City of Heroes respecs now available for purchase with real cash

NCsoft announced yesterday that players of City of Heroes are now able to purchase respecs (opportunities to rollback character development decisions they've made in their characters' lifetimes) for $9.99 from a store in the character select screen. The company noted that this feature "does not allow the primary or secondary powerset to be reselected; it functions like existing respecs currently available in game."

Players are still able to find opportunities to respec through gameplay, but NCsoft claims that the community has been requesting a shortcut like this.

Some sites are characterizing this move as the introduction of microtransactions to a subscription-based game. That term conjures up images of players buying powerful items and stat bonuses with real-world currency. But Blizzard has been charging for character name changes in World of Warcraft for a long time. What's the distinction between charging for what's deemed an expected service, and the microtransaction business model?

This article was originally published on Massively.