Tuesday, 28 April 2015

WoW Tokens: What the ...

I am at a loss to understand the disparity in the gold (game-time) WoW Token price between the EU and NA regions. Many people have tried to explain it, but none of the explanations ring true.

However my investigations have now uncovered the truth. Let's look  in the NA region first. The token price rolls between about 24 000g  and 20 000g. Let's examine that.

If you want some Azerothian* gold, you would buy a $teel (RMT) WoW Token from Blizzard for $20. If you need the gold instantly, you stick it on the AH immediately, and are take whatever the going rate is. If you can wait a little, you sell it only when the price nears 24 000g (I showed yesterday how the peaks and troughs are predictable).

What about buyers of the gold (game-time) WoW Token? You buy that at auction. If you need the token instantly, you buy it at whatever the going rate is. If you can wait a little, you buy it only when the price nears 20 000g.

So we can pretty much see that for most people, sellers get 24 000g and buyers spend 20 000g. This is a bargain for buyers, of course. If you can make 1 000g/hr, that's only 20 hours of farming**. Oops! That means I'm farming at a rate of $1/hour. That's okay, if it's fun, and you'd be doing it anyway. But otherwise, wouldn't I be better off buying a token and working an hour extra in overtime on Earth? Ah, but if I've got kids, the situation changes. I can use them as slaves.

Now let's look at Europe. On EU realms, sellers get about 43 000g and buyers pay about 33 000g. Great deal for sellers, right? Let's assume again that I can make 1 000g/ hour, so it takes me 33 hours of farming to earn a gold WoW game-time token. Since the token costs €20 or £15, that's an income of  61c or 45p an hour. Thank goodness for kids, eh? Finally all those six-year-old kids out playing football can be put to good use. Sadly it's illegal for them to sweep chimneys now, but there's nothing preventing me from enslaving them in the mines of Azeroth.

So I think I've shown what's behind the disparity. Europeans have more slaves.

* What an ugly word. I much prefer "Azerothean". However the Azerothian Diamond shows Blizzard's preferences.

**  Your mileage may vary. Feel free to use your own rates. 

Monday, 27 April 2015

Tokens: A tangled web

Blizzard changed the algorithm they used to calculate bid and offer prices on the WoW Token, just four days ago. Previous to that, the prices steadily climbed, until suddenly they started steadily falling. And vice versa. A steady climb in price followed by a steady drop. The graph of the North American Gold (Game-Time) Token was almost a saw wave. Blizzard social engineers didn't like that, and around the 23rd or 24th of April, they tried a new algorithm. They tried to curve those straight lines, and I think they are pretty happy with the result, the price graph looks more fluid now.

I certainly loved it. It coincided with the  launch of the WoW Token in Europe, and it made it the most predictable price graph on the planet. I'm sharing this with you now so you can benefit as I have done. the prices are so predictable that I predict Blizzard will be tinkering with the formula pretty soon now.

The "secret" is in the rate of change of prices. They are too predictable, too like a sine wave. The price rises at a steady rate until it's near its peak, then the rate of change drops.

Do you want to buy a $teel (RMT) WoW Token to sell for gold? You want to get the most gold for your money. Don't sell that token until the positive rate of change drops. That signals that the price is near its peak (there are no sharp random behaviours here). That is the time to sell, to maximise your gold.

Do you want to buy a gold (game time) WoW Token? Easy. Just follow the prices downward until the negative rate of change  drops. That signals that the price is near its trough (there are no sharp random behaviours here). That is the time to buy. Don't spend your Azerothean gold until then.

Blizzard social engineers are tinkering with the exchange rate, like the USSR of old. They don't trust the free market. They want to control it so that there are no unexpected jolts to the system. That's what makes it predictable. I've been able to use this in the few days since EU launch to predict the best time for me to buy my tokens, and I hope you have, too.

What about Blizzard? Are they happy with the result? I don't know. They may be happy that both sides of the equation get the best deal possible, at their expense. It isn't a big expense. Smart buyers of the $teel token get a lot of gold for their euro, dollar or pound. Smart buyers of the gold (game time) token, get their 30 days for the cheapest gold price possible. Both sides are happy. The piggy in the middle, who absorbs the difference in gold, is Blizzard - who can print gold coins for free. It's win-win-win (except for the inflation, of course. But these are the sort of economic sins that are paid for by the next government - or development team -  not this one).

Blizzard are experimenting. Blizzard will change this again. I don't think they meant to make their prices so predictable. Expect them to tinker with the algorithm again. Meantime, make use of this actionable information while it is still current. I have.

[Edit: I just noticed that WoWToken.info is now including rates of change in their graphs, which makes timing your purchases a snap. When the rate-of-change curve crosses the zero-point, you are at a price max or min. It won't recross that line for several hours. The rate-of-change curve is too predictable.]