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Can you really earn Overwatch 2 skins faster by playing World of Warcraft instead?

The answer is yes. Kind of. It’s complicated.

Overwatch’s Symmetra and Genj stand against a plain background, but they’re almost unrecognisable dressed as World of Warcraft characters Tyrande and Illidan
Overwatch characters Symmetra and Genji dressed in World of Warcraft skins
Image: Blizzard Entertainment
Oli Welsh is senior editor, U.K., providing news, analysis, and criticism of film, TV, and games. He has been covering the business & culture of video games for two decades.

An enterprising (and perhaps mischievous) Reddit user has suggested that it’s quicker to earn Overwatch 2 skins by playing World of Warcraft than it is by playing Overwatch 2.

The Redditor, who goes by the username Everdale, pointed out on the Overwatch subreddit that World of Warcraft’s in-game gold currency can be traded for WoW Tokens, which can then be exchanged for balance. This, in turn, can be spent on Overwatch Coins with which to buy skins in Overwatch 2’s store.

Coins can be bought with money, of course, but if you want to earn them by playing Overwatch 2, there’s only one way to do it: by completing weekly challenges. These award a maximum of 60 coins per week, which equates to only 60 cents in value. (Coins are sold at a base rate of 100 Coins to $1.)

So, if you want to buy a 1,000 Coin/$10 epic skin in Overwatch 2, it would take you about 17 weeks to grind out the Coins to buy it. A 1,900 Coin/$19 legendary skin would take about 32 weeks. Surely, Everdale reasons, you can farm WoW gold faster than that. But can you?

The answer is yes, you probably can. But there are a lot of caveats. And it’s worth considering whether you would really want to.

Overwatch character Kiriko, dressed as a witch against a plain background, brandishes a couple of paper slips like dollar bills
The Witch Kiriko Halloween skin caused a stir with its $26 price tag
Image: Blizzard Entertainment

What’s the Coins-to-gold exchange rate?

OK, bear with me here, because we are going to do some sums.

  • We’ve established that 100 Overwatch Coins are worth $1. (You can get more favorable rates by buying large quantities of Coins, but that’s the base rate.)
  • The way to convert WoW gold into balance is by using it to buy WoW Tokens on the in-game auction house. One token can be converted into a $15 balance, or 30 days of WoW game time.
  • At $10, an epic Overwatch 2 skin costs less than the value of one Token, while a $19 legendary skin costs more. For the sake of simplicity, let’s split the difference and say the average skin is worth the same amount as a Token — $15.
  • The price of WoW Tokens on the auction house varies according to market demand. At time of writing, the 30-day low on US servers is around 210,000 gold for one Token. We’ll use this as a guide, while noting that the price can go up and that the cost of tokens in other regions is considerably higher; Azerothian gold is particularly strong against the dollar at the moment. (Sorry, I just really wanted to type that sentence.) You can check current prices here.
  • If $15 is worth 210,000 gold, then $1 is worth 14,000 gold — or 100 Overwatch Coins. And 1 Overwatch Coin is worth 140 gold.
  • If we’re going to make Overwatch Coins faster by playing WoW, the rate we’re looking to beat is 8,400 gold per week.

OK, how quickly can I earn gold in World of Warcraft?

This is very much a how-long-is-a-piece-of-string question. It depends what kind of WoW player you are, and what kind of playstyle you are willing to submit yourself to.

Gold farming comes in many, many forms. The one thing they have in common is that, at their height, they are highly specialized play styles. They are also often very boring to play.

You could be a trader and play the auction house, buying low and selling high. This isn’t as profitable as it used to be, but it still works. But you will need a substantial gold seed to get you started. And it will not really resemble having fun playing a video game, for most people at least.

There are a couple of suggestions in the replies to Everdale’s Reddit thread. One is to sell “boosts,” which are babysitting runs for less leveled, experienced, or able players through the game’s highest-difficulty Mythic dungeons. But it goes without saying that you need to be a pretty high-level player yourself, with an extremely well geared character, to be able to pull this off.

The Jailer, a heavily armored World of Warcraft raid boss, looms
If you’ve taken down this guy in a raid, you’re probably well equipped to earn WoW gold.
Image: Blizzard Entertainment

Another user says it’s possible to earn 15,000 gold per day “fairly passively” just on the game’s asynchronous mission tables, which you can use to send minions off on missions to earn rewards while you’re not playing. Great! This way, we get our Overwatch 2 skin in just two weeks! But wait — this player is grinding the tables using no less than eight characters. The considerable effort of leveling all eight characters to the level cap of 60 is priced in here.

The site High Ground Gaming has a good guide to the best ways to farm gold while still playing WoW like a relatively normal person. These include soloing old raid content, selling crafting materials on the auction house, farming faction reputation, and completing daily and weekly quests.

According to this guide, Daily Callings, a form of daily faction quest in the latest expansion Shadowlands, will net you around 1,500 gold per day. These aren’t too onerous at all and will already earn you over 10,000 gold per week, beating our target. Add on a few more of the activities recommended by High Ground Gaming — without going crazy, but playing in a fairly focused way — and yes, it seems you could easily earn enough for an Overwatch 2 skin faster than you could in Overwatch 2. But perhaps not dramatically faster, unless you are willing to dedicate your entire life to it.

So what’s the catch?

There are a few, because this isn’t a like-for-like comparison at all.

The first is that this calculation assumes you are a WoW player to begin with. To earn gold at a decent rate in the game, you need a max-level character, and while that is much quicker to achieve now than it has been in the past, it’s still a non-trivial time investment.

The second is that Overwatch 2 is a free-to-play game and World of Warcraft is not. Even before you factor in the cost of the latest expansion, you need to subscribe for $14.99 per month to play it. You could buy game time with Tokens to reimburse yourself, but this effectively doubles the amount of gold you will need to grind out to get your skin.

The third is that Overwatch 2’s weekly challenges can be completed in the normal run of play. (More or less: The first 50 of those weekly 60 coins are easy enough to achieve, but you might find the last 10 are not worth the additional effort.) Gold farming in WoW usually requires making fairly substantial changes to your play style. You will also be taking resources out of the game — resources you might prefer to spend on your actual WoW characters than on a skin in a different game. In short, you’ll most likely be having a less fun, less rewarding time playing WoW — unless you are one of those players for whom gaming the system is the most fun of all.

TL;DR — Everdale has a point. Depending on a number of variables and personal preferences, yes, you can earn Overwatch 2 skins faster in World of Warcraft than in Overwatch 2. But we wouldn’t necessarily recommend trying.

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