World of Warcraft's new Token currency sheds a quarter of its value in one day


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, 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.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.