WoW Tokens “antithetical” to Classic, but Blizz hopes you won’t notice
Classic WoW Tokens are here, and they’re not going away despite Blizzard’s own admission that they feel “antithetical” to the Classic World of Warcraft experience. The real-money item that can be sold via the in-game auction house functions as a way to effectively buy gold in the MMORPG, and its arrival this week has been less than well received. Leading community figures have condemned the move, the game’s biggest subreddit has gone into meltdown, and now Blizzard has put out a lengthy explanation.
Obviously sensing a need to respond following the outcry to news of the WoW Token coming to World of Warcraft Classic, WoW community manager Randy ‘Kaivax’ Jordan has shared a post on the official World of Warcraft forum discussing the move, which he says “wasn’t something we arrived at lightly.” Indeed, he tells players, “When WoW Classic started in 2019, adding something like [the WoW] Token felt unimaginable to us.”
The scarcity of gold in Vanilla WoW (the original base game) and its Burning Crusade expansion are a huge part of the experience. Everyone who played during those days will remember frugally saving up to afford their first mount. Moving into the endgame for Vanilla and BC, there’s a time investment required in maintaining enough gold to afford the consumable items you need for late-game activities.
All of this meant that the very concept of the WoW Token “just didn’t feel ‘Classic.’ It felt jarring, out of place, and was antithetical to what most of us wanted to relive about those early years of WoW,” Kaivax says. Yet here we are – so what’s changed?
Perhaps unsurprisingly, it comes largely down to a demand for gold that’s been increasingly fueled by illicit black-market RMTs (real-money transactions) – essentially waves of third-party sellers offering gold for those willing to pay. This fuel has served to escalate demand from a blaze into a raging inferno; Kaivax claims, “When we really looked at the state of things in Wrath Classic, we saw that we cannot cause the demand for gold to be lower.”
Despite banning “tens of thousands of bots a week,” Kaivax explains that “the people perpetrating this illicit trade have also never been better at coming up with new methods, schemes, farms, and exploits to work around our efforts.” Well, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.
“We will never completely beat ‘bots’ or illicit RMT. It’s an unwinnable war as long as there is money to be made by third parties.” Kaivax calls the WoW token “just one tool among many” to “help mitigate the impact that illicit RMT has on the game. By offering an official outlet for those looking to buy gold, the third-party market becomes increasingly less valuable, discouraging sellers from continuing to offer their services.
Despite all this, Blizzard is hopeful that you, and the average Wrath Classic player, won’t actually notice the impact of the WoW Token. “In Wrath Classic, your normal weekly activities are, for the most part, self-sustaining,” Kaivax says. This means that playing just a small amount each week will net ample gold to maintain your potion stocks and other outgoings, minimizing a need to ever grind for gold.
“When we considered that, we realized that the introduction of a Token wouldn’t be a temptation for most regular players to buy to help support their usual everyday gameplay.” The implication being that only the most frenetic power users will actually be looking to buy gold, and that the rest of the playerbase will experience “no friction that would tempt them to buy a Token just to keep themselves afloat.
Blizzard’s answer for now is simple enough, then. Don’t like the WoW Token? Just don’t buy one. It seems simple when you put it like that, but that won’t offer much of a salve to top players who say that the WoW Token’s arrival places an effective gold value on every activity they do, asking them to consider just what their time is worth.
With the best WoW addons at your fingertips, your own farming will keep you well stocked. You’ll also want to take a look through the best Classic WoW classes to see which you fancy on Blizzard’s new, official WoW Classic Hardcore servers.