WoW Token Price and its impact on The Game – Must Read!
Let’s face it – WoW tokens have been a sort of an enigma for a very long time now. Ever since the launch of these tokens by Blizzard back in early 2015, players have struggled to fully grasp the concept behind them.
And with in-game token prices for the US and EU regions skyrocketing and then plummeting down again, many are wondering whether or not there’s an external factor that causes such drastic ups and lows.
Well, in this post I’m going to walk you through what these elusive World of Warcraft tokens actually are, what the mechanics behind them are and what determines how much gold one token would cost on the AH.
So, what is a WoW Token then?
In essence, tokens are items that you can acquire either by real money or via gold (not real gold, obviously). Depending on how you obtained a token (cash or WoW gold), it’ll look like this:
- WoW Token to be sold – bought from the in-game shop with real $
- WoW Token to be used– bought from the special, region-specific AH with gold
Apart from getting them from the aforementioned in-game shop, you can obtain some from a special region-wide WoW Token Auction House via gold. There are certain limitations of course and this is what you can do with a WoW token:
- Get them via the in-game shop by spending real currency and sell them in the special AH for gold
- Get them via the AH by purchasing them with gold and either use them to add a 30-day game time to your subscription or you can alternatively add funds to your net balance with the very same tokens.
Blizz are smart about how you can operate with these tokens because you’re not allowed to buy stuff from the Blizzard Gear Store with them. Also, you can’t buy them with cash and use them yourself nor can you send them to a friend or even acquire them with gold and resell them later for a profit.
In fact, the only prices that fluctuate are the ones found on the AH – the prices for buying them with money are fixed. Here’s what you’ll have to pay for a token (the prices are region-specific):
- NA/US – $20 USD/$25 AUD
- EU – €20 EUR or £15 GBP
- China – ¥75 CNY
- South Korea – ₩22,000 KRW
- Taiwan – NT$500 TW
These prices are a constant so if you plan to buy tokens with your hard-earned cash – goods news for you. But apart from selling them on the AH and adding game time, the option to add money to your battle.net balance means that you can redeem a token for (again, region-specific):
- NA/US – $15 USD/$17 AUD
- EU – €12.99 EUR/£9.99 GBP
- China – Not available
- South Korea – Not available
- Taiwan – Not available
Alright, now that you’re familiar with the primary info related to WoW tokens, how you can acquire them and what to do with them, It’s time to tackle the main issue – why the prices in gold fluctuate so much.
What truly causes the in-game WoW Token price to rise and fall?
First and foremost, the WoW token market is not a free market – you don’t buy them from other players, instead, you get them directly from Blizzard. They regulate the prices for every region and they’re the ones orchestrating the whole thing.
I won’t bore you to death with endless rants about how hyperinflated the World of Warcraft economy has been for a very long time now. Instead, I’ll list the key reasons for why these tokens exist and what their main purpose is:
- WoW tokens are a tool that enables Blizzard to deflate the in-game economy and control it to a certain extent
Back in 2015 when they first introduced this new feature, it was already about time they decided to intervene because to quite frankly, World of Warcraft has experienced out-of-this-world inflation for a number of years.
Think about it – what happens when a new expansion/raid/event/major quest etc. is introduced? Let me help you, what happens is that the new content comes with new rewards of all kinds and subsequently, players have access to more “phat loot” and the inflation happily continues on its way to the moon.
When we become richer in-game, the money supply expands and thus the inflation climbs up. That’s when Blizzard steps in by increasing the token prices and by doing so they are effectively deflating the economy – the overall gold supply in the game decreases.
If they didn’t do that, who knows how hyper the hyperinflation rates in World of Warcraft could’ve been by now. Blizz apparently have this clever method of putting a halt to current inflation processes and temporarily deflating the economy – it’s their system and only they can leverage it!
Does that mean that players and external factors have no effect on the WoW Token prices?
Yes, to a certain extent. Remember that Blizzard is the one who sells and buys these tokens. That’s why there’s a separate AH for WoWtokens, which is clearly different from the regular player-to-player marketplace or simply – the regular auction house.
They essentially hide token transactions simply because these transactions don’t happen between players. And as a result, Blizz can tweak the prices in order to control the inflation. Listen, they’re not obligated to keep token prices reasonable – it’s their call to put whatever price tag on them they like.
It’s like wanting Ferrari to lower the price of their cars to something affordable so that you can get one. Supply and demand is another thing and I’d like to give you an idea of how it influences WoW Token prices:
- Many players pay for their monthly subscription with gold, not real money and subsequently, Blizzard increases the price per token in the AH
- If they decide to make tokens cost less gold, even more people will be buying them via the AH and less will be acquiring tokens with cash
- Finally, as a result, the prices will have to catapult into the skies again due to the nature of supply and demand, right?
That’s where the problem lies. As there’s no transparency when it comes to WoW Token transactions, we can’t know for sure whether or not the driving force behind prices going up and down is indeed supply and demand. Blizz are free to dump as many (or as few) tokens as they pleased into the auction house – they have full control over the system, no us players.
To put things into perspective, Blizzard actually benefit from the constantly-increasing WoW Token prices. Here’s how:
- When token costs more gold, it means that players willing to pay $20 (US prices) for a token will be getting more gold by selling them on the special AH
- And when more players buy more tokens with real currency, Blizzard end up with more profit since you pay $20 for one token, while the one-month subscription fee is $15.
Okay, so there’s nothing that we can do to stop token prices from fluctuating and eventually increasing all the time?
Yes and no. Clearly, as you can see from the screenshot above, drastic price fluctuations do happen. Was this sudden rise and drop for the US and EU regions caused by the fact that it’s the festive season? After all, Christmas is celebrated in these two regions so it makes sense, right?
Sounds reasonable, but external factors such as a holiday season don’t have a direct impact on token prices. Only Blizzard can answer what truly causes them to increase or decrease prices, but generally speaking, it’s always related to hyperinflation and them trying to deflate the WoW economy and somehow make it manageable.
I already pointed out some of the key aspects that cause Blizzard to pump up the WoW Token prices (new expansions, dungeons etc. resulting in more rewards/gold entering the game) so instead, I’ll shift the focus towards sudden price variations.
I know for a fact that a lot of fellow players believe that holidays (like Christmas for example) cause prices to soar. That’s feasible if you imply the ‘supply and demand’ logic, but that’s not exactly true.
Speculation can increase the in-game inflation so much, and if there’s no new content from which more gold will be added to the game, what can cause tokens to become more expensive? Simple – when players buy tokens with cash and then sell them on the AH for profit (in gold) it’s almost the same as buying gold.
- When players profit more (in-game) by buying WoW Tokens with real $, that makes Blizzard happy because it means that they add more profit as well
That’s another great reason for them to keep prices high and to keep increasing them over time. When tokens hold a lot of gold value they’ll make more profit because let’s face it, casual players who can’t afford to grind 200k gold will have only one option if they want to obtain tokens – to buy them with cash.
To put it simply, token prices don’t fluctuate because of us buying and selling them, but because of gold supply contracting/expanding. You can think of WoW Tokens as a money sink – a way for Blizzard to deflate the economy and to make an additional profit at the same time.
Also, I can’t see how tokens will become cheaper as time goes on because inflation will only continue to grow as more and more new content is released, resulting in more awards/gold. Sure, short-term fluctuations will always be there, but expect tokens to cost more in the longer run.
And with the supposedly diminishing number of subscribers worldwide (although they stopped giving info about that after WoD, so we can’t be 100% certain about that), it seems very unlikely that WoW tokens’ prices will gradually decrease – quite the opposite actually.
While there’s nothing that you can do to influence how much a WoW token costs on the AH, you can still farm gold (if you don’t want to buy tokens directly via cash) and simply grind, grind and grind some more so that you can keep up with the ever-increasing prices.
But hey, farming gold ain’t for the faint-hearted and you might want to spend your time doing something more enjoyable. That’s why we have our unique WoW Gold Market – so that you don’t have to do all the hard work because we’ve got you covered in a convenient and affordable manner.
Now feel free to share your thoughts with us regarding WoW tokens and how successful (or not) they are at managing World of Warcraft’s hyperinflating economy. You can do so by leaving a comment below!