Tobold's Blog
Tuesday, March 03, 2015
The WoW token

Blizzard now announced more details on the upcoming "PLEX" system for World of Warcraft, the WoW token. On the one side I always prefer a legal system of exchanging money for time over illicit third-party RMT. On the other side I am not so sure that the system is really all that suitable for the game World of Warcraft.

The problem principally is how people make gold in World of Warcraft. Some of it is made by what I would call regular game activities, like questing. But as Gevlon has shown back in the days, most money is made on the auction house. And that more often than not involves some sort of auction house manipulation. Somebody using a bunch of addons like Auctioneer can make significantly more money than somebody trying to "farm gold". I frequently see people buying up all of one commodity on the AH and then reselling it for twice the price. I'm not sure how effective that is, but I can sure see its going on.

At the time Gevlon was constantly complaining about the "morons & slackers" buying or selling stuff at stupid prices on the AH. The reason for that was that gold was not actually all that important for many activities in the game. People handled virtual money stupidly because it wasn't really worth all that much for them. The WoW token system risks to change that, because it now attaches a real money worth to WoW gold in the mind of people who wouldn't have bought gold from RMT traders before. I'm not sure if is viable to try to pay for a subscription by "farming gold" in a way that doesn't involve the auction house.

As I always enjoyed toying with the player economy, I'v always had more than enough gold, and still have over 200,000 gold on my account. I wonder what a month of WoW subscription will go for. But weirdly, even if I had enough gold to buy a subscription and wanted to do this, I'm not even sure that I could do it. Because my characters are "inactive" due to not having a subscription, I cannot buy a subscription with gold without first buying a subscription with money.

> I cannot buy a subscription with
> gold without first buying a
> subscription with money

Yes, you will be able to buy tokens without a subsciption. Just login and if you have enough gold on your toons... buy a token from the characters-selection page. Smart Blizzard.

My take on a possible price: 50K or more. I'd say 70-90K.
The process is a big leaf front of the dick of a P2W item shop. The special interface and the Blizzard-set price means that you don't really trade with players. You trade with Blizzard.

If you buy a token for money, you can only sell it to Blizzard for gold. This is equal to "you buy gold from Blizzard".

It is possible that some AH wizzards and no-lifers will be able to pay the Blizzard price and play for free, but generally much less players will buy tokens than sell. The difference will line the pocket of Blizzard.

I suggest everyone to abandon WoW if it goes live. It becomes a P2W game like Clash of Clans.
My question is how affordable will these tokens be? Can a level 20 on a starter account have any chance to buy one of these? He's limited to only 10 gold. If we're talking a single token for 100k - 150k, then this is only for people who have max level toons or want to spend real money with gold farmers.

In other words, someone would already have to spend a lot over a sub to start getting free play time.

This is being advertized all over as "WoW going F2P!", but it's not even close to that at all. New players will have absolutely no chance to get in on this.
Also clever that no names are shown of seller/buyer and there will be no statistics available for us players about volume of trades. Blizzard does say today that every token only sells if there is a buyer but I don't really believe that.

The price to pay for a token will be considerably higher than the price a seller gets. Judging from current third party gold prices a token will net the seller about 20k gold. Everyone with a couple of max level twinks gets 20k gold from the garrison alone for logging in twice a day. I would be very surprised if you can buy a token for anything less than 50k.

It might be that these tokens replace third party gold sellers but I fear that botting for gold will skyrocket. All that gold has to come somewhere. If a token is only 20k buy+sell then noone has a motive to sell, if it is 50k+ then the urge to bot will engulf a lot of players.

I really don't see anything positive in the token system (saying that with (thanks to Gevlon) enough gold to probably buy a couple of years game time).
Please can you explain why this now becomes pay to win?
The price to pay for a token will be considerably higher than the price a seller gets.

Considering that everyone and his sister will be on MMO Champion posting how much they paid and how much they got from token transactions, if this is the case it'll be visible VERY quickly.
Gevlon: "The special interface and the Blizzard-set price means that you don't really trade with players. You trade with Blizzard."
That is true, however Blizzard can manipulate the system to their liking and this black box is their advantage.
I doubt the payout will equal the costs for a token, essentially removing gold from the economy.
The way I imagine the system is that you buy a token for lets say 15€, post it on the AH and are promised 15k and the buy price for the token will be 20k.
In the end someone paid 2€ to remove 5k gold from the game.
They also hinted they will delay payouts until "your" token is bought.
Having the system apply to the whole region hides any price manipulation and locking the players into a certain gold amount without the tokens expiring allows for an easy markup on Blizzards side.
About 10000 gold. That's $10 in third party gold, so that's the cap on the wow token. If you want game time you aren't going to pay more than 12 bucks for a token, otherwise you should just pay for it. Third party sellers will just buy tokens and resell the gold at anything above around 10-12000 gold. So there you go.
Please can you explain why this now becomes pay to win?

It doesn't, as you can't possibly "win" World of Warcraft. However you can "pay for power", that is legally buy gold for real money, and then buy bind on equip epics for that gold. I don't think this actually changes anything, as you could already illegally buy the same gold and buy the same epics with it. The only difference is that this is now all sanctioned and protected from scams.
@Tobold: the real difference is that now "power for gold" will be more supported by developer choices. In Cataclysm I was sitting on a million gold without many ways to spend it.

Now you can easily gear up from gold.
@Gevlon: But you can only wear 3 crafted epics (for which you don't need to buy gold, as they only cost about 2k on my server, although might need gold for the upgrades). The bind on equip epics and upgrades are limited in number by the drop rates of the epics and the slow production rate of savage blood. If a large number of players decides to gear themselves up seriously in the AH, prices will shoot through the roof and supply will run out quickly.

As long as I don't see vendors selling epics of current raid level for gold, I'm not really all that worried.

You can already buy mounts and pets for real money and sell them to other players for gold. The game is already "Pay2Win" if that is your definition.
Tobold, I could buy epics for 15 slots ilvl 665 or higher as BoE from the AH. 16th slot would be the second trinket.

Here is a list of the 15 epics and I didn't even include mythic items, just heroic and profession items

I'd say about 1 million gold and a blue trinket from anywhere and you can be ilvl 668+ and start tanking mythic right away.
That is massively pay to catch up. Also, 668 is low end for mythic
The AH epics will get you in ILevel range for Heroics and early Mythic, but in no way are the BOE stats comparable to the raid drop gear...especially for healers.

The bottom line to all of this token nonsense is that a player will still be required to play the game "X" number of hours anyway, and it isn't like the subscription is going away. This in no way resembles F2P or P2W.
Gevlon...can you possibly try to justify a crazy claim like "everyone should abandon WoW if this goes life"? I fail to see how this will affect me in any way, shape, or form...
Putting a direct, in game cash value on his economic achievements will make him realize he's been laboring for pennies an hour. This will diminish his sense of superiority, which is the main reason he plays.

If I'm right and the tokens sell for 10000, his million gold is worth $1400. If it's 50000, then his million is worth $280 bucks or so.

When you think about how much time went into that fortune... it's sad. Hence the rage. You can pay to win the cash game, so you can pay to beat Gevlon.
@bryksom said...
The price to pay for a token will be considerably higher than the price a seller gets.

Except that you can see how much it would cost to buy a token and how much you would get for selling one.
Tobold, I could buy epics for 15 slots ilvl 665 or higher as BoE from the AH. 16th slot would be the second trinket.

Just a quick look at your list and I can see that you have added more than 3 crafted pieces.... so yes, you can buy them, but you can't equip them.

Helistar, 4 crafted items including shield. But the shield does not count towards the limit so you can wear everything just fine.
I'm curious if Blizzard will ever differentiate Token subscribers to those monthly subs. Seems a potentially devious way to inflate/mask subscription metrics.
Why would that matter who paid for the subscription? I'm sure there are people whose parents or spouses pay for their subscription and Blizzard isn't differentiating them either. As long as Blizzard is getting $15+ for every subscriber month, they don't care where the money is coming from.
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