Analysis: Classic versus retail gold value

I’ve talked about the WoW market discord before, and right now there is a fairly established trading channel for players looking to trade gold on retail for gold on classic and vice versa. So let’s look at the value differences and what that means. 

The market for gold trading

It seems that the majority of players active in the gold swapping channel on EU want to trade away their gold on classic and get gold on retail. This is perhaps not surprising as retail gold allows you to buy token so it’s quite valuable. The other way there are much fewer players looking to trade, but there are some. 

The current exchange rate on EU varies from about 1:500 to 1:1250 depending on realm. So one classic gold is equal to quite a bit of retail gold. If you scale it up 1000 gold on classic is equal to 500k-1 million on retail. This is pretty steep. 

Comparing gold farms

So let’s take a look at some farming methods to see if you need to spend more time on retail or classic to generate the same amount of value according to this exchange ratio. 

We’ll take a look at a couple of different solo character farming methods on both sides of the game. Retail gold is in a vacuum more valuable as it can be spent on tokens, so we should probably expect retail farms to be less efficient than classic farms even after accounting for the exchange rate. 

Farms we will consider


Dire Maul East Warlock runs: we’ll estimate this at about 100g per hour. This is one of the better farms available in classic.

DME Lashers: Mages. We’ll estimate this at about 60 GPH, it’s less than the best run, but still pretty good. 

Good open world farm: 50 gold per hour. This represents a strong open world farm, whether you kill mobs or gather most classes at 60 should be able to generate something like this if they find a good spot. 

Mediocre farm: 30 gold per hour. This represents unoptimized pick-pocket runs in BRD or similar lower value, but still consistent gold making methods. 


Generally I estimated these farms by taking yields found in youtube guides and multiplying by the Region price for the items on EU. None of these are hyperoptimized, and we will of course not consider multiboxing farms. 

Osmenit ore farming: 18k gold per hour. This probably underestimates it a bit as I used yields using a ground mount as that was the only hard data I could find.

Osmenite + Zin’anthid or Nazjatar skinning. Combining both professions or skinning in Nazjatar will both yield about 30 000 gold per hour. 

2×4 farming in Voldun: 2×4 farming generates about 11k gold per hour, which is certainly OK. 

The initial view

The most common ask on the trade discord is for gold at a ratio of 1:1000. At that rate even the worst gold farms in classic are better than the best ones of the easily accessible single character farms. This is sort of surprising, and to me it seems like classic gold is overpriced at that level. It seems like the guys trying to sell their classic gold for retail gold also have an issue moving volume at that price, so I assume other methods are better. 

Comparing them all

The graph below shows all the methods in classic plotted with their equivalent retail gold per hour, depending on the exchange rate. As we can see the gold per hour from an optimal DME or DMT farming route will be much better than anything you can do in retail, so if you can find a buyer, this is a pretty great way of farming for a token, even at the lowest exchange rate at 1:500. 

Overall it looks like most farming routes are “worse” in BfA compared to classic. There may be hidden opportunities that I am not aware of, particularly with the use of a flying mount, but I could not find data on them and I’m not much of a farmer. 

If you want to optimize your time farming on a single character you should stick either to more RNG-y spots that you have to farm significantly longer or go farm in classic. OPtimized material farms in BfA are theoretically worse than fairly un-optimized world farms in classic, and significantly worse than the best optimized Dire Maul farms for mages and warlocks. It’s a lot of work finding a buyer for your classic gold though, so this could be quite annoying. 

This really highlights the fact that gold in Classic is still much scarcer than in BfA. Players are still struggling to get enough gold for gold sinks they care about. The fact that raw gold farms are still competitive is really testament to this. 

Why is gold so expensive?

Classic still has tons of in-game gold sinks, but it’s missing the hyper valuable gold sink that tokens represent. This means that all else being equal you would probably rather have gold on retail past a certain point, as you can turn that into tokens. The gap will probably remain the same, and may even widen as materials in BfA trend down and the raw gold farms in classic remain at the same level. 

If you want to level up your gold making come join me on Patreon and get access to awesome rewards like Early Access to all my posts. 

2 thoughts on “Analysis: Classic versus retail gold value

  1. After reading your article, I am clear about the value difference and meaning of World of Warcraft Classic Gold. Most participants active in the EU gold swap channel want to exchange their gold for classic gold and obtain retail gold. This is a very normal thing. After all, retail gold allows players to buy tokens, so it is very valuable. The most popular gold coin in the classic version is called WOW Classic Gold. Many stores are selling WOW Classic Gold, but it is still recommended that players buy goods in regular stores. After all, frauds are frequent.

    Edited by admins to remove goldselling link

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