Black Box Pricing – WoW Tokens

I’d been thinking a bit about the WoW tokens and their pricing for a minute when Wilhelm posted about them, WoW Tokens Five Years Later. I had intended to write a nearly clueless analysis of the pricing, but paused long enough to do just some basic reading and have come to the conclusion that I don’t know how useful it is as an indicator.

This probably isn’t really news to anyone else, as I’m the one late to the party here.

The WoW token is such a strange form of currency. It has only one purpose, which is determined by how you choose to purchase it. Pay real money, you can only “sell” it for gold. Buy it with gold, and it can only become subscription time. No resale, no profiting from speculation. You don’t “invest” in WoW tokens, you consume them.

As a way of manipulating currency levels, it’s quite impressive. Its utility, though, is derived from the same feature that makes is rather unhelpful to me, its pricing. Now, I could be wrong, but as I understand it, the people buying and selling these things don’t get to decide how much they buy or sell for. That number is dictate by Blizzard, who claims it’s “algorithmic” and based on supply/demand. In other words, Blizzard can manipulate the price as they see fit and would like us to believe it’s all player-driven.

Perhaps I’m being overly cynical here. It quite possible that Blizzard set this thing up and takes a fairly hands off approach. The fact that “legal” WoW gold is a little cheaper than “illegal” WoW gold is likely not due to an accident, though, and would likely require Blizzard to monitor and change the algorithm regularly. Otherwise, any gold seller with two brain cells to rub together would be at least matching the official price. Alternatively, it’s possible that they’re actually buying gold via tokens and reselling it with a markup. I’m sure they could con enough people into buying that it’s worth their time.

Still, there’s the big question. When I look at the graph in Wilhelm’s post, how can I be certain that any one price change is a supply/demand change instead of an algorithmm change? I don’t know if we have visible (or accurate) numbers on how many tokens are being bought and by what means. If not, some sort of polling would probably have to be done on a regular basis to establish the player activity. Then you could compare the poll data to the price data to see how/if they’re correlated.

Part of me wants to do that, but most of me says it’s not worth the effort. Does it really matter how/why the price changes? The people buying and selling will adjust their behavior to the price, regardless of what drives the price. Still, I would like to begin tracking non-token goods on Classic just so I can see what happens when the Token is introduced there. What is the overall economic impact of token v. non-token economies, which seems more efficient, and what costs and benefits does it involve?

So many questions…

Y’all take care. Onwards and upwards.


blapril-2020-200Hey, it’s Blapril time! The goal is to simply promote and stimulate the blogging community by encouraging people of all skill levels and backgrounds to post. The official post can be found here and it’s never too late to start.

WoW – Once More Unto the Breach?

So, it looks like I’m working with a Holy Paladin at the moment, though like anyone chucked into the middle of things I have very little idea what I’m actually doing. I’m being rabbited around doing a particular quest chain. I’ve been reading about a third of the dialogue and watching the cutscenes and I… understand what’s happening in the strictest sense, but have no idea what the context is. From what I can tell, it seems to be some of the more current story content.

I actually didn’t quite like the Holy Paladin at first, as it took me a while to put together how the heals/procs work together functionally. Seems to be going better now that I’ve had some time with it.

We actually trialed every healer at 110 yesterday when I was going through my options. I didn’t much care for the Druid. I felt like I was constantly chasing my tail and getting absolutely nowhere. The Discipline Priest and Holy Paladin were the two I ended up being most interested in, and the Paladin felt more… functional.

The Shaman was surprisingly effective as well and not off the drawing board entirely. I liked the selection of abilities available. The Monk also seemed rather potent, though I wasn’t particularly interested in the overall theme. This could also be due to me having tried them in the order presented here and it was getting a bit late by the time we got to these last two.

Speaking of late, I should be getting to bed. Right after I add a new category for WoW.

Thanks well it’s been fun, five more mintues then I’m done, I’ve been saying that to myself since… yesterday. – Electric Funstuff, probably

Y’all take care. I’ve gotta sort out the bonuses on this new chestpiece before I head to bed.


blapril-2020-200Hey, it’s Blapril time! The goal is to simply promote and stimulate the blogging community by encouraging people of all skill levels and backgrounds to post. The official post can be found here and it’s never too late to start.