World of Warcraft's public test realm (PTR) is getting a new addition, and it's gonna give you a shot at picking up paid cosmetics for free. In the not-too-distant future, Stormwind and Orgrimmar will each become home to a trading post (opens in new tab), stores with a changing collection of unique cosmetic wares that players will be able to buy with a new in-game currency.
The items for sale at the trading post will consist of "cosmetic transmogs, pets, and mounts," and aren't restricted to WoW: Dragonflight's (opens in new tab) current content. That means you'll get a chance to pick up cosmetics from previous WoW events and promotions that you might have missed out on. Enticingly, you'll even be able to pick up stuff you'd normally have to pay real money for, if they happen to feature in a given month's rotation.
You can rest easy if you're away from WoW for a month and miss out on a cosmetic you really wanted, too. Items that leave the trading post aren't gone for good, they'll all be back eventually.
You'll pay for all this gear with a new currency called trader's tender, which you can earn in two ways. The first is pretty easy: Just log in and collect 500 tender each month from a cache at your chosen trading post. So long as you have an active account in good standing, you'll get your monthly allowance on the first of each month, just for showing up.
The second way to earn tender is by completing objectives in the new Traveler's Log, a list of activities that changes monthly, which you can complete to earn up to 500 additional tender each month. Blizzard says you'll probably be able to earn that just by continuing to "play the game as [you] already do," since a bunch of the activities will revolve around completing tasks or participating in events that you were likely to do anyway, but there will also be unique, less-familiar activities to complete every month.
If you squint, it's a bit like a battle pass, but one that seems perplexingly unconcerned with squeezing every last drop of your time and money out of you. It seems like a genuinely cool idea, and so far the response from WoW's community has been positive. Players on the WoW subreddit (opens in new tab) are already writing Christmas lists of old cosmetics they never got a shot at, hoping to score them when they enter into the trading post's rotation.
Blizzard doesn't say when the trading posts will hit the PTR, but you can probably expect it pretty soon. The company also hinted that the trading post is just the first part of a "rewarding new system for players to further personalize their character," so with any luck there's more stuff like this a little further down the road.