Yesterday, right on cue, WoW Tokens went live. Today, they’re worth quite a bit less. The tokens are in-game items which can be purchased for $20 and exchanged for gold or game time, with their value in gold determined by the market. Blizzard said last month that it would set an initial value and then let it fluctuate based on supply and demand. And fluctuate it has, with the Token shedding a full quarter of its worth in gold in a single day.
At launch, a $20 Token was initially valued at 30,000 gold, and actually pushed beyond that in the first few hours after release. But then it started to go down, down, steadily down, and now, according to wowtoken.info, your $20 Token now equates to 22,405 gold, more than a quarter less than the starting price.
The slump is not entirely surprising. As VentureBeat points out, the great likelihood is that players rushed to buy Tokens as soon as they were launched, then dumped them on the auction house to turn around some quick gold. And it’s not as though 22k is an inconsequential sum, either.
The potentially interesting part is what happens next: If the gold value continues to fall, players could be tempted to forgo their $15 monthly subscription fees in favor of Tokens, tradeable for 30 days of game time, purchased with gold. Will Blizzard take action to stabilize the market? My guess is that they’ll eventually settle into a sub-30k stability, but given how the Diablo 3 real money auction house turned out, a small part of me wonders if maybe WoW Tokens could have unforeseen effects on the way the in-game economy is balanced.