Tobold's Blog
Wednesday, April 08, 2015
Inverted scales

The WoW token had an interesting first day. At first it's value in gold rose by about 10%, from 30,000 to 33,000, then it dropped by nearly 25% to just above 25,000. But of course like any currency transaction you can also look at it from the other side, on an inverted scale: 1,000 gold initially got you 67 cents, that dropped to 60 cents and then rose to 80 cents. If the value of the WoW token goes down, the value of WoW gold goes up. Clearly there are currently more people wanting to buy (legal) WoW gold than there are people who want to sell it.

I now have answers to some of the open questions: Bryksom was wondering whether the buy price and the sell price are the same, and that appears very much to be the case. There is no cut for Blizzard on the gold, instead Blizzard gets their cut by selling the WoW token for $20, while the price for a month of subscription is only $15 or less (depending on payment plan). Seeing how volatile the price is on the first day it also appears very clear that this is really a free-floating currency, with prices getting adjusted every 30 minutes.

The one question where I am still looking for an answer, not having access to US servers myself, is whether it is possible to buy a WoW token without being currently subscribed to World of Warcraft. I think that makes a huge difference to people with inactive accounts: Would they first have to spend $15 to activate their account again in order to use their gold to get more WoW token subscription time, or can they do that transaction without spending any money of their own? The latter would obviously be much more attractive and get a lot of inactive accounts back into the game.

You're supposed to be able to. You can buy the token from the character screen, and non-subscribers can log in now with the Veteran account thing (can only play characters from level 1-20).

However, people were reporting that buying the token this way was buggy, so it may take a day or two to start working.
What I want to know is whether you can buy a token from guild bank funds while your account is inactive. All my gold is in my vanity guild's guild bank. :-)
You can purchase the WoW Token with gold without an active Subscription.
I am a bit surprised Blizzard doesn't take a cut of the gold simply to counteract inflation.

It is my understanding that inflation arises when the amount of gold in circulation goes up at a higher rate than the amount of goods for sale. The token market is likely to increase the amount of gold in circulation because some folks will start prioritising gold creating activities in order to pay their sub and because some others who previously hoarded gold will release their stocks to buy tokens.

If Blizzard took a cut of he token transaction it doesn't earn them anything (it isn't real money after all) but it would suck some of that excess gold out of the game.

Blizzard taking a cut looks as though they are being evil money pinchers and would generate bad publicity (and that is much more important to them than the in-game economy).
The inflactionary impact would be a one-off bump and they have shown they have already shown that they are more than happy to have inflationary bumps happen whenever they release a new expansion.
Let's see if it will work on the long run. I can't forget the amazingly huge fiasco with Diablo's real money auction house. So many speculations, blog articles, etc... Months and months of words for something that simply didn't work at all.
To be fair, nearly everyone KNEW the Diablo 3 RMAH wouldn't work, which is not the case with the token!

Not everyone at Blizzard, though. I still don't understand how a large and powerful company managed to make an incredible mistake like that.
Tobold: "1,000 gold initially got you 67 cents, that dropped to 60 cents and then rose to 80 cents."
Wrong as your payout is not in dollars but in a service that was repriced to $20 and would cost you personally only $15.
So the initial value that your 1000g would give you is only 50 cents, dropped to 45 and rose to 60.
If you are buying a token you are actually losing if your other option would be to resell it as a goldseller for $1 per 1000g.
This move is better as the player who would buy RMT gold is better off selling a token and gaining more gold per dollar since it is more unlikely that someone would RMT their gold to buy their sub with dollars.
*if your other option would be to sell your gold as a goldseller for $1 per 1000g

To make it clearer.
Prices still dropping, currently at 23K per token. Fingers crossed for EU servers, I hope the trend will be similar.
I'm just going to sit here, looking smug.

MBP, I mean who knows, but a lot of that cash will go straight into gold sinks for mounts and such. As far as taking gold out of the economy it's probably doing more good getting cash out of the hands of the hoarders and into the hands of consumers.

As far as incentives goes, this disincentives work for more people than it incentivizes it. It makes far more sense for most people to buy gold than it will to grind to pay for their sub.
If it mirrors this in EU I will be creating disposable RAF accounts (cost £5 + gold for 2 tokens) to get a mount + 28 days on my main.
I wasn't able to purchase a Wow Token on my nearly two-year inactive account. Not sure if it was a glitch or some other limitation for not having logged in since the start of the expansion. Luckily, I still had the 10-day free trial for Warlords on my account, which I redeemed and was able to purchase 9 WoW Tokens that way.

Not sure whether I'll start playing again immediately or wait until the next expansion or some combination of the above.
So far it looks more like an IPO than anything. Prices are falling because the demand for gold was higher than supply.

Things will stabilize, but who knows where that will be.
True Eric, I'd expect the gold price to get pretty high right before expansions due to market anticipating inflation, for instance, but I have a hard time thinking the gold sellers will be eager to sell at much higher than the bottom of this valley in price. They know now that they can actually get a decent ROI off their gold and will sit on it until the market turns their way. If gold gets too expensive, excess demand will turn to third party sellers. Pretty hard to maintain any moral outrage about gold buying when Blizzard is happy to facilitate it. There's a pretty tight (and low) window for the market before people stop participating in it.
To but it another way, Azuriel now has the luxury of watching the market for 9 months to find maximum value for his gold before reentering the market without spending a dime.

A guy like Revlon could probably sit for years waiting for the right moment to sell more gold. You're not going to see 50000 gold tokens. Demand to skip grinding will always be too high for that.
*all predictions should be adjusted for inflation
@Gerry Quinn I think everyone knew that the Diablo RMAH was a bad fit for actual practice it worked fine, but badly undermined the premise of the game it was attached to.

As for the tokens....I've got a Veteran Account right now that's not active, I'll pop in and see if there's anything to be had for a burned-out non-subscriber filthy casual in this mess.
Given that there is some delay between a buy and sell it is possible that Blizzard is skimming a little gold off the top of each sale. Unlikely perhaps, but possible.
Or Blizzard is adding a little. The sell price is locked in at the time of listing while the buy price is set when the buyer pays. When the prices are falling Blizzard are injecting gold with every token sale.
I can understand being lazy at farming but... $20 for 21K gold?

If you're so desperate for ingame gold then MMO's aren exactly the game for you, in my opinion.
Well Rugus, it's more about buying your life back. At the time level demanded for MMOS, dropping some cash to get back even 10 hours a month of your life back makes sense.

I mean, I get it. MMOs are terrible, garbage games. But you can't design the game to hook people and then go, wtf, why are they acting like addicts. If people were thinking straight WoW would have died in 2004.
You don't NEED to get 20K gold in 1 second. I mean just play at your own piece and have fun with the 34587340958 things you can do in WoW.

I don't get how a casual player who invests few spare hours here and there could "need" 20K. You "need" it for extremely powerful gear (which isn't compatible with a casual) or super-rare vanity stuff (which makes zero sense if you insta-buy it with $20, in my opinion).

You need 20K gold to fully build up your garrison and its buildings to level 3.
But a casual player with few spare hours/week doesn't need a full-level3 garrison built "as soon as possible".

I don't know, I can't really justify a $20 purchase for such a low gold income (less than 30K).

Now if that $20 was something like 100K then sure, it would be a lot more interesting.
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