World of Tanks reinvents in-game store to remove "pay-to-win" items, pushes for eSports presence

Wargaming , the creators of the hugely successful World of Tanks and the upcoming World of Warships and World of Warplanes , has announced big changes in what gamers can and can't purchase inside its games. Any item or upgrade that can provide an advantage in battle will no longer be available for purchase, putting and end to “pay-to-win”-style power disparities.

“We strongly believe that you can't provide a truly triple-A free-to-play experience without absolutely making sure all combat options are free of charge to all players,” Andrei Yarantsau, vice president of publishing for Wargaming, told Gamasutra . “We don't want to nickel and dime our players—we want to deliver gaming experiences and services that are based on the fair treatment of our players, whether they spend money in-game or not."

The free-to-play business model has been extremely successful for many online games over the past few years. Tribes: Ascend , a free-to-play title from the ground up, was a nominee for our game of the year in 2012. Since becoming free-to-play, MMO Star Wars: The Old Republic has seen its revenues double in a short time.

For Wargaming's part, the move away from buyable advantage is also about the growing eSports community and the money that comes with it.

“Professional sport—and gaming is no exception—is about fair competition,” Yarantsau said. “The introduction of our new free-to-win system will really help facilitate the development of World of Tanks as a true eSports discipline.”

Check out the full interview at Gamasutra . If you're thinking about trying out World of Tanks for the first time, check out our full guide to the game.