Last month, Blizzard announced that it was doing something unprecedented in the latest update for long-running MMO World of Warcraft – adding a game time token, purchasable with real money for $20, which can then be sold on the auction house for in-game gold.
The change was introduced to combat the ever-present problem of illicit gold sellers, who often fund their operation by hacking into people’s accounts and stealing all their currency. While similar in principle to the PLEX system in EVE Online and the C.R.E.D.D. system in Wildstar, in World of Warcraft the token’s in-game value isn’t set by the players, but rather an algorithm which determines the market price based on supply and demand, meaning that players can’t simply spend a load of real money and flood the market to gain an unfair advantage.
When the token was launched yesterday in North America (it isn’t available in Europe just yet), its initial value on the Auction House was 30,000 gold. After initially increasing in value, that’s since dropped – useful price monitoring site WoW Token Info currently pegs the cost at 21,840g – nearly a third less than what the token originally sold for in-game.
If you’re one of those players who invests a huge amount of their spare time into playing Blizzard’s decade-old MMO, the new token could mean that you’ll be able to continue your World of Warcraft subscription without needing to spend any actual money. So that could be an extra takeaway per month, or free up a little cash to go towards your next game purchase. Or you could just spend the money on one of the many mounts and pets that populate the Blizzard shop.
And of course if you have plenty of disposable cash but your character needs a quick boost to their gold reserves, you could just buy a token and sell it for some quick and easy currency. Tokens are currently selling in less than 30 minutes according to WoW Token Info, so you wouldn’t have to wait long before being able to afford that shiny new piece of armor on the auction house.
It’s to be expected that prices for the token would fluctuate in the hours and days after its release into the wild. Over time, it’s likely that the in-game cost will stabilize, and Blizzard will introduce a bare minimum cost to ensure that it remains good value for those seeking to sell the tokens on the auction house. But it seems that Blizzard’s experiment – initially seen by some as a big risk and introducing pay-to-win features to the game – is off to a strong start.
If you haven’t played World of Warcraft‘s latest expansion Warlords of Draenor yet, or you’re new to World of Warcraft but feeling curious, why not check out our review? Yours truly reviewed the latest expansion to Blizzard’s genre-leading game, awarding it a shiny 9/10.
“That a game still feels relevant ten years after launch in such a fast-moving industry is nothing short of extraordinary; but then Blizzard has always has had a knack for defying the odds,” I wrote in my Warlords of Draenor Review. “Warlords of Draenor isn’t perfect as a game in its own right. But as an expansion to a decade-old institution? Well, that’s where it shines.”