World of Warcraft Classic feels the scourge of the WoW token as a ring is traded for $13,000 worth of in-game gold

The WoW Token, an item that can be bought with real money and sold for gold.
(Image credit: Blizzard)

As spotted by GamesRadar, the impact of the WoW token—a way for players to purchase game time, which they can also sell on the auction house for gold—is being felt on the Wrath of the Lich King: Classic servers, with one rare item selling for over 3 million gold in a GDKP auction.

A GDKP is an auction within a raid. Players bid on boss drops with gold—however, the profits are split evenly among the raid when the bidding is over. Have deep pockets? You can snag yourself some rares. Dirt poor? You can just skip the bidding and walk away richer. Everybody wins. Well, in a healthy economy, anyway.

In a reaction clip from Twitch streamer Guzu to streamer Prefoxfox, we see a ring called the Band of Callous Aggression sold for 3 million gold. For context, that's 15 times the amount a player can actually carry. Cold Weather Flying, a spell that was intended as a gold sink back when Wrath of the Lich King was initially released, costs 1,000. Now it's just pocket change for the moneybags of Azeroth.

To earn 3 million, you'd need to clock an unthinkable amount of hours farming or have a galaxy-brain understanding of virtual economics. Or you could just cough up $13,000 (around £10,000) in WoW tokens. Either someone's found a way to clone themselves—we've got a capitalist wunderkind on our hands—or there's a gamer with a lot of money. I'd wager it's the very latter.

WoW tokens are intended to be a safe alternative to the swamp of gold-selling websites, curbing a black-market economy by offering an official means to turn cash into pixels. While there are definitely perks to this—significantly dampening these sites' bargaining power—it's not exactly great for inflation. They've been in the main game for a while, but their inclusion in classic servers in May was a bitter pill for many to swallow.

Now we're seeing the economic backblast of this arms race between gold farmers and Blizzard—a rich person sitting atop a whale-sized hoard of gold is one thing, but consider the fact that 24 other players are now about 120,000 gold richer, all from completing a single raid. It's a big ol' boulder dropped into a very small pond, and those ripples can quickly turn to tidal waves.

I'm sure gold farming operations are more advanced than they were back in the day. And yet, the WoW token has also tainted the experience for nostalgia-chasing gamers. This inflation is a sore reminder that players can never go back to the good old days, a feeling World of Warcraft Classic is built to provide.

Staff Writer

Harvey's history with games started when he first begged his parents for a World of Warcraft subscription aged 12, though he's since been cursed with Final Fantasy 14-brain and a huge crush on G'raha Tia. He made his start as a freelancer, writing for websites like Techradar, The Escapist, Dicebreaker, The Gamer, Into the Spine—and of course, PC Gamer. He'll sink his teeth into anything that looks interesting, though he has a soft spot for RPGs, soulslikes, roguelikes, deckbuilders, MMOs, and weird indie titles. He also plays a shelf load of TTRPGs in his offline time. Don't ask him what his favourite system is, he has too many.