We recently saw confirmation that the WoW Token is coming to the game. Blizzard will officially begin to start selling gold via game time to its player base. The exchange, as detailed in the original article, will center around game time, allowing players to buy game time for real money and sell it for gold, and also allowing players to buy game time for gold.
How much will the WoW Token cost in real money
No price has been set yet on how much players will have to pay in order to obtain the token to sell in game. My speculation is that it will cost $5 more than the standard monthly subscription, so $20 or thereabouts. Wildstar has a similar cost gap, with a month of game time being $14.99, compared to a Commodities Exchange token at $19.99. Ion noted that the token would cost more than a month's subscription, and $20 wouldn't be surprising.
How will this translate into in-game gold
¡°We¡¯re going to look at some things like the current going rate of gold on third-party market sites,¡±
-Ion Hazzikostas (Source)
My personal opinion is this will be very hard to take into consideration since many gold selling companies are offering $0.70/1000g and even cheaper if players buy a larger quantity, as low as $0.50/1000g.
Taking this information and applying it to the WoW Token; if the Token costs $20 for players to purchase, it will be sold for roughly 10,000g - 29,000g. Of course they aren't going to be low enough to compete with third-party sites, unfortunately. That said, players are most definitely going to pay more the than average third-party cost to have the sense of security that Blizzard provides with the WoW Token. By security, I mean the assurance of not being banned or having your account compromised for using gold sellers.
I speculate the Token's gold cost will fluctuate between 25,000g - 45,000g, the lower range of course will be during the time when more tokens are being offered than buyers.
What are the implications of the Region Wide Token Exchange
"The entirety of North America, the entirety of Europe, are on a single commodity exchange here in order to help assure fairness and that players have access to buyers and sellers and transactions go through quickly,"
-Ion Hazzikostas (Source)
The WoW Token Auction House feature will be Region Wide. How will this play out for low population / unhealthy economy servers though Those players on such servers might have a harder time buying these Tokens with gold. This also will remove gold from one server, but add it to another. This could cripple a server's economy introducing more gold into the server that wasn't earned or shuffled between players within that server. An example:
If Player A buys a WoW Token from Player B who is on another server. Player A's server has lost gold within their economy and Player B's server had more gold added to it without any effort in-game from the server. In extreme cases, a server could be drained of gold within its economy due to the gold being moved to other servers through the WoW Token sales.
The region wide WoW Token Exchange could have a huge impact on a server's economy once it's in place. Imagine buying a Token from a seller who wasn't from your server. Suddenly, that gold is gone. On the flip side, the seller of this transaction gains gold that wasn't on the server already; Blizzard creates that gold "out of thin air" when this happens. Introducing gold that wasn't there before in large quantities from Token sales could impact a server's economy.
That said, if there were server-specific WoW Token auction houses, the gold would be shuffled around players while keeping the economy in its current state. But, that could potentially limit the availability of the Tokens and at times cause there to be zero up for sale. In my opinion, the addition of a region wide Token Exchange solves the issue of always having tokens for purchase, despite how it doesn't address the issue of gold moving on and off servers.
Is this Token Feature Pay-to-Win
Does this new WoW Token feature create a "Pay to Win" aka P2W aspect to the game.
As we all know, gold is the universal currency of World of Warcraft. Players can currently buy:
Bind on Equip Gear
PvE Raid Carries / Gear from Gold DKP Runs
Arena / Rated Battle Ground Carries
Challenge Mode Carries
Augment Runes, Enchants, Gems, Repairs and more
No, it doesn't buy players skill. But who needs skill if you can just get carried Many players argue that winning the game is defeating the boss of the current tier. Not every player may have that definition of what "winning" is in a game, though. Perhaps just getting an upgrade to your current gear, or getting specific achievements, is satisfying enough for some players to label it "winning".
It's also worth noting that, in the Venturebeat Article, Ion Hazzikostas clarified that they would be "looking at" the Black Market Auction House and what was sold on it. While this only addresses one of our list of gold items above, it is a step in the right direction.
The answer to this pay to win question is subjective. It entirely depends on your definition of "winning". If you think you've won when you have better gear than the player next to you, then perhaps. If you think you've won only when you've cleared the current tier on Mythic difficulty, then, especially with the aforementioned reassessment of BoE items, it's less likely to be an issue.
Using the WoW Token to move Gold
The WoW Token feature can open the possibility of moving around gold at minimal effort for players. Currently, players are still limited to 50,000g per character transfer. Players that want to move more than that have to either pay extra to transfer a guild bank (999,999g 99s 99c limit) or purchase items to sell on the destination server.
In the case of the WoW Token feature, players willing to pay the cost difference between 1 month subscription vs 1 WoW Token can sell the Token on character A and buy a Token on character B. Character B will be on the opposite faction or on a completely different server. Character B uses the Token, and Character A now has the gold amount which the Token sold for.
All this would only work if Blizzard allows players to buy a Token off the region wide Auction House which they themselves are selling. Restrictions on doing this existed on the cross-faction auction houses, even prior to all auction houses becoming cross-faction.
Cutting out the Middleman
There is also no reason why Blizzard couldn't decide to decouple the buying and selling from a middleman.
For example, speaking completely hypothetically for the purpose of explanation: region A has one person (player A) who has a lot of gold, they want to buy enough game time to last themselves 20 years. However, region A has only one token available for purchase. As they control the market internally, Blizzard could decide to sell player A 20 years worth of game time for gold. They've removed a lot of gold from the server economy, and effectively given away a lot of game time, but if they want to do so, it's their choice.
The same works the other way round - in region B, there's player B who wants to buy a lot of gold. However, region B's other players don't want to buy game time with gold. So, in that case, Blizzard can sell Player B as much gold as they like, without region B's other players having to purchase the game time tokens for gold.
While there's no particular reason to believe Blizzard would do that, it's certainly a possibility that exists.