I wasn’t expecting it quite so soon, but an announcement just turned up in my mailbox. They were discussed at Fanfest, but Krono are already upon us, and with any luck will cause some gnashing of teeth in the illicit-RMT trade.
They work pretty much like PLEX in EVE Online, and the peculairly similarly named Chronoscrolls in TERA. Someone with real world money buys the Krono, and then can trade them for ingame money/goods/services to another player, who can then redeem the Krono for 30 days of subscription time. Technically, they could use the Krono themselves, but that would be a pretty daft thing to do, as Krono cost more than just subbing for a month, or the gamecards available in retail stores.
30-day gamecard: $14.99
30-day subscription: $14.99
1 Krono: $17.99
What they are is a way for cash-rich players to buy gold ingame, without filling the pockets of scammers. If you do it sensibly, making sure that the payment and Krono are both very much there in the trade-window, it should be quite secure and risk-free. SOE has been allowing people to trade gamecard codes for gold for some time, but that is fraught with dangers for the buyer, with little recourse should the code you buy “mysteriously” not work.
However, I do take issue with them costing more than gamecards. That feels as if SOE are placing a premium on security and safety for their players, which is something no company should ever do. It calls into question whether this is being done to protect players from scammers, or just to make more money. With no cut for the retailer, Krono would still be more profitable for SOE than gamecards, even if they cost the same.
Only EQ2 will be using Krono for the time-being. If the experiment proves to be a success, they’ll be rolled out to other SOE games. Eventually, I expect this method of game-time acquirement will spread widely throughout the MMOsphere.