OK I'm ready.
TLDR: You can already buy whatever you want in wow that isn't soulbound with real money. The only difference between right now and a real money auction house is that regular players don't get to make any money.
Diablo III is going to have a real money auction house.It would make sense for WoW to have one as well at this point. Now, before you go all Leroy Jenkins on me just hear me out. As of RIGHT NOW, not some hypothetical point in the future,RIGHT NOW, you can take real money and use it to buy any non-soulbound item in the game.
You have 2 options:
1. Buy gold via 3rd party site, use gold to get whatever you want.
2. you can also do it via legit new in game option (just takes more patience):
Buy WoW store unbound pet. Put unbound pet on the AH, get gold, buy whatever you want.
So basically the only difference is that with a real money auction house in WoW (still cannot buy and sell soulbound items) is that regular players would get a piece of the action.
I.E. a lot of regular Joes like me could probably make enough money each month, without even trying THAT hard, to pay the WoW subscription each month and effectively play for FREE.
Before you scoff at me as crazy, I predict Titan will have "micro-transactions"
and one of the biggest reasons for creating a brand new MMO is because too many small minded people would just foam at the mouth and nerd rage all over the place if a real money system was in place in WoW.
Solution? Warm everyone up to the idea with Diablo III. Then once everyone accepts it implement it into Titan. Then once Titan is going at full speed slowly stop doing anything more than bare minimum support on WoW and focus primarily on Titan.
This is where it is going......nerd rage all you want. I just want to be on record as being one of the first to see it.
It probably won't ever happen in WoW. But that isn't for logical reasons, its for "cultural" reasons. I.E. too many WoW players would knee jerk reaction foam at the mouth and rage quit.
So rather than force it onto you they will slowly creep it in, and once it gets here most people are going to find that they like it. Even those who thought they would hate such things will learn that the best players will always be the best players, noobs buying items is a joke, not a threat.
Casuals can buy items and have fun as they see fit....heaven forbid a guy who has a wife, kids, a job, and has his life priorities in order actually get to have fun at end game with good gear....
The best players are still the best players, plus they make money off the casuals. The casuals get to play the game for fun at a high level while still having a life.
The mid-range players who play for countless hours to get some good but not great items will nerd rage all over the place because some casual just got a better item than they have.
But eventually they will stop being petty and get over it.
Farmers will be there, but hey, farmers have been in WoW since forever. It is what it is...and you cannot stop the natural flow of things.
Blizzard is going to keep evolving with real money player to player exchanges with various styles of micro transactions and be the leader for years to come.
said it here first.