Op-Ed - WoW Tokens & How They Affect You
April 09, 2015 at 7:00 PM
By now you have probably noticed that WoW Tokens have gone live in World of Warcraft. Maybe you've even bought or sold one already. However, for those of you who don't know yet, or need a refresh, WoW Tokens are a new system of buying and selling GameTime using Gold.
Players can use Real Money to buy a WoW Token, then sell it in-game using the Auction House Interface, and receive In-Game Currency (Gold) for the Token. The player who buys the Token then can add 30 Days of Gametime to their Account. They cannot be resold or traded once purchased from the Auction House.
The Gold Price of a WoW Token on the Auction House is determined by Supply & Demand. Players selling a WoW Token can not set a manual price, the Auction House determines the price Automatically.
When you purchase a WoW Token using Real Money, you are given an estimate of how much Gold it may presently be worth.
You will notice that the Dollar Price of a WoW Token is slightly higher than that of buying 30 Days of Gametime for yourself.
So, those are the facts, but I wanted to take some time to talk about the possible effects, whether positive or negative, of this new system.
Games like EVE Online have been using similar systems of buying GameTime with In-Game Currency for years, without issue. However, WoW is a decade old, and has well established prices and economic flow, which varies per-server. Introducing essentially a way for players to obtain unlimited amounts of gold with no in-game work or effort will undoubtedly have an effect on the prices of items, as well as possibly causing inflation.
Why is Inflation an issue? Until now, Gold value reflects the amount of time and effort put into obtaining it. We have a set of options we can use to earn gold in-game, some people have more time, some people have more skill, but we all have the same methods available to us.
Now, the value of gold can be determined by your own personal wealth. As we know, some people are poor, and some people are rich. Rich people can afford to spend a lot of money on WoW tokens, make a ton of gold, and then buy anything they feel they want in WoW. Where as someone with less disposable income may not be able to afford a WoW token at all. They are then significantly limited in the amount of gold they can obtain. If WoW tokens create inflation, it may then make in-game items affordable only to those who have an inordinate amount of gold stockpiled up.
However, as we outlined earlier, the price of WoW Tokens are set by Supply & Demand. There will only ever be a set amount of demand, since everyone can only make use of one WoW token a month (unless adding up future gametime). As more people sell WoW Tokens, the price will go down, and they will get less Gold for each WoW token sold.
Perhaps this system will limit the possible negative effects?
What are your thoughts? Let us know in the Comments Area below!