World of Warcraft token prices have jumped to an all-time high, following Activision-Blizzard’s announcement that Destiny 2 would be available on PC exclusively through the Blizzard Launcher (formerly the Battle.net Client). The announcement means, among other things, that PC players will be able to chat with friends playing Destiny 2 while in Blizzard’s other games, including Hearthstone and the massively-successful Overwatch.
And, apparently, it’s also driven the in-game prices of WoW Tokens to unprecedented levels.
According to Kotaku, sales of WoW Tokens, priced at $20 USD each, have hit a record price on the in-game market. The Tokens can be traded in for a single month of subscription play to WoW – or they can be sold for gold in the auction house, much like EVE Online‘s PLEX, which first led the transition for many MMO games to a combined game token/game currency-based market. What it means, in practice, is that players with more time than money can get their game time for “free” through gameplay, while players with more money than time can sell $20 tokens for a quick influx of in-game cash.
Originally, the tokens could only be sold or redeemed for game time, but in February, Blizzard changed the way the tokens work; they can now be redeemed for $15 of credit in the Blizzard Launcher (the price of a month’s WoW subscription). Many players took advantage of this, trading in their WoW tokens for Hearthstone card packs or Overwatch loot boxes, and driving the secondary market price up, as dedicated WoW players were quite happy to unload some of their stockpiled Tokens, and others were even more happy to trade $20 for a wad of WoW gold.
Blizzard’s move to allow WoW Tokens to be traded for actual store credit is pretty much unprecedented; even games which are considered leaders in digital revenue don’t usually allow for currencies like WoW Tokens to be traded for anything other than in-game currency or game subscription time.
So in February, after the change, WoW tokens shot up to a price ceiling of over 110,000 WoW gold, eventually leveling out at about 80,000 gold per. That price had been slowly creeping up over the past couple of months, but when Activision-Blizzard made their big Destiny 2 reveal, noting both that in-game purchases for Destiny 2 players could be made through the Blizzard Launcher, and that players could actually use WoW Tokens to straight-out buy Destiny 2, WoW Tokens suddenly became infinitely more valuable; this time last year, according to VG247, the original Destiny had nearly 30 million players and Activision-Blizzard was reporting record revenues, some 64 percent of them coming from digital sales – and remember, this was before the release of Overwatch, far and away Activision-Blizzard’s highest-grossing game in 2016.
So exactly how valuable have WoW Tokens become? On the day of the announcement, they jumped back up from that high-point 110,000 gold figure to over 140,000 gold each. The run on the market continued throughout this weekend, finally leveling out at an apparently new average price of 120,000 gold, amounting to a 26 percent increase in value – at least, in-game. The value of the tokens in real-world dollars remains constant.
Ultimately, this is one of the problems facing virtual economies; without a reasonable amount of “sinks” the value of game currencies continues to inflate, sometimes at an alarming rate. While WoW players are eager to stockpile WoW Tokens now, they may ultimately find that unchecked inflation is going to ultimately render their tokens less valuable than they were before – especially as Destiny 2 is likely to continue to push their value up, alongside new Hearthstone and Overwatch releases.
The bright side is that if enough WoW players actually use their tokens to purchase Destiny 2, the market should see a fairly unprecedented drop in the number of total tokens available, and in theory, their price will drop again.
For now, however, it seems that the value of the WoW Token is higher than ever, and many players are trying to take advantage, if for no other reason than the hope that they’ll be able to pick up Destiny 2 for “free” when it releases.
[Featured Image by Activision-Blizzard]