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.

Professions
PVE

PVP Battlegrounds
Role specific stuff
Addons
Further reading

(Glyphs)



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?

Facts;
  • 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.