WoW Tokens, a new form of currency to be used in World of Warcraft, are now live.

The tokens, announced this winter, are intended to serve two functions within the game. They went on sale at $20 a piece in real-world currency and for 30,000 gold coins when bought with ingame currency. When bought in the real world, the tokens can be turned into gold coins that you can then use in-game. If purchased using gold coins, though, each token is equal to one month of World of Warcraft playtime. When bought at the best value, World of Warcraft costs about $13 a month, or more if you go month-to-month.

The basic idea is a good one. The players who play the most and make the most money in game can continue to play for free. Some players have millions in gold coins just sitting in their accounts doing nothing, and could save themselves as much as $156 per year. The other side of the coin – pun intended – isn't quite so good a deal. The idea behind buying tokens and turning them into gold is to give World of Warcraft players a way to purchase gold without risking giving their credit card information to a foreign gold farming service that might end up just stealing that instead. That has genuine merit to it.

The problem is that the token-to-gold ratio fluctuates based on supply and demand. It started at 30,000 gold for one token but since the market opened, the price has dropped by nearly 30 percent after climbing a bit initially. At the time of this writing, the exchange rate is 22,727 gold pieces per token according to

The two sides of the WoW Token put it in a weird spot. If you're looking to buy game time, the decline works in your favor. Wait a bit, and you might find yourself paying a pretty measly sum of in-game money to keep playing for free. On the other hand, if you're looking for more gold, the deal is getting worse and worse. What was initially a good deal on coins when compared to the rates offered by those gold farmers is approaching something closer to equivalence, as the same $20 you'd pay for a WoW Token can get you 10,000 to 15,000, as noted by Ars Technica.

The rate at which the value is dropping has evened out quite a bit, but it might be smart to wait a little while before jumping on the deal.