I suspect that the headline above is how some World of Warcraft players will react to PLEX, should they ever hear about it or the existence of a game called EVE Online, now that Blizzard’s WoW Tokens are going live in North America. That is the way these things tend to go.
You and I though, we know better. We know that EVE Online has had PLEX for over five years at this point.
And we know that, after CCP introduced PLEX into New Eden other MMOs adopted similar currencies to allow their players to exchange real world money for in-game currency. So we have:
- Krono – EverQuest & EverQuest II and maybe other titles.
- CREDD – WildStar
- GRACE – Anarchy Online
- DUEL – Darkfall
- REX – Rift
- APEX – ArcheAge
Interesting experiments, with a mix of subscription-only and free to play titles to observe. But those are all small time compared to WoW, with populations totaled all together barely matching a small percentage of the 10 million players last reported in Azeroth.
With WoW Tokens, the PLEX idea is hitting the big time and, going forward it will like be the benchmark system against which all others are compared. PLEX may have come first, but WoW Tokens will likely be the biggest such item for a long time to come.
Of course, Blizzard is taking steps to cover itself on the WoW Tokens front. The WoW Token market is setup region-wide, so they have populations larger than EVE Online to keep the prices stable. And should stability be an issue, they have setup a system where they can control prices.
I will be interested to see where the prices go over time. 30,000 gold for $20 seems like a reasonable price, enough to steer people away from illicit RMT. We will have to see if, over the longer term, 30,000 gold is worth 30 days of game time to the richer players in game. That joke about CREDD might come true for some in WoW. And I do find it interesting that, while the starting price for WoW Tokens is 30,000 gold, the intro video I linked above shows a payout of nearly half that.
I am waiting for somebody to setup a site to track the pricing and compare it across regions. It will be interesting to see what sort of split, if any, ends up being necessary to support pricing sufficient to fight illicit RMT. How much gold will Blizzard have to inject into the WoW economy in its own version of quantitative easing?
Will WoW Tokens have the same effect that PLEX did in EVE Online, where suddenly everything can now be converted to a real world value, where we know how much a titan is worth in dollars and euros and yen? The mainstream press obsesses over that conversion when it comes to EVE Online because dollar amounts make for better headlines. I am waiting for the WoW addon that converts all gold values to real world currencies.
Also, now that WoW gold will effectively that have a real world monetary value, we can examine the exchange rates between currencies in various games. Right now it looks like about 27,000 ISK in EVE Online will buy you 1 gold coin in WoW, which feels about right I guess. That would give me about 200,000 WoW gold worth of currency in EVE Online. More than I have in WoW, but ISK is probably more important to me in New Eden than gold is to me in Azeroth. Necessities versus luxuries.
And, finally, I am now waiting for some site (like maybe The EVE Onion) to start valuing the cost of battles in EVE Online in terms of WoW gold. So that 75 billion ISK brawl in Pure Blind the other day, that was worth nearly 2.8 million gold!
Hrmm, I might need to put together a conversion spreadsheet to track that exchange rate.
Anyway, others writing about WoW Tokens on their launch day:
And, from the comments, a site to track the price of WoW Tokens.