World of Warcraft will soon sell WoW Tokens, a new in-game item that lets players exchange gold and game time between each other.
Similar to Eve Online's Plex, WoW Tokens will be sold from the in-game shop for real money. Players can then sell one on the Auction House for gold at the current market price.
When you buy a WoW Token from the Auction House for gold it becomes Soulbound. It can then be redeemed for 30 days of game time.
It's an interesting move for Blizzard and World of Warcraft, which remains the biggest subscription MMO in the world over 10 years after it launched. Effectively, it enables play for free, if you have enough in-game gold.
There is a degree of vagueness around the virtual economy players can expect WoW Tokens to create, however. From the Auction House you can buy a WoW Token immediately for the current gold buyout price as there's no bidding involved. When you put a WoW Token up for sale you'll be quoted the amount of gold you'll receive once someone buys it, so you're guaranteed to get that amount no matter how the market moves.
What that amount is, however, is up in the air. Pricing details will be announced at a later date, Blizzard said.
"The gold value of a Token will be determined dynamically based on supply and demand," Blizzard explained.
WoW Tokens are also an obvious attempt to combat third-party gold sellers, which have been rife within World of Warcraft since its launch.
"We've heard feedback from players that they'd be interested in a secure, legitimate way to acquire gold that doesn't involve the use of unauthorised third-party gold-selling services," Blizzard said, "one of the primary sources of account compromises.
"We also know players who've amassed large amounts of gold through regular play would be interested in the ability to trade some to other players in exchange for game time, helping cover their subscription costs. The WoW Token feature gives players on both sides of the equation a secure and straightforward way to make that exchange. It opens up a new kind of payment option for World of Warcraft players, and we hope that it will also help lead to fewer account compromises and a better game experience overall."
WoW Tokens are set to arrive with an upcoming patch.