On July 3, data miners over at MMO-Champion found an in-game potion called “Enduring Elixir of Wisdom” in the public test realm patch files for “World of Warcraft.” This potion will apply a buff to the user that increased experience gain by 100 percent. That’s not controversial by itself, but coupled with the other information found in those files, players started to worry. This potion will be available from the “In Game Store.”
At that time, several people tried to play the term “In Game Store” down by assuming this store would just be a normal vendor that sells things for gold. That assertion was incorrect; however, when a Blizzard Community Manager confirmed that this “In Game Store” was actually an item mall that accepts real money for goods like the Enduring Elixir of Wisdom.
That potion would not be readily available to Western players, though, according to the Community Manager on July 8. Only Eastern markets of “World of Warcraft” would see the potion, but other realms would end up seeing the in-game store. Items like the pets and mounts sold in at the Blizzard Store website would be available to those players in game.
Days after that revelation, a new blog post showed up on the “World of Warcraft” website. New items will be added to the existing pet store (a.k.a the Blizzard Store). Transmogrifiable helms and select trading card toys will be added to the store for purchase with real money. It’s a likely scenario that these items will be available alongside the pets and mounts in the in-game store.
What we know for sure is that “World of Warcraft” is getting an in-game store. As evidenced by this screenshot taken from the public test realm and posted to the WoW Insider Twitter account. That store will have the pets and mounts available for purchase on the Blizzard Store website for sale in game. What is still to be discovered is whether or not the new transmogrifiable helms and toys will show up in this store.
Furthermore, with the addition of an in-game store, more questions remain. Will “World of Warcraft” finally go free-to-play like so many of the other transitioned subscription based games? Or will the juggernaut of an MMO keep requiring a subscription fee in addition to an item mall? To be fair, plenty of people have been paying a subscription fee and buying pets and mounts from the Blizzard Store for years. Is it that different that they can now pick up those items in game next to new cosmetic helmets?
“World of Warcraft” is still the leader among a dwindling sect of subscription based games, but decline is in full swing for the game. After peaking at 12 million subscribers in 2010, subscriptions have been waning ever since. In March of 2012, subscriptions teetered at 10.2 million and just a year later that number slipped to 8.3 million. Although the number of gamers playing the game is enormous, a free-to-play transition may revitalize the game like it does for so many other transitioned games.
With an in-game store imminent for the title, a free-to-play hybrid transition would not be surprising. However, considering that the game operates now as a subscription based game with optional website item mall, there may be no reason to transition to a hybrid free-to-play game. After all, people will pay for a subscription and for optional purchases; why change what seems to be working? Would more people return to the “World of Warcraft” as free players? Would those players end up buying things from this in game store? Would that new model turn off existing subscribers? Will adding an in-game store upset existing subscribers in the first place? As gamers, we can only wait and see what happens in Azeroth as it happens.
Connect with the MMO Examiner
Twitter | Facebook | Tumblr | Raptr
StumbleUpon | LinkedIn | YouTube