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You'll Soon Be Able to Play WoW Without Spending Money

Blizzard to let players buy game time with gold, and gold with real money.

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You'll soon be able to play World of Warcraft without spending a dime of real-world money, provided you've got the necessary gold.

Blizzard today announced the WoW Token, a new item that will soon be introduced to the MMO. The Token is purchased with real money (a price wasn't announced) and can then be sold on the auction house. In other words, this effectively lets you buy in-game gold without resorting to doing so through a sketchy third-party site.

What this also means is that in-game gold can be used to purchase a Token, which can be redeemed for 30 days of game time. This doesn't exactly make WoW a free-to-play game, but it does provide players with a new, highly desirable way to spend all of that gold they may have amassed.

The manner in which Tokens are sold is a bit different than regular items. When listing it on the auction house, sellers will be quoted a sale price based on supply and demand. If the seller finds the price acceptable, it'll be listed for sale, and that amount will be sent to his or her mailbox once the sale is complete. Buyers, on the other hand, will be purchasing the Token outright--there won't be a bidding process.

Once a Token has been sold, it becomes Soulbound, preventing it from being sold again. This is presumably done in order to prevent players from taking advantage of the marketplace by buying low and selling high.

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A Q&A on Blizzard's website delves into the nitty-gritty of Tokens, but of note are the potential benefits it sees with regard to buying gold. Essentially, providing a way to buy gold without using third-party sites--which tend to get their gold from hacked accounts and things of that nature--is good for everyone.

"Buying gold from third-party services negatively impacts the game experience for everyone," Blizzard says. "The overwhelming majority of the gold these services provide comes from stolen player accounts, halting the victims’ ability to play the game and contribute to their guilds. On top of this, gold selling companies often farm resources using hack programs, sell fake product codes as a scam, and spam entire realms with ads to buy gold, disrupting the game in very real ways.

"The WoW Token allows players to exchange real money for gold in a secure and sanctioned way—together with the ongoing efforts of our developers, support staff, and anti-hack teams to stop the exploits these companies use and help players who have become victims of their operations, we hope the Token can help make World of Warcraft a safer and more enjoyable game for all of our players."

Blizzard didn't announce a date for when Tokens will be introduced, but there's no reason you can't start hoarding your gold now.

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