When people talk about successful subscription MMOs, World of Warcraft is always held up as the shining example of how it's done right. Now it appears that Blizzard might be looking into mixing up their payment model.
According to Wowhead, there is at least one item in the Patch 5.4 PTR build labeled with the mysterious phrase "in game store." The item in question is an elixir, called the Enduring Elixir of Wisdom, which looks like it grants a 100% experience bonus for killing mobs. The in-game store label on this single item is enough to send the mind reeling. What exactly does this mean for the future of WoW?
At it's most basic, an in-game store would mean that players could buy vanity items with Real Money Transactions. Granted, the Real Money Auction House in Diablo III has had its share of issues, which I would assume would make Blizzard leery to do something similar with their MMO giant. Still, the microtransaction pay model is a lot more lucrative than the subscription model is, and they may be testing the waters in anticipation of whatever Titan may become.
At this point it's all speculation, but it is amazing how three little words can start a rumor going. Do you think WoW will be going free-to-play as it approaches its tenth year of service? If so, is that a good or bad thing for players?