Blizzard's senior vice president of game design, Rob Pardo, has said players would feel "betrayed" if a micro-transaction system, of the sort common in free-to-play MMO games, was implemented in World of Warcraft.
After his talk on multiplayer game design at GDC, as reported by WOWInsider, Pardo was asked if the company had considered introducing the fashionable payment model to its smash hit MMO, but Pardo argued that any use of outside cash resources unbalances the game, and likened micro-transactions to sanctioning gold-buying.
"We've taken the approach that we want players to feel like it's a level playing field once they're in WoW." he said. "Outside resources don't play into it - no gold buying, etcetera. We take a hard line stance against it. What you get out of micro-transactions is kind of the same thing and I think our player base would feel betrayed by it."
Asked if the ability to buy powerful items might not help casual players with less time to invest in the game catch up with the hardcore, Pardo said: "They aren't going to be the ones spending the money".
World of Warcraft has revolutionised the MMO market in the West, and now boasts an active player base of 10 million across the world, playing on hundreds of different servers - and the game added USD 1 billion to publisher Vivendi's revenues last year.