Buy World Of Warcraft Subs For Gold With WoW Tokens

MMORPG players buying and selling virtual money for real money is, we all know, very naughty indeed. Folks who want to skip the grind end up driving up auction house prices for everyone, making the grind even grindier for those without cash to flash. MMOs tend to ban users buying gold (or credz, shillings, cybershillings…), but a few have introduced roundabout official ways to do it.

World of Warcraft has become the latest MMORPG selling subscription time cards for real money which players can then sell in-game for virtual money. Or, the other way round, if you have time to grind for virtual pennies, you can keep all your real pennies and not pay subscription fees.

The WoW Token is now available on the Americas servers, granting 30 days of game time for $20 – $5 more than the regular monthly subscription fee. You can then sell that Token on the auction house for however much in-game gold other players are willing to pay.

Blizzard set high starting prices for the tokens – 30,000 gold – but they seem to be falling now, headed down towards the amounts one can get from a naughty gold seller. Ars Technica have got stuck into the numbers, noting that giving $20 to a gold seller will usually only get you between 10,000 and 15,000 gold. WoW Tokens mean players needn’t worry about getting caught buying gold and punished, though, so I imagine they’ll always sell for a higher price than illicit gold.

If you’re an efficient gold farmer, hey, you can pay for a WoW subscription with time instead of money. I’ve known a few EVE Online players who would power through boring but profitable in-game tasks so they could afford EVE’s equivalent, the PLEX time card, and spend the rest of that month as they jolly well pleased.

It’s a curious indirect admission from Blizzard that grinding for gold is a bit bum, a recognition that it’s rubbo enough that people will pay real pennies to skip it. They’re not rethinking the grind, though, merely adding a way for folks with money to skip it. It’s a tricky situation for Blizzard, as the constant striving to earn fancier items is part of what keeps many players playing – and paying – month after month. They’re reliant on grind to keep some players, but it’ll alienate others. Perhaps WoW Tokens will strike a balance between the two.

WoW Tokens are available on the North American, Latin American, Australian, and New Zealandarian servers now, coming to Europe soon.


  1. Sarfrin says:

    See, phrases like “grinding for gold is a bit bum” are exactly why RPS is better than other gaming sites. :D

  2. teije says:

    The proper adjective was New Zealanderitetarianist.

  3. Wulfram says:

    Maybe they should make it available for Hearthstone gold.

  4. Awesomeclaw says:

    It’ll be interesting to see what this does to the auction house economy. I’m imagining a lot of inflation, since a lot of previously ‘useless’ gold will now be moving from gold-maxed alts to people wanting to spend it (and then on into the wider economy). It’d be interesting to see if Blizzard introduce new gold sinks, or if they just continue to let the value of gold plummet.

    • frightlever says:

      “Blizzard set high starting prices for the tokens – 30,000 gold – but they seem to be falling now, headed down towards the amounts one can get from a naughty gold seller.”

      The conversion rate for the amount of gold paid for a token is dropping, suggesting a glut of tokens and not enough gold. ie people bought tokens expecting they’d be able to get 30k gold for them, but people are only willing to pay 20k-ish, and that might even drop further.

      “If you’re an efficient gold farmer, hey, you can pay for a WoW subscription with time instead of money.”

      At which point you’re on a hamster wheel, working so you can pay to keep working.

      • Asurmen says:

        At which point, you’re having fun to keep having more fun.

        • Awesomeclaw says:

          That would only be true if the most profitable activities were also the most fun, which I’ve found not to be the case in most MMORPGs.

  5. blastaz says:

    This would have more of a change if there was anything to spend gold on other than vanity kit.

    If you don’t want to know old recipes or buy particular pets and mounts there is very little to spend gold on. Really reasonable gear goes for 5k a piece and you can pick up lfr kit for zero cost.

    Gold is pretty much just for fun in wow it doesn’t play a part in progression.

  6. satan says:

    Wish they’d sell individual levels instead, got a few characters near the cap that I’m just too lazy to push on with.

    • Velthaertirden says:

      How about a game with gameplay engaging enough for players to actually play to gain those levels? Maybe that’s what we should wish for.

      • satan says:

        Ah since BC for me the levelling has been a chore (levelled 1 of everything in vanilla). WOTLK was probably the closest I came to enjoying levelling again, just because I really enjoyed the whole Norse flavour of the expansion. After 10 years though the content I still get some satisfaction out of is a bit of max level pvp and a bit of (casual) raiding, and levelling is just getting in the way.

  7. SaintAn says:

    RIP Blizzard.

  8. Premium User Badge

    phuzz says:

    It’s interesting to see that the amount of hours you have to grind to earn enough to pay for a month’s subscription in WoW seems to be converging to roughly the same amount of time as in Eve.
    Well, excepting that ‘amount of time to produce X gold/isk’ is the cause of much argument.
    Are there any other MMOs that let you pay for game time with in-game money? More data points would be good.

    • Choca says:

      For long time players it’s going to be a piece of cake, I haven’t played in a long while (and have no desire to do so) but I seem to remember having close to a million in the bank when I stopped.

    • Awesomeclaw says:

      I think Wildstar does. Also, Guild Wars 2 allows you to buy the paid currency (gems) with in-game gold. EVE also has AUR (for vanity items), which I believe can be traded on the standard market (but I have a vague memory of something about that changing so that may no longer be the case).

  9. Voqar says:

    Losers rejoice, now you can get in game gold for cash directly from the source instead of thru “chinese gold farmers” – blizzard makes even more money and cheaters can more easily cheat. Win win for all scrubs.

    Because the “you can buy your sub with in game gold” thing is only half of the story. The only way those tokens exist is because some schmuck bought one for cash, usually a nice chunk more than the usual sub cost, and is selling it to you in game for your gold – ie, they’re paying cash for game gold.

    The marketing side of it, the you can pay game gold for something, sounds neato, but to me, the real side of it is the host company becoming the owner of “3rd party gold sales”, making even more money off of players, and enabling scrubs to buy their way thru games with cash, something that’s always been cheating in any serious MMORPG until the host companies decided to say screw it, why let 3rd parties make money of our cheaters when we can make money of them ourselves and players just don’t care (well, most players, I personally won’t play an MMORPG that facilitates cheating, which is why I never played WildStar even though it’s a decent game).

    • Voqar says:

      Further, I think it’s sad that “gaming news” (or more marketing for sleazy companies) “cover” things like this and basically repeats the marketing slime without bothering to point out the underlying reality, which is, players paying cash for tokens they sell in game for gold (ie, paying cash for gold) being the mechanism that enables this whole dirty mess.

    • Voqar says:

      Sadly, the reality is that companies like Blizzard care about making money more than the integrity of their game(s).

      Sadly, a lot of players are scrubs who would rather buy their way thru games than actually play them and earn their way thru via playing.

      Customer service to deal with cheaters costs money. Paying developers to come up with ways to foil 3rd party farmers and gold sellers costs money. Why spend the money on that when you can profit yourself providing the service that cheaters want – game integrity be damned – all that matters is profits.

    • Cederic says:

      I’m so glad you have the time and energy to spend working inside a game to earn in-game gold. I’m just confused that you appear to think that people who spend their time and energy working in the real world don’t deserve the same fun and opportunities within the game that you do.

      I don’t pay for in-game resources with RL cash, because if a game is designed to require work to enjoy it, I play other games and put my cash to other uses. But I can understand other people making a different choice. I just don’t understand your viewpoint.