It has been recently announced that Blizzard intends to release an in-game store for their genre-conquering MMO World of Warcraft. With this, they have given details on some vanity items which are purely cosmetic. 'Transmogrifiable' helmets to be exact. These items will be sold for real money and will allow the purchasing player the ability to change the look of their currently equipped helmet into the look of the item they've bought on the store.
Feedback from this announcement has been varied. People are in uproar about it and others are eager to get their wallets out and throw down some cash in exchange for their shiney new "hey look at me" helmet.
On the one hand Blizzard have been doing this for a long time now. They have been offering pets and mounts at their store all of which have proven popular.
On the other hand, people are seeing this as the beginning of the end. It's only a matter of time before armour sets and weapons with stats go on sale for real world currency.
In my own personal opinion I think that people are already paying a subscription fee to play the game. If I'm paying a subscription fee to play an MMO, I am under the impression that the money goes towards gaining access to their servers (which are clearly an expensive piece of the game's upkeep), maintenance to the game through bug fixes or server upkeep and regular content releases in the form of patches. Now you can ask yourself how the employees working on new content for the game are paid. How are they funded and where does the money come from? Logically you might think the answer is at least partly from subscription fees. So if the subscription fees are indeed paying for new content, why must people pay more money on top of that fee should they desire the content which is on Blizzard's in-game store?
Seeing as the store items for the game have already proven popular, will this mean you'll see many "lowbies" around Azeroth with their level 12 uncommon quality helm looking like it belongs on a level 90 and looks absolutely rediculous with the rest of their gear? I'm quite sure it will.
Will the subscription numbers finally take a major plummet for the first time in the game's almost nine year history? It's possible.