I have written many posts since the day that Warlords of Draenor went live. Unfortunately I never published any of them. The reasons are many and varied and one day in the near future, I hope to share my deepest darkest thoughts on the current status of the game. Today I wanted to discuss the subject of the WoW Token.
The WoW Token
"What is a WoW Token? The WoW Token is an item in World of Warcraft.
- Buy one with money from the in-game Shop, then sell it in the Auction House for gold.
- Buy one with gold from the Auction House, then use it to add 30 days of game time to your World of Warcraft subscription."
Ok, simple and straight forward, buy Gold with real money, or buy game time with Gold from the game.
Economics 101 - Supply and Demand, the buying and selling of the WoW Token. You can buy one from Blizzard for $20, €20, £15, CN¥30, NT$500, or ₩22,000 and sell it in the AH. So for the sake of argument and the ever fluctuating Exchange Market if $1 = €1 why is the Token worth double the amount in Europe than in America? (At time of writing Europe = 86,116 and America = 39,764)
How can this be possible for such disparity between two economies, in what is considered in Economic terms as the Developed Nations? If you want a sensible answer then don't Google it. Below are a sample of answers:
" WoW rule 101, If US and Eu share something, US will always take the bigger half."
"Do Europeans have more real money than Americans or do they see in game currency as worth more?"
"People playing on European servers come from a much broader range of economic backgrounds than those playing in the US (keep in mind that African players use these servers too). "
"It's more than possible that Blizzard set the price themselves. Not based on supply demand.
They keep it intentionally high."
They keep it intentionally high."
The reality is of course much simpler. Americans are more likely to pay hard cash for in game Gold. The argument for spending real money is that I can earn $20 in an hour but it would take many hours of in game farming to earn 40,000 Gold, so it is worth buying the Token.
For myself I am Gold rich and Cash poor, and even though the cost of my game time goes up each month , it is still nowhere near the amount of Gold that the game is spewing out every month.
The equation is simple in that you get what your region wants, but Americans will look at the Europeans enviously thinking they get more Gold for their money, and the Europeans are thinking that the Americans get off lightly for their Game time.
It appears the Americans are far more likely to accept the Pay-to-Win mentality that is driving the computer games industry. Every free game that comes on to the market has a cash incentive to progress, and from the Blizzard experiment it appears that the Europeans are generally unwilling to go along with this model.
World of Warcraft is currently in a huge rut after what most people are saying is the worst expansion in the history of the game. At the moment I have to question if I would still be playing if I wasn't able to fund the subscription through in game time activities.
The Garrison generates large amounts of Gold, for those willing to put the effort in, but in the future (next expansion) this income stream will dry up. At what point does the WoW token take too much effort to generate the required Gold and that we switch back to a subscription model. If we do that are we in effect Gold buyers?
One Forum writer even suggested:
"I'm not in any way suggesting you should do this, but I just find it funny that it's cheaper to buy gold from a website currently and purchase a wow token than it is to do it the legit way. Wasn't the whole point of wow token to combat gold sellers?"
With the benefit of hindsight it is quite obvious that the WoW token had nothing to do with defeating the Gold sellers. The WoW token appeared on introduction to be an additional revenue stream for Blizzard, but it now appears to be merely giving people an option of, how to pay for their game time, money or Gold.
None of this stops me each month looking enviously at the cost of US play time in Gold. If I was American I would be like Smaug, sleeping on a pile of Gold.