Buy World Of Warcraft Subscriptions For In-Game Gold

Blizzard offices, today.

Blizzard have announced that an “upcoming patch” will introduce the ability to buy World of Warcraft [official site] game time tokens to be sold on the in-game auction house for gold, the game’s primary currency.

This means two things: there is now a first party, risk free way to buy WoW gold for real cash, cutting the legs out from under a long-standing and TOS-breaking mini industry of gold farming and selling. Secondly, game subscriptions can now be purchased using game riches rather than real ones.

It’s not an entirely new idea, Eve Online [official site] has been doing something very similar with its PLEX system since 2008. What exactly stopped Blizzard introducing it sooner than this is up for debate, but the stigma of Blizzard effectively selling gold has always been very extreme in the community. WoW is also a much less profit-focused game than Eve.

Blizzard’s FAQ explains the system:

Want to buy a WoW Token for gold? Head to the new Game Time tab in the Auction House, and purchase one immediately for the current gold buyout price—there’s no bidding involved.

When you put a WoW Token up for sale, you’ll be quoted the amount of gold you’ll receive once someone buys it—you’re guaranteed to get that amount no matter how the market moves.

The gold price of tokens will vary by “supply and demand” on a per-region (EU, Americas, China and so on) basis but will be locked in when you decide to sell – you’ll receive the amount of gold you were told you were getting then, not whatever it’s worth once someone buys. There’s also no reselling, as tokens will be soulbound to characters (making them untradable) once they’re bought.

There’s more details in the announcement post. Best bet would have this being introduced in the next major patch, 6.2, which should arrive before the Summer.

26 Comments

  1. April March says:

    God dammit, Neal Stephenson, stop being right about the future.

    • ArtyFishal says:

      Now we just need see if a serendipitous chain of events involving Chinese virus coders, Russian mobsters, and American survivalists foil the designs of an eloquent British Jihadist.

    • dianabray says:

      We love to buy wow gold on buy4games website …

  2. Veles says:

    Took their sweet ass time about this. How long has EVE done this? I think they’ve had about 3 different systems for doing this since I first played

    • Luminolza says:

      Been about 6 years and given the advantages to both players and developer, it’s surprising other comparable games don’t use the same system.

  3. Jabberslops says:

    I keep reading People talk about how much a 30 Day Token will cost in Gold. A lot of them estimate from 10-30k, but realistically you are likely looking at 100-200k per token or possibly even as high as 300k.

    I used to sell gear on the AH and made a decent pile of Gold on my main server over about 2 years and I’m currently hovering around 320k Gold. I wasn’t really putting a lot of effort into it. If you are not actively acquiring Gold throughout the month I highly doubt that “normal” players will be able play wow for free.

    You will likely need to be Gold capped already on at least 1 Character and be making minimum 100k a month to afford 1 token per month.

    • TormDK says:

      I think the biggest question we need answered is; What does a casual player need the gold for?

      I went from about 30K total, to just shy of 250K gold this expansion without even trying. I suppose I could buy the alliance chopper, some of the old world 100K+ mounts, or even spend 100K on heirloom upgrades from 90 to 100.

      I think initially you are right with the 100K, but over time the prices will likely drop. Sure, the top end raiders who are selling “Ahead of the Curve” achivement boosts will likely be able to play for free from that point onwards, but I don’t see it as becoming a huge thing. Gold is fairly worthless as it is – just logging in and doing followermissions plus crafting nets you more than you realize over time.

      • jrodman says:

        If the game is anything like it used to be, the casual players roll a bunch of alts which are all money sinks.
        I remember very slowly kitting out mine with epic flying skill during the crusade that burns and it seeming both expensive and vaguely satisfying. I did a mild amount of bank-gaming while playing the game (selling stuff, making profitable stuff, auction arbitrage) and it was satisfying to chart my various income sources and how they were paying off with a combation of addons and external software.

        Yeah I knew everyone’s money always goes up, but I also knew it was a game.

    • Montegomery says:

      100-300k gold isn’t realistic. Blizzard isn’t just providing a mechanism for letting players sell game time/gold to one another, they’re competing with current gold sellers.

      Without clicking through the links I found the going rate for gold seems to be $0.20-0.40 per 1000g if you’re selling and $0.70-1.00 if you’re buying. Even on the low end that means 300k gold is worth four months of gametime. The safety/legality/convenience of WoW Tokens isn’t enough to overcome that kind of disparity.

      Moreover while at least 10% of all players have more than a million gold (based on a 2013 survey done by thegoldencrusade.net), that wealth was not amassed overnight. For a majority of those players 300k gold a month will greatly outstrip their income, making that price point unpalatable.

      Essentially the 30k number that’s been bandied about is the result of basic economic analysis of the present gold market and the potential perceived value of the security/legality/convenience of Blizzard’s offering. I’d be surprised if the price of WoW Tokens exceeded 50k gold for any significant length of time in North America.

  4. Alfius says:

    Yes, but can you un-dock in Jita with 42 of them in cargo?

    • badirontree says:

      Ahahahah :D the crying would be epic :D

    • Distec says:

      This is pretty much why the system works in Eve, along with the skill queue. No amount of in-game money will help you “get gud”, and Eve’s killboards are littered with testaments to this. A hundred dollars worth of PLEX can flame up in a moment.

      I used to think you couldn’t transplant this into WoW because due to the permanence of your acquired wealth as opposed to Eve’s economy of perishables. But considering gold these days is so worthless and not even a factor in getting decent gear and progression, it’s a welcome move (not that I’d ever grind enough to make use of it).

  5. Voqar says:

    It’s sad that there are so many pieces of human trash that are willing/wanting to buy their way thru games with cash. It’s even more sad that companies are now building this kind of garbage into games.

    Here’s a thought. If you’re too gutless, pathetic, lazy, stupid, or whatever to actually PLAY the games you buy, how about find something else to do instead of using cash to “play” the game for you? Go stare at a wall drooling or something else equally your mental speed?

    Rather than have standards and deal with cheaters, they’d rather just facilitate the cheating themselves and make a few bucks off the cheaters themselves. Customer service and going after cheaters costs money, and when all you care about is money and not the quality of your game, this is the path you take.

    It’s bad enough that sleaze like ArenaNet, Trion, whatever idiots make EVE, and other games already have been doing this lameness for a while. You would hope a company with the most successful MMORPG and that usually emphasizes quality above all else would maintain their standards. But I guess all that really matters is money and profit margins.

    Utter garbage.

    • Mutak says:

      Some people have way too much of their self esteem tied up in their games.

    • liquidsoap89 says:

      wot?

    • Philomelle says:

      You’re trying too hard.

    • Caerphoto says:

      Could you explain how exactly buying gold is ‘cheating’? What advantage does it provide to the player in terms of things that actually matter, like PvP or raid progression?

  6. xenothaulus says:

    I quit WoW at the end of Cataclysm with over 1.4M gold, and said then that the only way I might come back is if they started some sort of wowplex. Now they have, and I *am* interested in the new stronghold mechanic… Dammit all.

  7. jrodman says:

    Does this really cut the legs out from under unallowed gold selling? What if the unallowed gold selling is cheaper? Then you can pay for your game AND get more money for your character at a discount.

    • Mr Coot says:

      Yer, Blizz needs policy and action on multiple fronts if this is going to be a success. 1) Attending to botters, either those botting directly for themselves to buy tokens, or RMT operations to sell gold at an undercut $ value to the token. 2) Blizz needs to get heavy with the purchasers of illicit gold. At the mo, buyers get a smack on the wrist and get told not to do it again. The demand for botted gold will only be strangled if buyers have a real fear of penalties eg. losing their accounts and benefits permanently, or EVE style taking the account into -ve ISK.

      If those 2 things aren’t addressed the ppl who will be disadvantaged are the ones licitly trying to make gold to fund their subs. Token sellers are not disadvantaged by a money supply inflated by botting – intermediate currencies are immune. In a sense, intermediate currencies give little impetus for companies to action botting – their revenue is protected. The ones most inconvenienced by their inaction are the ones hoping to play for ‘free’, so if they give up there is no loss. It’s only when actual paying customers get fed up with the botting and cancel that they lose.

  8. Railway Rifle says:

    Is this going to lead to futures trading in-game? Are people going to try turning their gold into game-time, and selling the game-time for real money? Will it lead to EVE-style massive intrigues?

    • Awesomeclaw says:

      You can’t resell the tokens, so no. The tokens aren’t going to be auctionable in the same way as regular items. Instead, the game internally tracks a fixed value for the tokens based on supply and demand. When you sell a token, you are quoted a price then and there and that’s what you get when someone buys it (although they might buy it for more or less than you were originally quoted).

  9. PsychoWedge says:

    As far as I know people have been able to buy pets for real money in the blizz-store and sell them for gold in the AH for years and years, so this thing is not really a new first party, risk free way to buy WoW gold for real cash.

  10. ZombieIncUK says:

    But don’t you have to have a subscription to use the auction house? So a clever ploy by Blizzard PR to get cash paid sub’s back up to 12 million which they will bandy about in all the press, even though the number will drop by 4 million with people paying with in game gold the next month. What’s the chances of the patch this is in, is the same month as their movie release. Which I wish they would hurry up and do already.

  11. crystalemma says:

    I am excited about this move, now I can really take advantage of the new Zygor gold addon i downloaded last week at link to warlordsofdraenorguides.com. It will save me tons of money!