I also believe there was a way to exchange the gold for 30 days of game time which has a real world economic value.
Oh, yes! I forgot they had done that! Some googling reveals that they issued tokens for real money, then these tokens could be sold on the auction house in-game. Then they expanded this so you could use the tokens to purchase other Blizzard goods.
That certainly sounds like an exchange, doesn't it? I'd say that puts this token and gold into the virtual currency camp, because they now provide a means of exchange for both money to tokens and tokens to gold, all within their platform. But they only provide an avenue to convert money to services and goods they provide. They don't provide a means of exchanging these items to other currency, so does this satisfy the definition of a convertible virtual currency? Rather confusingly, when the IRS talks about virtual currencies in the 2014 guidance, they only care about convertible virtual currencies.
So even though you can use gold and tokens to pay for goods and services provided by Blizzard, it doesn't appear to fit the definition of a convertible virtual currency, so it's not covered by the 2014 guidance.
But isn't this important? They provide no such exchange, they encourage no such exchange, but STEEM and SBD are fully endorsed and encouraged for use as currencies and there are APIs and web sites provided to make this happen.
Does the existence of a third party site willing to act as a "trusted" medium to facilitate the exchange of in game gold/tokens to other currencies constitute an exchange? I'm having trouble finding a legal definition that validates -OR- invalidates this, but I suspect it does not.