Thursday, December 29, 2011

Misty Tradeskill Wishes From A Gold-Maker

Okay this will feel like something that should be posted on the WoW forums in the Suggestions section, but I've given up on forums and their effectiveness.
Here's a list of observations about the current tradeskills in Cataclysm - where they've gone, where I think they're going - with suggestions for the next expansion.
All to be considered in a gold-making perspective, of course.

AKA "The worthless tradeskill"
Yeah right...
Keep believing that lie.
With the gold I've got coming from this profession, I don't even bother defending Engineering anymore.
Less competition = more gold for me.
There will come a day when everyone will try to level it because it will be the last tradeskill they haven't tried, or because something they want really badly will seem out of their reach and they wonder "why don't I just get one of my alts to level Engineering and I'll provide myself my own gun/mount/scope/repair bot".
There is ALWAYS someone on your server that's leveling Engineering.

Anyways, I would wish for this profession to be more involved with the other tradeskills because I feel like they've finally got a handle on the personal buffs that it can bring a player.
Taking a page from a segment from Moogyver I've heard on the All Things Azeroth podcast, Engineering should be able to bring something to the other tradeskills.

Gathering speed increase
We already have the Bountiful Bags guild buff, so we can't ask for increased results on gathering.
How about a gathering speed increase ?
Not as big as Tauren and and Worgen have (they have it reduced to 0.5s per gather, but of course they would be excluded by this), but let's say a 0.25s reduction on gathering.
Make a Gather-otron that you keep in your bags, and you can make one for Herbalism, Mining and Skinning.

Crafting tables
For crating skills, you could make "crafting tables" for each of them.
They would bring the possibility of crafting in bulk for a reduced amount of crafting time.
Ex: Smelt 20 bars in half of the usual time. Craft 5 belt buckles in half of the usual time. Make 40 flasks in half of the time.
Instead of simply nerfing crafting times of certain recipes halfway through the expansion, add that nerf in the game right from the start and let players turn it on or off at their will.
You could make all of these interacting objects that have to be in the player's bags.
Again, have a different one for each profession, to increase variety and create markets on the AH.

Trinket buffs
The next step would be to add a craftable Trinket buff.
Think a Thingamabob that increases by 10 the highest stat of the trinket, and another that increases by 10 the stat trigger effect of the trinket.
You could only have 1 of those 2 enhancements on a single trinket.
Again, the objective here is to be able to craft items that a majority of players would use, something that has a constant, renewable demand for the Auction House.

Goggles for phased nodes
Next thing would be goggles with the Zapthrottle Mote Extractor's ability to track motes.
But you would be able to see motes, herbs, ores that would be otherwise phased.
Yeah, how about turning that annoying unintended phasing bug into an intended feature ?

The solution of scrolls to the problem of leveling Enchanting was a success.
It's now less of a hassle and much quicker to do, given that finding the appropriate materials to level it can be tedious and take enough time if some of them cannot be found in the Auction House, and even more if someone without any money is trying to level it by disenchanting items from quests and drops.
The difference with all the other crafting skills is that you cannot disenchant the results of your crafting.
You can put them on the AH in the hope of some buyer giving you money.
But unless you are selling some much sought-after enchants for either twinks or high-end players, the chances are very high that the scrolls will come back to you and that the posting fees are killing any chance of profit.

Not a lot of people that are leveling are thinking about enchanting their gear.
They think "it's a waste of my money because my gear will be replaced in the next zone/dungeon/hour and I'd rather save up to buy the mount and riding training that will be available to me soon".
People ask for 2 things when you see them beg for money on Trade: training money and mount/mount training, mostly because they've spent all their gold on buying shiny new gear.
So not only people end up not enchanting their gear, but enchanters are left with a pile of scrolls they almost can't do anything with, and have only a chance of a possibility of getting some money back from their investment, lest they want to compete with the other zillion enchanters who are trying to find a buyer.
So here's a suggestion that would not require a huge re-haul of the whole profession.

Make scrolls a currency for something
Whether it be a quest or a special Enchanting vendor, to make the enchanted scrolls disappear is the issue here.
So why not take the idea of the old Argent Dawn quests ?
Then turn X number of any Y type enchant and you'll get a Mystery Scroll that will make you learn a rare Enchanting recipe.
You would have different tiers of turn-ins to get different tiers of new Enchanting recipes. (Think of the Researches for Scribes)
(Of course, you'd have to tune the numbers to make sure that the X turn-in number is higher than the number of scrolls it would take to make if you were simply leveling Enchanting to max it out.)
Or turn the enchanted scrolls to get some Enchanter's Tokens, giving you access to buy rare Enchanting recipes.
You would have different tiers of recipes available - all BoP - and the higher-level ones would require a crap-ton of tokens.
You wouldn't need to remove the shard currency for most of the high-level recipes.
Or you could change the shards-for-recipes to shards-for-mats and you could throw extra special mats for high-end enchants (the same way that Inscription has those special items that can only be found in an unlocked Twilight Highlands).
Or you can do a mix of both of those ideas, which would be more palatable to players. And don't forget to add a "token dump" or two as a safeguard against stockpiling.

Listen - I really like this tradeskill because it gives a lot of money fast, because shuffling is awesome, because rings and necklaces and special Jewelcrafter-only gems have their place in the game.

A stat shuffle needs to happen
When you've got 6 rare gems and it's common knowledge that people go after 3 of them while the other 3 are nor worth much, you've got a problem.
There are too many gems or you have to make it so the things that make the 3 wanted gets spread to the other 3.
Now I don't know exactly how Blizzard can make that happen.
We know that Resilience will be dealt differently in Mists, so maybe we won't need it as much on gems.
The other possibility is to take a good honest look at the stat combinations on certain cuts and admit that some of them do not need to persist in the game at all.
With the Talent System 2.0, they said they want players to make less "inadvisable" choices on the talents they could choose, so why not apply that same philosophy to gems cuts ?

Green Uncommon Gem Cuts
In another "let's cut the bullshit" subject, do we really need all those green gem cuts ?
I mean I get that some people will go for them as temporary replacements until they get their hands on some rare gems or until they change that green armor piece for a rare or epic armor piece, but isn't this so very minor that we could simply skip that whole step ?
I'm not dead-set on the idea (because I thought of it while writing the previous paragraph), however, I'm of the opinion that we should...

Get rid of Epic Gems
If there was anything I was more convinced throughout this expansion, is that we were fine without Epic gems.
And now that they've finally landed, I'm even more convinced that they only serve as money-makers.
We could do without them altogether.
Unless, of course, a tier stat increase is so big that it would totally justify the addition of Epic gems, just like it happened in Wrath - but that's not the case right now.

Mysterious Fortune Cards: great money-makers, great fun gambling aspect that keeps buyers coming back, awesome optional ability to turn them into Fortune Cookies.

Blackfallow Ink as a currency: this is a great way to make sure it's not only good for Cataclysm items but also helps to access the lower tiers of craftable inks and items. (Expect this to change to a new Ink once we have access to the new Pandaria herbs !)

Certificate of ownership: great item, hunters love it, though it took a while to get players to know it existed. (I bet there's a ton that still don't know it exists).

Relics/Off-hands: worked so much better this expansion, with the addition of craftable items for a wider range of levels, as well as the high-level items that required Twilight Highlands to be unlocked, and the PvP relics.

However, this is about to change.

With the upcoming removal of the Relic/Off-hand slot, we can only wonder what will become of what constitutes a third of the profession.
Will the Techniques change ?
Will they disappear from our professions list when we get the Pandaria Patch ?
What will they replace this with - if at all ?

Speaking of change, it's not a mystery to anyone that with the new Talent System incoming, a majority of glyphs will need to be changed/redesigned.
How will this affect us ?
Will our existing glyphs be automatically changed ?
Will the changed ones be destroyed and we'll have to buy them again ?
Will they reset our entire glyph system ? (They've mentioned a few times not being happy with the Prime/Major/Minor system. We could be hit with a new redesign/philosophy suddenly...)
Yes, even though I said I'd probably never return to selling glyphs, I am stockpiling inks right now.

Adventurer's Journal
While we rework things, this will need to be made interesting.
The idea was great and I jumped on the bandwagon from the beginning.
However, two issues occurred:
1- People didn't know this existed until they were leveling their second or third alt, missing the point of using that item as a helpful buff, and
2- the buffs provided were sometimes lackluster, sometimes outright unhelpful (more damage against giants when I'm in Vash'ir ?).
But however Blizzard could rework it, there's 2 changes that need to happen absolutely to make it more interesting right off the bat: they need to reduce the 4-hour cooldown on it (it's a 60 min buff!) to 2 hours (increasing the length of the buff is a bad idea because I'd like to turn this into a prolific market) and they need to lower the level 75 restriction to... let's say level 20.
I could see people getting themselves a few stacks of Journals when they go out leveling.
Another suggestion: Remember how the Transmute Living Elements worked with specific procs happening depending of the region your characters zoned in ?
Do the same thing for the Journal for every zone in the game, so then you'd have an increased chance of getting the damage against Undead buff when you try the Journal in Eastern Plaguelands, or the damage against elementals when you're in Cataclysm zones...
You get the idea.

Cauldrons could work differently - however I do not have any good or viable suggestions to propose for this.
But I think they've been working much better in this expansion than their previous iterations.

Potion of Deepholm had nothing but good intentions, I understand that.
But with all the possible ways to get back to your main city, it was utterly useless.

In the department of Transmutes, Alchemy is a profession that is very very much in demand, from Shadowspirit Diamonds that come in twos, to Pyrium Bars to Truegold.
It's good to see utility and demand from people to a specific tradeskill.

And I want to give a shout-out to the Potion of Treasure Finding, Deepstone Oil, Potion of Illusion for being the most awesome fun things to come out of Alchemy in a looooooooong time, and to the Recipe: Vial of the Sands for being so friggin' elusive that it's totally a goal for me to get on my alchemist (must - get - last - missing - recipe).

A crazy alchemist whose recipes I highly recommend (NSFW language)

Blacksmithing & Tailoring
...are pretty strong in my eyes.
If a "cool" factor was added to them, it would not be hurried out the door, but otherwise they are strong tradeskills, both in the amount of mats needed to craft items, the buffs they bring to the crafters and the things that can be sold.

This one is in the same vein as the previous 3 previous tradeskills.
However, this is the profession that I am expecting more surprises from in the next expansion.
Why ?
Well, simply put... Monks!
Monks are a Leather class, so I expect more leather pieces to be added into the game.
Not a lot, but just enough to fill a few holes, maybe balance the proportions of gear, maybe add a few that are very monk-specific.
We would expect many monks to pick up the Skinning/Leatherworking combo, but until Blizzard confirms the final monk Passives and Pandaren Racials, we never know...
(And consider that people are growing more and more weary of picking up tradeskills on new characters or only powerlevel once they're level capped...)
So Leatherworkers should have a very good business over the course of the next expansion !
Heck, I'd even suggest to start researching leather leveling gear, maybe stockpile a few choice Bind on Equip items already...

Mists ahead!
So that's basically how I feel about tradeskills in general in Cataclysm.
The craftable PvP gear has obviously been awesome for gold-makers, so I don't feel like discussing it in length would be worth anything, apart from the fact that using it as an entry to dungeons (the subject of very heated discussions) has been a very good for us.

I always expect way too much from professions in general and I end up disappointed in every expansion, even though this expansion has been not bad at all.
I guess I always think that they could be so much more, with recipes hidden in the world everywhere, with crazy effects and mats, and I always wish that they could combine the tradeskills with each other way way way more than they do.
I think it's a part of the game that has so much potential and I'm bored of the normal grinding stuff and the limited avenues of viable gold-making at high-end that completely turn me off.
But if they continue to evolve the same way they went with Cataclysm tradeskills, I think it's looking good for us in Mists of Pandaria!

Friday, December 23, 2011

When A Game Leads To Forced Labor: The Great Gold-Making Conundrum

Okay so I'll be throwing a bunch of thoughts in this post and try to make them stick together.
My logic might be a tad out of whack, I might have a problem of perspective (it's usually the case with everyone, so heh), I might use gross over-generalization, so feel free to comment, throw your own ideas, etc.
Do something.
If I'm wrong about any of this, I'd really like to know and where I'm wrong and why.
Otherwise I'll keep thinking that what I've come up with is the best way to wrap my head around these issues.

Yeah I usually don't ask for feedback, but this time knock yourselves out.

The issue of Proper Pricing
Okay basic stuff incoming, but follow me to get to the point I'm trying to make here.

I hate to use the term "proper" because it feels like it harkens back to the Jane Austen days of things being "as the general consensus views them" that clashes with the idea of other things being "okay as long as the people intimately involved with the situation are fine with it". (I think I actually resumed one of the dilemmas that can always be found in a Jane Austen novel.)
But just saying "good" pricing is a little too lacking of what I am trying to convey.

Anyways, it's always an issue to determine what's the value of an item.
You have to factor in the overall rarity in-game, rarity in the AH, value of the Demand, item novelty, use of the item, etc.
And you can't always base your assumption of the price on what's currently shown on the Auction House or The Undermine Journal.
And you can't always assume what people write about on Trade, on blogs, on Twitter, will be the "right" price for your item.

So, people requesting a price for how much to sell X item : yeah gold-makers can give you an idea of a price, but it's not 100% fool-proof that it will sell and that you couldn't get much much more than that.
Figure it out by yourself - all the tools are there for you to use and find out.

You could send out "tests" on your AH and see if you get Buyers, then correct your pricing and try again until you figure out what's the buying threshold for your item, but that won't tell you exactly if it's the right price.
It'll tell you the price at which one person is willing to buy your item - it doesn't mean that it's everyone's preferred price.
You either drink at home or you pay the bar's extra fees.

Someone who buys your stack of Strange Dust at 80g isn't establishing a new ceiling price for the item.
It just means that the person has the money to buy it at that price, doesn't have the time to look for other means to acquire the Dust and is in a hurry to get it right now.
You could continue to price it like that and see if people keep biting and you might be a wealthier person if it works.
I'm not saying it won't - it might work - but it also might not work all the time, mostly because Strange Dust is the first material needed when someone starts to level Enchanting.
Also because Strange Dust can be acquired very easily and cheaply.
And some people don't have that amount of gold to spend on an entry-level tradeskill material.

And by "some people", I mean "new players".

Okay pause here for a second.
No I didn't say that you have to cater all the time to new players.

But I would like to bring out 2 factors to consider right now : the Can't Be Fucked Player and Gold Sellers.

The Can't Be Fucked Player and the Lazy Tax
There are players that have been in this game for more than the length of one expansion and seem to know their way around the game.
And more than likely these are the players that gold-makers will get most of their money from. (With wealthy newbies coming at a close second.)
They are the people that will buy everything they need from the Auction House as much as it's possible.
They are the people that are directly responsible for the success of reselling items that are found on vendors.

"Nah I can't be fucked to go to Ironforge to buy it from the vendor for 1g40s, but instead I'll buy it right here from the Auction House. Sure it's selling for 50g, but really I can't be bothered to fly all the way there just to get one stupid recipe."

And then for weeks and weeks you hear these players complain about how they don't have any gold, how they hate farming, how they hate dailies, how they hate the whole game for being so difficult. (Missing a big part of what MMO mechanics are, aren't we ?)

That extra charge for the vendor item, I call it the Lazy Tax.

I have a close friend who is one of those players.
And I keep reminding him that the AH prices are high because he won't take 5 minutes to fly around and find the vendor, and such.
He tells me he knows, but he's lazy.
I then reply to him that he has to pay the Lazy Tax.
(And yes sometimes he's aware that he's buying items from me through the AH.)

Preying on the uninformed and/or misinformed people is part of the gold-making game.
There are guides to make gold, some free, some not.
There are literally tips everywhere if you make the simplest Google search.
It really isn't that complicated to get gold in this game.
Heck if you do your daily quests in the Molten Front for a whole week, you have around 1400g in your pockets, guaranteed.

But what I am trying to point out here, is that there are some lazy people who will pay the price of the AH, doesn't matter how costly it can be, as long as they have their items immediately.
And also they find themselves out of money fast and apparently don't like to farm or do dailies.
And somehow those 2 facts don't seem to ever connect in their heads...

Good behavior
Here's an issue to tackle.
I'd like to encourage people to get their own money to be able to buy my items on the AH.
I want at the same time to discourage people to feel the need to buy gold from 3rd parties or use bots.
Is there a solution ?
To share the knowledge with people seems to work, as demonstrated by the gold-making community.
Distribution of wealth directly to the people ?
It's an option, but it doesn't encourage gold-making habits nor does it warn against the traps of lack of game knowledge or outright scams that await the "lazy" gamers.

I've been thinking of different fun and interesting ways to distribute in-game gold to players and to do it in ways to promote good gold-related habits.
I think it's a good goal to aspire to reach.
I'll share if anything worthwhile comes out of this.
(Feel free to throw me your own ideas as well.)
Now go do your dailies and loot everything...

Oh, and about "info is #1"...
I keep saying that knowledge is #1 in this game.
But you obviously don't need to know every detail.
Take every gold-maker that started playing when Wrath was released.
If you understand the right concepts in your head on how to proceed, you can perform correctly right from the start.
Details and "extra knowledge" can follow as you develop interest in the markets you're working on.
Take Wes and Cold from the Auction House Junkies (great show!).
In their podcast, you can hear them demonstrate that their lack of knowledge on the details of the game is largely compensated by the effectiveness of their auctioneering techniques.
It doesn't hinder them nor do they seem to care about the details, and they still win at gold-making.

So yeah - just wanted to throw that out there.

Back on topic.

Gold Sellers
We see them spammin', we hatin'.

There is one thing that can be sure about gold selling : if they are spamming on every server, it's because gold selling WORKS.

Which means that people actually BUY their gold.

Funny and surprising thing: it's not everyone that knows that buying WoW gold is against the game rules.
Why ?
Because microtransactions are now the norm in online gaming.
Everyone is now used to find games online that are free-to-play and that will offer customization options and stat booster items that you have to pay real currency to acquire.
And in a lot of those games, you can buy in-game currency.
Blizzard has many reasons why they do not want to take that step forward into buyable currency - many of these reasons are a bundle of legal issues.
(Let's just say that it's been known that some people have used online virtual games to launder Real Life money. I shouldn't have to add anything else for you to understand the layers of complication that kind of situation adds to a game for teens.)
But because microtransactions are the norm, people wonder why Blizzard isn't doing it.
Until people figure it out or until Blizzard makes an official statement that says "we're never going to do that and here's why", there are some people that will offer a lot of in-game currency for the price of a meal at McDonald's.

Why would people feel bad about buying gold anyways ?
It's just the next logical step for Blizzard to take, right ?
It's not like you've heard of anyone being caught buying gold, right ?
And even if you've heard that buying gold is against the rules, there's so many gold spammers in Trade and they aren't being actively stopped by Blizzard - it's got to be legit !

And look at those Auction House prices !
If they're that high, what else are you going to do ?
The numbers are so big, the quests offer so little, dailies are boring, there's no way you can play the Auction House yourself because you don't know what to do or where to start, and you "need" those items right at this second !
Why wouldn't anyone buy gold or purchase a bot ?
Gold plated bot ? Mother of God...

The Image of Gold-Makers
I've chatted with a bunch of new players since the beginning of Cataclysm.
I'm the helpful guy that will answer to questions that people write in General or Trade.
The feedback I get from the newbies is that they get discouraged by 3 things in the game: not knowing where they are or where they're supposed to go, unhelpful trolls in Trade chat, and unaffordable items on the AH.
I will usually tell them to pay attention to the quest text, ignore the trolls and to only go to the Auction House to sell items, never buy until you are max level.

Hey, a Buyer with close to no buying power isn't going to generate profit for anyone.
If a Buyer is constantly broke, no one will be able to reap the Buyer's future potential benefits and he will be less tempted to go near the AH again.
And he will consider the other less savory options to make gold.

I don't want anyone to encourage gold sellers.

But there's a pickle.
Here's a Blizzard quote about their point of view about gold selling:
''The way to stop this phenomenon is to continue to report and discourage any individuals you might know who do purchase gold, or power leveling services, or buy/trade/sell accounts. When that stops being a demand, there will stop being a supply, and a need to advertise that supply.''
So that brings it back to us.
Gold-makers are pushing for higher prices, reset markets, flip low items to profitable amounts.
We aim for profit.
We take the player's demands for items and we quantify it with a currency amount.
We could ask for less, but we aim for profit.
Their is a direct correlation between the prices of the Auction House and the demand for gold from players.
No wonder some people don't like gold-makers.

Are we pushing players towards gold sellers ?
I want to get to the heart of the matter because I feel profoundly affected by it.
You should all know by now that Chinese gold sellers are using actual slave labor to make and sell people some of that gold, and I do not want to encourage them.
Just like the thought of death (not dying) creeping its' way in my brain when I go to bed sometimes and keeps me up all night, the thought that our little e-currency game is a factor in the torture and suffering of human beings makes me wretch and want to never log on to the game ever again.

Is the jacking of prices to absurd amounts what pushes players to gold-selling sites ?
Is it laziness alone ?

I'd like to make an anonymous survey to know what are the reasons that players have/had to purchase gold from 3rd parties (and if they've been consequently hacked).
Just to know what makes people tick.

I'd like to know if what I'm doing is a necessary gear in the wheels of turning a game into slavery.
Because if it is, then I'm stopping this in a second and deleting everything in this blog except for this post.

If a few bucks means a few thousands of gold for you, how many hours of slave labor have you
contributed to and effectively have encouraged to continue ?
If you keep paying the slave masters, they will keep slave driving.
Shrug it off as much as you want, there are Real Life consequences to your happy happy play time.
You may not see them in front of your eyes, but they exist.

What am I doing here ?
So I am trying to reach an arbitrary amount of wealth to prove to myself that I can master the complex system of a game's economy.

It's the equivalent of any kind of puzzle solving - the setting, scale and length of it differs from one type to the next.
Compare it to any kind of leisure activity: you have a goal to reach, you have obstacles and things that hinder/handicap you from making a quick beeline to the objective.
It's just a pastime.
How much of my life has been claimed by this game ?
Don't get me wrong - I am very rarely bored by the game.
Like ever.
I've fit into all of the categories of players targeted by the game at some point in my WoW life.
I have been a hardcore raider, an alt leveler, a completionist, a rep grinder, a collector, a casual Weekend Warrior plowing through 5-mans, a lore nerd, a purely social gamer, an Auction House addict, a hardcore PvPer (except for Arenas, bleh).

Gold-making has been the most odd meta-thing I've ever done.
And it's particularly weird coming from someone who has longstanding problems with math and should have flunked his economics class in high school (teacher gave me a passing grade because he was retiring and didn't want to deal with me, LoL).

Do I like making gold ?
Well, I like putting time and effort to reach a goal I've set for myself, and that brings me pleasure and satisfaction.
It's fun to do it.
Do I like the thought that I may somehow be responsible for the inhumane treatment of human beings because of the fun game I play ?
Hell no.

Honestly, I don't know what this reflection/thinking/diary entry is all about.
Is this melting pot of ideas the product of an existential crisis brought on by the normal cycle of things of my life ? (I will soon turn 31, so it's expected)
Or brought on by the situation of me as a player versus my point of view of the status of the game ?
Or is this the existential crisis that every gold-maker goes through when they reach their gold cap objective and wonder what the heck they're going to do now (and maybe I'm thinking a bit too much ahead of myself) ?
Or could this be a new cycle of my gaming life in WoW that is slowly emerging, and I just have no clue what it is going to turn out to be ?

What exactly are gold-makers doing here ?
Do we just want a little extra in-game money to save on the side, or are we inflating our egos by reaching an arbitrary number, or are we hoarders, or are we simply playing another kind of puzzler with numbers ?

Ethically, I'm at an impasse.
And considering it all is so overwhelming that I just want to freeze and don't want to take another step because I might be hurting someone.
But I guess the best way to deal with it is to not think of it.
To momentarily cure my issue of the thought of dying in my sleep, I have to distract my mind enough so it forgets about it and then I manage to fall asleep.
Maybe I should do the same thing here.
Just get distracted enough by shiny objects and stuff and happy thoughts and rising numbers and bury my consciousness underneath everything.
And hope it doesn't come back again.

My next post will be on a lighter subject, I promise.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Status: 4.3 Results and Looking Forward

This was the patch I was mentally prepared for.

This doesn't mean that I knew everything that was going to happen, like what were all the mats that were going to be in high demand.
This also doesn't mean that I had amassed a huge stockpile of items ready to be dumped on the AH.
But much like an athlete, it was all about flexing the muscles, making sure my whole body was in check and ready to go.
This patch was more about proving to myself that I could deal with the high-end, with the real-time business of the server, about being able to make that quick money and see the possibilities to make more if I were more prepared.

I've mentioned my issue with risk a few posts ago and that's what I was testing without straight out burning myself.
I purposely limited my stockpile to make sure that I wasn't too prepared and to be able to limit the damage of bad decisions I might make.

I had 2 stacks of every uncommon and rare gems and a dozen Shadowspirit diamonds, 12 stacks of Blackened Dragonscale, collected about 30 transmogrification items of all rarity levels, prepared a dozen scrolls of high-end enchants, and a stockpile of about 14 stacks of Pyrite ore.
And I had also the usual low-end crap I usually sell: rep items, vendor recipes, leveling mats, ores, etc.

Here's what happened to me - take whatever lesson you will from it.

I finally caved and babysat the AH on my Jewelcrafter.
On Patch Day #2 at Peak Time, almost all of my gem stockpile of Shadowspirit, Ember Topaz, Demonseye, and Inferno Ruby were all sold within an hour.
I did not think I would fare this well with so many Jewelcrafters around (that are quite prone on quick undercutting to no ends).
Dream Emeralds, Amberjewels and Ocean Sapphires are barely not viable raw or cut, with the low prices and a lot of undercuts from people who shuffled a lot and want to get rid of them.
They sell much better as PvP jewelry and monocles, if the prices on Volatiles are not killing your entire profit.

Shadowspirits were very viable.
I used all my green gems to transmute as many as possible until I ran out of Carnelians.
By then, the AH was empty of Carnelians.
The ones that were posted after that were going for a third of a cut Shadowspirit... and were being bought!
Obsidium ore and Elementium ore went the same way.
Jaspers, Zephyrites and Nightstones were kept for Jewelcrafting dailies, both for the AH and mine.
Alicite and Hessonite were turned to jewelry.
Blue procs were posted.
Green jewelry with good stats was posted - unpopular ones were disenchanted.

Now the Essences and Dusts would be posted for profit... normally.
Unfortunately, I wasn't the only one that shuffled recently, so the market was (and still is) flooded with cheaper and cheaper mats to the point that I've decided to not sell any other current enchanting mats and stockpile them until we reach the end of the first third or half of Mists to get rid of them at 5x their normal price. (I base that assumption of price on the curve that Infinite Dust has had during Cataclysm.)

In my leisure time (and server low pop times) I jump on my engineer and farm Obsidium ore in a still-phased Hyjal (didn't do any questing, don't have Twilight Drakes chasing me in the Twilight camps, 99% of players are phased, most mobs are still level 80-81) and I mine my heart away.

Shuffle, shuffle, win.

Getting back to Enchanting, I must make a note here: huge success in my stocking up of cheap scrolls.
Some - not all of them - are being sold from anywhere from 20g to 200g (depending of the days) when they were bought at less than 5g each back when people were leveling Cataclysm Enchanting were flooding the AH with cheap scrolls.
Apart from that, the new 5-mans are good enough sources of enchanting mats.
Perfect to make high-end enchants that everyone needs for their new gear.
But because some gold blogs and podcasts have been talking about Peerless Stats to Chest, that specific market is usually found flooded and in constant decline because of people who have an odd conception of undercutting and didn't understand the reason behind the tip that was given. (Maybe it's just my server ?...)

Quick side note here, people.
I've said it before and I'll say it again.

Smart gold-making is so much more than just taking someone's advice on what item to put in the AH at what price.
It's about understanding the markets, understanding the other auctioneers that are most likely getting the same info that you are reading, and understanding the buyers, their motivations for buying, as well as the money they have in their pockets.
If you are making gold by simply blindly following the advice, that's good.
But not only sometimes you could be making more money than you are now (and you are throwing plenty out of the window), and at other times you could be ruining a market for a lot of people who are trying to keep it high.
*steps down from the soapbox*

Leatherworking & Blacksmithing
I bought cheap Pristine Hides, made Leg Armors.
Then sold stacks and singles of Blackened Dragonscales.
That's it.
I could've crafted some of the new PvP sets, but honestly I still haven't seriously looked at any other possibility with Leatherworking.
Plus the leather and volatiles were fairly high on the AH, so much that very little profit could be gotten from that.
I just stepped away.

Made Belt Buckles, both Cata and Wrath ones (people think they can get away with using a cheap Wrath buckle, but they realize later that there's an item level limitation when they try to put it on).
Now I was expecting a lot of competition in that market.
Funnily enough, we were only 5-6 sellers in the first week.
Considering the staggering amount of people that had stockpiled Pyrite ore, expecting to be able to prospect Epic gems from it, I thought I'd see more people trying to get rid of their Pyrite by any means necessary.
When the first week was over and buckle prices had dropped 400g and were still falling, the rest of my stockpile of Pyrite was prospected.
Future acquired Pyrite will also see the same fate up until the announcement of the World Event signaling the end of the expansion.
When Mists of Pandaria will happen, the Pyrite will either be sold to help level the few first points of tradeskills or will be stockpiled for future sales when the ore will be forgotten from the public space.
Same will go for the rest of the ores, but a little Obsidium will be transformed into Engineer Bunnies.

Odds and Ends
I could say/do something gold-related in regards to Embersilk Cloth, but I have to stockpile for personal use, to help with my main's bandage achievement, leveling the few first points of the First Aid skill in Mists, as well as for my Tailoring skill.
So no Dreamcloth talk from me.

Chaos orbs ? Didn't have any.
I just know I'll be using them for the guild crafting achievement.
I'll either be posting or disenchanting the items for profit (now or later).
Chaos orbs have already plummeted below 50g because so many people are running the new 5-mans (me included).

I unfortunately don't know what happened in the Alchemy market.
I didn't have enough flasks to put in there to really make a huge significant profit worth reporting.
I just know my 2 stacks of Flask of the Wind went for 25-30% more than what they would've gone for usually.
The rest of my herbs were being funneled into jewel transmutes or Inscription, selling straight Blackfallow Inks, using the Inferno Inks to make one of each of the PvP relics that people were buying to boost their alts' item level to get into the new 5-mans.

While I'm talking Inscription...
Hey did you know that the Origami Rock, Beetle and Slime always find a buyer ?
It doesn't happen all the time and I only post 1 of each at a time.
The buyer is always a different person, he usually buys the 3 of them all at once and doesn't even think of flipping them.
It's a weird little niche market and I'm trying to see how high I can price these items and how much pocket change I can get from this before people realize they are useless items and stop buying.

Oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooh how I love it!

Some items did take a few days/weeks before being sold, but man when the server's common gears start turning, it feels really good, especially if you know what to post.
The fun thing about it is the 300-1000% increase in price of certain items.
You can basically spend your whole time browsing the AH for gear and weapons, dressing room them and flip for as much as you want (theoretically).
As I've previously mentioned, transmogrification is new for everyone, prices are not set in stone (yet) and it's a long-time flourishing market.
Everyone is discovering the game's database and realizes that there's really good art in here.

If you've been following Keelhaul on Twitter, he's been giving a ton of tips and heads-ups on items and sets and it's hard to wrap your head around all the gold-making possibilities that are most likely staring you in the face.
He really is the king of transmog and he's very much deserved the title of the "Mogfather".
He wrote a guest post on Flux's Power Word: Gold that everyone interested in transmogrification gold should read.

The only thing I can report on is that barking about transmog isn't quite working out for me as I've expected.
What did work was starting conversations in Trade about items to transmogrify.
If the conversation is interesting and you are comparing the items that you link, people will dressing room them and will know what the items look like.
And that's half the sell that's done right there.
It's getting the knowledge out that's important.

If your AH is dry of items to flip, farming dungeons is also a good way to find greens (as well as other things), as well as farming the Blasted Lands rares (as Faid explains clearly in this video), and killing a few quick rares in Winterspring. (For those last 2, there's plenty of Thorium ore just begging to be mined along the way.)

Here's a little secret "weapon" I have: a friend who's been an utter completionist since the first day he's stepped in WoW.
He's collected almost every single Blacksmith Plan out there.
And there's some of them that cannot be learned anymore in-game.
I've discovered that one of them is the Blazing Rapier (go look at it in 3D View in Wowhead, it's awesome, I think).
I've worked out a deal with him where I give him a percentage of each sale I make out of them.
I hope I will have enough time to parse through the list of Blacksmith Plans and see if there's interesting stuff.
I'll let you know if I find anything good.

A clever handful of people have noticed that I've been hogging the vendor recipe market (for much longer than I had expected).
So now I'm posting all my stockpile of recipes to get rid of everything.
I'll soon be examining my MySales data and will only restock the most "popular" ones.
I will also be targeting profession levelers with the help of the guides from Warcraft Professional.

Also, I'm emptying my alt guild bank and all my toons' banks and dumping everything on the Auction House that could bring in a profit.
Everything must go so I can have gold, but also because I will need as much space as possible to prepare for the transition into Mists of Pandaria.
A plan is cooking up in my head for this and you should too!

The Undermine Journal
The Deals page is a new friend to me.
I know that you can already look at your auction mod's data to be able to know that, but I don't scan the AH every hour and now I can't track in my head the right prices of all the items in my head anymore, so I check the Confidence Interval meter.
Simply refresh TUJ's page and voilĂ , best deals of underpriced items are right there, ready to be flipped for profit.
You have to be somewhat careful of what shows there, but if you know the worth of some items, it can be totally worthwhile - you could even reset markets that have gone too low.

It's been going like crazy, this patch!
So yeah, okay, I'm guilty of using it for non-gold goofy silly stuff...
Hope it entertains a few of you...
If you don't have Twitter, make yourself an account - you don't have to write anything.
The follow the people listed on the gold-making blog directory at Flux's Power Word: Gold.
Then follow some people that they follow.
This has been one of the smartest moves I've ever done as a gold-maker.
So much info is going through there and it might not make it into blog posts.
Of course, it took me way too long to edit and post all the stuff that I am writing here, so it's only normal that Flux has beat me to the punch of making a list of Twitter accounts to follow.

So what now ? Is this the lull before Mists ?
To quote Ulduar's XT : "NO NO NO NO NO!"

Right now, people are running 5-mans, LFR, Normal raids, on mains AND alts.
Yeah some players will go see the new shinies of SWTOR during the Holidays, mostly because guilds are usually on a break during this time of the year, so why not go do a little single player action in another game ?
But that's not for everyone.
Some people have already paid for a game and it's called WoW and they've been too busy in RL to play it more than casually.
Well, the Holidays is their time to shine.
And the Auction House can't be empty all the time, can it?
And when the Holidays are going to be over, the guilds will come back to finish the Normal raid and will tackle Heroic raid and will probably go back to clean up the previous raids in Heroic mode.
Gear enhancements will still be in demand until the whole content is spent.

And then something will happen.
An announcement, a release, a thing will come out of Blizzard... *checks predictions* ...mid to end of February.
And... we'll be talking soon about what to do when THAT happens!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Ever been spoiled by the Devil in the pale Darkmoon light ? (Updated)

Darkmoon Despoiler is the name, and money is it's thang.

You have to turn in those 9 items to their respective quest givers.
You can collect 5 of them while running dungeons and 3 of them while going into battlegrounds.
The ninth one (Soothsayer's Runes) is not clear exactly where you get it from - people suspect it's from archeology - but we're going to find out soon, I'm sure.
EDIT: It's now confirmed it drops from level 85 raid bosses.

The most important detail about this is you need to have your Darkmoon Adventurer's Guide in your bags while you're running dungeons and battlegrounds.
This enables you to pick up the items as you're looting bodies.

These are the items:
(Yeah it's copy/pasted from a Wowhead comment)

What's the big deal with this ?

  1. The items can be put in the Auction House.
  2. These items are new. People don't know about them, don't know what they do. The prices are up for grabs at the moment.
  3. These are items needed to complete an achievement. And because the achievements don't explain much of how they can be completed, people will be willing to buy from the Auction House directly and not ask questions.
  4. Turning in the quest items gives Darkmoon Faire rep. 250 rep a pop. People that did not have Darkmoon Faire rep in their sights will start considering maxing their rep because of all the new quests they've been doing in this new revamped place. And if ever they've heard of the Insane In The Membrane achievement and title, they might go for it now. It's written ''AH longevity'' all over this.
  5. Turning in the items also give 16g and 10 Darkmoon Prize Tickets. There's mounts and pets and all sorts of things that people can buy with those Tickets.
  6. These quest items are 'monthlies'. As in : you can turn each one of them in once a month - and then next month you can do it again. Someone can be stockpiling them or putting them on the AH in the meantime.
  7. Tip: If you're going to be running around on your alts, make sure they have the Darkmoon Adventurer's Guide in their bags so they can pick up the items too!
I'll edit this if I ever come across new info, but that's it!
Right now I'm seeing some of the items go from 1k to 12k gold each...
But this is the beginning of the patch and I don't expect them to stay that high, but who knows what will happen once prices stabilize!