World of Warcraft Going Buy-To-Play?!

New game-time tokens to sell for gold is coming to World of Warcraft.

The most startling of news was revealed before the World of Warcraft team headed off for the holidays that could bring a huge change to the game. Blizzard Entertainment is toying with the idea of players being able to purchase game time with in-game currency.

A new tradeable game-time token will be added in Warcraft. Players will be able to exchange them with others in-game for gold. Those who can sell these items will be able to set their own price, most likely through the Auction House.

The idea is similar to Wildstar's system where players purchased these game time tokens for $19.99 to sell through the Commodities Exchange for gold. But Carbine had another currency set up to keep the gold market desireable through CREDD.

This was to curtail any gold farmers and the perception of selling in-game wealth for actual money. And it appealed to two types of players: those rich with time and those rich with money.

But Warcraft doesn't have a secondary currency to avoid the perception of greed. Many will see a chance for those who have a comfortable job the opportunity to practically buy gold with the game-time tokens. And several will view those who bought their wealth as casual players too "lazy" to spend a few hours farming gold.

Instead, players should see the game-time token similar to that of the TCG loot cards that had unique mounts and pets. Players who could afford to purchase these cards were rewarded with the option to sell them on the Auction House for a hefty fee--usually straight to the gold cap of 999,999 gold 99 silver and 99 copper.

However, whereas the TCG loot cards were pretty rare to find, the game-time token will be available for all to purchase. Meaning that anyone with some extra cash will be capable of selling these to fatten up their gold count in a pinch.

It will be interesting to see how these will sell compared to TCG items on the Auction House. And it will be interesting to see what kind of an impact this could have on World of Warcraft's economy.


I'm a freelance writer. Officially, my job is to cover the latest World of Warcraft news. But really, I help bring insight to development changes for Warcraft players and theorize the in-game story.

Published Jan. 6th 2015
  • Konfess.
    This is meant to appease the P4F gamers. They have been upset with WoW’s Free Trial (up to level 20), because it threw the pie of reality into their face. After level 20 all gamers are expected to pay for their game time and subscribe. The P4F gamers operate and cling to the fallacy that f2P means they are not expected or required to pay for their game time if they enjoy the game and continue to play. Some P4F gamers have posted, “if the company expected them to pay, they should have presented them with a bill.”

    So many F2P games have incorporated the “Free Gaming Token (FGT) ” THis gives the P4F gamers the illusion that if they work hard they can actually play for free and experience the game unfettered as a subscribed player does. The reality, the FGT are exclusive to subscribers who wish to P4F. The game mechanics favor the subscribed gamers, who can amass the amount needed to buy FGT faster or at all than the P4F gamers. So the subscribed gamers buy all the FGT the first month. Then they buy them all again every month after that as the price of FGTs rise to the stars.

    My most recent experience with FGT was last October with Archeage. I made two accounts, one subscribed and one F2P. I went in and found the game fun and very easy compare to what I would later learn as a F2P account. My sub account joined a guild, I met my sponsor doing my first trade run. They were all excited because they had just finished earning enough to buy their FGT. I asked how? And they said selling stone on the auction house. So I tried it and in two days I had my FGT. So I switched to my F2P account and tried to earn a FGT, with the limitation of not being able to use the Auction house. I took me 8 days, to earn the gold need on the first day. But by the last day the price had gone from 90 gold to 140. The FGT will remain out of reach for most P4F gamers, except for the truly hard working (haha lol).
  • timejumper_2572
    I wouldn't say Warcraft is "going" Buy-to-play. Players have had to buy Warcraft from the beginning - first with the boxed game, then the monthly subscription.

    It sounds like the concern is being able to buy gold by selling these new tokens on the Auction House. I don't think people should worry about it.

    As the goblins say, "Time is money." Some people want to pay with time. Others want to pay with money. The same controversy came up when Blizzard started selling insta-90s.

    I think players should be able to use whatever payment method they prefer. I imagine it will be a good business move to prevent people from leaving the game because they don't have the time to devote to gearing up/leveling/whatever. They can buy the gold and get to the part they want to enjoy. That's what the game is supposed to be about anyway.

    I can't see myself using those tokens to buy gold, but I don't see the harm in letting others do it.
  • Paul_9234
    *cough* EVE-Online did it for a decade before Wildstar. *cough*
  • lilmissy4205
    Difficult to keep all the games and who did what when. I was only able to remember the most recent which was Wildstar. And it caused a small ripple.

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