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?