Saturday, July 30, 2011

Setting Goals and Making Gold with Guild Achievements - Part Three

Part Two covered Mining, Jewelcrafting, Herbalism, Alchemy and Inscription.
Today, we're ending this nonsense.

Making History
A project is whenever you put some Fragments together to create an item, but the achievement will not count duplicates.
At the time of writing this (Patch 4.2), a single player can complete 139 projects.
Keep an eye on this link if ever there are future changes.
You can either get a few guildies to work on leveling their skill or you can level up the skill on some of your alts.
There is only one way to get this achievement done and make money : sell the Keystones.
Either go farm them yourself or flip them on the AH.
I wrote a post on how Archeology works and how to make money with it.
Just remember this: there will be some people who will try to get Zin'rokh, Destroyer of Worlds and the Recipe: Vial of the Sands, so there will be a demand for Keystones.

Skinnin' For A Livin'
Really, what can be said about this achievement ? You skin, you win.
Again, it's what you do with which skins that will dictate the money you will make.

Honestly, I don't know how to make this part interesting : I am currently starting to work on this achievement myself and I am researching all possible options, so I'll guesstimate.

Tol Barad, The Widow's Clutch in the Firelands, the zone east of Kirthaven, the Pale Roost in Deepholm, Sethria's Roost in Hyjal (if you haven't unlocked the Molten Front quests on your skinner), the Obsidian Forest in Twilight Highlands (especially if you can still access the Blackout quest) : these are awesome places to farm Savage Leather and Blackened Dragonscales.

What seems like the best options to make money with leatherworking is to craft Cataclysm PvP and high-end gear, as well as leg armors and mining bags.
Best to check your own realm prices to gauge where you should invest your leather and scales.

Master Crafter
If you are a gold-maker and are crafting high-end gear, you are already working on this and really there's nothing new for me to add, but let's set the info straight.
There is no simple way, no shortcut to take to boost this achievement : you craft items, you sell them.
As of Patch 4.2, there are 65 items that fall into that category.
Fun fact : all the Archeology Epic items also count.
Not fun fact : for most of the items, you will require Chaos Orbs or Living Embers, which means farming Heroic dungeons, the Firelands raids or the AH (if you have the cash for it)
The only exceptions to that rule are the Alchemists' Stones, but they require 50x Volatile Life each, are Bind-on-Pickup and cannot be disenchanted.
However - and I may be wrong about this, feel free to correct me - it looks like the Belt of Nefarious Whispers is the cheapest/easiest one to make (that would depend on the price of Volatile Life on your server, but you would not get any return on investment with the Alchemists' Stones).

Sell your services
Quoth the Joker: "If you're good at something, never do it for free."
Offer guilds to work on their achievements for a price.
Heck, you can try that with your own guild!
You can ask for gold, to split what you are crafting (flasks, glyphs, etc.) as compensation, use your imagination!
Put a message out on Trade, write on your realm forum on the Blizzard site...
Gotta warn you: a big majority of players have a deep burning hatred for fishing, so you will probably be asked to go for that to help them get their Seafood Feast Recipe.

That's it I'm done
So there you have it : no secret techniques to make more gold - just a bit of help to use the guild achievement system to focus your gold-making and use it to your advantage.
I'm not advocating it as a "best way to make gold" or "this is absolutely awesome, you should all do this".
It's just a thing I've been working on to help out my guild and to get these annoying achievements out of the way in my neverending list of things to do in the game.
Heck, it may turn out that I've been doing all of this for nothing : who knows what direction Blizzard will take with the system ? (I got burned with the Jewelcrafting achievement before they changed the requirements)
It's a system, I'm having fun with it, I'm making gold with it - this is just me letting you know what I've been up to.

I need a sandwich.

Khalior is a gold-making draenei that writes a lot of nonsense.
Sometimes he wonders if the Naaru might have forgotten him.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Setting Goals and Making Gold with Guild Achievements - Part Two

Part One covered Disenchanting, Fishing and Cooking.
Today we're dealing with a lot of other tradeskills.

Gemcrafter Extraordinaire teamed up with Mighty Miners

Mining is easy. Pimpin' ain't.
The question is what to mine.
You could go find a zone that has a lot of close ore sites or quickly respawning ones and climb your way up to 100,000, then sell the ore.
But it's best if you use that ore for something a bit more profitable.

The Jewelcrafting achievement is really easy nowadays. (Before Patch 4.0.6, it used to be 25,000 instead of 2,500).
It will count any gems that are Rare or Epic, regardless of the expansion in which the gems were introduced.

List of Rare gems
List of Epic gems (No, no Cataclysm Epic gems as of right now)

The only thing you have to do is cut them.
That's it.
What you do with those cut gems is up to you : selling straight to vendor is a good option, but if you are mindful of what type of gems and cuts are in demand, you will make some easy profit on the AH.

The Brilliant Glass, Icy Prism, Fire Prism jewelcrafting transmutes are good ways to turn the green gems you prospect from your ore into blue gems.
Got some leftover green gems ?
Either sell them on the AH or try to make some jewelry out of it that you can send to your disenchanter (to help out with that achievement).

My favorite ores to farm are Saronite ore and Titanium ore.
There's so much profit that you can make out of shuffling them.
Besides - and you should check your own server for prices - Fel Iron ore, Adamantite ore and Khorium ore are worth tons more in raw form on the AH because barely anyone farms Burning Crusade content anymore. (Stacks of Fel Iron ore are going for 80-140g on my server...)

You could also buy gems straight from the AH and cut them.
But at this time in the game you will rarely find people selling their uncut gems for less than their cut or uncut vendor worth.
It's still a way to get a few gold of profit if you are lucky to find those catches, but it would be more profitable to simply flip those gems.

Other sources of gems:
Mining the Ancient Gem Veins in The Battle of Mount Hyjal instance will have a 14-17% chance to drop some rare BC gems.
Onyxia in her Lair drops an Ashen Sack of Gems which contains a few Epic Wrath gems.

I'd hit the AH with that

Better Leveling Through Chemistry teamed up with The Pen is Mightier and Bushels and Bushels

This is fairly straightforward but time-consuming.
The Alchemy achievement post-Patch 4.0.6 will count only Cataclysm flasks created (Cauldrons don't count).

What will most likely happen will be that you will find yourself with more herbs than you need to create your flasks and you will be farming for the Volatile Life required in your creation of flasks.
The extra herbs can be sent to your scribe so he can start milling and creating glyphs.

What you do with your flasks is up to you - sell them at the AH, sell them to your guild, keep a stock for your own personal use for your main and alts for the whole expansion...
Same thing applies to the glyphs.
Except that the glyph market is a tad problematic: it has a lot of undercutters, it is getting more and more crowded, so it requires the right tools, a good amount of patience and a good amount of playtime spent at the AH cancelling and reposting.
There's a bunch of existing posts by gold-makers about this specific situation/issue/problem and their suggestions on how to deal with that.
I have heard people talk of selling "Glyph Packs" for all classes, either on Trade or in guilds, which sounds like a more interesting and bother-free way to liquidate your stock.

Tip #1: It is recommended to use an Elixir Master Alchemist to make flasks, because extra flask procs count for the achievement.

Tip #2: You could farm non-Cataclysm herbs to make your glyphs, but I would not recommend doing that as a main source of herbs. You'll need the Volatile Life in the future, especially if you have 1 or more Transmutation Master Alchemists or if you want to simply sell it on the AH.

Tip #3: If you mill Cataclysm herbs, you'll end up with a lot of Inferno Ink. Plenty of things you can make with that. If you add that extra Volatile Life, you can craft some Darkmoon Cards (sell the Cards or the Decks).

Tip #4: To make things more interesting when farming the herbs, select locations and routes where you will be sure to encounter things that can bring you extra items. Rare mobs (like Poseidus), mining nodes, fishing pools, etc. There's no set "best" route to farm, especially if other people are farming at the same time as well.
Worgen Alchemist - Get It ?!

That's it for today!
Part Three will be ending this epic nonsense with Archeology, Skinning/Leatherworking, Master Crafter and overall gold-making with guild achievements.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Setting Goals and Making Gold with Guild Achievements - Part One

Warning: This isn't extraordinary. This isn't a new gold-making technique. This isn't aimed at making more profit than you currently are making. This is simply a way to spin your gold-making into something more goal-oriented.

I hope you've read the warning.
If not, do it now.

Okay let's start.

The gold-making community has set the commonly accepted gold-making landmarks: 214k, 250k, 500k, 1 mil, 2 mil.
These are the goals that you are probably trying to reach if you consider gold-making as a serious hobby.
They may seem far away from your actual situation and that's when you need to get to work.
You need to find tricks, techniques, tips on how to max out your gold and start moving towards those goals.
You find your information, you play the game and you look at your results.

Now this can be fairly easy for some: establishing a daily/weekly routine and keep at it until you get the desired amount.
Unfortunately, the game that we are playing isn't simply "click and repeat" until you're done (much like the Obsidian shuffle used to be).
The markets keep moving, competition comes and goes, Blizzard throws a few items and wrenches in your path : it can be hard to stay focused and to keep a steady cash flow.

That's why it's good to have some easy-to-get objectives that you can reach every week or month.

You could simply set yourself a goal of a certain amount of gold to be made per week or per day.
One of my friends has set herself the goal of making 1000 gold per day - all of that gold to be put aside in her alt guild bank, so when a desirable item will pop up in the Auction House she'll be able to buy it.
A couple of weeks later she's still at it and very much impressed that she's still got her routine going and has a lot of gold put to the side.

Having more ambitious goals and still needing to have small landmarks to reach on my way up, I went a different way.
Enter the Guild Achievements.

I have also my own reasons to want to work on them: mainly to help my friends (I've covered that in this post), secondly to keep the Raiders in my guild from even considering to use the argument that 'Social members don't do anything for this guild'.
Not just achievements - they got glyphs, they got a few feasts, they got hundreds of Cataclysm flasks for their personal use and to make cauldrons - all free of charge. (50% of my stock of flasks - the rest I sold)
But the main and most important part is that the Achievements come with trackers.
I can see the numbers go up and they are not at all dependent on Buyer behavior.
At some point, I don't even have to worry about the gold that I will get in the end.
And I didn't!
I collected the gold from the sales but I was really thinking about was what's next in the list of things to do.

Okay let's get to it.

Guild Achievements

For the sake of keeping this simple, we'll assume that a guild is starting from scratch at Level 1 with brand new members.

Dust, Dust and more Dust!

The main pickle is the Disenchanting Achievement.
That one takes a looooong time to complete.
It's not 25,000 dusts and essences and shards gathered from disenchanting - it's 25,000 items disenchanted.
Items that are Bind-on-Pickup should be disenchanted if not needed.
Otherwise, Uncommon(Green) items should be lined up for disenchanting.
Rare and Epic items could potentially also follow the same road, but that's a question of Auction House worth.

My main sources of Green items: crafted items from farmed materials, the occasional drop when farming, but mostly the Auction House.
I set myself a price threshold of 50s per item.
If the Buyout was 50s and lower, I'd buy it.
If the Buyout was higher, I'd Bid.
I would check the Auction House when I would log on and it would be the last thing I would do before I would log off.
With that way and threshold, I would disenchant about 1000 items per week.
And then I would sell all the dusts, essences and shards back on the Auction House (some lowbie shards I would destroy because no one buys those).

Then I compared the money I made from selling all that with the money I've spent on the items.
I made enough profit that I raised my threshold to 1g per item and that doubled my total items per week to 2000.

Tip #1: At the Auction House, set Rarity to Uncommon and order by Buyout. You need only to check the Weapons and Armor sections.

Tip #2: Auctioneer's Enchantrix helps a ton if you want to maximize your gold - it tells you what an item has a chance to be disenchanted into and it's worth.
Also, Auctioneer has a nifty Recommendation at the bottom of the item's tooltip that will tell you if you should Disenchant, Auction or Convert the items - check it out if you want more money but it will slow the process down a bit (and remember to do an AH scan before you start anything else).

Tip #3: Some people have mentioned this before, notably concerning the Greater Eternal Essence market. Look at the prices of essences, find the range of item levels it can come from, then look at items that are posted for less than what the essences are going for.
Buy them, disenchant, post them, profit.
Personally, I find this rather finicky and didn't bother doing that.
I went with volume rather than return-on-investment.

Tip #4: Anything you find that can be used in crafting : use it in crafting.
Happen to kill a few lowbie mobs that give you a few Linen Cloth ?
Send it to your tailor, craft a green, disenchant it.
There's some Copper Ore in your way ?
Mine it, send it to your jewelcrafter, craft a green, disenchant it.
Believe me: all the little amounts of random crafting items all add up when it comes to this achievement.
Also, loot everything.

Tip #5: Doing all of this is not only an advantage to you, but it's also nurturing for your server.
Breevok covered this brilliantly.
People that level tradeskills will love you long time.
I even got 'love' letters for buying their items because they had just started playing the game a few days ago with 0c in their pockets.
Yeah, they do exist.
And they are also looking for cheap enchanting mats - so consider not selling all of your Strange Dust at 40g per stack...
  Made from real Dream Dust!

Dinner Party teamed up with That's A Lot of Bait

First, let's get something straight.
Recipe: Seafood Magnifique Feast is better than Recipe: Broiled Dragon Feast.
If you cannot make it, there are other individual cooking foods that give you the 90 stat buff that are quite easy to farm.
Aiming for the Dragon Feast is a waste of time (you'll get that achievement in time anyways), people want the Seafood Feast, which is the reward of the That's A Lot Of Bait achievement.

So how do you farm 10,000 fish and make a profit?

You could farm the fish required for the feast and sell it all on the AH.
You could farm the fish required for the feast and stockpile it all until you have the recipe, then make the feasts and get the feast achievement with time.
You could farm some Fathom Eel (very much in demand on the AH) from Tol Barad and also hit the spawns of Shipwreck Debris for Sealed Crates which contain some interesting rewards.

Is it too crowded when you try to find fish pools ?
Are you in a rush to get Dinner Party done ?
Do you have some leftover cooking materials from Northrend ?

You have other options : Small Feast, Gigantic Feast, Great Feast and Fish Feast.
You could either go to Northrend and farm the mats (the fishing achievement only requires you to hit the fish pools), sell them on the AH and even bark about them (hey I did get lucky a few times - be creative).
The other tiny advantage these feasts have over the Seafood and Dragon Feasts is that they are not Bind-on-Pickup, so you could cook them and load the AH for people who want a quick guild achievement or twink Wrath guilds.

A real manly feast from the guys at Epic Meal Time

That's it for today!
Part Two covers Mining, Jewelcrafting, Herbalism, Alchemy and Inscription.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Behold the Hour of Twilight !

UPDATE: Book was out today + got one of the rare copies of Nexus Point! - AFK starting now!
Tomorrow, July 19th, I won't be available.
Because of this:
When Azeroth was young, the noble titans appointed the five great dragonflights to safeguard the budding world. Each of the flights' leaders was imbued with a portion of the titans' vast cosmic powers. Together, these majestic Dragon Aspects committed themselves to thwarting any force that threatened the safety of the WORLD OF WARCRAFT. 

Over ten thousand years ago, a betrayal by the maddened black Dragon Aspect, Deathwing, shattered the strength and unity of the dragonflights. His most recent assault on Azeroth-the Cataclysm-has left the world in turmoil. At the Maelstrom, the center of Azeroth's instability, former Horde warchief Thrall and other accomplished shaman struggle to keep the world from tearing apart in the wake of Deathwing's attack. Yet a battle also rages within Thrall regarding his new life in the shamanic Earthen Ring, hampering his normally unparalleled abilities.

Unable to focus on his duties, Thrall undertakes a seemingly menial task from an unexpected source: the mysterious green Dragon Aspect, Ysera. This humble endeavor soon becomes a journey spanning the lands of Azeroth and the timeways of history itself, bringing Thrall into contact with ancient dragonflights. Divided by conflict and mistrust, these dragons have become easy prey to a horrific new weapon unleashed by Deathwing's servants . . . a living nightmare engineered to exterminate Azeroth's winged guardians.

Of even greater concern is a bleak and terrifying possible future glimpsed by Ysera: the Hour of Twilight. Before this apocalyptic vision comes to pass, Thrall must purge his own doubts in order to discover his purpose in the world and aid Azeroth's dragonflights as they face the Twilight of the Aspects.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Quick Addendum Concerning Argent Tournament Dailies

Don't think I've seen a post about all this, so if this already has been posted somewhere, please tell me (link also would be appreciated).
And in case people want to say that it's old info, my whole guild didn't know about this, so I think it's still pertinent to post it so other people know of it.

Just a quick note in regards to the Argent Tournament dailies, for those who are farming them for pets to put on the Auction House. (and for rep, gold, mounts, etc...)

Get Kraken! quest: If you didn't know this, if you grouped up with someone (back in the day) and you killed a kraken, you automatically got a Kraken Tooth looted in your bags. Now you can solo it. The Identifying the Remains quest is still the same : you can only turn it in once a day, it counts as one of your 25 dailies, gives you 13g 23s and still doesn't give you a Champion's Seal.

Champion's Purse: Remember that there used to be a chance that on top of the looted 10g you could get an extra Champion's Seal from the bags ? That's still there. What has changed is that from the bags you get an extra one 100% of the time on top of that. So that's 4 more guaranteed seals per day.

Considering that all those dailies are still super easy - all of them combined take maximum 30 mins to do - they are considered to be not a waste of time for me.
So that makes it 1 guaranteed pet per week to put on the AH for over 1500g. (2 pets if you do the TOC 5-man)
And there's plenty of Saronite ore and Titanium ore to mine.
And plenty of Frostweave cloth to loot from mobs.
And a few rares that are just waiting to get killed.
Yeah I still love Icecrown.

PS: For the achievement whores: remember that the gold that is looted from the Champion's Purses and rare mobs are the easiest way to help you bump up your Got My Mind on My Money achievements - unless you are able to solo instances whose gold looted amounts to more than this, in which case disregard this.

Friday, July 15, 2011

500k - The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Official gold-making start: Shattering Patch (4.0.3) - Nov. 23rd, 2010
Money at that time: 90k

Mode: Casual gold-making
500k objective reached on : July 14th, 2011

Time elapsed: 234 days

That would be an average of 1752g/day.
For someone who hasn't logged on every single day in that period, it's better than a kick in the teeth, I guess.
But compared to the pro gold-makers, I'm not even cutting it close.

If you've read my Disclaimer, you should already know that I am not a top-notch gold-maker and have no aspiration to be one.
I'm the kind to be discreet about it, reach my objective, get my gold-maker's badge and slip out of the class.
This is for my personal satisfaction, not yours.

The very important detail to know about my gold-making is that I am casual about it.
I do other things than gold-making (but everything I do has a gold-making slant), I don't always go for the max money I could get about everything because I worry about other things.
Many greens I could have flipped instead of disenchanting them, many gems I could have cut and posted to get the most money out of them, many mats I could have sold instead of making pieces of gear out of them.

My main focus in this expansion is to help out my guild with guild achievements.

I am in a 10-man raiding guild and because I cannot raid with my friends (conflicting schedules) I am a Social member of the guild.
I have no charge or duty or even obligation to the guild.
But because my friends are in there, I want to do my own thing and help them at the same time.
So the focus has been on guild achievements and finding ways to make the most money out of it at the same time.
It's interesting, it's challenging, it requires OCD and bot-like behavior.
And if there wasn't those little achievement counters for how many items disenchanted, how many herbs farmed, it would have been really tough on me to work without concrete objectives.

I have no doubt in my mind that if I was in hardcore gold-making mode, I would well be on my way of  reaching for 1 mil.
I could go balls-out, but I would rather not - I have to keep it varied, keep my mind fresh, and try to keep as much sanity as I can (which in my case is already a tough thing to do in everyday life).
My friends are already a bit overwhelmed by my constant gold talk and I take that as a cue that maybe I might still be overdoing it a tad much.

So here's a recap of what happened in the last 500k gained (technically, the last 410k gained).

The Good - Things I did right

Worked on Guild Achievements
Because of that, I didn't worry that much about gold-making.
I only had to make sure that I got at least a little profit out of everything.
I'll probably write a quick post on that shortly to explain what I've done.

Hit-and-run auctioneering
I don't stick to Hot markets.
In fact, I try not to stick to any market unless I have to (like getting rid of hundreds of glyphs I've crafted for some reason).
When the competition tags you as a potential threat, logs in when you log on another toon than your bank alt, sends you in-game mail, to me it's time to jump ship and move along.
There's an abundance of forgotten markets to exploit and not a lot of people supplying the AH with those items that you can buy and flip.
Sometimes will require 30 min of farming, sometimes will require you to do a bit of research.
That way, I don't have to worry that much about undercutters.
Funny thing is when I jump-start a dead market and start making money, I will have the market mostly to myself until other gold-makers pick up the scent and come shit on my parade.
I move away before they ruin everything.
And I have seen it be repeated again and again: they'll flood the market and grossly overprice it and they won't be selling much and will leave the market 2-3 months later, leaving it open for me to jump-start back again.

Leveled an Engineer
Apart from a Blacksmith (which I will be leveling sometime this year), an Engineer was something I didn't have in my plethora of toons.
And boy did that pay off !
Some markets of this profession were wide open for someone to start selling items as other people were also trying to level Engineers.
Tubes, Bolts, parts, Repair Bots, Pets : contrary to mad rumors and popular belief, there is indeed a lot of gold to be made with Engineering.
(I have Faid to thank for being such a proud advocate of making profit with this tradeskill - I have been converted and now I am a believer !)

Invested in Pets
Especially cross-faction.
The moment we got the datamined info that new achievements were in the works for companions pets, I transferred a ton of gold on my Horde toons and checked daily for cheaply priced pets - Neutral AH too.
The raptor hatchlings that are easy to get for Hordies are also something to keep an eye on, if you play Alliance.
Had a full bank tab of them.
Started to "work" the market the day after the info had been out on MMO-Champion and got people used to slightly higher prices than usual.
Cross-faction Argent Tournament pets all sold before the patch hit. (I suppose it was people that had the gold for them.)
Hatchlings and "correct-faction" AT pets started to sell after the patch hit. (I suppose it was people that didn't have a lot of gold to buy pets.)
I even barked about them, lowered prices by 50g sometimes and claiming there was a "sale" : during prime time I got sales 1 to 5 mins after each bark. (Barked at 1 hour intervals - don't want to get on people's Ignore lists.)

Sold WotLK items
After the Wrath backdraft happened once Cataclysm hit, everyone's banks were cleaned and empty and no supplies from Northrend were going on the AH.
Specifically ores, epic gems, Infinite Dust, Greater Cosmic Essences and Dragon's Eyes.
I didn't even need to stimulate the markets because I wasn't the only one who took the hint.
To this day, Wrath epic gems are still valuable (min. over 30g, cheapest being Eye of Zul), Scarlet Rubies are about as pricey, everyone needs Wrath enchanting mats, Titanium Powder can sometimes sell better than the ore or bars and I seem to be one of the handful of people that still does the Dalaran Jewelcrafting Daily quest (exchange the Token for a Dragon's Eye - sell for min. 110g).

The Bad - Things that didn't quite work out

Tried to reset Enchanting markets
Specifically the Cataclysm markets - the current "high-end" as it is.
A few months ago I tried to buy everyone's cheap scrolls and repost a handful of them at the price that they are actually worth - according to the price that the mats were going for.
My mistake was to underestimate how many scrolls people had stockpiled for a rainy magical day where someone would buy everything cheaply on the AH.
Unfortunately, some people did not get the gist of what I was trying to do and were still going by what their Auctioneer data was telling them.
After collecting stacks upon stacks of scrolls, I saw no end to my ingeeeeenious plan as the masses posted more and more scrolls for 3-5g and no one wanted to buy over 50g per scroll (and that was still waaaay down of their actual worth).
The only luck I got so far was when 4.2 hit and cloak enchants were big - I got some money out of that, but not as much as I had invested in that scheme.

But ultimately, the problem was not the enchanters' selling behavior : it was the way that enchanting was configured for Cataclysm.
My theory : when scrolls were introduced in Wrath, it was not every enchanter that was aware of them and so not a lot of people used them, therefore there was not a lot of them sitting in the AH.
But everyone knew of the scrolls come Cataclysm and instead of enchanting their gear, people used the mats on scrolls and a flood of scrolls were littering the AH for months.
At least that's how it felt on my end.

Flipped Heavenly Shards
Patch 4.2 : Heavenly Shards were going for 200-300g each.
Stroke of luck : someone posted 60 of them for 100g each.
Bought them all and flipped them for 200g.
They sat there for 48 hours as the market went down to 65g each and stayed there for a whole week.
As of yesterday the market is crawling up at 115g each and I am still waiting for some miracle to bring them higher so I can make the profit I was expecting.

Worked on Guild Achievements
Because of that, I didn't make as much gold as I could have had.
But gold-making was #2 on my priority list.
Derp derp.

The Ugly - The things that happened because I was guild achieving/gold-making
  • Still haven't been in raids
  • Only got to clear 5-man Heroics just before 4.2
  • Been around the new Azeroth with Archeology, but haven't spent the time to go through the new questing - and I AM a Lore Geek. That's a lot to put on the side. (I got Lore Blue Balls. Aaaaaand I'll just leave it at that.)
  • Started a gold blog. That was the worst.

A Regret

Still haven't maxed out all of my crafting potential with my alts.
They're all at 525, but most of them are just sitting there.
If I had plenty of time (and probably tentacles), I would try to look into that.

So what are you going to do now ?

The 500k mark is not something that feels really important to me because I haven't been seriously 100% gold-making on the road to that landmark.
It's really weird - when I started this blog I thought that I would be overwhelmed with a feeling of accomplishment when I'd be here.
But no, I still have stuff to do, so it's back to work for me.

I've got around 500 glyphs to get rid of. (TradeSkillMaster is a godsend for that. Seriously.)
I'm still not done with all the guild achievements.
Got 4k items left to disenchant.
Got 30k creatures to skin - I've got a pre-Heroic geared DK that's all set up to abuse the heck of the Blackout quest with stacks of Potions of Treasure Finding (and movies to watch at the same time).
Got 12k fish to... fish.
Then get my Alchemist to learn the Recipe: Vial of the Sands.

And finish Cataclysm questing on all my alts.
And do revamped Azeroth questing on my main.

And then I'll be thinking about seriously working towards 1 million gold.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Lore: Leader Issues: Thrall Vs Malfurion VS Garrosh Vs Varian

No, this isn't about all the issues that our Green Jeebus has to deal with in his new Hyjal quest chain. (Blizzard has been setting him up in the Shattering book to become the emotional wreck that he's turned out to be. I know they'll do him good and he'll be back as a total badass in the Deathwing Patch.)

I mean to talk about the "Leader Issue" with the Horde and Alliance and how people perceive them.
Since the Cataclysm launched, people have had mixed feelings about them and I want to sort it out a bit.

Lore-wise, the de facto leaders are Garrosh and Varian.
Thrall and Malfurion are leaders that left the mantle to someone else and took the roles of ambassadors for their respective factions.
Or if you prefer, the leaders of "Alliance VS Horde" are the PvP leaders, while Thrall and Malfurion are the PvE leaders.
Thrall and Malfurion are characters that have always been looking for a peaceable solution and will go for it if conflicts can be avoided.

So yes, we have 4 different leaders - 2 per faction.
The difference in our attitude towards them as players is very important.
Thrall and Malfurion are our carebear ambassadors and we don't need to feel ambivalent about them because it would mean that we would be rooting for our "enemies".
It's fine to cheer for any of these 2 characters, and technically we should be doing so equally.
The reason why you would not feel the need to do so is because of who writes them.
Thrall is Chris Metzen's dude, Malfurion is Richard Knaak's bitch.
Guess who will be more prevalent in-game because his creator can have a direct hand in the game's production, while the other one is pimped by a writer-for-hire ?

Even though he hasn't done much in WoW, Thrall has been one of the cornerstones of Warcraft.
It's the first character you encounter and control and follow through his adventures in the first part of Warcraft III.
It's the guy you keep hearing about in game as being the Warchief of the Horde.
He was the first character to have an epic story written about his life and he's in cinematics.
People remember that guy.

There's almost the same kind of situation that's happening with Garrosh and Varian.
Soooo many people know about Garrosh, where he comes from, who he comes from, the choices he's made, why he's either loved or hated by people within the Horde - and just plain hated by the Alliance.
On the other side, Varian...
Well, let's see... He gets bubbled by his kid to save his life...
Some people remember that there used to be that Missing Diplomat quest chain and the punch line was that the diplomat was the King of Stormwind.
Horde don't have a reason to hate him - though he's just another boss for the For The Horde achievement.
Yep, that's about it.

The problem is that Thrall and Garrosh are very heavily supported by Blizzard, and Malfurion and Varian have much less of a presence in the game (though they have been working a bit more on Malfurion in the last patch).
No - this isn't one of those ''Blizzard is full of horde-lovers'' rant.

The perfect comparison is between Thrall and Malfurion, how you meet them in Azeroth for the first time.
Malfurion: you meet him in the middle of Darkshore in the Eye of the Vortex, trying to hold the elements together as they are about to tear the whole zone apart.
Thrall: you meet him in the middle of the Maelstrom, trying to keep the rift together as it was threatening to collapse Azeroth and Deepholm.
The Horde won't come across Malfurion.
Everyone will meet Thrall.
Malfurion is trying to save a zone while Thrall is trying to save the planet.
The presence and purpose of both characters doesn't quite balance.
(I know that ultimately both characters are trying to save the planet - I'm trying to make a point here.)

Malfurion's story was present in Warcraft III (it even included his brother Illidan) and some peeps give him respect for that.
After all, he was the architect of the ultimate plan to defeat Archimonde in the final battle that was Eternity's End - aka The Battle of Mount Hyjal. 
But most of his story and background could be found in the War of the Ancients trilogy, in the Stormrage novel and in the comic Curse of the Worgen.
Books. Not in game.
In them, you see him discover druidism, explore the Emerald Dream, uncover the duplicity of the Highborne, understand that he is a total doofus in his personal relationships, know that his is very stubborn in his positions about how night elves should behave but that Tyrande is always there to mellow him out, learn that his leadership was not without conflicts that left him quite bitter, and ultimately hear Ysera declare that he has surpassed her own knowledge in terms of druidism and the Emerald Dream. (In fact, he's quite close to become a demigod, or even to be at the same level as the Ancients.)

Okay - not easy things to translate into the game.

Varian's story was mainly told in the World of Warcraft comic books... which not a lot of people have read.
So unless you've read those, you don't know much about Varian, what kind of man he is, how he got to be an Arena gladiator, what he had to endure, and what a friggin' badass he is.
And unless you've read The Shattering, you don't know how much of a mess he is.
A man torn in two (literally, then figuratively), between the Diplomat and the Gladiator, between a man that is very wise in political games and a beast that wants to resolve political conflicts by drawing his sword.
A man who still grieves his wife and counts a lot on his son to make him snap out of it when the Gladiator is taking over.
He is not an easy character to understand because there are many layers to him.

Garrosh... well, if you've played Horde (especially the famous Nagrand quest chain), you know who he is.
You know of his father because Thrall personally showed you and explained to you the fall and redemption of Grom Hellscream.
You've witnessed the change of the boy drowning in shame to a grown orc that's maybe a bit too proud of his father's heritage.
In Northrend, you've seen the hot-headedness of this character that manages to dodge the blows to his humility with strong strikes of his axe.
You know who Garrosh Hellscream is.
Before Cataclysm, everyone knew.
But now a new Garrosh is surfacing... in a book.

Unless you've read the Shattering novel, you presently can't understand that inside this orc lurks inner turmoil, thoughts that are gnawing at him that he wishes he could get rid of, possibly because he can't figure out what exactly these thoughts are.
Like Varian, he is someone who is torn between his warrior voice and the diplomat he is expected to be.

Varian is more of a diplomat with a warrior inside him, while Garrosh is a warrior who has to be/learn to be a diplomat.
And in that way, he is Garrosh's equivalent.
Except that... all of Varian's story is in books.
And except for implementing an epic quest line, again it's a bit problematic to translate that into the game (and even a bit more because of timeline issues).

To resume: Thrall was already a staple of the game before people set foot in WoW; Garrosh had 2 expansions concentrating on him; Malfurion has been absent for most of World of Warcraft but has been active in books; Varian has been developed in books.

My point is: we can see the theoretical balance between the PvE and PvP leaders, but the Horde have their leader's stories and reputation embedded in the game while the Alliance have to go outside of the game to know about their leaders.
Is it ANY wonder why there is no sense of pride in the Alliance ?
If you don't have strong leaders to lead your faction, your faction will become just a blob mass of people.
Leaders must be strong, must have some sort of story or legend behind them to elevate them over the people, to be called leaders.
The people must tell your story and your deeds and at least some people should be aware of it, reminded of it in some way.
And currently there's no reason in game why anyone should rally behind Varian.
There's no reason that can be found in game as to why we should be proud and in awe when our character is in the presence of an owlbeast Malfurion.

Why must I be tagged a Lore Nerd when I am explaining to my friends how awesome the Alliance leaders are ?
Even for the most basic thing, like explaining who Varian is and why he is considered to be the leader of the Alliance ?
(People know that Thrall grouped everyone together and founded the Horde, but most people don't know how the Alliance was created.)
Why should I be happy to be a part of the Alliance when the Horde is known to be THE faction of proud warriors with a history and strong characters to back that claim ?
It's not like there's no story to be told.
It's not like there's no material that couldn't be easily picked up by Blizzard to turn all of this around.
I'm just stating - like most people of the Alliance who have been overwhelmingly complaining about it since the expansion landed - that Blizzard has a lot to make up for and I hope that the next expansion will be depicting the Alliance as a strong faction that could make Horde players wish they could change their character to.
(Hey, I can dream.)

(Draenei expansion FTW!)

Monday, July 11, 2011

Obligatory Post-Patch Status Post/Rant

Vacation. That's why I haven't posted in two weeks. So there.

Sorry to be terribly boring, but this is something that's expected by everyone - especially myself - so I'll try to make this as interesting as possible.

To resume, Euripedes has confirmed what I figured was happening, but it still took 48 to 72 hours for me to realize that patch 4.2 had so much free-for-all that it was mostly a non-event.

If you went for the markets that were expected to get a major boost right from the get-go (gems, enchants and whatnot), you were okay and you made serious bank.
As far as the rest of it went, it was fairly lackluster and seemed colored with a absinthe-tinted palette of schizophrenia.

The Green Faerie told me that enchanting dusts are on the rise...

PVP Craftables
As predicted, the PvP craftable items were up in the AH in a matter of minutes and hungry buyers made happy sellers.
The rest of the PvP crowd looked at their gear, then at the Arena set now buyable with Honor Points and turned away from the AH.
Seasoned PvP players were waiting for their new season to start before doing anything.
(At the time of writing this, the admitted gear fuckup by Blizzard hadn't been confirmed yet.)

For my part, Jewelcrafting and Inscription PvP items sold fairly well in the first few days for around 2k each (first to put them up = cha-ching!), but I had to repost a few of my second batch to dodge competition and then barked to let people know that the items actually existed.
I wanted to craft a third batch of them, but by the weekend the competition had dragged the market to the point that the volatiles needed to craft the items were more expensive (and still are today).
Today it looks more like they are trying to get rid of them at whatever cost.

Gotta sell 'em all!
Very happy to have stockpiled a bunch of them.
A little barking twice a day and almost everything was gone by the end of the weekend after the patch.
Got a couple of rare/hard-to-farm pets in the AH too - they've been sitting there for about a month at a ridiculous price. I want pet collectors to know of them, to find by themselves how to get one, try to farm it and come crawling back to the AH with their moneybags. Now I will slowly drag the price down and see what's the server's threshold for them.
In the meantime, I'm walking around on my main with the 150-pets-reward Celestial Dragon and getting whispers from people who want to know how to get it. (Surprised that so many people think it's a Blizzard Store pet.)
I think of it as advertising for my auctions in a six-degrees-of-Kevin-Bacon way.

Kevin Bacon leads to Celestial Dragons because HE IS ONE. That's not even one degree.

Took a week before the market picked up some steam, and in the following week it felt like no one could manage to put enough gems up for the demand.
The trick I used was : post my gems up, 20 minutes later cancel the auctions because I've been undercut, repost them.
If there were some Inferno Ruby cuts, I sold 2 at a time and kept refreshing.
In the next 2 to 5 minutes I would get bought or undercut.
Sell the stock right now or come back later when most undercutters were offline.
''Cutthroat'' isn't an appropriate word to qualify how the gem market is on my server.
It's more intense than breathing down each others' necks and stepping on toes all the time.
It's a hatefuck orgy, really.

No pic for that, you silly people.

Enchanting still utterly dissapointing.
I tried to flip some Heavenly Shards and essences and it worked for 2 days.
And then someone decided to set the market 50% lower than my prices and people followed.
Haven't been able to turn any of what was left into profit (for the price I bought all of that), so I bought new recipes and enchanted my own toons with that.
I knew there was a reason why I never dealt with the high-end of enchanting.

Surprising auctions
With so many items in World of Warcraft, it happens that we forget some or a lot of them.
Once in a while, I either plunge into my weird junkpile or I browse for the odd item and try some experiments with markets that are either neglected or abandoned.
That goes from flipping to creating items that aren't "Hot".

And sometimes I get surprising results!

Why are these items in demand ?
It's a bit hard to tell, because the demand for them goes and comes in waves.
Sometimes there's nothing - no action for months.
Or the prices are dirt cheap and there's plenty of auctions that steadily keep the prices down.
And then suddenly someone decides it's time to get their Burning Crusade reputations to exalted.
Someone discovers items they had not heard of before.
Someone is a collector of items and, as the goblin says, you've got what they need.
They hit the Auction House - you collect the money and laugh your way to the bank.

That's part of the schizophrenia that I was talking about earlier.
It's just stuff that got sold and I have no explanation for it - except maybe that there's been an influx of a lot of players in the last month, both new and returning to Azeroth.

Things that sold:
Enormous Barbed Gill Trout - 20g each
Scroll of Enchant Gloves - Riding Skill - 102g
Eternal Fire - as high as 60g each (not surprising for some servers, but it was dead on mine)
Illusion Dust - Stacks of 20 - as high as 177g each
Infinite Dust - Stacks of 20 - as high as 220g each
Arcane Tome - bought 20 at 2g each - flipped at 20g each
Coilfang Armaments - 20g each
Arcanite Bars -  48g each
Mark of Sargeras - Stacks of 250 - 250g each
Northern Spices - Stacks of 100 - 100g each
Rituals of the New Moon - 4 books - Each one of the 4 colors (Black, White, Red, Grey) - 256g each - (Another way to get rid of extra Eternal Shadow you might have stockpiled)
Recipe: Transmute Life to Earth - 1200g

Surprised that they are still selling
Flipping Recipe: Savory Deviate Delight, bought from Horde at 1-2g or less and selling between 50g to 200g on Alliance.
Epic Wrath Gems from the Icy Prism transmute. Have to mention that I am meeting almost no competition on that market - and that I am also constantly buying all affordable Frozen Orbs I can find on the AH. Even if the profit is not made back by the Rare gems (very rarely), the Infinite Dust you get from shuffling Saronite Ore makes up for an indecent chunk of money back (if you actually do shuffle).

 I can't believe it's sold!

When greed strikes hard, markets freeze (/Rant)
As reported by many gold-makers, the problem of the first few patch days was that everyone threw everything they had in the Auction House - from highly desirable items to Burning Crusade reputation items to rare grey items that were left in a forgotten corner of their bags.
Everyone being greedy, expecting tons of people to raid the AH with large amounts of gold to spend and willing to pay ANY price for ANY item.

And everyone waited.
Undercutters were undercutting, waiting for business to pick up.
In fact, undercutting was getting to such a ridiculous level than some items were found below their average price only a few hours after they were posted for inflated prices...
Sellers were wondering what was happening with all the markets other than the expected jewels, enchants, etc.
Some buyers were appalled by the inflated prices and but most of them wisely decided to keep their gold in their purses because they knew better.
They knew that type of reaction from sellers happens at every patch and gold-makers are ''greedy little fucks'' (/Trade quote).

Garrosh called out the gold-makers in Trade for who they really are, in his own words.
Thrall did not approve and reported him.

Also - and this is a critical point so I'll write it in caps - EVERYBODY KNEW WHAT WAS GOING TO BE IN THE PATCH.
We knew the content at least a month before it was Live and people took that month to prepare (and complete raids pre-nerf).
Top guilds had a long time to work on Firelands on the PTR - is it any wonder why it was cleared in a week once the patch was Live ?
I know people that are not info-savvy and are not gatherers and even they had stocked up for the patch!

Well I hope that the ruckus created by the WoW community will give the kick that Blizzard's pants deserves for not sticking to their ''more patches, smaller patches'' philosophy.
I understand that, calendar-wise, it would have been a bad decision to release a patch a month before summer began.
I think it would have entailed taking the risk that guilds would have gone through Firelands and cleared Heroic modes within a month and then have nothing to do all summer until the expected Fall Patch 4.3.
Summer creates problems for guilds (vacations, family reunions, extreme boredom, etc.) and I suspect that Blizzard is sorta counting on it to slow progression down.
For the guilds that - by some incredible magic - don't suffer from the Summer Curse, the previous content's Heroic modes and achievements will be the bones thye will have to chew on before they consider to step away from the game for a short WoW vacation.
For the PvE players, the Molten Front daily questing should be keeping them occupied for the most of the Summer lull.
Not to mention that Firelands Normal mode can be pugged...
That gives Blizzard time to work on the next patch (Abyssal Maw revival ? CoT: War of the Ancients ? It's up for grabs what's going to come next. But I bet it has something to do with enabling Thrall to level up and prepare to go toe-to-tusk with Deathwing. Remember, we've only been ramping up the story until we reach the culmination that will be the Deathwing encounter.)

In the Blizzard timeline of things, however, you have to consider Blizzcon.
Will Patch 4.3 come before or after Blizzcon, especially considering that Diablo III is supposed to finally be unleashed ? (And wasn't Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm scheduled for a Winter release ?)

So far so good
So the patch is acting like a time-release pill and doses of economy boosts will be delivered in small packages as people unlock the different stages of the assault of the Molten Front. (And then do it again on their alts.)
Smart of Blizzard - we'll see how that goes.
Could have done much better, methinks, by adding more items/recipes on the vendors and making it even more desirable.
But people will have a blast with the new items and patterns, and that will hold interest for a certain amount of time and that will be all that we will get this summer.
I'm already waiting for 4.3 PTR info.

Now don't get me wrong: the first weeks of Patch 4.2 were profitable - just very weird at times.
The weirdness is settling in though and with surprisingly good effects.
Some markets have sprung back to life and I expect them to regain popularity briefly over the summer, which is a win-win situation and don't we love those!