Microtransactions have become a staple of MMO’s over the last few years. That much is certain when you look at games like SWTOR, which started out as a traditional subscription-based game and because of dropping subscription numbers just a few months into its life it switched to microtransactions. The big man on the block, World of Warcraft, is an exception: with over 8 million subscriptions, WoW has had no reason to put in microtransactions at this time.
That all seems to be changing. Public test server players noticed a brand new item called the Enduring Elixir of Wisdom. Its effects? “Experience gained from killing monsters and completing quests increased by 100%.”
That’s the kind of item that a company will put into a store, and make available only for purchase with real money. Many players were freaked out by the thought of adding “pay-to-win” to WoW, and Blizzard community manager didn’t help things out. In fact he all but confirmed that Blizzard was looking into adding microtransactions when he said “”We are currently exploring the possibility of adding a way for players in certain regions to make purchases directly within the game. As part of this process, elements related to this will be appearing on the [Public Test Realm]. We’ll provide additional updates on our plans as development progresses.”
Considering the fact that WoW is losing subscribers, it’s not too shocking to see Blizzard look for a way to shore up some of that lost revenue. But will adding microtransactions really be the way to go? It’s very possible that adding this kind of a measure might cause some people on the fence of whether to keep their subscription or not to just jump off and leave the World forever.