Blizzard confirms in-game World of Warcraft store

Developer reveals further microtransactions coming to aging MMO first in Asian regions; studio "still pretty early in the exploration process."

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Blizzard Entertainment has confirmed further microtransactions are coming to World of Warcraft via an all-new in-game store.

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Community manager Bashiok said in the game's forums that Blizzard is "still pretty early in the exploration process" and that first tests will take place in Asian regions before spreading to other countries.

The new in-game store's ambition, Bashiok said, is to simplify and expedite the purchasing process that already exists for World of Warcraft.

"For players who are already interested in the in-game items we offer, such as Pet Store pets and mounts, the benefits of an in-game store are pretty clear," he said. "We think everyone would appreciate the convenience of being able to make such purchases without having to leave the game, and ultimately that's our long-term goal for the system, though there's quite a bit of work involved in retrofitting those existing items into the new system."

First tests of the in-game store will take place in Asian regions with new kinds of items, including an experience buff (to assist with leveling) and an alternate way to acquire Lesser Charms of Good Fortune.

"We've had a lot of requests from players in different regions for convenience-oriented items such as these, and as with other new ideas we’ve introduced as WoW has evolved--including Pet Store pets, mounts, and more--your feedback plays a hugely important part in determining what we add to the game," he said.

"Ultimately it’s still too early in the process to make any final determinations about our plans, but in the meantime, we hope you'll check out the in-game store once it’s implemented on the PTR and let us know what you think."

Blizzard first revealed it was exploring microtransactions for World of Warcraft last week, after players discovered the Enduring Elixir of Wisdom on the game's Public Test Realm.

World of Warcraft will mark its ninth anniversary this November. The game's subscriber base has fallen to 8.3 million, but it is still the top subscription-based MMO on the market.

During a financial call in May, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick said the environment surrounding online games has become increasingly competitive. To addresses this, the executive said the company plans to release new content more frequently to keep gamers playing and to make it easier for lapsed players to return to the game.

World of Warcraft's most recent major expansion was September's Mists of Pandaria. No new add-ons have been announced.

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