Thanks to the generosity of my readers, I can now pay for my MMO subscriptions with donations. Which means paying for them with Paypal, preferably. Now some games, including EVE Online, accept Paypal as payment method. World of Warcraft in the US does. But curiously enough, World of Warcraft in Europe does not accept Paypal. So I started looking into buying a WoW game card.
Now some time ago I received a mail from Yolto, a company that developed a "robot" which you can put on your blog or website to sell game cards and earn a share of the profits. I declined that offer, but got into a nice chat with them about the game card business, which is a tricky business, because there are both honest merchants and scammers. The reason why we discussed that was that I was surprised that a 60-day gamecard for World of Warcraft at Yolto cost *less* than two months subscription paid by credit card. Old internet saying, if something looks too good to be true, it usually isn't. But then I explored game cards a bit more, and found out that even at Amazon.de a World of Warcraft EU game card only costs €20.90, which is about 20% less than paying 2 times €12.99. It is even cheaper to buy three EU game cards than to buy one six-month subscription for €65.94.
Now Amazon is selling you a physical game card, which you have to scratch off to get your code and your added game time. Safe, but not fast, because it arrives by snail mail. Most online game card sellers do the scratching for you and send you the code by e-mail. Faster, but not as safe, because Paypal doesn't refund money for items not received if that item was a virtual good. Thus you need to find a trusted site to buy game cards via e-mail. So, to give them some free advertising, I can confirm that my WoW 60-day EU game card code I bought from Yolto for $28.25 did arrive fast, with no problem except for a short delay for verification, sent by SMS on my mobile phone. But I'm still not interested to put that game card selling application on my blog. :) Once I got the code, I applied it to my World of Warcraft Battle.net account. Note that you can "insert" a game time card into a regular subscription without having to cancel your credit card subscription. You just need to remove the "Cancel Recurring Subscription Plan" checkmark on the page after you applied the code to your account.
Meanwhile in EVE I finished all the career agent missions, so I had a couple of millions of ISK and enough knowledge of the game to know how to make more. So I wasn't that afraid any more that buying ISK would mean I would skip content. CCP is selling 60-day EVE game cards in physical form. But they do have a list of official EVE game card resellers, which makes finding a honest merchant easier. Cheapest price I could find was $32.99, thus EVE is more expensive than WoW.
CCP is offering a helpful guide on how to use EVE time cards. You convert your 60-day game card code into two 30-day Pilot's License Extension (PLEX) virtual in-game items. These can either be applied to extend your subscription, or they can be sold on the market. They can NOT be transported, thus if you want to sell them you FIRST need to move to where you get a good price and THEN enter the code. This restriction on transport is done so you can't get shot down and robbed with a PLEX in your cargo hold. So I converted my EVE time card into 2 PLEX, sold one for 286 million ISK, and applied the other to extend my subscription until June. Which shows that I'm having fun playing EVE and want to play some more, at least during the pre-Cataclysm lull in World of Warcraft.
Well, so now I know a bit more about game time cards, and the experience was generally a good one. I didn't get scammed, and never had to wait more than half a day to get my codes. And I even saved money by switching my regular World of Warcraft subscription to game card mode.