I am what can be described as an extremely casual World of Warcraft player. I don’t have any Level 100 characters, have barely touched the Mists of Pandaria content, and am currently spending most of my WoW time on a low level Dwarf Priest (who is running with my husband’s low level Dwarf hunter). This is not a complaint, as I am quite happy where I am at in the game. I’m having fun.

It seems to me that many video game related blogs are primarily intended as a source of news. There is nothing wrong with this. Personally, I just don’t have it in me to keep up with WoW in the way that several other writers are able to. When the WoW Token was first revealed, there were tons of blogs that discussed it. Now, a few months later, I’m finally ready to share my thoughts about it.

Blizzard Entertainment posted a blog on Battle.net that introduced the WoW Token on March 2, 2015. The concept wasn’t entirely new (other online video games had been using a similar idea before the WoW Token existed) but it was something brand new to World of Warcraft.

By now, I figure most of the people who are reading this blog already know how the WoW Token works. I’m going to briefly explain it anyway because it will be new to someone. There’s always somebody out there who has yet to learn about things that other players have figured out a long time ago. It’s easy to miss stuff in a game as big as WoW.

There are only two things a player can do with a WoW Token.  It can either be turned in for gold or turned in for game time. Those are the only two options.

Do you need more gold?  Buy a WoW Token from the WoW shop.  Sell that WoW Token in the Auction House. There is a special part of the Auction House that is set up to deal with WoW Tokens.  Put the WoW Token you bought from the WoW store into that part of the Auction House. Players cannot set the price that they want to sell their WoW Token for.  That price will automatically be set for you by Blizzard.

Don’t like that price?  Hang onto your WoW Token for a while longer and try again later.  The price could change!  If you think the price is good, go ahead and put your WoW Token into the Auction House.  You are guaranteed to receive that specific amount of gold whenever another player purchases your WoW Token.  (It doesn’t matter what the market value of the WoW Token happens to be at that time – the price is set in stone.)

Do you need game time?  Go to the Auction House and spend some of your gold on a WoW Token.  No matter when you visit the Auction House, one thing will be certain – all WoW Tokens will be selling at the exact same price.  Don’t like the price?  Come back another day and try your luck.  The price could change!

If you think the price is fair, go ahead and spend your gold on a WoW Token.  Redeem the WoW Token for 30 days of game time.  Overall, the concept is fairly simple – unless you are of the mind to delve into how the economics of the WoW Token could affect Azeroth.  Then it can get more complex than I can explain (or fully understand).

My husband, Shawn, and I each purchased some WoW Tokens.  He did it a few days before me so he could teach me how to do it.  (I tend to get easily confused when new interfaces are added to a game.  It takes me a while to “get” how they work.)  I purchased my WoW Tokens on April 8, 2015.

That’s Hansbrix the Hunter (Shawn’s character) standing in front of the Auction House.  I was the one actually doing the shopping this time.  It was a lucky coincidence that my screenshots of this ended up looking as though Hansbrix was buying some WoW Tokens.

The WoW Tokens kind of break the “fourth wall”, so to speak.  Previous to this, players could have purchased in-game pets from the Blizzard store and then used them in game.  But, there were a few steps in between.  Buy the pet.  Enter the code.  Log into WoW and your character can start running around Azeroth with a brand new pet.

The WoW Token, on the other hand, is something a player must buy or sell while they are logged into WoW.  I suppose this would be considered a micro transaction.  Players, like Shawn, may need more game time.  Hansbrix, however, doesn’t have any reason to buy game time – from his perspective, Azeroth is “real life”.  I cannot help but wonder if this interface messes with the heads of people who are deeply into role playing.

The price, at the time, was 21,239 gold.  We decided that the price was fair.  Obviously, the price has jumped up and down since then.  At the time, it was the lowest we had seen the recently released WoW Tokens sell for.

After buying a WoW Token, your character must walk out of the Auction House and find a mailbox.  Open the mail from the Auction House.  Take out the WoW Token before you delete that email!  The WoW Token will end up in your bag.  So, make sure that you have at least one slot of bag space available for it to go into.

The WoW Token got placed between some bandages and an off-hand lantern item.  It’s the only item with a blue outline.

If I remember correctly, I think that clicking on the WoW Token brought up this little pop-up.  It shows when my account renewal date would be.  It also shows when the new renewal date would be (if I chose to redeem the WoW Token right then).  Click the “30 Days of Game Time” button when you are ready to use the WoW Token.  It is my understanding that you do not have to immediately use a WoW Token.  You could save it and use it later if you wanted to.

After you click that button, another pop-up appears.  I think this one is here just in case you didn’t mean to click on your WoW Token.  You can back out of the process by clicking the “Cancel” button.  Or, if you truly did intend to use your WoW Token right now, you can click the “Accept” button.  “This game time is nonrefundable.” Choose wisely!

Blizzard made it very easy to tell when the transaction was complete.  First, you get this little pop-up window. Next, Blizzard sends a confirmation email to the email address that is connected to your World of Warcraft account.  It seemed to me that it didn’t take long at all for the email confirmation to arrive.

I don’t have screenshots of what it looks like if a player purchases a WoW Token that they wanted to sell for gold.  The reason is that I wasn’t in need of gold at the time.  I suspect that no matter which way you go, the process is reasonably similar.

What do I think about the WoW Token?  After having purchased (and used) a few, and having the time to think about it, I’d have to say I am in favor of it.  I think the WoW Token serves several purposes and benefits players in many ways.

1) It makes things much more difficult for those nefarious companies that try to sell players gold to continue to do so (in a lucrative way).  In the past, WoW players who wanted to quickly obtain more gold may have felt the need to risk dealing with a company that sells gold to players.  Those companies were not sanctioned by Blizzard and did not have permission to sell gold to players.

It had been said that those nasty companies obtained the gold they were selling by hacking into player’s accounts and stealing it.  Some innocent person, who never dealt with gold sellers, would log into WoW one day and discover that all their gold, armor, and weapons were gone.  In short, the players who bought gold from the disreputable gold selling companies were causing harm to their fellow players and keeping the gold selling companies in business.

The WoW Token changes things because it gives players a safe way to purchase gold (without risking having their account hacked or breaking WoW’s terms of service).  Blizzard sets the “real world currency” price for the WoW Token.  Blizzard sets the amount of gold that a player can exchange for a WoW Token.  Blizzard exchanges game time for a certain amount of gold. Some have suggested that Blizzard is setting the price for the WoW Token so that it undercuts the price that the gold selling companies were asking for.  If that’s true, I think it is a very wise idea.

I hope that Blizzard comes up with a similar Token system for Diablo III that would get rid of all the awful gold sellers there.  It seems like no matter how often I report them for spam… the number never decreases.  I’m so very tired of them filling up the chat box. But, that’s probably best discussed in a separate blog post.

2) The WoW Token system is not a “pay to win” type of situation.  Players can only use the WoW Token to obtain either gold or game time.  That’s it.  Nobody is going to be able to buy their way into dungeons that they aren’t equipped for, or use the gold to buy gear or weapons that can only be obtained by killing a specific boss in a certain dungeon.  The WoW Token doesn’t remove the need for players to actually play the game and earn stuff.

3) The WoW Token provides a bit of balance for those who are extremely busy.  World of Warcraft has been around for 10 years. Those who were teenagers when they started playing might be college students now who have to spend a lot of time studying.  Or, they might be working a “real job” and/or raising children.  Not everyone has the free time to put into the game right now.  The WoW Token can be considered a “quality of life” upgrade for some.

For example, a parent who works a full time job (or several part time jobs) might want to buy the Alliance Champion’s Treadblade mount. They don’t have the time to get in game and grind until they raise that amount of gold. However, they probably have some real world currency that they can spend on WoW Tokens that can be safely exchanged for gold.

4) In addition, the WoW Token provides new options for players who don’t always have the real world money to purchase more game time.  My husband and I can be described as “low-income”. Between the two of us, we happened to have enough gold to buy some WoW Tokens and exchange them for game time.  World of Warcraft can become something we can play for free (assuming we manage to keep collecting up enough gold). Interesting, the number of hours we spend playing WoW together now has greatly increased as compared to before the WoW Token existed.

The WoW Token also makes it easier for players who don’t have credit cards. There is potential for players to earn enough gold to buy WoW Tokens and to exchange them for game time. That might be easier then going into a store, buying World of Warcraft gift cards, logging into Battle.net to redeem them, and hoping that the entire process can be completed before they run out of game time. The WoW Tokens are also a good option for players who don’t want to subscribe to the game (and have a monthly fee appear on their credit card).

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