Saturday, 25 June 2011

Keeping it Fresh, Keeping it Real - What's YOUR Priority ?

Bringing the old school to the new school with another 'Gold-Making for Dummies' installment...

Gold-making isn't just the ability to find the right items to post on the Auction House to get the most gold back.
One of the greatest feats to master is the ability to cope and react to change.
Change comes to us in many different ways :
  • someone decides to reset markets
  • someone posts a wall of items in your way
  • someone is babysitting the Auction House, cancelling and reposting to undercut you constantly
  • people stop buying items
  • patch info from the PTR is datamined and influences buying and posting behavior
  • you've had a Real Life situation that's been keeping you from logging into the game for a certain amount of time
  • etc.
You can't always expect what will happen (just like Real Life financial markets), so you have to be quick on your feet and know how to react accordingly to make the best out of a situation.
Just like normal problem-solving, it's always best to investigate the roots of the change before you react to it.
But it's not just that : you have to know the range of possibilities open to you.

Efficient gold-makers are always on the lookout for ingenious ideas to solve these problems.
Newbie ones will - at some point, if they're stuck - ask for comments or help.
The gold-making community is great to shuffle ideas and answer people who are "stuck".
There's the Consortium forums, the JMTC weekly meetings (where experienced gold-makers can answer your questions live), personal gold-making coaches, gold podcasts and a vast amount of gold-making blogs.
Getting accurate information is the key and we are not lacking on resources anytime soon.
Don't be afraid to browse, comment, ask questions.
Some people may have different point of views on how to address a particular situation, but one thing's for sure : the community will not hold back if you are asking for help.

What's also very important in situations of change is to get your priorities straight.
Do you even have a list of priorities, even if it's just in your head ?

Here's an exercise for you : piece of paper + pen, and write it all down and put it in order. (Results might raise your eyebrows)

In these Cataclysm days there's so many things to do in-game and not enough time to complete it all (that is, if your aim is to complete any of the in-game objectives that can be completed).
You have many things to consider/factor in:
  • weekly transmutes and raids
  • weekly server maintenance
  • your daily transmutes
  • the amount of time you can play per day/week
  • the usual hours of raiding on your server
  • the posting times of the competition
  • your 7 heroic 5-man heroic dungeon runs
  • your weekly Baradin Hold run
So many things to consider!
I have not listed them all and some of them might not be important to you, but maybe they are important to others.
You have to ask yourself: what are your goals ?
What do you have to do to reach them ?
In what order ?
(Order of doing things is very important in WoW - there's a lot of situations that are very much about being at the right place at the right time and you want to make yourself available to take advantage of them.)

Now the second ability of a gold-maker that might actually be even more important than having a list of priorities is to be able to reevaluate your priorities.
You need to find a way to synch your priorities with the ever-evolving game we work in.
What I do - and suggest strongly - is to look at your list of priorities every week, preferably on Maintenance Tuesdays.
You can take the time off to browse through all the online info about the game - patch notes, gold blogs, Wowhead - and figure out new strategies to make gold and tinker a bit with your list in order to properly schedule your week.

Where am I currently with the goals I want to reach ?
Am I making progress ?
Can I work more efficiently ?
Are there changes in the near future that will keep me from going further and how can I counter the changes or work with them ?
If a situation is not progressing at all, what can I do about it ?
I am out of ideas OR All the options I've come up with do not please me : Is there any way I could get help with that ?

There's a philosophy about keeping things fresh and updated.
In all aspects of Real Life.
It makes things grow, it's nurturing, it's part of the cycle of things.
Dead things fall back to the earth, get recycled, come back in another form.
If things are not renewed, are taken away from cycles of life, they become stagnant and still.
Nothing grows from them and they become stuck in a perpetual sick and dying stage.
This applies to ideas and your head as well.
A good gold-maker will be always on the move, ready to cope with any situation that comes their way.
Your Auction House prices go up and down, items become 'hot' then not, you have to deal with high and low stock and supply and demand, and Blizzard decides to throw in a ton of new items once in a while.
That's a lot of things to deal with.
A challenge comes your way - will you know how to deal with it ?
With time and practice, you'll be able to react accordingly, wisely and swiftly.
And you'll pocket the gold like nothing ever happened.

My way of seeing it: gold-making is stimulating for your brain.
It has to be.
If it's not, there are other things in and out of WoW that are.
Gold-making HAS to be something that needs to be renewed.
You have to keep it alive and well-nourished.
It HAS to evolve at the same rate of mutation that the game goes through.
If it's not, it's not a game anymore, is it ?

Go ask other bloggers about phases of gold-making they've been through - they'll tell you that they went through a whole range of different headspaces before arriving where they are now.
Then ask then about the Obsidium Shuffle.
Most of them have been admitting that it was a very lazy way to make gold.
A very assured way to make gold with barely any risk involved, yes - that was the whole point and the popularity of it was undeniable.
But in terms of stimulation, it was Zangarmarsh's Dead Mire: very brown, very dry and very boring.
I tried it - I ran the fuck away from it.
I don't play this game to get bored out of my mind.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Not a Patch Speculation Post (But it's as boring)

Instead of the boring speculation/moneycrafting that has been plaguing the blogosphere for the last weeks, here's an equally boring list of things that will happen with me when 4.2 hits.
Yeah it's a list mostly for me - just throwing my thoughts up here.
  • Re-order my characters on the Character Selection screen (Fixing a long-time pet peeve)
  • Vendor the keys that are now in my bags
  • Do the Northrend Inscription Research to learn the new Shaman glyph and (try to) flood the AH with it
  • Learn the new Jewelcrafting Designs, craft the new items, stick em on the AH
  • Do the same thing with Inscription
  • Get to the Hero's Board and pick up the starter quest to get to the Hyjal/Firelands dailies - and proceed to do that with all my crafters that will get a new pattern from the unlockable vendors
Set a timer to tell me when most people will be unlocking the recipes, crafting items and posting them, so I will "prepare" the Auction House for incoming red gems, enchants and all the supplies you will need to buy from me to craft your new shinies, just in case you didn't do your homework.

(Kaliope has done the math for us : it will take 31 days of dailies to unlock your first Hyjal vendor - that would be July 28th, if my math is correct, and I'm not good at math, so check for yourself).

Saturday, 18 June 2011

WoW Trek: The Next Expansion: Deep Space Five (Farm Your Fire Phoenix!)

***This is Tinfoil Hat Lore Speculation -  This is Tinfoil Hat Lore Speculation - This is Tinfoil Hat Lore Speculation***

The WoW Insider Podcast crew has been talking about it on and off in the last dozen episodes.
Their Lore expert has deemed it possible in a very interesting post of all the possible foreseeable subjects of the future World of Warcraft Expansion.
I am 100% behind the theory that we will go on "an outer space summer vacation" in 5.0.

I was discussing this with my friends the other day, and I've come up with the most logical/optimal way that Blizzard could take advantage of that possibility.

The Theory
The next expansion will bring the focus back on the Burning Legion.
It could be set in a way that they are trying to make a push for us, we repel them, and then we take the fight to them.
(Yes that's basically The Burning Crusade 2.0, and that's the point.)
There are already existing portals scattered around the planet - there's maybe more that we don't know of or that we can't see yet (because they're on floating rocks that are out of out reach currently).
Some crazy Dalaran wizard or Wilfred Fizzlebang warlock can re-power the portals.
Heck maybe the remaining Burning Legion forces have built some new portal devices of their own - the kind that the players can go through.
Then we land in the new 85 to 90 (95?) zones that are Burning Legion strongholds, and we fight and pillage and burn - for great justice.

The three possible expansions that are being put forth are : Outer Space Vacation, the Emerald Dream and Vashj'ir and Beyond (aka the Azshara expansion).
I am discarding the Emerald Dream expansion because it is a gigantic task and has to do with a lot of things that are related with their newly revamped Azeroth - I don't think they want to work on vanilla Azeroth again.
I am also discarding the Azshara expansion because Blizzard has to rethink how the 3D underwater fighting can be developed further from their Vashj'ir experiment.
Also, I think it is "good writing" to let the Naga disappear from our Hero Threat Radar just long enough until they sneak behind us to bite us in the ass with a Big-Ass Threatening Device-MacGuffin.

I think the Outer Space scenario is more likely because, heck, it's about time we go there.
 
We are always fighting 3 things in World of Warcraft : there's the fight against the other faction (Horde VS Alliance), the fight against the Burning Legion and it's sub-products (the Lich King was created by Kil'jaeden), the fight against the Old Gods and their sub-products (Deathwing was "created" by them).
The story of each expansion is showcasing one of the 3 fights as the main plot, while the other 2 fights are still going on but they are keeping a low profile.
Story-wise, it gives time for one fight to pick up it's pieces, patch up, and come back in a stronger and meaner way in the future.
Now we've been spending the last 2 expansions in Azeroth, so it's time to go back in space and discover new and interesting worlds and creatures and destroy them and take their loot.

Chris Metzen and other Blizzard employees have mentioned how they really would love to go look back at the Burning Crusade material and give it the Cataclysm treatment.
Except that it would more likely be the other way around.
As in Outland doesn't get destroyed, but rather restored.

On this matter, I have this odd little theory and I hope you like it.
Who have we been told will become the new Aspect of Earth ?
Thrall.
What's so special about the Aspect of Earth ?
Well he has dominion over all earthly things.
Who loves his home world, the land of his father, the birthplace of many orcs, the planet that was shattered in thousands of little pieces ?
I hope you see where I'm going with this.

In The Shattering book, according to Aggra, Thrall has had a connection to the Elemental Dukes (the elements that are walking around below the Elemental Plateau in Nagrand) that no one has ever had before.
He asked them questions, they responded, they even helped him.

The elements there are still very much distressed.
We went to Outland and cleared most of the Naga threat and put a stop to Kael'thas' plans, but we didn't do anything to "fix" the place itself.
What we did there had mostly to do with whomever was strolling around on those pieces of floating rocks.
So a newly confident and renewed and powerful shaman like Thrall comes back to his home turf to fix a planet ?
The elements likey.
Some of them might feel cranky about it, because, you know, last time a shaman tried to do something with the planet it didn't end up well.
But it sounds like Thrall's good guy karma to be all "A shaman destroyed the planet, a shaman shall rebuild it."

So what are the advantages for Blizzard to do this ?


Revamp all of The Burning Crusade expansion : They can turn Outland into Cataclysm 2.0 - buff up the existing zones and create portals to the new high-end questing zones. This is exactly the same thing that they did in Cataclysm - they just have to repeat it with Outland. However, Outland is not as big as the combined Kalimdor and Eastern Kingdoms put together. So they would have more time and resources directed towards the new high-end content - which would be good news for everyone.

Correct and expand the lore they've left behind : They can tweak some stories that felt a bit weak and bring more fuel to the lore they've created two expansions ago and barely mentioned ever again. I feel like this could be a good excuse to have more insight on the Burning Legion - their command system, their origins, how they conquer worlds and what are their current plans to get back at us. (Kil'jaeden did not forget us pushing him back into the Sunwell.) Also, THE FRIGGIN DRAENEI ! We need more info, more lore about their culture, about how they used to be and live before Sargeras came into their life. We could also do with what exactly convinced them to join up with the Legion - at best find a way to shove pieces of (the excellent must-read) Rise of the Horde directly into the game.

Finally have an excuse to bring back Alleria and Turalyon : Remember those 5 statues in front of Stormwind ? We've found 3 of the people they were based on when we stepped into Outland. The mysterious couple still is M.I.A. and lore buffs want those 2 back in the storyline. I'm sure their son would also appreciate.

Give time to Azshara to be forgotten and regroup her forces : Because she's next on the Bad Guy Hitlist. Also, if it's not done in Cataclysm before it ends, we'll need to know more about what happened after the story of the Throne of the Tides - and I'm damn sure that Metzen wants his Abyssal Maw story to be inserted somewhere back into the game. But it's clear that we're not done with the Naga and the Old Gods, because (to quote the WoW Insider article) :
There is a definite tie between these two races, and killing Deathwing is only the tip of the iceberg as far as Azeroth's problems go. If we deal with Azshara, we are continuing on what appears to be our mission to eventually eliminate the Old Gods altogether.

Okay so I've built up this huge theory and I think it's all possible it could happen.

But here's what I'm really getting to: if they do indeed revamp Outland, they might revamp the loot.



Forgot about this ?

I can totally see Blizzard retiring the Ashes of Al'ar.
We've had the time to farm it.
We'll all have the Reins of the Dark Phoenix by the end of this expansion (hopefully), so if you just want a phoenix-type mount you'll be happy with what you have.
But if you want a fire phoenix...
Remember what happened with the mounts in Zul'Gurub and Zul'Aman ?


Before we have any crying, tearing off of ironic shirts, whining and braying about how Blizzard somehow is "not giving us enough time" if ever they announce they are taking it out of the game, consider this your unofficial warning - because we've gone through the ZA Bear, ZG Raptor and Tiger mounts situations before and I won't be listening to anyone who cries about it if this happens again for the third time in the history of the game.

I'll be replying to you that I friggin' called it.

Now spread the word and get to Tempest Keep now.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Getting Started - Don't Give Up !

This article is a featured guest post on Nev's Auction House Addict blog.
http://ahaddict.blogspot.com/2011/06/getting-started-dont-give-up.html

Hello there!
Khalior here from Khalior's Tentacular Junkpile to help out with Nev's "Getting Started" series.
Today, we do a quick and simple once-over of the issue of the most grieving thing that every gold-maker will encounter : items that do not sell.

So you have everything set up.
You've got your items, you know the prices, you know the right times when to post.
You get down to business.
And then you play the Waiting Game(TM).

When you come back to your mailbox to reap your rewards, you collect the gold and... the items that did not sell.
Frustration may hit you at some point, especially when you've listed items for days and days and they keep coming back to you.
Breathe in, breathe out, you can work this out.

What you need to do is focus on each item and find out why no one is buying it.
Here are reasons why your item may not find its' buyer.

The market is flooded
Take a look at The Undermine Journal for your item on your realm.
Maybe there's tons of auctions there - so it's normal that it may take time before someone buys your auction.
In certain markets, it can get really crowded.
That's when you have to be clever and find the right time to post your auction.
Also, check again on your auctions once in a while, because the situation may be that...

Someone has undercut you
The most likely reason why your item has not been bought.
If the market is crowded, it's very likely to happen.
You can try to cancel your auction and undercut that person back.
But that game can go on and on and you have to know when's the right time to stop.
The ill effects of undercutting are that you are losing your auction deposit, you might possibly be lowering the price of the item, and there's also the possibility that other players join in your undercutting wars, making the whole process very complicated.
"Spying" on the potential undercutters by looking at their Posting Times on The Undermine Journal is a way to counter undercutting.
Logging on your auction toon and babysitting the Auction House is another option. (Although don't forget to play the game, at some point!)

You've overpriced the item
This is partly subjective to the people's buying power on your server.
If no one is willing to buy your item for the price that you are asking for, you may be stuck there for a long while.
Prices of servers differ between each other, and people are used to see certain prices on the AH.
If they are used to see double digits for an item, why would they go for your triple digit item ?
Knowing the market of your items is a bit of a science, mixing people's buying power with item rarity and demand.
Checking for average pricing on TUJ, browsing the comments section of your item on Wowhead, knowing how the item is obtained, are all helpful hints of how your item should be priced.
You can always experiment and go against all odds - sometimes you can be pleasantly surprised!


There is no current demand for the item
Sadly, it happens.
Sometimes if you continue reposting again and again, one day you will find a buyer.
But that can take some time.
Sometimes it's best to stockpile the item in your bank and try the market again on a rainy day.
You can also set yourself some Undermine Journal notifications for your item and wait until the market picks up again to consider posting your items.
It's also common knowledge that a greater variety of buyers is online during the weekends, so consider posting your item on Friday evening and see if you get lucky.

As you can see, there's tricks to help you out of the situation.
It's the tinkering and the research for every auction that makes casual auctioneers lose patience and a lot of gold because they don't take the time to find a solution to their problem.
It is problem-solving at its' best : focus, find the issue, find all different possibilities of addressing the issue, choose the optimal one, apply it.
The people who are offering coaching and counseling for gold-makers live by a similar system.
With time and practice, this can be applied to a problematic auction in a matter of 2-3 minutes and you can move on to the next issue.

The motto is : don't give up!

-Khalior

I'd like to thank Khalior for writing the first ever guest post here at Auction House Addict & I think it's a great post to give encouragement to budding auctioneers. One thing I will add for my lovely & local EU readers is - do not despair - there is a new site recently launched that will, over time, come to be as important & useful to us as the Undermine Journal is to the US players.

This is where EU readers can help Acy get his site moving, go to Wowtrader, log in & upload the data from your auction house scans. The more data uploaded, the more useful it will be. For more information, Alto interviewed Acy recently & I hope we can all pitch in & help Acy get this new site off the ground.
-Nev

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

June 14th - A big...huh ?

Apologies to the people who read that other post I wrote.

Spent the last 2 hours reading as many reviews as I could find about Duke Nukem Forever and it's not looking good.

Everyone seems to agree that the attempts at humor fail, the game is way too short (10-12 hours) and people keep listing things that happen in the game that left them uneasy and dirty from having played this game.
That right there is not something you will find in normal game reviews, and that should be a red flag for anyone who wants to purchase the game.
And it doesn't seem like the whole "Duke Nukem is misogynist, etc." argument: people are shocked that even past that there's nothing really worthwhile, where the true believers of the franchise (myself included) thought that behind the veil of what is Duke Nukem and what makes people freak out, that there would be a solid game to be found.

Take Bulletstorm for example.
The flavor of the game was what people in the media used to create a shitstorm of "controversy".
Players that weren't offended by the fact that the game rewards you when you accomplish creative kills found that behind that flavor was a solid FPS game to play.
And that's what apparently is missing from DNF and deflates everyone that was so pumped up about the game.

I'm going to play it safe, buy Alice: Madness Returns, let the dust settle on DNF for a while (and let the prices deflate too) and see what happens.

Friday, 10 June 2011

Of Epic Gems and Life Expectancy of Game Things

Foo has posted one of the sanest blog entries I've come across concerning the subject of Epic gems.
http://foo-wow.blogspot.com/2011/06/why-should-blizzard-introduce-epic-cata_07.html
I 100% agree with Foo, both with the Why and the thinking that we will not see the Epic gems anytime soon.

I think Blizzard will follow the previous expansion's design and release them halfway through the expected lifetime of this one.
I am very aware that Blizzard has been saying that they want to do things differently than previous expansions, but there are certain items that have an expected duration and effect that will have to be replaced and/or buffed.
Blizzard makes sure to address that issue by releasing new gear as well as new tradeskill spells and recipes, for the sole purpose of balancing everything with the new level of content they are putting out.
Gems are among those items.
And right now there is no need for Epic gems for the content that we are currently working with.

Adding them is not just a nerf to the content, it's a nerf to the gems by replacing them with new ones.

And let's be honest here, the general foaming at the mouth that everyone has regarding Epic gems is just because it gives them more money opportunities, a reason to have gem prices going higher than they currently are, and because Epics are Purplez and people buy Purplez.
Jewelcrafting is really easy and every person with a few brain cells can make money out of it, and I suspect that maybe it's for that reason that we see so many people asking "When are they coming out ?" so goddamn frequently often.
(How many more JMTC meetings with that question popping up again ?
Doesn't it sound like kids totally annoying the heck out of you by going "Are we there yet ? Are we there yet ? Are we there yet ?".)
I was genuinely surprised by the blogging community, in the fact that I did not see a lot of people dowsing the fires regarding that subject, but instead speculating even more on the possibility that Epic gems were always around the corner.

It may be just me being weird and everything (wouldn't surprise people that know me), but in Wrath I was a few weeks away from having picked up all the available Jewelcrafting Designs from the Dalaran vendors when we got Epic gems and all the new Designs that came with them.
My list went from "about 10 to go" to "shoot me - this will take me 200+ days of dailies to get all of that"...
If my calculations aren't wrong, no one in the game currently has all the Cataclysm Designs on their Jewelcrafter, even if they did their daily quest every day and did not buy any Chimera's Eye.
I'm not saying that it's a 100% fool-proof way of approximating the release of Epic gems, but if the Wrath model is repeating itself again with Cataclysm, you'll know what to expect in the next expansion.

Right now with the utility they have in the current game, as well as the utilities of Rare gems in the new 4.2 stuff, Blizzard is showing that they want us to still have things to do with them.
The Rare gems that you aren't using so much right now will be worth more and you'll be using them a bit more frequently.
I don't think that what they are proposing to do with the Amberjewel and Dream Emerald will totally flip their situation in the Jewelcrafting market (though they could have done more and increased the number of jewels required to craft items), but it's steps in the right direction.
But hey you'll need them when we get the expected Cataclysm version of Icy Prism.

My prediction for the appearance of Epic gems : end of 2011 - beginning of 2012.

EDIT: Here's another excellent way of explaining the Epic Gem issue : http://pvsah.blogspot.com/2011/06/when-to-expect-epic-gems.html

Monday, 6 June 2011

Tradeskill cycles - Part 2 : Electric Boogaloo (Doing the Shuffles)

In Part 1 of this "Gold-making for Dummies" article, we've looked at the different components of what makes tradeskills work, from mats to finished products.
In this second part, we'll touch on the concept of shuffling.
Basically, shuffling is when you mix the different levels of tradeskills together.

Shuffling: you're doing it wrong


If you've been browsing the gold blogs, you've come across the terms "Saronite shuffle" and "Obsidium shuffle".
These are the best known examples of tradeskill cycles that are very much in use to make gold.
For the Obsidium shuffle, you gather Obsidium ore, prospect it, use the gems to make necklaces and rings, disenchant them, use the materials to sell or make enchants and sell them.
You use 3 tradeskills and come out at the end with something very different and much more profitable than the original product.
With the Saronite shuffle, you can go 2 steps further by using the Infinite Dust you get from disenchanting and make some Bolts of Imbued Frostweave that you will use to craft items.
(There's a bunch more things to be done with the Saronite Shuffle - use Wowhead and Yourhead)

As I've mentioned, these are the two much publicized/talked about shuffles.
People are now on the lookout for changes to current shuffles or the introduction of new shuffles to come, because it's such a good moneymaking scheme.

But we're talking only high-end items, here.
I have been having fun with a Thorium shuffle as well as a Copper shuffle.
It's not the most money you'll ever make, but I am filling the gap of mats for people who want to level their tradeskills.
The demand is there and I am not seeing any signs of stopping (at least on my server).

I have been using these shuffles as I've been working on the different guild crafting achievements for my guild.
You can always start your shuffling by looking on the Auction House, grabbing some low-priced ore and going to town while keeping an eye on the price of enchanting mats to make sure your investment is going to pay off.However, if you are going to cover materials for level 1 to 60 content and the prices on the Auction House are way too high, I suggest you go out and farm.
Yes, I said it.
You see - and I don't think a lot of people are aware of that - some zones are chuck-full of spawn points for ore now that the zones have been revamped.
Darkshore, that used to be Ok with the Copper spawns, is now so full of Copper ore that it doesn't know what to do with it.
Thorium ore, which used to be a pain to farm at some point, is very present in all the zones it spawns in.
Again, we're not talking big money, but it's a good starting point for someone who wants to test the waters of shuffling.


Some newbie gold-maker testing the waters of the Enchanting rods market

I like to explore the "forgotten bastions of antiquity" of tradeskills and will often find them surprisingly unoccupied.
The players that want high-end money will deal with high-end items, but you can find that the place is very crowded.
I like to think that I'm taking the opportunity that while they are wired on the newest bells and whistles, I am taking care of all the things that they have forgotten.
Does anyone really know and is everyone really aware of all that they can do with their crafting tradeskills (even if they just paid for only the trainer recipes) ?
Not likely.
At this point WoW can be confusing as its database is covering 4 games.
That's a lot of info to remember.

So now have fun with that !
Peruse Wowhead, go through your tradeskill lists, test the waters of some markets.
Go learn recipes that your crafters have not learned yet.
Try raw materials, crafted items, crafted items that are required to craft another item...
As I've said before, you have to check once in a while if there's demand in different niche markets and how much people are willing to pay for the items.
And once you know there's a demand, you're good to go !

Friday, 3 June 2011

June 14th - A big day for gaming

...well at least for me!

Two of my favorite titles are coming back!

Both trailers are Not Safe For Work, by the way.



Duke Nukem Forever
I don't have high hopes for this title.
I just hope it's going to be entertaining.
Now I don't get on my high horses about Duke's over-the-top ultra-macho character or the over-publicized schoolgirl-looking twins sharing a kiss.
Social critics have been whining about it and are trying to bring it to the public space so it can be beaten over and over like the dead horse it is.
(Seriously, people ? We're talking about Development Hell Duke Nukem here.)

For me, Duke Nukem Forever is all about nostalgia.
It's hearing Jon St. John's awesome voice again, shotgun blasts, monsters rushing to get me, and of course fighting a huge frigging monster the size of a football field.

Quick note: If you're using TeamSpeak 3 and you like Duke, here's a Jon St. John voicepack you can add.



Alice: Madness Returns
I have high hopes for this game.
And by the gameplay videos and trailers I've seen, I won't be dissapointed.
The original Alice game was a landmark for me, with an original story and incredible esthetics.
Now it looks like they've brought the game to another level five other levels.
American McGee is a known perfectionist and it has always paid off.

If the WoW posts become rare after June 14th, you've been warned.

Oh I've also seen a trailer in regards to a third Serious Sam game... :)

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Tradeskill cycles - Part 1 : The ABCs of shuffling

In this "Gold-making for dummies" segment, we're going to discuss tradeskill cycles.
It's a little bit like stretching your mind across your characters and your knowledge of tradeskills, coupled with some Auction House investigating.

Level 1 : You've got your basic mats: ores, herbs, skins.
Level 2 : You've got your tradeskills that use your basic mats and turn them into items.
Level 3 : You've got your items that combine your items into other items.
Bonus Level : You've got tradeskills that use items created from other tradeskills to create items.

That's the furthest that Blizzard has gone so far with tradeskills and I'm happy for that.
If you think they should go further, go play Hello Kitty Online, get at least to the Beijing city quest hub, then come back and try to say that again.
Yes, I've played HKO and it was fun, but I wanted to blow my brains out on the quests that required multi-level-tradeskill juggling - and you couldn't advance any further in the game until you completed them.
(I didn't complete the Paris hub, in case you weirdos wondered.)
So, yes, very happy for the simple design that Blizzard gave us.

Welcome to the wonderful world of OH GOD Shoot Me Now!

Level 1

Basic mats.
Well duuuuuh : someone has to go out and gather them.
Mine, mine, pick, pick, kill, skin, repeat.
Basic stuff is basic.

...except for Enchanters.
They have to go kill mobs, do quests or farm the Auction House, disenchant their items and then they can start rolling.
There's no other way to get enchanting materials than by disenchanting items or buying the materials straight from the Auction House (I'm disregarding the vendors of beginner materials in the cities).
Already, that's one opportunity for the starting gold-maker.

Level 2

Tradeskills turn your mats into items.
Well let's look at who is interested in those mats.

Ores : Blacksmiths, Engineers, Jewelcrafters(Raw)
Herbs : Scribes, Alchemists
Skins : Leatherworkers

This list is pretty straightforward.
Already you can see that there would be a natural constant demand for ores because 3 tradeskills use them.
You could also surmise that people might be more likely to take mining for that reason, leaving herbing and skinning behind, but that's not the case.
One should not leave the skins markets empty - there's plenty of gold to be made selling skins and skin scraps.
It's considered the black sheep of gathering skills because it's only used for one tradeskill and mostly because (/whiny tone) because you have to kill mobs, loot them, and then at long last finally you can skin them, and it takes sooooo looooooong I'd rather herb or mine (/end).
Okay - for those people who whine, there's the Lazy Tax that applies when you decide the pricing of the skinned items.

Ores are needed by blacksmiths and engineers, but only in bar form.
Miners have the smelting ability and there's even a few specialty bars that can be crafted for high-end items, so one should look into that.

Jewelcrafters like it raw.
Ore, that is.
So they can prospect it in stacks of five in order to get their gems.
But one should not forget that in the lower levels of jewelcrafting, bars of ores are also needed.
In the higher levels it's only needed to craft rings and necklaces, but a jewelcrafter can go a long way just by cutting gems (Burning Crusade content and higher).

Alchemists are straightforward with their herbs: they just use them with a vial and they're done.
Leatherworkers also can use their skins with a few vendor reagents to make items.

Scribes, however, have to mill their herbs to get pigments, then use the pigments to create inks.
The gold-maker can use the pigment and ink markets as a way to squeeze some extra gold from scribes.
Add to that the fact that there are rarer pigments that can be milled from some herbs and rare inks that can be made out of that and you've got a pretty big range of niches to cover.
While we're on the topic...

Level 3

Scribes are an example of combining items with items to make other items.
The inks are used to craft scrolls, off-hands, relics, cards (and I suspect probably more types of items in the future).
It's also common for leatherworkers to use a big range of items that are farmed or gathered and combine them with their skins to craft items.
Ditto with Blacksmiths.
Engineers have it a bit harder than the other crafters because the nature of their profession is all about crafting.
So they have to craft items to craft other items, that then combine into a final item.
The shining examples of this are the craftable mounts and Jeeves, amongst others.

Bonus Level

And then you have the cross-tradeskill items.
To find them out, there's really no other way than to peruse the tradeskills one by one and single each of them out (Wowhead helps a lot with the visual references to make it quicker).
I'd be interested to see a full list (I might just make it myself, now that I think about it).
It's not a guarantee that people will buy those items, but you might get a few people interested.
The item that is crafted in the end is the big factor to consider, as well as the likeliness that people will craft it, especially if the item is learned from a trainer.
Example: The Jewelcrafter item Heavy Iron Knuckles requires 2x Elixir of Ogre's Strength created by Alchemists.
Enchant Gloves - Skinning requires 3x Green Whelp Scale that need to be skinned off mobs.
To find those out, you really need to do your research, and then the rest is easy.

Now you're thinking with gold goals

Now at any point in these different steps of tradeskills, you can check for the price the item goes for on the Auction House and see if there's any demand for it or if it's going for higher than any finished product you can use the item in.
I'm still selling Handful of Iron Bolts, Handful of Cobalt Bolts, Fel Iron Casing and Froststeel Tube - most of the time I'm the only supplier, so I can decide of the selling price.

At this point comes the moment where I have to bring out the notion/debate of Raw VS Crafted.
"Should I sell the raw materials to the crafters or should I use the mats to craft the item myself and sell it ?"
It's always a topic of discussion when new craftable items are introduced in the game.
And depending of the servers, the answers will vary.
It depends of your buyers and their habits, it depends of the prices of the materials, it depends how many crafting steps there are in getting the item completed, it depends of how greedy some people want to be.
But the most important point of this notion/debate is that you have to take everything into account in order to make the right decision in order to make the most money out of it.

Now that we've laid out the base of a good chunk of what you're going to be dealing with on the Auction House, we're going to bring the tradeskill game to another level.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of this article where we will look at shuffling.