What I am doing now

You are most likely here because you enjoy crafting. I have been reading up on some of the WoW issues regarding gold making, which make me realize that WoW is not the game for me.

If you want to play a game where gathering and crafting is the cornerstone of the economy, and are not faint of heart, I recommend EVE Online. EVE even has releases purely to support industry. You can play for free if you are good enough manufacturer or trader.

Be the builder in a villainous world.

My journey can be seen at http://foo-eve.blogspot.com.au

For a 21 day free trial, click here (Disclaimer: I do get a bonus if you become a paid subscriber)

25 December 2011

Clearing out the trash, then largely AFK for a week

Happy Winter's Veil. 

Having been excessively eloquent in the last week (or maybe not), I have not quite disappeared.

I have joined another guild; not being on enough during the week to keep people interested meant loosing members; those interested enough to group regularly went elsewhere, and several on the casual end took extended /AFK time.

The new guild had a lot of unused stuff in the guild bank, yet wanted to splurge on new gear.  I (and my blog) was known to the guild leader, and now he has far less 'junk' with fallling value, and far more gold; even after buying some shinies.  Currently here is very little point in holding onto most mats (with the possible exception of epic gem transmute mats, or maybe snowfall ink for inscription research - if we ever do get all glyphs taught by daily 'northrend' research)

Deathwing is 'dead' on LFR (not that it was particularly challenging); I tried on a Monday, and there was sooo much healing required; with the raid leader trying to kick anyone doing less than 40k DPS; I gave up.  Immediately after reset, I tried again, got a very smooth run (0 wipes on both LFR raids; bored healing spine); with only moderate DPS in the group.

I will be largely /AFK over the next week; I might have sufficient internet connectivity to post auctions, but might not;  The glyph market won't miss me; Both Horde and Alliance scribes are following  'drive em off' approach; and I have been having way to much fun (and profit) with gems to notice or care.  I have been purchasing 'cheap' pyrite ore and prospecting the life out of it.  Pity about the flood of Zephyrite.  I am of two minds; either to cut and vendor, or take the very very long view; and sell for levelling cuts come Mists of Pandaria.  Uncut Northrend basic gems are selling quite well at the moment.  I don't need the immediate cash, and I have more than enough guild bank space.

Anyway; I'll have a bit of fun in first life over the next week; and come the new year concentrate on getting that blessed Ragnaros kill.

17 December 2011

Multi toon ID done better

I sometimes spend as much time on various AH toons as I do on my played toons, many of them have their own guilds for the banks. 

I run an addon syncfriends to allow me to contact (or track) players regardless of what toon I am on; though it does not work cross faction.  I also lurk in vent; those that know me can find me there.

I have never used real id; nor will I.  Those that know me in game; know me as Foo, not some other first life name.  My toon names all contain foo; so does my vent ID.

So, I was very pleased to read about battle tag's.  I have already signed up even though it won't be in WoW for a while.  No prizes for guessing my tag's name.

15 December 2011

Ways to co-operate on the AH

This post is part of a series on the WoW AH prisoner's dilema.

Today I'm talking about the co-operative sellor.When it works, you can make a fortune.  Some of the items below would be of questionable legatilty in many western countries.  Today, we are fleecing the buyers instead of other sellers.

In my last post on this I talked about defecting in different ways.
  • Undercutting (even by one copper), with special 'jerk' status applied to:
    • Camping the AH, immediately undercutting new auctions
    • Deep undercutting, pricing below thresholds.
  • Posting with long durations

We know that defecting sends sales your way; but also encourages others to either defect or, if markets get too tight, to simply bail.  Others bailing is good for you (increased sales per sellor); others defecting again in turn is bad for you.  On our AH; buy co-operating; we are raising the prices, and potentially encouraging others to co-operate as well.

Seperate the market you are selling to.  This can be seperated by time (I post in the morning; you post in the evening), or by product (I'll sell glyphs for the first 5 classes; you sell the rest).  Time seperation is easiest to organise.  Just don't post immedieately after them.

High thresholds and fallbacks are also nice.  More money to whoever makes the sale.

Sometimes we will organise to 'whitelist' individuals that you are not going to compete with.  In tradeskillmasters, you can explicitly mark players that you will match prices with.  However, there is no need to undercut at all.  You have all been in the first life shop that 'price matches' the competition.

I also post 12 hour auctions in busy markets; knowingly letting AH postings expire.  This allows both others doing the same thing, and the cancel/undercutters to raise prices, so when you come back, there should be much higher sales prices.

14 December 2011

Drying up supply mid Jan 2012?

Altolycus has a post about ... those tireless suppliers of mats, and Blizzard reaching an agreement with those that assist them. I am also going to assume that Blizzard are serious about stopping those that are truly tireless; and the jury is out on this one.

Now, if this works, we will see higher prices on the AH.  I will start to stockpile mats against a mid-January 'famine' - but not a huge stockpile.

I have a different scenario for you.   Lets pretend there is a persistent competitor on the AH.  He continuously undercuts you, and is a pain.  You offer a bundle of gold for him to stop competing; and he accepts it.  Oh look; those toons no longer post auctions, but all of a sudden a new set of level 1 toons start posting auctions with exactly the same posting patterns.  Didn't that agreement work out for you? 

I expect that after a brief pause, tireless farmers will continue to be tireless, even when their support network is removed.  I also expect that a renamed (or possibly even new) support network will step in.

I don't support automation.  Well apart from addons like TradeSkillMaster and Auctioneer for the AH; and Deadly Boss Mods/Ensindia Fails/Player Score; because they are 'legal'.  And those that sell my mats on the AH.

[(mostly) sarcasm] Tireless playing is bad when the others have it; and I don't. [/(mostly) sarcasm]

Most players don't like tireless automatons (or even players) that compete with them; but love those that supply to them.  Personally I get annoyed when I am swiped within 1/10 second on the neutral AH.  I am annoyed by campers continuously undercutting me on the AH (both tireless playing and live players).  Secretly I love players regularly putting up pyrite ore; whiptail; etc on the AH.  Broke players are already complaining about 250g cut inferno rubies yet will not mine their own; without tireless farmers; this would easily be doubled in price; and would result in more players mining.

I do have some cheese to go with my whine. 

Currently we have the ability to 'vote to kick' from a random group.  We can report for spam out of trade chat.  Blizzard also has community volunteers that help with the official forums.  Sites like slashdot use community moderation in some form or another.

Start with something easy - like the gold selling networks.

Give those players that already have moderator status on the forums the option to have moderator status 'in game.'

Track those players currently using 'report for spam'.  Blizzard already has these stats.  Give those that have a high true positive / low false positive record a moderator status as well.  When 3 (1? 10?) moderators 'report for spam', then the account holder is warned first.  The second (or third?) time it occurs, the account holder is suspended for 24 hours; with right of appeal to either a fresh set of moderators (from another realm), or even Blizzard.

Extend this to reporting especially tireless toons - with guidelines for how to determine whether toons are inappropriately tireless. When reporting tireless toons, evidence (screenshots, dates, times) would be required; and reviewed by a moderator from another realm.  Again, first offence is a warning; second (third?) offences result in a suspension.

Again, there would be an appeal mechanism.  Successful appeals would 'mark down' the reporting moderator; unsuccessful appeals would 'mark up' the reporter.

The advantage of such an approach is that it would be quick; and give an (in game) financial incentive for competitors to report each other.

The disadvantages are that: it is extra work; would be abused by competitors; and would result in false suspensions.

The market would be a very different place without the tireless players.  Some players would adapt; some wont.

ps.  There are times I go out of my way to avoid terms or names.  This post was especially difficult to write while not using a certain term.

05 December 2011

I sure hope it gets harder than this

I enjoyed the start of cataclysm as a healer.  Dungeons became hard, and a correct quick decision meant that the group might be upright, but an incorrect decision meant a wipe.

I like wipes.  It means that I am attempting difficult content, stretching myself.

It's week 1 of patch 4.3, and I am already concerned about the patch's longevity.

I have completed the three new dungeons.  I have completed, first evening I looked one of the LFR wings.  The biggest problem I had completing the dungeons was that I ended up having to manually choose the last one as I couldn't get it entirely randomly.

Now, I do not consider myself the first of the progression raiders.  This week was the first time ever that I capped valor points. My holy priest is geared in 378 for everything but trinkets.  I will be queuing up for random dungeons to get a 378 trinket from the well of eternity, but after that?  I'll help others out, but won't be seeking opportunities to re-run tthe 'new' 5 man dungeons. 

My PC groans under the weight of 25 man raids.  The LFR raids don't seem to have a high healing requirement, and topping the healing chart's on Yor'sahj was good for my ego.  I will either have to upgrade my PC or find some settings to trim. I prefer my screen refreshes to be 30+ frames per second; so sitting at a single frame per global cooldown isn't ideal.  I will either find something to turn off; find a better PC, or treat incredibly low framerates as my special hard mode.

Many (other) players are looking at the new 5 mans and LFR and revelling in their shortness and ease.  I am happy to see the same fight from different perspectives; Tank; Healer; DPS.  But I didn't enjoy bashing out "heroics" in Northrend.  I am not likely to start now.

Here's to hoping that 10 man raids are tuned harder.

04 December 2011

Nothing to see here, move along

We know that there is a datamined epic gem transmute recipee : Transmute Queen's Garnet, but do not know where it drops.

So, today, I tried the usual suspects.
So, no luck today - at least for my Queens Garnet.  However, it is still worth cycling through professions doing the above items.

Who knows, maybe you'll find a recipee you overlooked; maybe even a new glyph.

01 December 2011

Patch for auctioneer

Auctioneer patch available.  From  the auctioneer website:

WoW 4.3

Since folks are missing the posts we have been making on our/curse/wowi forums, just wanted to put up a note that, yes, a working version of the entire Suite will be up as soon as we are able to finish with some coding tidbits and testing.

We are making strides to getting things up to speed with the lovely changes Blizzard made between what was on the PTR and what went live. We had a tiny bit of time to get some things fixed, but when the patch went live, there were some really big changes affecting the AH.

The Beta/Preview, 5.13, from
http://AuctioneerAddOn.Com/dl/#preview , has the current changes included, so be sure to check that one out - it should scan and all, but there may be issues, yet, remaining. Please be patient.
*Be sure to read and follow http://Wiki.Norganna.Org/Installing to help ensure you have the old cruft cleared out, too.

Happy Sales,

Nikk B-) 

I don't normally copy/paste some one else's post. (You can get into 'big trouble' for it).  However, by doing it today I splash it accross the undermine journal.

In first life I am involved with systems development.  Last minute changes outside of your control really can cause confusion and chaos.  Thanks to the Auctioneer team for making these fixes.

Please note: While the Beta is likely to work better than the previous installed version, In Nikk's words "There may be issues yet remaining.  Please be patient.".  Auctioneer is a volunteer based addon; though it does take sponsorship.  If you want more from your addons (this and many others); get involved in their creation and support.  This can be done by volunteering to help with coding; with testing alpha/beta releases; with documentation or in many cases by donations of real life gold.

30 November 2011

Patch day addon blues Domino working

I use dominos as an addon bar, and when I first logged in, I had no toolbars at all.  Logging off; disabling dominos; logging in (to get blizzard frames), logging out and re-enabling dominos seemed to fix it.  I don't know if I was lucky or not.

For me, auctioneer is currently 'broken', and I will be posting with tradeskill master.  Apparently auctionator is still working.

Finally, AskMrRobot doesn't seem to be 'equipping' toons with the latest gear drops.  However, manullly telling him what you are wearing appears to help.

Oh; and I had an interesting discussion with a local shopkeeper; who came back into his shop after a large break.  In order to change shoppers habbits he is buying potatoes for $1.50/kg; selling them for $1.49; with the sole purpose of chaning peoples habits.  The deep undercut method lives and breathes in first life too.

29 November 2011

Ways to defect in the AH Prisoners Dilema

This post is part of a series;(TL;DR the collective wins from co-operation but the individual wins from defection)

The urban dictionary has a few definitions for jerk.  In WoW AH parlance, a jerk is someone who prevents you from making sales.  As such, I consider few players AH jerks.  There are many who would consider me one.  There are no care-bears on this page.

The selling jerk is the buyer's favourite nice guy. 

Most customers that buy of the AH don't care if we are cheaper by 1 copper, 1 silver or 100g. However, defecting is a way to get the sale.  There are different ways to defect in the AH.

  • Undercutting (even by one copper), with special 'jerk' status applied to:
    • Camping the AH, immediately undercutting new auctions
    • Deep undercutting, pricing below thresholds.
  • Posting with long durations
Gevlon, love him or hate him, is the pinnacle of the defector; He prefers defection to co-operation.  It is worth reading his industry post talking about random sellers, vs campers, vs monopolists, vs deep undercutters, and their interactions.

When you post an auction, you are capping the price for that item until you are either bought out, or it expires.  Posting a 48 hour auction is a form of defection.

Every time you undercut someone; you defect a little; We all do it.  We want to be the one to sell.

I post daily (or maybe twice per day).  In my 'co-operative stance', I am vulnerable to being undercut.  Every undercut is a 'defection'.  While campers hit my sales (and hence my profits), there is no difference between 1 player 'defecting' 24 times / day, and 24 players 'defecting' once / day; they both 'hurt'.

Deep undercutting is a way for a player to say; stuff it with the nickle and dime stuff; The price is heading down anyway - lets see where it ends up.  If I post under a real market price; I will be bought.  If I post over a market price; I will continue to be undercut.

Before I restarted my deep undercutting, I was selling 1-2 alliance glyphs/day at an average profit of 60g.  I had a princely profit of lets call it 90g/day.  I was also posting then collecting 500 glyphs/day. (call it 15 minutes).

In contrast, once I started deep undercutting, with 48 hour auctions initially at 20g each; currently down to 18g.  I am now selling 10-20 Alliance glyphs/day; with a profit between 5 & 10g each, still for the princely profit of around 90g/day.  Awful income but still better than dailies.  I also only need to post and then collect 50 glyphs per day. (call it 2 minutes)

The majority of scribes have packed up and gone home.  There are still 3 or 4 other posters.  Where there was continuous competition, there is now leisurely posting.  There are now glyphs sitting at 350g every time I login and post, at least until I log in and trash the market again. (I think this means that some of you haven't finished your research yet.)

The 3 or 4 other posters also consider 18g sufficient to stay in the game.  I have a true threshold of lower than that, and I am genuinely curious to find out what their threshold is too.

There is nothing particularly personal about this, though I am taking notes on the names of still active scribes. I also don't think it was any one player dominating the market (unlike other times).

I am the nice guy in Northrend gems.  I am also the nice guy with horde glyphs.  I prefer co-operation, but I am also very well aware that the continuous nice guy ... will have a screwdriver applied.  When I 'feel' the time is right: in a week, a month or maybe next expansion; I will become the nice guy again.

27 November 2011

WoW AH's prisoner's dilema - background

This post is part dealing with 4.3 recipees, and in part a response to recent comments.  I am also largely talking supply of product (manufacturers); not demand side (customers).  It is also background reading for later posts.

As technical background reading; it is worth looking at the Prisoner's dilema; taking note that the glyph market is traditionally iterated and multiplayer, with no fixed end. The TL;DR version is that the collective wins from co-operation but the individual wins from defection.

Some players advocate continuous 'defection' (Gevlon, Critical). Some players advocate 'cooperation' (Breevok, Brent #2). I prefer mild co-operation; I make more gold.

For me there are several stages to a market. At the top of the list it is worst for consumers and best for producers.  At the bottom of the list, it is the the other way around.
  • Monopoly : Someone is the first to get the new pattern.  Their only boundaries for gold making is raw material and what price the market will pay.  
  • Duopoly : A second player will also get the pattern, traditionally more raw material becomes available.  Prices are still very high, but competition starts.
  • Multi player co-operative
  • Multi player competitive
  • Every player competitive. Think vendor taught levelling recipees.

At some stage most patterns decend into 'Every player competitive'; Whether that is literally every player with the vendor compulsory levelling recipee; or whether it is an optional recipee that 20 or 30 end up getting; there is still no gold to be made here. After an expansion when content becomes non-current; unless it is literally vendor taught and required, even these patterns go back up the value chain. 

Multi player competitive: These patterns are gained by enough active players to compete against each other, and they do so.  The harder any individual competes, the greater % of the total sales they get, but the smaller the total value of those sales.  This is great for consumers.

Multi player co-operative.  These patterns are gained by a few players, but there is no-one dominating the market.  Players voluntarily choose a smaller % of total sales, but in turn, the total value of those sales can be mainated much higher.

Duopoly : A couple of players have the pattern; The original player bemoans the entry of the newer player, but has no real choice.  Prices still remain high, but an amount of under cutting almost always happens.  Neither player will particularly want to entirely crash the market as there are still huge profits to be made of a relativly small number of sales.

Monopoly : The only issues you have here are how many can you make; and how to maximise your profits before your monopoly is broken into a Duopoly or worse.  You are considering your demand at different prices (lower prices gets more customers).

23 November 2011

Glyphs with no effort

At what price would you really consider the glyph market isn't worth it?

When not stirring up trouble, Critical Goblin has been playing 'hard' with glyphs.  As the current champion of the deep undercut method, he is posting 25g glyphs.

Now we all 'know' that the manufacturing cost of a glyph is way less than that.  Lets say we use whiptail at 35g / stack (I only work in stacks, but that's 1g75 each for those working with individual prices).  Anything less than this, and you are selling your whiptail below average market price.  (Yes I know that I could probably get cheaper whiptail - but then I could sell it as is, without transformation for the average price)

(pricing taken from theunderminejournal.com - 23 Nov 2011)

Lets price the resulting inks based on that whiptail, and call it 4.33g per Blackfallow, 9g per Inferno (probably overpricing inferno ink - but CG thinks that trinkets work best), so the most a glyph will cost is 4.33g *3 + 0.55 for parchment, or 13.54g.

So, if CG's costs are 13.54g, why isn't he (or his competition) selling all glyphs at 15g?  Because glyph making is time consuming and boring as watching paint dry.  Even CG thinks that his bottom wall should be 25g.

I am also time poor.  I should be working on first life instead of collecting mail and writing this post.

For me - my preferred glyph market is horde side and my crafter is alliance side.  While this is not insurmountable problem, it is an additional 'cost' in terms of time and effort.

However, let me shake up the mix.  Imagine you had effortless glyphs that you could sell at 21g - or even 16g (well below CG's floor of 25g).  I still need to post glyphs and collect mail - remaining a non trivial exercise but at least i get the 'ca-ching' of sold glyphs as a reward.

How do I remove the boring, time consuming part, and the effort of transferring stock across a sometimes hostile 'neutral' AH?  By getting someone else to make the glyphs.  Now, they will need payment (in gold or kind)- no one voluntarily does that much work for free.  I have an idea of what I think those processes are worth.

Now regardless of whether I wish to participate in a 21g very deep undercut war, or picking up the occasional glyph sale at 200-400g, I can have a stock of glyphs that is no effort, removing 2 of the 4 headaches of glyph selling (milling, crafting;  with posting and collecting mail remaining)

So, to answer Brent's question from my last post on this topic.  Yes, given today's herb prices, I will pay 20g per glyph horde side, 15g alliance side.

16 November 2011

Glyph buyout - again

There is a player that reads my blog who I have been in negotiations with to buy out his glyph stockpile, and possibly to have him re-craft my horde glyphs.  I have been trying to catch him online, but he hasn't been on as much lately - at least not when I am looking.

I originally had 20 of each glyph; and am currently occasionally re crafting back to 15 of each glyph. If I have more than 15, they are not a great seller.  If I have 0 glyphs, then they sell well.

I don't like crafting glyphs.  I am not sure I even like selling them.  I do like the gold from them.

As an offer, for the first pass of buying your bulk glyphs:
  • shimmering ink glyphs I need horde side : 7g each
  • For all other glyphs I need horde side : 20g each
'Need' means to take my horde side stockpiles up to 20 (I have been re crafting glyphs up to 15)

However, I 'want' glyphs to get my alliance side toon up to 20 as well.  For glyphs that I want alliance side; I will pay 4g (shimmering ink); 15g the rest.

You don't tend to have a large stockpile, but if you happened to have a few too many of a glyph that takes me past 40 of that glyph, I still am interested in paying 'want' prices.

For the glyphs that I already have a stockpile of 40; they are less valuable to me at this point.  I don't want the glyphs that are on the glyph hall of shame (will just vendor them); for the rest; 3g each.

When it comes to future re crafting of glyphs - I am willing to negotiate; I can provide shimmering inks, or can get you to mill other inks.  As a basis for future crafting prices, the prices for the bulk glyphs above seem a starting point for negotiation.

I am happy to accept counter offers.  I am also happy to work in conjunction with any scribe on Caelestrasz - horde or alliance.  Prices that I offer or accept can vary.

Why do I price shimmering ink glyphs so cheap?  I still have well over 1000 of these inks that I bought at 1g each.  What is the basis of the other pricing?  Blackfallow ink is currently selling for 5g.

A note to the unbelievers.  I have previously been asked if I really consider that it costs me 15-20g to craft a glyph.  I am putting my gold where my mouth is - yes I do place this value on them.

I see four distinct points in the value chain in glyphs, each point has their own challenges:
  • Gathering herbs
  • Milling herbs into ink
  • Creating glyphs
  • Selling glyphs

You can use this approach to make the gold from glyphs regardless of whether you have inscription or not.  There is no need to have your own scribe; providing you can find one who works fee for service.

15 November 2011

Resources for newbies that I can recommend

As it is a 'hot' topic, this post will list a few resources that I do refer to on a regular basis.  I also will list a few that I don't use, but do recommend to newbies.

Please note: The information below is to make you better than Joe Pug.  It will not magically turn you into a 7/7 heroic hard mode player, nor will it give you your gold cap tomorrow.


PVP Battlegrounds
Role specific stuff
Further reading


I haven't added much (non AH) PVP stuff; I have no idea.   I have tanked; I heal; I play the auction house.  I get into arguments that I shouldn't get into.

If you have a site, series or post that you recommend to newer players (gold making or otherwise), please leave a comment.

Adding fuel when I should be adding water

There is controversy about a paid gold guide and the player involved.  I am not going to mention names; if you care, have a look at the links on the right hand side of this blog. 

TL; DR.   Don't copy other peoples stuff and claim it as yours.  Don't expect a guide to be original.

For the record; I would not be where I am today without one of the actors in question.  The pageviews I got from his links were invaluable in establishing this blog.

I have not read the guide in question.  I have previously seen paid guides for a variety of games; professionally produced; and been unhappy with every one of them.  I wouldn't buy one, but then exploring the game is part of my enjoyment. On my first toon I read the text of every quest; and refused to install "quest helper" (an addon that did just that) just so I could see the game with fresh eyes.

My understanding of the complaints are :
  • the guide is paid for; 
  • it isn't original; 
  • it isn't complete; 
  • it isn't 'best', 
  • it may have been pushed aggressively.
My blog doesn't run paid adverts.  I like to write (hopefully) original material.  I am happy to point to other writers, and steal their ideas but not their text (unless I have permission).  In turn; I have explicitly allowed people to use content from my blog (even for financial gain) with an attribution and share alike requirement (see the footer of this page for licence details)

I have no real issues with a gaming guide costing approximately a month's WoW subscription.  I feel the same way about charging for a guide as I do about ad suppported sites; I want it all, and I want it free; but acknowldege that real life gold can help with motivation.

There are plenty of players I know that could use a comprehensive guide.  As a reader of this blog - you know players that could use one too.  There are some players that I would love to hit over the head with any cluestick - and they are still broke.   Consolidating material provided by others is valuable.  Wowpedia, MMO Champion and even Google all provide information provided by others and charge (via ad sponsorship) for this service.  If there was permission to include other sources, then I have no problem here.  If there wasn't permission, then my problem is in claiming rights the guide didn't have.

It isn't original?  No? So what?  Not many good ideas are.  However, if you are going to use other's material verbatim, you are required to quote your sources.  You also need permission.  Many (but not most) items on websites can be deemed to have permission.  As I said above, permission is conditionally granted for my material.  I am unsure about some of the guide's sources.  Having not read it, I am unaware if his sources are linked or quoted.  It is generally considered wrong (and even illegal) to claim authorship for someone else's work. As a community we write great material, but are horrible at providing a consolidated reference for a newbie.

It isn't complete?  I don't think there is such a beast in WoW; You can specialise or generalise.  From what I saw of the largely negative review (not having read the original guide), it seemed to cover a broad cross section of WoW.  I know marketing material says it can do it all.  If you think that you can get it all and get it quick; well I've a bridge (or even guide) to sell you.

Is it best?  Best is subjective.  I can't even get Critical Goblin to agree that I'm right and he's wrong about glyphs (yet).  However, there is better and worse.  I use raiding guides, it doesn't mean that I expect to be a server first heroic raider because of them. I like 'why' more than I like 'what'.  Apparently the guide in question contained some of the why, but could have provided more.  It also contradicted itself in a few places (i.e. mistakes in editing). 

It has aggressive marketing.  Well, I've read some of the suggested methods of getting our goods sold.  Some of those methods are not nice.  Walls, deep undercutting, camping, locking someone out of a market, fake trade wars, real trade wars, fake bidding and worse.  I am now hard to surprise for 'in game' gold making.  How can I be surprised at real life gold making?  I don't like some of the things I have read about obtaining third party endorsements.  And that can also be said of endorsements for gaming guides too.

In summary:
  • Verbatim copying of other peoples material without permission or attribution is wrong (both legally and morally).  I encourage getting permission and then re-using good material.
  • A gaming guide, (paid, ad supported, or gratis) can start you off, but won't complete your journey.  Some players are ... not capable of their own research or reading.  A guide is good for these players.  If you get need a guide you will be able to pay for repairs, but are unlikely to ever reach a gold cap.
I would read a gaming guide (gratis, ad supported, or borrow a paid one), but I am unlikely to recommend a guide that is paid for.

Coming soon; real pixel gold stuff and less controversy.

14 November 2011

Be civil

This is a post to the gold blogging community

Sometimes we don't agree on what is the best way to run our blogs;  Some prefer to invovle real life gold; others prefer their gold in pixel form.

I don't always agree with methods; use of material; or a myriad of other things.  I have also had my (sometimes strong) disagreements with various personalities.

However, I keep to the objective facts;  Where I don't like something; I provide the facts as if I was trying to convince a panel of adjudicators.  Some emotionadds colour.  Stating "I don't think x works because of some reason" is valuable and useful.

Again with defenses, stating that you believe that something is permissable/useful/novel because of some reason is also valuable and useful.

However name calling makes you look bad.  Calling someone a crook or a scammer is a good way to take yourself off readers lists.

Do your readership a favour; If you feel very pasionately about throwing mud; that is the time to be very careful that you need to tone down the rhetoric and stick to the facts.

10 November 2011

Patch 4.3 sooner than I thought?

  • I have recently had a large download for patch content.
  • PVP season 10's end has been announce as 15 Nov here.
  • I have not saved enough JC tokens
  • I still don't have Ragnaros or Domo down
If I recall correctly; PVP season ends traditionally equate to new PVE patches.  I also don't recall enough information about the 4.3 raids (though I've had real life distractions recently).

New patch upcoming; notes here.  It is possible that we will have patch 4.3 after the shutdown of 15 Nov.

Profits go to those best prepared.

08 November 2011

Cooperative AH - no tradeskill required

There are real advantages to using multiple accounts to post auctions, especially when you are time poor.  Things that become easier are:
  • Easier access to shift items accross the neutral AH;
  • You can gather (including AH shopping), craft, post and/or collect mail at the same time.  
However, there are no rules that state that both accounts need to be owned by the same player. Personally, at the moment, I see no need to spend extra real life gold to make more than enough pixel gold.

Today's post is about the addon's I use; and how I (previously had, and will again) post with multiple accounts.  It is written for fellow players that have expressed an interest in posting my glyphs for me.  Later posts will include details as to how I share inventory management, crafing queues, posting methods, and profit share/wages.   There is also no real reason that this approach would not work for other professions.  That said, for me, glyphs have the hardest time with inventory management.

There are two sides to this; posting toons and crafting toons.  Some addons are required by the posting toon, others are needed by the crafting one.

I have included versions and sources that I use as of this post;  if this is 'future you' reading this, you will probably want the current versions.

Posting toon addons:
The other things to consider about posting toons is inventory management.  Some players prefer two (or more) toons to post glyphs.  I use one toon, a lot of inscription bags and a guild bank tab for overflow.

Crafting toon addons:
  • Altoholic (as above) : Still used for inventory management
  • Kevs Toolkit Queue/KTQ (KTQ 4.0.0): a craft queueing addon that understands multiple accounts
  • Gnomeworks (r156): a crafting window that understands queues created by Kev's Toolkit Queue
I don't use tradeskill master for crafting.  I believe it doesn't support multiple account inventories.  I would love to be proved wrong.  However, in the meantime I am satisfied with the addon's above.

07 November 2011

Process 1/2 way for fun and profit

You may have heard of the obsidian/saronite shuffle; Prospect stacks of ore; turn it into jewelery; disenchant and sell off essences and dusts?  Skills used Mining; Jewelcrafting; Enchanting. (http://consortium.stormspire.net/content/183-shuffling-spreadsheet-killed-them-all.html)

Or how about smelt stacks of obsidian and elementium ore; Create stormforged shoulders; disenchant and sell off the Heavenly shards? Skills used Mining; Blacksmith; Enchanting (http://wow.joystiq.com/2011/05/25/how-to-turn-ore-into-heavenly-shards/)

Generally these are profitable activities in their own right.  (And no - I don't even have a tool capable of mining saronite ore; let alone obsidium; AH is where I farm).  I have a problem with the default process; most authors encourage you to crush the majority of crafted items regardless of their relative value (with the possible exception of blue jewelery from the obsidian shuffle).

For the record; I am not doing a lot of ore shuffling, (I'm stretched to collect auction house mail some days), but somone I ran with wanted me to dump a bit of ore recently.

The stormforged shoulders disenchant to a single heavenly shard (~90g); a nice enough markup from the price I would have sold the underlying ore for.  However, according to my auctioneer, the shoulders had a sale price about 250g.  There were none on the auction house. 

I crushed the majority of the shoulders, but kept a one for sale.  It sold on the first post cycle.  In the past, I have done the same thing with the various green quality jewelry from the ore shuffles; keep one or two; post the rest.  They are not always quick sellers.  If an item only has a slightly higher (theoretical) sale price I will crush it.

I keep one bank alt aside for selling trash.  If I don't know what I want to do with something; off to my trash seller it goes.  I also only infrequently log on to him.  When I do; I sell stuff using auctioneer with add-hoc pricing.  No camping; just set and forget.

Doing extra work to sell at 90g; when you could do less effort and sell for 250g; it just feels wrong.

03 November 2011

A change in your usage pattern

I have used an authenticator for about 6 months now.  I use PC's at two different addresses to access WoW; albeit on the same ISP.

I recently got my hands on a netbook powerful enough to run WoW (specifically - I can post auctions on it).  I broke down and purhcased the Curse premium client to make it easier to sync addons and settings.  I finally set up my mobile phone and netbook so that I can use the phone as an internet access point.

This morning I attempted to log in for the first time using the phone as a wireless modem.

Our login system had dectected a change in you access pattern. In order to protect the account
we require you to verify your identity and change your password via our website For more information plase visit (link provided)

I suppose I understand the test.  It would provide a barrier to an account hacker.  However, in terms of account security; I already had a authenticator.  I thought this was meant to assist in positive identification.  Blizzard's decision to insist on an email address as a login code is terrible from a security point of view; I was asked 4 security questions; If you know my login code you already know 3 of the answers.

The fourth question was a choice of cd key from the install CD's (original and expansions), or a previously set up security question.  I was on the road so didn't have any hope of a cd-key.  I am pleased that I remembered my security question that I set up years ago.

01 November 2011

Blizzard got me to spend $20

While I have many (bank) guilds, I have actually only made one; and either inherited or bought the rest.  This means that there is an assortment of names that I would not have personally chosen.

I generally form multi guild raids; many regulars but no particular requirement to be in guild.  That said, I wanted a guild name to reflect my raiding experience; 5/7 once per week; mostly with extended raids.  Once I am competant enough to down a boss; time to head off to the next one.

So $20 later; I have a renamed guild 'Friday night wipes'.  Descriptive. 

25 October 2011

Gated gems will lead to (more) ungemmed toons

Have you ever heard someone say - "I don't want to gem it or enchant it - I will replace it soon!!" ?

Many players want to be 'the best' or will try to tell you it doesn't matter.  Most toons - seeking red slot gems; use inferno rubies or nothing. 
(new cut stats taken from db.mmo-champion.com)
A cut JC chimera eye will give + 77 stat
A cut JC Chimera eye currently gives +67 stat.
A cut Queens garnet will give you +50 stat : costing???
A cut inferno ruby gives you +40 stat : costing 100-140g
A cut carnelian gives you +30 stat : costing 30g.
Even a cut hessonite gives you +15 stat plus something usefull  : costing 8g; half a quest reward.

Now, epic gems in Cata won't be like Wrath; being gated they will be very expensive at first while toons are replacing gear.  

Bleeding edge raiders may drop a profession and take up JC'ing now; and will get (I think) +30 stat on day one.

I will be gemming everything I get with what I think is worth gold/point.  I expect that is likely to be inferno rubies for the first month of 4.3.  My (non raiding) JC will love the extra bonus but doesn't have the gear to really benefit from it

Joe average will get a lot of gear from the new raid finder.  However, I expect John Pug to decide they can't afford the best so will leave the slot empty.  Because of this, I expect the gating to be unlocked 1/2 way between 4.3 and 5.0.  (WAG : I'll predict in March 2012 you can prospect Epic gems from Pyrite Ore.)

There are toons that won't wear blue stuff.  I do expect to sell more Northrend epic gems.  'Cheap Epicnezz lol' to keep you purple.

24 October 2011

300 Today

I first started this blog back in Dec 2009.  Some experienced players had seen what WoW had to offer, and decided to move on.  (Yes the end of WoW was predicted way back then - still yet to see it).

I appear to somehow or another become one of the core of the WoW gold blog community.  Those sites that have blogrolls mostly link here; many posts refer to me as well.  While flattering it, when I realised it, I was somewhat surprised.  I can be boring & long winded.  Today I will continue in that tradition (especially if you are not a blogger or thinking of becoming one).

At the moment I am looking to provide visibility to less read sites.  I know what exposure on the undermine journal can for a website.  I have in the past, and will continue to post longer comments as stand alone posts on this site, so that:
  • I know that my comments are read (yes - I'm vain enough to care whether my articles are read or not); and
  • To provide additional visibility to the site I am commenting on.
If you are an existing or aspiring WoW blogger; not already on my blog roll; with articles you think should be read, please leave a comment on my blog; this page, any page.

My early readership was exactly what you could expect.   Very low.  I don't entirely trust Blogger stats, as it gives me readers before I started my blog; but my guess of a small handful of guildies equals blogger's guestimates (10 pageviews) per post.

My early emphasis was gold for beginners.  I was still a relative beginner, though easily becoming wealthier than guildies.  I still think that is an important topic.  However, beginners don't often read gold blogs; those with some experience do.
Some things that worked very well for me were commenting on other blogs.  Sometimes writing up an article in response to someone else's blog post, and leaving a link in their comment.  This attracted initial readers.

I already had an established blog with a few months of posts, when WoW Economic Review (since closed - a review somewhat similar to network.phase3profit.net; or the blog review from theunderminejournal.com) asked for new blogs to submit; I did so, and my numbers took off.  JTMC also had a linked list of blogs that worked very well for me; but he has since closed that list down.

My best individual post was  a work around for Auctioneer when patch 4.1 hit. , with over 5000 page views (as tracked by Google analytics and blogspot's counter). I nearly didn't publish this because I wasn't sure it would be interesting.  The majority of these page views came via Google, and for a while, when you searched for auctioneer I outranked auctioneer's own website .

Other posts that worked very well were when Breevok and I 'bantered'.  This drove a huge amount of traffic my way, and even today I get a lot of referrals via his website.

'Good' controversy also works, especially when I recovered Critical Goblin's deleted comment.  I still disagree with the technicalities; he sells glyphs to provide trinket mats; I sell trinket mats to get rid of less than useful glyph by-products, I think the community has done well in getting someone less dry than me to post a different viewpoint.

Surprisingly enough, posts that don't work well for me are my real life political commentary posts that have nothing to do with WoW.  (yes that was sarcasm.)  However, I don't do them often, and they are my form of advertising; I occasionally subject you to my real life views in exchange for providing you with interesting (and I am sure at least occasionally boring) WoW commentary.

I know that my blog has inspired goblins out there; My glyph making process series took someone who was already OK at gold making and turned lose a dominating scribe on another server.  While I have every reason to believe he would have done well regardless of my posts, he had the benefit of experience crystallised in just a few posts.  The same applies for my reading other blogs: I am sure I could work it out; but it is faster/cheaper/easier to read other blogs to see what worked or didn't work.

In terms of numbers; my best post had over 5000 page views; a very good post will pull over 1000, many will pull 600-900, and even when I pull out an entirely uninspiring post, I still get 100-200 page views.  In contrast Tobold apparently pulls 2000 views per day (down from his peak of 3000).  There are also 240 google based RSS feeds readers to my site; and are likely to be more not using google reader.

Many readers use RSS feeds to read the first part of a post to determine if they will open the full post. Personally, I read most blogs via these feeds; making it easy to catch up with my reading lists whether on my work pc; home pc or phone.  Readers who don't open an article, and don't use google reader won't show up in any of my stats; nor will readers who block javascript (I tend to do that too).

In terms of sources of readers; 9% is direct traffic; 14% from search engines (often searching for 'fow wow' or other similar terms) and 77% is referrals.

Of the referral sources; in order; the following sites send traffic my way:
There are plenty of other blogs that send traffic my way.  I do keep an eye on where traffic comes from, and go exploring when I see a new name. You also don't need to be in the top 5 for me to see you either.

One day I will most likely stop playing WoW.  That will come when I stop improving.  When that happens, this blog will most likely stop as well.  That day is not today.  I subscribed to the annual pass; I'm a sucker for the guaranteed beta invite.

While WoW still has challenges I want to solve (I'm 4/7 normal not 7/7 hard), I will still be playing.  I will most likely be posting (sometimes in a rush; other times sporadically) my commentary on WoW, with what grabs my interest.

Old Posts
New Posts

22 October 2011

AH abuse - a response

MoxNix from The Gold Mint has a post about how botting campers are ruining our markets, and his proposal to change the deposit mechanism to fix it.

I'm not so sure; either with the root of the problem or his proposed solution.

Markets work brilliantly when you can buy dirt cheap, and sell with a large profit.  Markets work badly when  you buy very expensive and sell at a loss.

I agree that there are campers that 1c undercut.  Some of these campers are bots.

The real problem is this:
  • It costs you 15g to make a glyph.
  • You are willing to sell that glyph for 20g
  • The market is willing to pay 300g
  • The market buys based on cheapest price
There is a huge markup on any particular (non-levelling/vendor taught) glyph.  It encourages you to try

What could Blizzard do?
  • MoxNix's solution : 10% additional deposit based on buyout price; refunded on sale or expiration of auction.  Campers increase their stock to at least 1 full stack of glyphs and post 12 hourly auctions; recrafting as necessary, but don't cancel auctions.  We still end up with undercuts, and the market doesnt get a chance to reset.  This also leaves in place glyph walls - what CG has been advocating to discourage competition.
  • Make every glyph vendor taught.  With a flood of new scribes, it would kill the 1c camper model immediately.  The number of sellers exceeds the number of buyers and the prices crash.
  • Put a 'per auction' click required on the posting of auctions - Blizzard already tried that.
  • Limit the number of auctions someone can post.  It would certainly cause prices to rise;
What can I do as a player vs bots?
  • Know my costs; know my minimum margins and list auctions at my minimum price.
Campers hate it.  If their minimum profit is less than yours they will still sell; but at a 10% (or less) of their previous GPH.  You may even find bots selling at losses.  If their minimum profit is more than yours they leave the market.

Of course the prices have still crashed, and you might not be better off, but at least you have some control.

17 October 2011

Gold Standard in WoW

Someone is wrong on the internet. (courtesy of xkcd)

Sometimes in WoW, we play for fun.  During such times I am happy to spend gold; buckets of it.
Sometimes we are making gold. For the sake of this post this is not 'fun' : I am playing to 'win'.  I want to make gold; lots of it; as efficiently as possible.

Most regular readers already have a clue about risk vs reward : Knowing that as you go down the chain you potentially gain more gold but also get more risk of losing it all:
  • Dailies
  • Farming
  • Crafting
  • Flipping
Most regular readers also know about supply and demand curves.  As price goes down suppliers stop bothering and partially interested customers come knocking.  As price goes up, the opposite happens.  We also know that in WoW, there are instances where supply (from levelling professions) strips any possible (player driven) demand: Glyph of Voidwalker - I'm looking at you, but there are others.

We might talk about what price to pay for ore for the obsidium/elementium shuffle; the cost of making a glyph;  whether it is worth making darkmoon trinkets; and whether or not you should resell vendor pets.  These are all important conversations and would be gold makers should understand these concepts.  But it is not the most important question.

We have time to make gold with.  All the theory on whether to participate in a particular market takes secondary priority to the fundamental gold making question: Given the amount of time I have to make gold; what is the best way for me to do so? 

For those that run out of time before running out of profitable things to do; We need to keep in mind gold per hour.  For those that run out of profitable things to do before running out of time (who are you anyway?); you need new profitable opportunities.

I attempt to use a gold per hour standard.

12 October 2011

I farmed it so it's free, and other curious opinions

I get my glyphs for free because I farmed all the mats myself; or so the argument goes.

Well, I suppose if you do not value your time at all, you might consider them free.

Me; well I place a value on my time.  It's valuable.  I don't really have that much time.  Even when I do have time to spare, I want to be doing 'stuff' with it.  I don't remember the last time I was stuck for 'something' to do.  (Doctor's waiting rooms not withstanding; but even there I read blog posts).

When I go to work in real life each day, I don't earn a salary for free; I earn it with my time; skills and effort.

When I am levelling another alt, I am doing it to satisfy the collector on me.  The collector in me had 2 hours of satisfaction in the last month.  While he was levelling he was also gathering; performing (low level) valuable tasks.  By gathering I increased my wealth.  It did not mean those mats I got were free, merely a compensation for my time.

The same goes for herbalist/scribes.  You are making value with herbalism.  You could easily stop at the herbing and sell the mats.  This sets a floor for the value of your herbs.

By milling your are also creating value. Your inks can be sold easily; lets call it 4g per ink for a quick sale of blackfallow, and 12g for a quick sale of inferno (and prices are still falling).

Now, you can decide to cross subsidize.  If you manage to get better prices for your infernos (either by crafting cards yourself or simply from a higher sale price), then you have profit to be made.  You could also cross subsidise your cards by doing dailies and using the profit from it to sell your cards 'cheap'.  There is no difference.  If you don't value your time, then it doesn't matter: Give your cards away - you have plenty of free time to make more.

As for me, my time has value.  So do my herbs, glyphs, cards and inks.

11 October 2011

New pets are not a threat to gold sellers

Tobold, among others, are talking about how Blizzard is introducing gold purchasing with real money.  Me?  I'm not worried about the gold seller's business model just yet - or at least not more than I already was. 

How does Blizzard's model work?

  • You buy a pet with US$
  • The pet is BOE, redeemable on one toon.
  • You can post it on the AH.
  • Someone (presumably a collector) buys the pet, and ding, cash into gold, legitimately.
Now, I am not too worried about this.  I don't see anyone hitting gold cap with these pets.  I have an engineer, and I have tried selling unusual pets before.  They just don't sell that well.  That is not to say that they don't sell at all; they do.  But it is slow.

Now, if you have the ability to prepare ahead of time, you can make gold in WoW very easily.  Most players quest; some players gather; and even fewer play the Auction house.  If you are reading this blog, you are more likely to play the AH than most, and not even all of my readers play it.

The distracted, the broke in WoW are not going to sell a pet on the AH.  They also can't afford one with their gold, but might be able to pay cash using parent's credit cards.

If you are not a pet collector, you won't buy it.

The rich collectors will pay gold.  There really are not many in this category. 

Lets say you can sell one of these pets for 7000 gold.  On day one.  Regular players know what happens when there is an oversupply of an item; the price tanks.  By day 14, I would be surprised if you got 1000 gold for a pet.

This is an additional wedge into the real money WoW, but not a big one.

By making the pet BOE, Blizzard are bound to sell a few more of them.  The sellers will be clueless at making gold, and rich in real life.  The buyers will be rich collectors. 

The total impact? One gold in a gold cap.

04 October 2011

Gold Secrets with Darkmoon Faire Cards

Hi loyal Foo fans, Critical Goblin here as promised with his secret Darkmoon card/trinkets sales data.

Background info: Critical's lives on Tichondrius (Horde). 

Around January this year I took a punt and started selling DM cards for fun. At that time I was converting all BF and IF inks into cards. Later at around Faire 5 (May) I started keeping all my cards and sold trinkets instead. I also started glyphs around that time. 

Every time Critical reads a comment or forum post where the author complains DM cards/trinkets dont sell he laughs. They are either lying so that readers are discouraged from entering this lucrative market, or they are greedy and are still trying to sell at ridiculous last Faire's prices. Tsunami is still very high on a healer's trinket wish list and the other trinkets are fantastic 359 trinkets for alts, which rich mains have no issues splurging on.

Anyway Critical is not here to persuade you to make DM trinkets. I am only here to show you how well this market has been selling on my server for the past 9 months.

Faires 1 to 4 (January to April)

First up have a look at these 2 graphs where in the first 4 months I made and sold cards only. Focus on the bright green bars which indicate TOTALS.

In the first month (I believe this was also the very first Faire for Cata) I had sales of 500k (keeping in mind these are all after tax (less AH success fee) figures). My main customers would have been raiders wanting these new phat trinkets and were willing to spend up to 5k on their last card. Also remember these are only Sales figures not Profit. At that time I did not keep track of my Expenses and how much I was paying for herbs and lifes (well actually even now I still dont keep Expense records).

NB: the second graph just shows actual quantity of cards sold, in case anyone was interested in that. Again the bright green bars show TOTAL cards sold in that month. If you look at April you will notice I sold a total of around 275 cards but my Total Sales only accounted for around 190k. So I was selling alot of cards but Sales totals were down, which lead to ...

Faires 5 to 9 (May to September)

This is the point where I took another punt and went all in and gave trinket-only selling a try. As you can see from these two graphs, trinkets sell well to raiders that need my sparkly sparklies.

Darkmoon trinkets, even this late in the expansion as recent as last month, still account for a few 100k worth of sales. Don't sell cards, don't sell infernos. Make love (and trinkets) not war. Well actually do make war, with the other scummy glyphers.

03 October 2011

Safety Dance

We can dance if we want to
We can leave your friends behind
'Cause your friends don't dance, and if they don't dance
Well they're no friends of mine

I am a Wrath baby.  My first raiding was Nax (back when everyone else was starting trial of the crusader).  I have only ever raided in 10 man.

My first recollection of a safety dance was Heigan.  No enrage timer; the only important thing was dancing.  Admitidly a single tank and healer could duo the run, so it didn't matter if 80% of the raid failed. 

Tobold had a article back in 2009 talking about 3 types of raids:

  • Type A : Challenge the strongest;
  • Type B : Challenge the average;
  • Type C : Challenge the weakest.  ... As the debuff is random, the raid group cannot afford to bring anyone not likely to react fast enough, as that would cause a wipe for everyone. ... AKA dancing.
Note that players generally consider that the overall challenge of a raid encounter goes up from type A to type B to type C. But in fact the difference is mainly affecting the weakest players in the raid group. For the strongest players there is no inherent difference in the degree of individual challenge in the three types.

A certain goblin (and others) is tired of dancing; claiming that it is something new for firelands raids.

Umm. No.

Any fight (or part thereof) that is a simple gear/ability to hit best buttons check is nerfed into triviality by new gear (maths test in Gevlon's article)
Any part of a fight that is a 'dance' is not trivialised by the same degree (though gear can change insta fail into a healable problem).

Any boss that is simply a dps/hps/mitigation fight is only Challenge the average at first and easily become nerfed into Challenge the strongest.

Any boss that incorporates dancing provides challenges according to the number of dancers required.

Previous dancing bosses?
  • 4 Horseman in Nax, requiring 4 dancers 
  • Heigan (though it could be completed by the strongest)
  • Thaddius
  • Hodir
  • Freya
  • Vezax
  • Yogg Saron (Definitely Type C)
  • Sindragosa
  • Lich King
Even many bosses not mentioned had a lot of dancing for someone; less for DPS. 

What has changed is that previous raids had more type 'A' encounters, and less Type 'C'.  ICC had a lot of Type A bosses; at least by the time I got to them.  Cataclysm initally had Magmaw challenging the adds kiter or tank (generally a hunter or frost DK) and those that applied chains (dancing by the strongest).  Naxx had Patchwerk (least geared tank had to be 'main' tank).  Also the Firelands dances appear to be a little harder, with an extra 'step' in the dance.

Firelands is currently missing a 'Challenge the strongest' boss. 
  • Shannox is at most a challenge the average raid; and with further nerfs will become a challenge the strongest. It was not particularly challenging DPS-wise, even pre-nerf.
  • Ryolith appears again to be a challenge the average raid; challenging a tank; the healers and the drivers.  Our DPS appear to have forgotten how to AOE.
There are no bosses here where we can carry.  To make things even more difficult for Gevlon; even Shannox and Ryolith seem to work better with communication.

Our casuals don't mind the challenge of tier 12.  Organisation is a nightmare for us; I can see the advantage of a fixed roster, but meh; I'm not always available either.  We don't mind wiping (at least not in public).  A fortnight ago we got Shannox down (pre nerf woo hoo).  Since then we have spent two nights wiping (approx 10 attempts on Beth; 25-30 attempts on Ryolith).  There is no question that Ryolith is a dance boss; The difficulty is that DPS have to conduct it.  We are putting one of our tanks into DPS gear; which should help a lot. 

So, we took time out from firelands and had a training/gearing run in Tier 11 raids.  If your looking for an easy kill with forgiving dancing; do Tier 11; where the nerfs have made many dancing failures healable. However even in these raids, in Tier 11; when we wiped, it was due to dancing failures.

We will get Ryolith down; either next week or the week after (I'm the last of the progression players - the line that says no progression is just behind me).

A challenge to the non-raiding gold bloggers out there;  Take one evening off a week from gold making and get Defender of a Shattered Realm; followed by the Firelands bosses.  You have the gold for gear and the patients to pick it up.

We can dance if we want to
We've got all your life and mine
As long as we abuse it, never going to lose it
Everything will work out right

Its a Safety dance
Oh well its safe to dance
Yes it safe to dance

01 October 2011

Dragon's Eye anomoly

Dragon's eyes are used for a Northrend JC +10 all stats gem (nightmare tear).  Nightmare tears sell moderately well.  Not a great many, but more than I had been able to aquire mats for. 

The eyes are obtainable via
  • the daily northend JC quest; purchasing a dragon's eye with the token
  • A damaged necklace quest
  • and sometimes contained in an icy prism;
  • and finally turning 10 titanium powder (drop from prospecting titanium ore)
All in all, not particularly easy to get.  Or so I thought.

A couple of days ago, I purchased 200 of them off the AH for 60% of their going rate (I couldn't keep up with stock before, so this was a good deal).

The seller whispered me and offered to sell more.  I bought another 1010 at a cheaper price.  I chatted, and was under the impression that was all he had.

Another toon - with 1 character difference in the name has just posted another nearly 700 dragon's eyes.  If I knew that that was it for him, then I might be interested.  However, he is able to either:
  • grind out 700 dragon's eyes in a day, or
  • misled me as to how many he has.

Either way, the price is heading south for both Dragon's eyes and nightmare tears on my server.  I do not intend to prop it up any further.  Too much supply, and not enough demand.

The strange thing is that this guy has a supply that no one else knows about yet.  I was looking at the undermine journal for this item, and Alliance Caelestrasz seems to be the only oversupplied AH (at least according to a straw poll of the other markets chart).

So, anyone on Caelestrasz want to buy Nightmare tears? going cheap.

30 September 2011

Sovereign Risk

Sovereign Risk is where a government does not pay it's debts in the previously agreed upon manner.

In WoW, we have a high degree of something very similar Sovereign risk, especially around patches.

The current batch of gold bloggers are actually a fairly quietly spoken group.   Players on Blizzard forums are slightly louder.  WTF no EPIC gem in ore; JC tokens FFS; /prof quit; /gquit; /game quit

Or in other words:
Dear Blizzard
I have been dutifully stockpiling pyrite ore and jewelcrafter daily tokens on the expectation that you will give us Epic gems and Epic gem cuts from these, as part of patch 4.2; or at the latest, patch 4.3.

I am most disappointed that you have not followed your previous behaviour.  With all due respect this has cost me a large amount of gold, and I will be now unable to reach the gold cap.

Please find attached a demand for profit owing to me that you have unjustifiably denied me as part of this change.   If you do not comply, I will launch procedings in the appropriate and inappropriate forums.

Yours sincerely
One annoyed JC.

Blizzard's response : I am altering the deal. Pray I don't alter it any further.

Sovereign risk; or the risk that blizzard will change the rules; or will not follow precedent is a fact of WoW.  This risk is real, and needs to be taken into account when stockpiling for future changes.

To make matters even worse; Blizzard never promised JC's a gold mine; only our sense of entitlement. Ghostcrawler sometimes promises a pony, but even then it is a forward looking statement subject to change.

As much as WoLK had epic gems handed to JC's; we were also warned.  Blizzard wants advanced toons to be responsible for advanced profits:
  • Soulbound Chaos orbs
  • (Originally) needed to do 1/2 of twilight highlands (i.e. be lvl 84.5) to get best crafting recipees, including the ability to level tradeskills to 525.
  • Raiders as the source of updated recipees and BOEs.
Once upon a time; leading raiders were a broke bunch. Heaven forbid; these days Raiders (the elite that Blizzard want's us to aspire to) will be the source of gems, and possibly even recipees.

As a gold maker; concentrate on the easy gold.  I am still making a bundle on northrend gem cuts (rare and epic).  When 4.3 drops; if you want to sell the newest cuts; go and raid.

Make sure your alchemists are lined up with mats for transmutes (there are new recipees).  Also consider getting them raid ready (at least troll dungeon) in case the tranmute recipees turn out to be raid drops (unlikely but still possible).  Organise this with not only your own toons, but also guildy toons.  Make your networks now.

Me? I will continue reaping the profits of Northrend gems.

And finally, if you want to be up on the latest recipees : Go raid.  I organise friday night only raids; I am going bald with the stress of putting them together; keeping everyone happy and moving, but we are raiding.

29 September 2011

Blizzcon has it in for me - I tell you.


An official Blizzard post.  Foo fighters at BLIZZCON® 2011

“Everyone attending BlizzCon and watching from home can look ... when Foo Fighters bring the house down.”

Oh well.  For those are going, have fun.

27 September 2011

Exploiting Abandoned Production

For a change, I have been playing with glyphs.  This is different from before because .... ummm...

OK, well it's different because there was yet another glyph trade war, and  I bought out Breevok's stockpile of glyphs.

There was a glyph trade war horde side.  Toward the end of last month, I had competition from a camper, with multiple accounts.  He then started posting just after my morning login, reducing my daily sales to about 100g per day. About 85g profit for a full post/collect mail cycle is a pain. 

In response, I crashed the market, first to 30g, then down to 25g and 20g, bodychecking them.  I still had room to move. I only reduced the prices when I thought that my opposition would be in a position to undercut me soon.  As a side effect of doing so, my sales returned to 500-800g per day, with a lower profit margin but higher overall profit.  Still not going to get me to the gold cap anytime soon.

Even though I was trying to crash the market without selling anything, re-stocking was becoming an issue.  Glyphs can take a long time to mill and re-craft glyphs; especially with a crafter on the opposite faction.  I really did not want to craft 1000 glyphs, only to sell at cost.  I fully expected my competition to have similar feelings.  (No one enjoys crafting bulk glyphs).  However, camping 1 copper undercutters have always annoyed me, more than re crafting glyphs.

It was at this time I needed a couple of pugs for a Shannox attempt.  I pugged Breevok, who used to be a big glyph player, but has become casual in his gold making efforts.  I also knew he had previously contemplated selling his stake in the glyph market.

I have never been afraid to 'exploit' others products and services (in a purely ethical way). Breevok's glyphs were horde side (bonus), was prepared to take gold alliance side (also a bonus), and affordable (trifecta - woo hoo).  A stack of each glyph is roughly 6500 glyphs.  These glyphs at roughly cost price is ... a significant amount.  I only purchased his glyphs, not to have him drop a profession.  That's OK.  I know how long it takes to re craft 6,500 glyphs (I had roughly 13,000 when Cata hit). 

I have gold; more than most; less than some.  I still wince at single transactions of this size.  It'll be alright in the long run.

The sad thing is that I didn't even have time to unload my new glyphs onto the market horde side, when my competition disappeared.  We have some new aggressive competition alliance side with a new name, which might (or might not) be my old horde 'friend', but his heart is not in it as much.

The good thing about the recovery after a price crash is the reduced competition.  There are still two solid competitors that followed the prices down, and a couple of re-entrants that bailed earlier, but still easy pickings (this week at least).

With glyphs, I find that 12 hour auctions allow prices to recover quickly.  I will be undercut within 12 hours anyway, and the cancel/under cutters will reset.  I am currently making more gold per day I post glyphs horde side than I made posting glyphs horde + alliance a month ago.

21 September 2011

What inflation? There would be without goblins

WoW Insider has an article about WoW needing gold sinks. Fox's complaint is that the genuine newbie can't afford glyphs, enchants or gems while levelling.

TLDR (too long didnt read version):  Skip to the bottom of the page for the ultimate gold sink.

You can't always get what you want.  But if you try sometimes, well you just might find, you get what you need. (apologies to Mr Jagger).

There is a gold sink - the biggest one there can be.  If your reading this site, the chances are you already know about it.  This gold sink already keeps inflation in check.   It's not perfect, but still does a pretty good job of it.

Economics 101.
  • Inflation is where prices of bought goods rise.
  • Deflation is where prices of bought goods fall.
  • Your expenses are someone else's income. (This can be player or NPC).
  • If the total gold spent increases but the total goods bought stays the same then you have inflation
  • Similarly if the total gold spent stays the same, but total goods bought decreases you also have inflation.
  • If the total gold spent decreases but the total goods bought stays the same then you have deflation.
  • Similarly if the total gold spent stays the same, but total goods bought increases you also have deflation.

Fox's complaint on behalf of newbies
Newbies can't afford what they want.

My view is that they can afford what they need.
  • First of all, a naked toon could level 1 to 60.  It would not necessarily be fast, and you might die a lot.  When I levelled first I didn't have addons, had very little clue as to what I was doing, and could barely keep my current level spell on my toolbar.  I was slow, died a lot, always broke and had a lot of fun.  Quest/dungeon bind on pickup gear can keep you well enough clothed.
  • There is always cheap basic gear, gems, glyphs and enchants, even for a levelling toon.  There are always players levelling professions selling items well under cost.  They are not 'best' items, but an improvement on naked.  (Glyph of Voidwalker - I am looking at you specifically)
  • A first time levelling toon can make a comparitive fortune by taking two gathering (mining, herbalism or skinning) skills, and keeping them in step with their current level.  They even get additional XP for mining or herbalism; worth 4 mob kills per node.  More than enough to cover those additional expenses.
A newbie might not be able to afford the best possible potions, elixirs, bag, glyph, gem, enchant, gear and mount.  They can afford basic training, bags, glyphs and mounts.

Fox's complaint that there is too much inflation
But where is the evidence? Taking the pre cata numbers from Oct 10 to Sept 2011 from WoWMidas - WoWflation (Sep 2011) (Thanks to WoWMidas for the update)
  • Classic WoW mats have increased 40% 
  • BC mats have increased 120%
  • Wrath Mats have increased 260%
  • Cata Mats have fallen 40% since Feb 2011 (early days); with 10% of this last month.
From a mats perspective, the inflation is real, and ... kinda what you expect when the 'government' prints money.  The exception of Cata Mats, which have fallen, and continue to do so, and to be honest - is where the majority of the player base is at.  But it's not out of control inflation (well not by many definitions anyway).

But what does this mean to the first levelling toon, with the traditional advice to level two gathering skills? More gold for them. A stack of copper ore sells for 13g, stacks of light leather for 20g, and silverleaf for 9g.  These are all items a level 5 can gather.  With a minimum of effort, they can be swimming in gold (compared to their costs).
 Ok, but surely there is inflation in crafted mats
As a Scribe/JC, I will readily admit that top end glyphs and gems are selling well (the odd 'bodycheck' aside), with my highest cost items well outside the reach of a newbie.  But for every Epic Northrend gem sale at a huge profit, there is an uncommon gem sale at a huge loss.  For every expensive glyph, there are three cheap ones. On my primary AH, glyphs range from 85 silver for an imp glyph (surely someone has to buy these at some price point), up to 300g for a glyph of aquatic form.

50 glyphs, (average 5/class) are at or below 10g, and roughly double that below 20g.
Basic 'bold' cuts for a levelling toon go for 10g, and a bold carnelian (+30 strength) is also available for 10g (while uncut carnelians cost 30g). 

These prices are well within the price range of any gathering toon, regardless of level or quest rewards.

There is a shortage of 'best', but no shortage of 'second best' giving 80% of the bonus of best.

But there is a huge injection of gold into WoW, surely there is huge inflation.
Every quest you do, every item you vendor, every mob you kill 'creates' gold, (silver or copper at lower levels).  Lets say 16g per quest reward.

Every repair you make, everything you buy from a vendor 'destroys' gold.  The AH cut (5%/15%) also 'destroys' gold.  Lets say 1g destroyed per quest reward.

Everthing else you spend goes from one player to another.  Buy something of the AH - the majority goes
 to another player.  Sell something via trade chat - you get all the gold from that other player.   Gold is neither created or destroyed by these transactions.

So yes, we are definitely earning more than we spend on repairs, training or AH cuts.  If there were no huge goldsink, there would be huge inflation, until the cost of what we consume equals the cost of what we earn as rewards.

So what is this gold sink? The gold cap.  
Saving up for the next big expansion, or simply because you can.  It's a mini game all of itself.

The one time players with deep pockets bring out their purses is when a new set of gear or recipees drops.  Who buys that 80k gear?  Goblins.  Who pushes the new prices up at the start of a major expansion - also Goblins.  It's when we pay.

Take any player from the Warcraft Econ Hall of Fame. They are the gold sinks.  2 Million gold, at 16g per quest, is the reward from 125,000 quests.  At 3 minutes per quest, these players are soaking 260 days of quest rewards each.  Even a 'lowly' 50,000 is still soaking up 6.5 days of questing rewards at max level.

As a side effect of such a huge gold sink, goblins are removing from the economy, preventing otherwise huge inflation.

Without the players seeking the gold cap, we really would need that gold sink that Fox was talking about.