31 January 2011

Don't tell me - I don't want to know

An otherwise nameless blogging guild member recently fished up Mr Pinchy's Magical Crawdad Box.

Congratulations.

I would like this achievement, but want to psyche myself up to it.  From El's Angling, "On average, just two out of a thousand catches will be Mr. Pinchy. Since you'll struggle to get more than 50 catches an hour, expect to invest a lot of time to catch this."

So - this achievement is scheduled for a very slow day.  I have toons to level to 85 before I even start on it, because on average it will take 10 hours of fishing.

So, I am comforted in knowing that while the rotten scoundrel guild member got what I want, he took hours to fish it up. But then this exchange over guild chat:
Guild member : "Do you know how many casts it took me?"
chorus : No?
Guild member : 7. 

I don't want to know.   I just don't.

Sob sob

28 January 2011

Selling ice to Inuit's

Be there for your friends. Help them out. Share good times. Don't be a leech. Don't be high maintenance. Don't talk about yourself all the time. Listen. Empathize. Do favors. Be genuine. Never betray their trust in you. Regularly show them that your relationship with them is valuable to you. Care! The Eskimo Report part 5

Last night Breevok wanted me to raise prices and reduce my undercut. "You would make more gold if you did.".

Maybe. I know that he uses a variety of methods to make gold. Shifting product accross markets, hard work, crafting, and price manipulation are all techniques he uses. He makes a lot of gold - more than me. I am not going to disregard his 'advice'. I also know that he is not beyond providing advice that personally benefits him.

Did you hear the one about the goblin who'd made enough gold from a market so was moving on? No? I didn't either. While Moonvengence is playing on this server, and there is gold to be made in glyphs, he will be making it.

Let's look at some reasonable assumptions:
  • Moonvengence has a grudge against me - for whatever reason, and is camping my auctions.
  • Moonvengance has much more in-game time than I do, and can 1c undercut as soon as I post, reducing my sales.
  • I passively respond, I lower my prices through a mix of 5g undercuts, multiple posting cycles and a reduced threshold/fallback. Alternatively I aggressivly respond, reducing profits to razor thin margins. (I have done this before). In either case prices fall.
  • Without a trade war, glyph prices will rise naturally.

When gold making, we prefer a low effort high profit market. A trade war with Moonvengence vs Foo works against this. Breevok is very well aware of this.

It is a three way indefinite iterated prisoner's dilema, where defecting is very hard work and co-operating is easy. Breevok has declared that he is 'co-operating'. Moonvengence appears to agree to co-operation with Breevok, but also desires to defect where I am involved.
(Technically it has more than 3 players, but the remaining players presence is small enough not to be noticed).

  • Breevok makes gold (from glyphs) by cherry picking, and makes more gold with more and/or fatter cherries.
  • Moonvengence makes gold by selling bulk glyphs and makes more gold by preventing my sales.
  • I make gold by selling all glyphs. How do I want to make more gold - defect or co-operate? That is the question.

Moonvengence apparently has expressed a dislike of my agressiveness, both when he first entered the market, and with my undercutting strategy. Both annoy him. This is from the player that has driven almost every other scribe out of the glyph market. Methinks the presence of another large player is the aggravation. The easy way for me to reduce this agravation is to shrink my effect on 'his' market. Umm, I should make more gold by bending to the whim of the largest presence? This is from Breevok that professes not to react to other players influence? mmm.

Curious peice of information, Last night:
  • Moonvengence has about 20  pages of glyphs (mostly 5 of each glyph)
  • Foobarfoo + foosglypha + foosglyphb had about 10 pages of glyphs (at 1-6 of each glyph - I don't cancel posts)
  • Breevok's toons had about 2 pages of glyphs
  • The next player had 1 page.
  • Everyone else had less than a page.

Some background into my stocks:
  • Back before cata and 3 ink glyphs, I had a stockpile of 40 of each glyph and purchased some other glyphs below the new cost price. I also had stockpiles of both inks and glyphs.
  • Once cata hit, it was my intention to hold 20 of each glyph.
  • With the exception of a couple inks, I have exhausted my pre-cata stockpiles. I have exhausted most of my herbs.
  • There may have been a period I purchased well under priced glyphs since cata, but not many and not 'recently'.
  • A few weeks ago I dropped my 'desired holding' to 15 of each glyph. (This bounces around according to time & herb availability)

I split my glyphs into 3 groups:
  • Sell well. These are the glyphs where I have to re-craft to maintain my 'desired holding' (eg before I craft I have less than 15).  While I deem a glyph to be in this category - I will 'co-operate'.
  • Ok. These are glyphs that are between my desired holding but less than a stack. (i.e. I am not re-crafting these at the moment).  If this category grows too large - I will 'defect', otherwise I will (marginally) co-operate.
  • Poor. These are glyphs that I have over a stack, in some cases well over a stack. They have consistenly underperformed since before we had 3 ink glyphs. I want my bank space back..  For all glyphs in this category I will 'defect'.

I am prepared to meet both Breevok & Moonvengance part way.
  • I am going to take a day or so to re-sort, re-craft, allow my auctions to expire, resetting prices as much as I can.
  • 'Sell Well' glyphs. These don't need defending. I will be setting a very high fallback & threshold, small undercut, and I intend to daily post. At the moment, the majority of glyphs fit this category.
  • Ok glyphs. These need work to sell. They will all be sold at a profit, but will have a larger undercut, and I intend to post these at least daily. While this set of glyphs is small I won't worry too much. If this group grows larger by previously 'Sell Well' glyphs becoming 'OK', I will become assertive in this group.
  • Poor glyphs will be sold at whatever price is needed to shift them, untill they become 'Ok' (i.e. less than a stack).
  • Where it is cheaper to purchase rather than manufacture, and I want more of that glyph, I will purchase them.

I am in glyphs to make gold. Apparently I had been targeted by someone capable of 1c camping, and I still made gold.  I will continue to make gold.regardless of competition or co-operation. 

26 January 2011

Apparently someone doesn't like me

At the risk of adding insult to injury, I didn't notice.
The theme - as it often is - is glyphs.  Breevok has brought to light his understanding of what happened.  This post is in response to Breevok's. 

I have some recollections of the conversations of the day, biased by selective memory (as happens).  Blogs are great, as they form a written record.  Re-reading old posts, there are days I come across assertively.

Looking at some of old posts

Breevok post talked about me irritating someone, about fun in an untapped market, yet his own blog posts were about fighting over scraps.

Sometimes I irritate people. Some people I irritate all the time. This is unfortunate, but I suspect that the same can be said of anyone. When I contacted Moonvengence, I had 3 goals : Find out how serious he was going to be, invite him to contribute to the online discussion, and let him know that our market was crowded. What I found out was that he was more serious than he let on (and with the wall of glyphs he was already serious), and he became a competitor that drove most others out. At the risk of adding further insult, I prefered the market after Moonvengence entered.

My pricing strategy is generally set after a week or so of thinking. If I can't keep up with sales, raise prices. Too few sales and I drop prices and/or post more regularly.

It is easy to see what toons I post glyphs with. Scan the AH for a seller with the name containing Foo. Foobarfoo, Foosglypha, Foosglyphb sell my glyphs. There is roughly one Foo toon that is not me.

Today, my biggest concerns are that the prices are high enough, and we are selling out enough to encourage a new (or even old) determined scribe. Since release 4.0 , with the possible exception of a 4 day window in December I have not been bothered by any player. I had to work a little harder for sales in late December, but as I was on leave (and had a second account to play with), this was not a problem.

At the significant risk of adding new competition (or even inspiring old competition), I would suggest that inscription is currently the most profitable tradeskill, whether you mill inks (of any variety), craft and sell glyphs, or make darkmoon cards. If you want to mill inks on a fee for service basis, please let me know ingame or via a comment here.

25 January 2011

Heroic Vortex Pinacle

TL;DR : For Altairus dogding whirlwinds is far far more important than wind changes.  I mention whirlwind so much that I want a thesaurus.

As you may have read yesterday, I have many excuses not to run heroics (but fewer reasons).  Last night I tanked Vortex Pinacle, my fourth heroic.  I set a 'finish time' of 11:30pm, but it was more like midnight. It was a nappy party.  Wipe, Wipe, Wipe.  But I did learn a bit, and next time it wont hurt so bad.

Most readers will be aware that backup healing helps.  A backup tank also works.  I have run with a bear/cat for two of my heroics, and found the extra defensive cooldowns/health pool a life saver.

The group consisted of my DK tank (foolich), Druid Moonkin, Druid Bear in mostly cat form, Hunter, and a Disc Priest, all on our first Heroic Vortex Pinacle attempt.  We had heard the second boss was painful.

I use the Sword and Board blog as a very short guide to what I should be doing, and it has worked well.  I don't do well at watching videos, text based strategies + experience works better for me.  I don't run as DPS.  Last night, we came up with our own strategies.

Before 1st boss trash tip:  A lot of the trash like to throw you off the platform.  It might not end in a wipe, but it's a pain when the tank (me) gets thrown away.  Having a second tank was good.  Stay close to the inside of paths where you can.
Before 3rd boss trash tip.  CC/magic damage does not work in or accross a lightning field.  Seperate Temple Adepts so they don't heal each other.  Interupt casters with gusto and glee.

Bosses 1 & 3 were largely according to Sword and Board.  On the final boss, the static cling is a killer if it co-incides with a lightning field.  We solved this by jumping lots (not pretty but it worked).

Altairus (second boss) was as hard as we had been told.    We had many plans that did not work.  It only takes one plan that does.  This boss does not have an enrage timer.  Deaths were caused by 3 things:
* bounced on 3 whirlwinds in a row
* bounced off the platform by whirlwind and insta-killed
* Healer out of mana

Our goal is to (A) avoid whirlwinds and (B) save healer mana. 

Apart from whirlwinds, the other significant damage was the bosses frost breath.  A DK's anti magic shell grants (near?) immunity to every second breath.  A prismatic elixir provides 90 magic resistance - with this and party buffs we ended up with 25% reduced magic damage.  DPS quaffing the magic resist elixir is worth it.

Being downwind means a movement and cast time debuff.  Conversely being upwind means a movement and cast time buff.  It does not affect heal per mana or damage per mana.  Being upwind is good because it allows you more time to dodge whirlwinds.  Any DPS/HPS benefit is trivial compared to avoiding whirlwinds.  Dead toons don't do much.

In the centre there seemed to be fewer whirlwinds, so we put both the boss and our party (bar the hunter) in the middle.  Our healer concentrated on mana efficient heals, letting party health drop when we did get hit by the whirlwinds.

I understand that whirlwinds are getting nerfed, and our gear will only get better, so the fight will become easier.  I am glad we did it while it is 'hard'.

In summary, our strategy that succeded was:
* Avoid whirlwind
* Mostly ignore wind changes
* Everyone + Boss (except Hunters) in the middle.
* Mana efficient healing

24 January 2011

A trolling we will go

Theres nothing I hate more than bloggers whining about things they hate.

I keep finding excuses to delay doing Heroics.  I don't have time during the week, and had been running Glory of Ulduar on Saturday nights.  There is never a healer on.  I won't do Raids till I complete the heroics.  Excuses galore.

(Safe for work, but maybe not for your ego) Read more

20 January 2011

Have your cake, but eat it too.

Back in the last days of the lich king
Northrend herbs were plentiful.  Mill, talk to Jessica (who incidentally was where you were hearthed), craft, post.  Addons to help you
  • Buy cheap northrend herbs from the AH
  • Buy from Jessica.
  • Queue glyphs to craft
  • AFK Post on the AH and walk away
  • AFK undercut
  • AFK collect mail
Manually you had to :
  • Hearth
  • Walk 20 steps to an AH (if you were an engineer/inscriber)
  • Walk 10 steps to a mailbox
  • Walk 20 steps to Jessica
  • Craft the glyphs (one click per type of glyph)
  • Walk 20 steps to an AH (again if you were an engineer/inscriber
Ok there was a bit more to the manual portion but not much.  Everyone was doing this on thin profit margins.  Costs of 2g50, sales of 5g were common.

But then things got harder.
All the changes were talked about on the patch notes or on the bloggosphere.  If you missed it, you missed out.
  • Glyphs needing 3 inks instead of 1.  I made 40 of each glyph before this dropped ca ching, but if you didn't you were behind the leaders.
  • Patch 4 came earlier than I thought, and had installation issues for some.  Great if you were on first and/or pre-loaded the AH. oops :  I didnt get all of my glyphs up, and it took 3 days to sort out installation issues.
  • Downgrading inks from Blackfallow instead of ink of the sea.  I converted all of my ink of the sea before this ca ching.  Otherwise you had to now mill old world herbs
  • Some glyphs could no longer be crafted.  I still had large reserves ca ching.
  • Some glyphs were introduced later, and you had to learn them. oops - I missed a few days but oh well.
  • Everone could learn all the glyphs for their class.  For some - gotta catch em all. ca ching (large stockpiles)
  • A very large distraction happened - people wanted to level again.
People got out of the habit of regularly crafting glyphs.  We had large stockpiles, and if we needed to craft the odd glyph or two, no problems.  

But now, the stockpiles are running low.  We are back at work.  I think northern hemisphere kids are alredy back at school.  Soon Australian kids will be back too.  There are still dungeons to run, rep to grind, raid bosses to dream about.  And glyph making became hard.

The unprepared/unwilling were already knocked about by the changes up to 4.0.  The semi-prepared fell in love with their easy stockpiles.

Ca Ching
I have been upbeat on Cata glyphs for a very long time.
Those that are left are not only making more gold, but also more gold/hour than we did before. However, we need processing time and to think about our purchases.
  • What herbs do you need for Jadefire ink?  
  • There are never enough herbs for Ethereal ink so we need to downgrade via Jessica.  
  • Our server is about to have price pressures on Northrend herbs/ink
  • Jessica is a pain to get to.
  • Do I mill, or do I run a dungeon
  • Do I post glyphs in front of a PC or do my real life chores
  • What does this glyph cost me to make again?
Each barrier is also a barrier to the competition.  People also didn't learn all their glyphs when they were cheap.  Also people are levelling a lot of alts.  For those that are left the pickings are ripe, but time consuming.

I have increased sales, but I have also have time pressures.  I have the toons and desire to work the prospecting shuffle but at the moment lack ability to prioritise it.  So I choose to
  • reorganise my glyphs
  • increase my fallback and threshold on glyphs I have 20 or les
  • reduce my fallback and threshold on glyphs I have more than 20
  • reduced my 'holding' to 15 of each glyphs (down from 20).  (This piper will have to be paid, but maybe later when herb prices drop)
  • Re-engage the services of an ink miller
During my (mostly failed) reorganisation attempt, I went AFK from selling a bit (APM how I both love and loathe thee).  Also, while I don't track individual sales closely, I am sure that random glyphs are selling out.  I intend to attempt to re-organise glyphs out of game this weekend.

On our server, Breevok is running low on Northrend herbs.  The unholy trinity of his toons, my toons, and the dark side of the moon have, on the whole, been supplying the market.  While we do not practice active price collaboration, we seem to have fallen into an informal gentlemans agreement about the pricing and undercutting.  And I suspect that we are all better off because of it.

Untill the price of Cataclysm herbs drops significantly, and it wont for several more darkmoon faire's + guild cauldron achievements, the biggest risk I see is that we stop servicing the market, and the market 'demands' a new glyph seller.

With Breevok to keep me honest, I expect there to be cake for a while to come.

14 January 2011

Why run unwanted content?

A commercial WoW blog had an article about people level capped players being put into instances that they outgear via the dungeon finder.  Twice in a row.

If dungeon finder puts you in an unwanted dungeon, start specifying what you want to run.  It's easy.  You miss out on a couple of points for gear - so what?


I am not the most active of raiders/dungeon runners and I have zero problems with getting gear.  I run instances/raids for the following reasons:
  • I have not yet completed it as that role (eg I have not yet run many heroics, or my tank wont run it anymore, but my healer will)
  • I have completed it, but want to practice a specific mechanic
  • It is a training run for a healer or tank
  • I am being sociable
Admitidly, it is nice having gold to buy pretty stuff from the AH, and I have bought a few blue items for my tank (Foolich).  Use your profession bonuses to 'gear yourself up' - whether that is Jewelcrafting and Enchanting, or even Herbalism and Mining (an hour or two of this will earn you gold for gear)
However even on the very limited (in comparison to my peers) dungeon runs I have still managed to get a badge piece. 

Easy fixed.  If random dungeon finder doesn't give what you want, choose your dungeons. 

11 January 2011

Personal milestones

Congratulations to Breevok for 50% of his milestone.

Breevok gives me something to work to.  I am good at making gold..  Breevok, at the moment, is better.  This will change :)

Not only do I enjoy the gold sub-game, it also gives me the ability to save up and say 'I want that'.  Some grind dungeons, do dailies, farm for mats.  I farm the auction house.

There are two recent purchases I am pleased with, milestones of my own.  First of all was the Heroic dungeon gear.  Foolich hit 85, completed all of the normal dungeons (once), hit the auction house and had my gear for heroics, gemmed and enchanted.  Admitidly it has some reslience which I intend to replace, but oh well.  Now all I need is time to do heroics.

The second purchase was toward Mix Master.  The guild was already a long way towards this before I realised it.  Seeing it was achievable, I gutted my farming spot, and put a dent in my horde 'backup' farming spot as well.  Regardless of whether I should or not, I like my recipees.  I purchased the herbs, and then made, far too many flasks.  I spent too much, and had a great time doing so.  Even after my spending spree, the guild was 50 flasks or so short.  A great thing about being in a guild with others that work toward common goals is that it didn't matter, someone else picked up the baton, and when I logged in today, we had Mix Master. 

Now, all I need to do is work my alchemist (Foosecond) up to 'friendly' with the guild (nearly there).

09 January 2011

Cata Alchemy flasks are probably a bad idea

The Darkmoon Faire has finished, so there should be more cata herbs available for alchemy.

However, there is a new herb sink with the recent changes to the guild achievement Mix Master, allowing guild members to learn the 'Couldron of Battle'.  10,000 flasks was a big ask, but with the recent reduction down to 1000 flasks, this is now affordable - for those with deep pockets.  The guild I am in is Level 11 with Chug a Lug (bonus flask duration), so Guild Cauldrons have become even more attractive.  But 1000 flasks is still a lot of herbs and a bit of volatile life.  Flasks also sell for less than mats (and personlly I prefer two elixirs - the total buff is meant to be better).

Each guild needs 1000 cataclysm flasks.  Each flask takes 24 herbs, and 6 volatile life.  24,000 herbs + 6000 life is a lot for each guild to pull out of the auction house.

If you are not an achievement junky, check your prices before making flasks.  Of course, if you are after the achievement, go for it.


One final note: Gold bloggers occasionally talk about resetting prices on the AH, with the biggest drawback being offloading your excess stock, plus other players unloading theirs at the new prices.  With purchasing herbs for Mix Master there is every chance you will reset the AH prices, possibly draining other players stockpiles.  It will take a while for the AH to 'respawn' replacement herbs.  If you finally end up with too many herbs, sell your excess back at the new prices.

08 January 2011

When to use Auctioneer instead of APM/ZA

I use both Auctioneer and Auction Profit Master to post auctions.  The last time this conversation occured on the bloggospehere, the majority of bloggers were in support of QA3 (the precursor to Auction Profit Master & Zero Auctions).

I continue to use Auction Profit Master where I know the market and am comfortable setting prices.  Glyphs are fairly easy.  I know my costs - which are similar by ink type, and I know what sells well and sells poorly.

However, I am currently using pure Auctioneer a lot more.  There are two points I really care about market trends - when I am crafting items, and when I am selling them.  When I am selling items at the AH, the Appraiser tab lets me see market trends easily.

At the moment, with the exception of glyphs, I am selling stuff using Auctioneer's apraiser tab.

  • Refresh All (Alt + Refresh button)
  • Look at items (edit) that are Yellow, Orange or Red in price, and post most of these.  Sometimes I will Enable price matching.  Sometimes I will even set a fixed price (with or without price matching).  Other times I will do neither.
  • Commodity items that are bought in bulk and sell (or not) regardless of the cheapeset buyout (mostly cloth and stone), I tend to sell for market price without price matching.
  • Some seasonal items that are 'blue' in price will be added to my snatch list and I will buy out.  (small eggs in particlular)
I am not currently using Batch Posting, though I have had a lot of success with it in the past.

05 January 2011

1500 Twilight Jasmine milled

TL:DR 0.5 Burning Embers/5 Twilight Jasmine; 3 Ashen pigment/5 Twilight Jasmine - just like auctioneer said.

I milled these herbs in a controlled manner because (a) some were interested , and (b) another guildy though the numbers seemed higher.  I also want to know what my costs are.

I stockpiled 1500 Twilight Jasmine (had to grab some off the horde AH), and milled them, with the results on my milling spreadsheet.  This is very similar to what I did with cinderbloom.  Results are what Auctioneer suggested.
  • 164 burning embers becoming 82 inferno inks
  • 916 ashen pigment becoming 458 blackfallow inks 
 This gives 0.548 burning embers/ 5 herbs (vs an expected 0.5), and 3.05 Ashen pigment/5 herbs (vs an expected 3.0)

04 January 2011

Back to work

At work I sit, already tired
Auctions sold out, undercut, or expired.


I have been more upbeat on glyphs than most of the gold makers.  In part due to others deciding that glyphs were on a dead end path, other distractions, and some moderatly agressive undercutting, I have recently been earning a lot of gold out of glyphs.  I have generally earned a living from glyphs, but now I am earning a life style, with many glyphs regularly selling for 75g, in what was a very crowded market.

A lot of alts are being levelled, which I think helps, as does an exhaustion of some pre 4.0 glyph & ink stockpiles.  I am now busily buying herbs for inks that I am short on for 1-2g, northrend herbs at 50s, and other glyph herbs at less than 1g.  With the exception of snowfall Ink, I have stopped selling 'rare' inks due to the price being below what I think the long term price will be.

As I have struggled to keep up with my glyph making, I am not participating as much in other markets as I thought I might, and have again outsourced my milling, for about 1g / ink, and convert Blackfallow ink as necessary.  I have also decided (for the time being) not to participate in the darkmoon faire cards, as with some trinkets apparently being available for rep, I think they will be seen as overpriced.

If you have a scribe without the profitable glyps, consider milling and ink making.  Assuming you have multiple glyph sellers, picking up cheap herbs and milling can be very profitiable, if somewhat lacking in glamour.  (The same applies to bolts of cloth for tailors).  I have also noticed a fairly large converstion opportunity for Blackfallow Ink to Inferno Ink via Jessica Sellers in Dalaran (on my server about 50g in 230g).