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 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.]


  1. They're Blizzard. Tinkering is in their blood, they can't NOT tinker.

  2. Indeed, Redbeard. And in fact, they have to keep changing their algorithm, because we'll keep finding ways to exploit it.