Tobold's Blog
Thursday, April 23, 2015
WoW Token hits Europe

One could have reasonably expected Blizzard to launch the WoW Token in Europe at the same price than in the USA, because there isn't really a strong reason to think that the market value would be much different over here, with the Euro being at $1.07. But strangely enough somebody at Blizzard decided to set the starting price of the WoW Token in Europe to 38k instead of 30k. I faintly suspect that they observed on the US servers that the price dropped by 8k from 30k to 22k since its launch and figured that if they launched at 38k they would end up at 30k. While a few players bought tokens for this high amount of gold and drove the price on the first day up to nearly 45k (a similar post-launch peak happened in the US), the high price then simply caused people to stop buying those tokens. So now the price is 33k and falling, and in trade chat many players said they'd wait for the prices to reach US levels.

I haven't done a recount of my gold yet, but I think it is over 300,000 now. I'll certainly buy at least one WoW Token for gold if the price falls below 25k as expected. But that is mostly to be able to say that I did it. Otherwise I have much reduced my gold-earning activities, because they are only fun for so long, and I'm not falling into the circular logic trap of buying a subscription with gold, and then only using that subscription to make gold. I don't like repeating the same activities over and over, even if that makes me save $15 a month.

As I have no intention of cancelling my subscription and replacing it with WoW Tokens, I started to wonder what happens if you have both. If I have an active subscription and turn in a WoW Token for 30 days of game time, does that "suspend" my subscription and make Blizzard not charge me money for a month? Or do I need to cancel my subscription in order to use the token?

Small typo: initial price was 35K, not 38. Still +5K compared to US market, of course.

I am not sure EU prices will fall to 20K but right now the token is hovering around 33K ( and keps falling, which is good.

I am for gold conversion anyway. I don't need gold as I don't buy pets/mounts or mythic gear. I'm already 652 geared via missions, random runs, etc. I'd feel spending money for high-end gear would be a waste (and defeat the purpose of gear collecting).

If prices hit the 20-25 range, having 1 garrison will be enough to sustain the monthly cost. Few minutes here and there to manage missions and you're done, plus you get a free game forever.

Woah...You have 300K in gold banked? Okay...yeah....I really am casual. I think I can at last accept this. I think the most gold I ever had at one time was around 12K.
It suspends your sub for a month and lets the token activate

Using WoW Token Game Time with a Recurring Subscription

You can redeem WoW Tokens while you have an active recurring subscription—there’s no need to suspend your subscription or resubscribe. Your recurring subscription will automatically pause when your currently paid-for subscription period ends (e.g. for monthly subscribers, at the end of your current 30-day period), and all redeemed WoW Token game time will be applied next. Note that you can have multiple WoW Tokens redeemed on your account at any given time. Once any accumulated WoW Token game time expires, your recurring subscription will automatically pick up where it left off.

12K gold isn't a big deal, unless you play few hours a month without knowing what to do/where to go.

By just having a garrison you can generate passive gold on a daily basis, for example. And there are other cheap/easy ways to make some gold.
Woah...You have 300K in gold banked? Okay...yeah....I really am casual.

I think it is simply a question of which goals a player pursued while playing. I am certain that if you count other things, like achievement points, or number of mounts or pets, or gear level, that I would look like the casual player. Making gold in virtual economies is simply a hobby of mine.

Note also that making gold isn't necessarily time-consuming. I made 10k recently by buying cheap "Universal Language Module" parts for 40k and selling the module for 50k, an operation that didn't take more than a few minutes of play time.
Suggestions for addons:

Accountant, logs all your gained and spent gold over the chars you use that addon with. Shows gold on all characters combined, shows how you got/spent it.

Altoholic, remembers everything you have on the chars using it including search function to see which bank char has your magic earth stored. Also shows how much gold every toon has.

I already have multiple goldcap so I'm gonna play without paying for the next years even if I cease making new gold. But I will wait a couple weeks to see the price equilibrium. My subscription was renewed for 3 months just a few days before the token went live.

Looking at the American data it seems to me there already is a stabilizing component to the algorithm. Going up and down between about 20 and 25k. Are people starting to buy their own token? Sell at 25k buy back for your own subscription at 20k so you gave 5$ for 5k gold?

Demand for gametime is limited to 1 per month while demand for gold not so much. Still curious to see what happens when every gold-rich player bought his 10 token and doesn't need more for the rest of the year. Still curious if Blizzard will share real data about amount of sales.
What's the loginc behind spending $20 for just 20K gold? I am referring to the US market.

I understand there are players who have "no time" to play and want to maximize their hobby hours... but if you don't really play the game, what do you need the gold for?

You don't become a mythic raider by buying stuff on the AH. So why should you stack gold "fast" by spending money...? To do what, exactly?

If you spend 1$ for 1000G you're really desperate, in my opinion. What drives you to throw the money away, for such a low gold income?
IIRC gold in Europe was always more expensive from 3rd party sellers. Significantly so. If Blizzard thinks that they can set the price high and that will have the slightest impact on the end price, they're dumber than I thought. But I wouldn't be surprised if it settled in a bit higher than in the US because the third party sellers are more expensive.

Rugus--- addiction. You are right, if you don't really enjoy the game to the point where you'd pay rather a lot of money to not have to play it, you should quit. But WoW has a hold over people that is not rationally explainable.

bryksom--- I think that's the initial spike in price we've seen in both launches. Those players will renter the market at their leisure, when prices get really low to stock up on months. They can wait for the perfect price. So, patient watching would be how they will act, I suspect.

Well, by that logic, why buy coffee at Starbucks? Of food at restaurants? Is it really that great? We buy a lot of things we don't really need, and some people are highly paid professionals with more disposable income than "time", per se.

Have you never bought something on a whim that you didn't really need, and never really got your "Full money's worth" out of?

I'm not defending buying gold, I'm against it. but it's a thing and it exists, so it can't be ignored, either.

Yeah, trying to figure out the algorithm is of great interest to me. Click on my name to find my blogger blog, I have a couple of posts up on it.
@8f559f86 & Smokeman

I am not surprised that these people exist, I am surprised that they are so numerous. So many, in fact, that they are actually pushing the overall market price that low. Before the Token, I would have thought them a small minority that was more or less served in their gold needs via buying pets and mounts with real money to sell for gold on the AH. I see now that they are so numerous, it is entirely possible Blizzard will make more revenue off of Tokens which have been resold for gold than actual subscriptions.
Wasn't that obvious that they were numerous? It would be hard not to notice the gold sellers in World of Warcraft. Did you think that they were hacking, and botting, and spamming without having a large number of customers whom to sell their gold to? WoW gold only has a value if there are people who buy it.
I have no way of knowing how much that happens though. All you actually "see" is the spamming, but that is basically free. So for all I know, it works similarly to spam emails, with TONS of free or nearly free advertising for very few sales.

Old numbers and for the whole industry but you can bet that a lot of it is wow gold.
Samus says:
"...So many, in fact, that they are actually pushing the overall market price that low."

But is that really what is happening? Don't forget Blizzard's main goal is to combat the illicit sellers. To that end, they're not going to allow the price to fly up to the point where no one will buy a Game Time token in the AH. That would either render the system useless or actually force them to sell gold for cash. By holding the price down, you sell "enough" RMT tokens and allow some people to play free.

Despite the somewhat complicated way they are going about it, the price is changed by the market, not Blizzard. Every Token sold is one that someone paid $20 for. Blizzard has done so little to combat gold sellers for the last 10 years when it wouldn't have cost them a dime directly. There's no way I believe any of the crazy conspiracies that Blizzard are secretly giving out free Tokens to combat that problem now. They care about the $20 MUCH more than they care about the in-game economy.

Were that the case, they would just raise the price to sell more tokens.

There is no "market solution" with the tokens pegged together 1:1. It can't happen. The two token types are apples and pineapples. It either breaks open ended, or closed. Either way you have to unpeg the tokens.

Neither Blizzard nor CCP have the tools to dispose of RMT because they lack an adequately functional market to do so with. They have to result to these schemes using tokens. Blizzard's market lacks value tracking, and CCPs market lacks common value.

"Were that the case, they would just raise the price to sell more tokens."

This is like saying, "if the dollar is slipping in value, why doesn't the US government simply raise the price?"

That is not how markets work.

You said:
"They care about the $20 MUCH more than they care about the in-game economy."

To which I replied:
"Were that the case, they would just raise the price to sell more tokens."

I was being rhetorical.
I have seen a lot of the profession crafted mounts being advertised of late. I can only assume that there is a portion of players buying a token purely for the mount-age and on EU, getting a crafted mounts via tokens is cheaper then a cash-shop mount. They are also a huge cash sink so won't be releasing vast stores of saved gold back into the economy.
Smokeman commented that

[Blizzard are] not going to allow the price to fly up to the point where no one will buy a Game Time token in the AH

Why would they?

Blizzard already earned their €20/$20 when they sold the $teel WoW Token. When the gold WoW Token is put on the AH, Blizzard have also guaranteed the amount of gold the seller will get for it. If nobody buys it at auction, this is in fact Blizzard's dream scenario: they simply give the seller the gold they promised, and they quietly remmove the gold WoW token from the game, saving themselves a 30-day subscription.

It is naive to think that Blizzard will return a token unsold from the auction house. Every seller will get his gold. There is no need for there to be a buyer. In fact, the sales mechanism is set up precisely to allow for there to be no buyer.

That said, I don't think Blizzard have yet manipulated the market in the way I described, or the US gold token price would not be so low!
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