Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The WoW Token - The Cure?

We first heard about the WoW Token awhile back as a potential addition to the game. It was recently confirmed. In summary:

The tokens are purchased for actual money (The price isn't set yet, but it won't be less than the regular subscription price.) and are only able to be sold in a dedicated game time token section of the auction house.

They are set to an exact amount, determined by the game rather than the seller, and unable to be bid on, only bought out. Once purchased, the item becomes bound and can only be used to give yourself 30 days of game time. It does not expire nor can it be destroyed.

Basically, it's a way to buy game time with real money and sell it for gold, allowing players to "buy" gold from other players by selling them these tokens - hopefully cutting down on the gold selling problem in WoW.

It will work like gems, tomes, and gold in Diablo 3 worked before they removed the auction house, where everyone can put their token up, but when someone buys one, they just buy them without looking through all of the available auctions.

this is from the PTR - I'm assuming they will be more than 100g

This system allows actual players who want to spend their actual money to gain gold in game with an option to more or less buy their gold from people who are probably actually real players - there's no real benefit anywhere in the equation for chinese gold farmers - you can only turn money into gold, not the other way around. Blizzard isn't against players buying in game things for real money - that much should be obvious by now - the problem with gold sellers is that the gold being sold is rarely gained legitimately, and the illegitimate means by which that gold is acquired causes problems for the players and for Blizzard. By adding a legitimate means to purchase gold, they hope to alleviate these problems.

While I'm not crazy about buying gold as a general concept - to be blunt, it's a poor use of your hard earned money and rather lazy - I agree entirely with this idea. Blizzard has been fighting gold sellers and botters forever - literally since the game came out. They even have this page detailing the problems that gold sellers cause.

complete with merchant goblin stereotypes

Gold sellers are a plague that infest every new and old MMO and most online games period. If there is a way to buy in-game things with real money - in any game - someone will find a way to do that. If the token system is successful - which will require cooperation from the players as well - it should help reduce the profitability of being an account hacking, botting nuisance.

The only reason I can see this system not working well is that it purposefully does not allow people to earn actual money through this system - it only allows you to buy gold with money, not the other way around. This means there is still motivation to sell gold by people who want to earn money for their gold rather than game time - which is why the system will require cooperation from the playerbase. There is every possibility that it may still be profitable to sell gold at cheaper prices than the WoW token system will allow, in which case people will still probably provide business to these illegitimate channels.

Who knows how much it will actually help, however. I do see a lot of people who never would have bought gold before for fear of account locking using this system, which means they weren't a part of the original problem anyway.

Personally, I think it's going to at least lessen the amount of illegitimate gold selling going on. As with anything else, we won't see the impact until it goes live.

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