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.



Conclusion
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.