Disclaimer: I have no experience in Real Estate, and all knowledge on economics has been self-taught.
This past Wednesday René Hüftlein on my Twitter directed me to an interesting article on WoW Insider about an article on a Real Estate blog: World of Warcraft’s Stormwind Keep For Sale at the Auction House. This article attempts to assign a real world value to Stormwind Keep based on a variety of realty values, and then converts that to an in-game gold value based on going rates.
First of all, there’s a discrepancy between the info-graph, and the actual text of their post. The info-graph claims the gold equivalent would be 7.6 billion gold, while the text claims 7.6 million gold. Neither of which are a value I can arrive at. Based on their own sources, I came to a conservative figure of 8.2 billion gold, so it’s likely that the info-graph is correct, and they arrived at 7.6 billion gold. Between the time their calculations were done and the time mine were done, it’s very likely the going rate for gold has changed; and honestly, at this point, 600 million gold is pretty minor.
Still, there’s a few things wrong with these numbers. First of all, they’ve assigned a real world value to the Keep, then calculated how much gold that could buy, and assigned that gold value to the Keep. That’s kind of backwards. I’ve found out the hard way recently that a currency’s buying rate, selling rate, and exchange rate are very different things.
No, to really put a proper gold value on the Keep you’d have to do all the work in gold and in Azeroth, not try to calculate it in the real world and then try and translate that into gold. We run into another snag here though, since there’s no information on any sort of real estate market in Azeroth, and if there was, it probably wouldn’t have much information on castles and other strongholds.
The best way would to be to try and determine the construction cost. We could try and estimate the volume of stone and lumber that would’ve been required to build it. The problem with this though is that even if we assume it was built with something like Dense Stone and we can grab Auction House or even vendor prices for them, we don’t know how much volume each stack of the stone is, so we can’t use that for construction costs. So it looks like we can’t fix a proper gold cost to Stormwind Keep
But what about that USD value they gave Stormwind Keep?
The size calculation they did was based on the assumption that the average human in Azeroth is the same as the average human on Earth today. Is that a fair assumption? Who knows, you really can’t say for sure. Typically though, when there are humans in a game, they’re comparable to real humans. So based on that assumption, we’ll have to assume their calculation of floor space is also accurate…mostly because I’m too lazy to do that math myself.
However, there is one assumption they made that I disagree with, and that the Stormwind Keep only has one floor.
I don’t know about you, but I see more than one floor there. The major thing that sticks out is that there is clearly at least one whole floor below the player accessible level. Not only that, but we have no access to any of the towers or guard posts seen on the Keep either.
To pile on to the issues with calculating price based on square footage, those walls surrounding the keep appear to be solid by the lack of any windows (err, arrow slits) and the presence of a walkway at the top of the wall. That is a lot of stone, and the price of which can’t easily be valued by taking calculating the square foot.
Finally, I take issue with their valuation of how much a castle would cost per square foot (in addition to the issue I took above). The price of a castle is going to be much different than modern day dwellings, you’re really comparing apples to oranges here. So I decided to look at what a real castle is going for. The linked castle is going for approximately 3,855,060.00 USD and is half the square footage. This gives as a value of $167/sqft…which is actually cheaper than what the Movoto article calculated.
It’s a good thing I’m not getting into real estate.
Edit: I just realized, the game uses yards for measurement. Assuming a yard in game is the same as in the States, that would be a much better way to measure the Keep instead of assuming a male human’s shoulders is 21 inches.