Blizzard Considers In-Game Exchange to Connect Game Currency with Subscription Time
Blizzard wants to give you the opportunity to trade those stacks of gold for more hours in front of the computer.
In a post today on the Battle.net forums, WoW community manager Micah Whiple announced a slew of new "long-term projects" that the development team has in store for WoW in 2015. The announcement was listed under "New Ways to Play," and states:
We’re exploring the possibility of giving players a way to buy tradable game-time tokens for the purpose of exchanging them in-game with other players for gold.
Our current thought on this is that it would give players a way to use their surplus gold to cover some of their subscription cost, while giving players who might have less play time an option for acquiring gold from other players through a legit and secure system.
Reasons for a Token Exchange?
Up until now, World of Warcraft has kept its two systems of exchange separate. There's the in-game currency system for facilitating buying, selling and trading of items, and the real-world payment system for WoW subscriptions.
Looking at it a different way, Blizzard might be trying to find another method of currency control. The company already has a variety of mechanisms by which to pull out gold from a server's economy (it usually builds up because quests give flat-rate gold rewards), but this game-token exchange system provides an interesting way to "spread the wealth" among the server, instead of just sucking it all out.
MMOs such as EVE Online and Wildstar already have such exchanges, so while Blizzard would certainly have the challenge of implementing the system on such a large scale, it certainly wouldn't be uncharted economic waters.