World of Warcraft (WoW), the popular subscription-based online computer game, will begin selling in-game items for real money.
Patch notes mention a "5.4 In Game Store – 100% XP Buff" – an Enduring Elixir of Wisdom item that will essentially allow players to level up twice as fast as usual.
A Community Manager for the game 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.
"We’ll be testing the in-game store with some new kinds of items we’re looking into introducing (in Asian regions, at the outset) based on player feedback: specifically, an experience buff to assist with the leveling process, as well as 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."
"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."
World of Warcraft is free to play up to level 20, beyond that users are charged £8.99 per month.
The game already sells "cosmetic" extras which can be purchased on its website, like this virtual pet, but Blizzard has never before sold in-game items that can fast-track players to later levels and areas.