A new item shortly to be introduced to Blizzard's World of Warcraft will allow players rich in in-game gold to buy subscription time for the game, and players who wish to pay real money for in-game currency to do so safely.
Called the WoW Token, the in-game item works similarly to EVE Online's PLEX or Wildstar's CREDD. It needs to be bought for real money via the World of Warcraft in-game Shop, though the exact pricing is yet to be announced.
The buyer can then sell the WoW Token via the in-game Auction House's Token Exchange for in-game currency at a market price set by Blizzard, which will circumvent players trying to exploit the system.
The token is then bound to whoever buys it from the Auction House -- meaning each WoW Token can only be sold once -- and can be redeemed for 30 days' play time for the subscription-based World of Warcraft. It effectively allows players who have more gold than they know what to do with to play for free, while ensuring that Blizzard still gets paid for that game time. The going rate for a month's subscription is $14.99, the WoW Token will probably sit at a similar price, if not slightly higher.
It will also, Blizzard said, give players an option to effectively and safely (if circuitously) buy in-game gold, while hopefully cutting third-party gold sellers off at the knees -- a black-market system that relies heavily on hacked and stolen player accounts.
"We've heard feedback from players that they'd be interested in a secure, legitimate way to acquire gold that doesn't involve the use of unauthorized third-party gold-selling services--one of the primary sources of account compromises. We also know players who've amassed large amounts of gold through regular play would be interested in the ability to trade some to other players in exchange for game time, helping cover their subscription costs," Blizzard wrote in a FAQ.
"The WoW Token feature gives players on both sides of the equation a secure and straightforward way to make that exchange. It opens up a new kind of payment option for World of Warcraft players, and we hope that it will also help lead to fewer account compromises and a better game experience overall."
The WoW Token, Blizzard said, will be implemented in the game via a patch "soon". You can read the full FAQ on Blizzard's WoW blog.