Monday, April 13, 2015

Checking The Price Of Illicit WoW Gold

Last week, the big news in the MMORPG genre was Blizzard's introduction of the WoW Token, a PLEX-like in-game object, into World of Warcraft. News outlets like VentureBeat, PC Gamer, and Eurogamer covered the obvious first-day story, the huge drop in the value of the WoW Token. While some articles have mentioned the problem in passing, an article on tried to address the influence of illicit RMT on the cost of the WoW Token.

I think that my biggest complaint about the TMC piece actually revolves around the source used for obtaining the prices of WoW gold on the secondary RMT market. Because he used WOW Gold Rates, the author of the piece came away with a bit of a distorted picture of the price of illicitly marketed WoW gold. That price colored the rest of his piece and may have led him to judge Blizzard more harshly than the game company deserved.

The prices listed for 12 April 2015 seem a bit high
Looking for review sites of virtual currency sellers is good and shows that a writer is making an effort to look for an authority with expertise in the field. I did the same thing when I first started out, using MMOBUX as a source until I grew confident enough in my knowledge of the ISK market to branch out on my own. But among the interesting tidbits I've collected over the course of writing about secondary RMT markets is that a lot of old, outdated RMT-related websites are lying around waiting for an eager researcher to trip over them. Apparently, WoW Gold Rates is one of those sites.

Whenever I look at a virtual currency seller, the first thing I check is that the site is still in business. I guess that's a result of watching so many ISK sellers quietly leave the market without turning off the lights. So I did the same with the WoW gold seller review site and checked out the prices for the Horde-side market on the Earthen Ring realm. I think the results would surprise the author.

Of the seven gold shops listed, GameGoody and MySuperSales are no longer in existence. Another, OffGamers, is not a WoW gold seller. The closest the website comes to selling WoW gold is offering 60-day WoW game time cards. A fourth seller, IGE, no longer directly sells WoW gold. The site IGE redirects buyers to currently sells WoW gold at $18.99 / 30,000 gold, or almost 78% less than is listed at WoW Gold Rates. As for the other three shops that actually do sell WoW gold, MOGS sells for 41.2% less, Bank of WoW 66.0% less, and Guy4Game sells for 68.5% cheaper than is listed on WoW Gold Rates. No wonder the author of the TMC piece thought that Blizzard was really trying to undercut the illicit gold sellers; his source was using outdated information.

I've pointed out why the source the author of the TMC piece used was bad and how someone could check the validity of the information. But what should a writer who is interested in the subject do to find out the price of virtual currencies on the secondary market?

For those looking to quickly gather up a set of prices, I'd suggest either MMOBUX or Player Auctions. MMOBUX makes a good starting place and even has history graphs, although I would advise clicking on each of the shops to make sure they are still active. Player Auctions is more a marketplace of several sellers, but for those games that don't have a lot of websites selling their in-game currency, then Player Auctions is the next best place. The downside is publicizing those places and driving gold buyers to those shops. Something a small blog like The Nosy Gamer can do, but something a site with a lot more traffic like TMC might want to shy away from.

The other way is a method I used with ISK sellers and am now establishing for monitoring the secondary RMT market for World of Warcraft.  I established my own index of gold/ISK sellers and recorded their prices every Sunday. Or, in the case of WoW, daily, at least for now. The selection criteria is simple. In the case of WoW, I used the search term "buy WoW gold" and recorded the links of all the websites I found that showed up in Google Ads. I only got ten, so I added four more from the search. I missed a couple of the cheaper sites and picked up one clunker, but I think I can drop two of the sites and have a pretty good index going forward.

I realize that not a lot of people write about real money trading to the extent that I do. I don't want to discourage anyone from writing about the subject, either. Let's just say that I urge anyone writing about the subject to go in with eyes wide open. Oh, and that I think bloggers may have an easier time. After all, we're not really under any time constraints. We can take our time and really develop the story. I may actually have one ready on changes in the price of illicit WoW gold in a couple of weeks. My editor doesn't mind waiting.

1 comment:

  1. "My editor doesn't mind waiting." pure bloggin gold... =]