WoW Classic Adds WoW Tokens Without Warning; Blizzard Responds To Backlash
World of Warcraft Classic players are angry after Blizzard added a controversial real-money item to the game's store with zero warning.
World of Warcraft is one of the longest-running success stories in gaming, but it hasn't been a smooth ride in recent years. Now, the WoW Classic community is up in arms after Blizzard added the real-money item WoW Tokens to the "classic" version of the game, leaving many players wondering where exactly the line is for this supposedly old-school experience.
WoW Tokens are a controversial item that gives players a 30-day subscription to the game when used, and it can be sold in the in-game auction house for gold. Because you can buy them with real money, they are basically an official way for players to exchange real cash for in-game gold. In MMO terms, this is called a real money transaction (RMT for short), and it's generally not considered part of the "classic" WoW experience that these players desire.
The reaction to this news within the WoW Classic community has been dramatic, to say the least. Over on Reddit, the game's community suspended the long-running rule that prevented players from discussing alternatives to the official WoW Classic game, including private servers and cheats that speed up the game's progression. The existence of such private servers predates the advent of WoW Classic, and directly led to its creation back in 2016 when one of the highest-profile servers was shut down after a Blizzard cease and desist letter.
Many users have posted memes comparing WoW Tokens with the long-running unofficial tradition of paying for gold on sketchy websites with real money, which dates back to the game's "classic" origins. Others have noted the lack of fanfare or explanation surrounding the change, with one describing the move as "our reports of gold-buying means you guys want this."
Blizzard recently faced criticism from the WoW community after players discovered that the terms of a community Discord program contained a non-disparagement clause preventing players from criticizing Blizzard. It also called for the servers to install tracking software that Blizzard would have access to.
May 25 update: Blizzard has now responded to the controversy in a lengthy forum post, saying that "this wasn’t something we arrived at lightly." It addresses the impact of bots and illicit real-money transactions, saying it feels that offering the WoW Token is part of a larger strategy for combating those things. It also says that, while it conflicts with their previous desire to keep the Token out of Wrath Classic, this shouldn't impact "most regular players."
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