Is Blizzard Selling WoW Questing Greens for $15? With Currency Exchange, Does it Matter?

Time is money, friend.

What’s uhh.. going on with the WoW cash shop? For the uninitiated: there’s a premium shop in World of Warcraft – one where you can buy game services like character boosts or faction changes, literal gold (via WoW tokens), and, yes, cosmetics. Does this mean WoW is pay-to-win? That’s.. beyond the scope of this article. Does it mean WoW is pay-to-look-good? Apparently not.

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The cosmetics for sale in the real money in-game shop haven’t been without their duds, today’s offering is downright befuddling.

Let’s Talk About the Solemn Watchman’s Garb

You might be wondering, “Hey, where’s the picture of this supposed cash-shop armor?” Well, dear reader, it’s at the top of the page. You might’ve missed it, and who could blame you? The characters in the image look straight off the boat from the Battle for Azeroth introductory questline. The ratio on this WoWhead Tweet (sorry, Xweet? Xeet?) should tell you all you need to know.

Related: WoW Trading Post August 2023 Reward and Items Revealed

So let’s break this down. Painted-on textures, particularly on the pants and chest? Check. Outdated boot models which fail to take advantage of newer, high-polygon geometry? Check. Muted color scheme which fails to disguise the low-resolution textures inherent in all WoW armor? Super check.

So what’s going on here? Just a bad cash shop set? Probably. In all fairness, it’s probably for the best if the classiest armor isn’t exclusively pay-to-earn, especially with the new-ish Trading Post that offers all sorts of great cosmetics for in-game currency.

A far better, far “freer” cosmetic item set, found in the Trading Post.

My quibble with this particular set isn’t that it’s ugly or anything – I actually quite like the more grounded armor that the WoW team has been pumping out in recent months. It’s more the strange design decisions mentioned above, like the use of a somewhat low-res chainmail texture that all comes together to make the whole set look a little low-effort. So it’s pretty ridiculous that you’d have to spend money to get it, right? Well (and I might regret this line of reasoning), do you?

What is “Real Money” in WoW anyway?

With the Trading Post, which was introduced just a few months ago, Blizzard are competing with themselves a bit. Trader’s Tender, the currency used for purchasing cosmetic items from the new marketplace, can only be earned in-game, not bought. It’s a sort of ingenious way to boost player engagement. You might be thinking, “Wow, a system where you can earn all the available cosmetics without spending a dime. That’s how it should be!”

Behold: Blizzard’s very own, developer-sanctioned RMT token.

Well, when we throw in the ability to earn “real money” by earning gold in game, then selling WoW Tokens purchased on the Auction House back to Blizzard for Battle.net balance, things turn into an incestuous mess very quickly. To be clear: you can earn gold in-game, then use that gold (via WoW Tokens) to buy items on the cash shop that would otherwise cost real-life dollars.

So, if we get a bit reductive, that ugly cash shop set or, really, anything in the store, just costs time. Don’t want to spend the time earning the gold to buy the token to sell to Blizzard to make the money? That’s why they let you use your own. This philosophy of “pay to save time” is everywhere in WoW, from character level boosting to realm transfers (which effectively prevent you from needing to re-roll a new character). Love it or hate it, even the cosmetic ecosystem has come full circle on the idea.

But the cash shop cosmetics do come to the Trading Post, there’s just no telling when, or what, will be available until the top of the month. Until they’re moved over, the cash shop items will remain locked behind the far higher garden wall that is gold-to-balance conversion.

For a great cosmetic that’s both free and easy to find, check out our guide on how to get the Gilded Sunglasses!


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Author
David Morgan
David is a pediatric asthma researcher at Cincinnati Children's Hospital by day, and Prima Freelancer by night. He always finds time for the games he loves, and then some more to tell you all about them.