It was only a matter of time before WoW adopted a system like EVE’s PLEX or WildStar’s CREDD. Gold for Game Time is a means by which players can take in-game currency/effort and exchange it for the ability to keep playing.
Most people usually like these types of systems. You can have a subscription for $14.99 a month or you can play the game a lot and use gold. Sounds like a win-win, and really in most cases the systems are great. There are points to be made that it helps the in-game economy to not be saturated with currency (thus making currency worth something if no major currency sinks exist).
I have a few personal issues with trading gold for game game.
Fudges with Immersion
I’m one of those old codgers sitting in my rocking chair shouting at the kids to get off my lawn when it comes to immersion. I’m all about creating that virtual world where the community lives and thrives off of the dynamic interaction of each individual. When a system like this is implemented, suddenly the reason for everything shifts away from in-game systems to this external system.
Yes, players will still go through the motions and take actions intended to generate cash, but their reason for doing it will have changed. This seemingly minuscule and perhaps even hair-splitting point to many is a monumental shift for me.
When developers know that gold can now be exchanged for game time then gold is suddenly no longer a system internal to the game. The in-game currency starts to affect their bottom line. Decisions about development and the course of the game will now forever be impacted. It’s like when a game goes F2P and developers are no longer interested in creating the best content possible to keep people playing; rather they work on creating the best way to get people to buy something.
The whole idea isn’t a sure thing in WoW, but even if it is I’m not saying this is bad. These systems work. They really do change the game, though.