily quests endlessly is a good time! Who wants a change of scenery?

        • reply
          July 5, 2013 12:24 PM

          I have a feeling they are just testing the waters to see what works best for their next MMO.

      • reply
        July 5, 2013 1:43 PM

        Where do you people come up with this shit, its still the most popular MMO on the market and probably generating more money then all the others combined. I am not sure about the money they are bringing in each month but one would guess its in the 10's of million

        • reply
          July 5, 2013 2:18 PM

          Relax, I was seriously suggesting they shut it down. It's a cash cow for them, everybody knows that. I'm just worried about the projected future of the game when they start testbedding all their different money making tricks on it until it feels like a Zynga game or something.

          The game is kind a titan relic of the old MMO genre (sort of the ultimate example of the genre it essentially killed off) and I have my issues with it, but part of me would like to see it just slowly go out to pasture like all the other MMO's. There's something a little bit sad about them strapping a new money machine on it to prop it up like some 3rd world ruler which has actually be dead for 3 years.

      • Zek legacy 10 years
        reply
        July 5, 2013 5:35 PM

        The fact that it's over the hill is all the more reason not to care at all about its integrity. The more gazillions of dollars they make out of it, the more they have to put into other games.

    • reply
      July 5, 2013 10:54 AM

      Odds that Blizzard is looking at micro-transactioning the whole game on top of the subscription?

      • reply
        July 5, 2013 11:00 AM

        I can't imagine they have any intention of ditching the subscription model.

      • reply
        July 5, 2013 11:27 AM

        The great majority of WoW's recent subscription losses have been in Asia, where free-to-play continually eats into their market share. I wouldn't be surprised if they adopted a full F2P business model in Asia only.

        • reply
          July 5, 2013 11:43 AM

          Hehe... I think Guild Wars 2 took some subscribers as well ; )

          • reply
            July 5, 2013 12:05 PM

            Guild Wars 2 made me realize how polished and well put together WoW is, so that's something.

            • reply
              July 5, 2013 2:25 PM

              Polish is basically what WoW is. All the major MMO's which came before it were tons of fun, but almost inaccessible (or undesirable) to non-hardcore gamers because they were fairly complex and not user friendly (I know because I played almost all of them). Blizzard basically took all the cool stuff from its predecessors, tossed out some of the more complex parts, and then polished the final product until it shined so bright... even non-gamers had to say "oooh...shiny!!". They made it stupid easy to get into by spoon feeding little portions of a fairly complex game to new users until they got the hang of it. And once they figured it out, they were already hooked.

              What they did was brilliant... it's just almost too bad they did it so well because eventually there was no more room for other MMO's. A least not while publishers expected them to live up to WoW.

      • reply
        July 5, 2013 11:58 AM

        i'd imagine they're just testing ideas for their next MMO, which might go F2P but use IAP for revenue

      • reply
        July 5, 2013 2:13 PM

        They've added a shop for virtual items quite a while ago (and made mad $$$ with it on top of subscription), going micro transaction is the next logical step. Subscription is nothing, Jon Snow.

        • reply
          July 5, 2013 5:17 PM

          Yeah seriously. I remember the first mount they put on that store. Sold over a million in a couple hours or something ridiculous.

          • reply
            July 6, 2013 6:19 AM

            A model that used recycled geometry and animations from an existing mount. Prior to that mount I thought people would have laughed at the $25 price but yeah, sold like hot cakes.

            Back in the day modders were giving away amazing models and skins just because they liked creating them. Now moddable games are an anomaly and people pay a premium for a pretty hat they like. It's cool that people are getting payed for their work now but I miss when people could create things just for notoriety.

    • reply
      July 5, 2013 2:42 PM

      This will definitely stop the hemorrhaging of subscriptions!

    • reply
      July 6, 2013 5:02 AM

      Wonder if they would make more money by going to the FTP Model. I bet all the millions who left would come back, and pay for an XP Boost, and any other Microtrans Stuff they would sell. I know I would come back just to be a Casual Player.

      • reply
        July 8, 2013 8:01 AM

        Let's assume that there are 5-ish million western world subs to WoW. Let's assume a price bottom of $12.99/mo (whatever is the rate you get for 6 months at a time renewals). That's 65 fucking million bucks a month of revenue.

        How many sparkle ponies do you suppose they would have to sell to cover a FTP transition?

        • reply
          July 8, 2013 8:02 AM

          To clarify, that's 2.6 million sparkle ponies a month at the $25 mark.

          • reply
            July 8, 2013 8:02 AM

            2.6 million sparkle ponies a month. Every month.

    • reply
      July 7, 2013 2:29 PM

      Rift (one of the most similiar games to WoW I have played ina long time) going F2P will probably hurt them some too. I was a massive WoW player for years, and since I stopped subing have been through quite a few F2P mmo's looking for a good one. GW2 held my attention for awhile, but Rift seems to be my new drug at the moment :)

Hello, Meet Lola