Friday, June 3, 2011

Leatherworking, Oh How I Loathe Thee

So, quick update. You might remember that I promised to buy PG a Vial of the Sands when I hit 100k. Well, I didn't quite hit 100k, I was sitting at roughly 85 but I found one up for about 15k cheaper than they normally go on our server so I snatched it up. She decided it would be more fun for her if I learned the mount and flew her around while she knits (she's a tradeskill nut in RL too). So my DK now has a Vial of the Sands and ferries her around wherever she wants to go.

Speaking of the DK. I had no plans to level him seriously, but the guild needed an undead DK for the Classy Undead achievement, and it made more sense for me to level one five levels than our GL starting a new one and raising it 30 levels. Even though she probably could have done it in a week because she levels freakishly fast. I started a DK when wrath came out, but quickly lost interest in him. This time around, I went DW frost and man, is he fun. Plays very much like my beloved rogue. Anyway, he's now 85, has a full set of crafted PVP gear, and is tricked out with almost every BoE I can buy him at this point. I spent a good 10-15k just buying him toys, not to mention the Vial of the Sands. His tradeskills were mining and blacksmithing. My rogue was already max BS, and my pally has max mining so I didn't really need either of those. Wednesday I decided I was going to drop those and make him a skinner/LW because I don't have either of those and the leather market is pretty wide open on my server. Two days and about 15k later, he's max skinning and LW. Let me tell you, I got so sick of "kill, skin, kill, skin, kill, skin". I think it will pay off though. I've already bought the two purple leg enhancement recipes and have sold two or three of the DPS ones for over 600 and one of the tank ones for 900. Plus, I don't have to find a LW or impose on PG to convert savage to heavy savage to buy Pristine Hide's now.

I had also been planning on dropping herbalism on my drood and picking up enchanting. Both to min/max him a bit with the ring enchants, and because of the money to be made selling enchants. Thanks to PG's foresight, I kept most, if not all, of the greens and blues I made while leveling LW and am going to use them to fuel his enchanting. Got him up to 110 before I couldn't keep my eyes open anymore and had to call it last night.

Once I finish enchanting, that will give me every tradeskill except tailoring. Honestly, I think I have a bit too much, I could make enough money for what I want with just inscription and its getting a little out of hand with all the stuff I do for the AH. I think I'm up over 1,000 auctions. Or was, I'm sure several of them have sold. Most of that is crafted, I've done very little flipping lately.

With all of my expenditures, I was down to around 35k liquid, but thanks to the still growing glyph market, I'm back up over 50k. With the Faire coming to town and me having a few completed decks and a lot of single cards in the bank, I think I'll be back up to near 80k pretty quickly. Hopefully just in time for my vacation. PG and I are going to Toronto for a much needed break from RL, work, and WoW. We might even leave the hotel room and take in some sights.

Friday, May 27, 2011

I feel...kinda ashamed. WoW and Real Life Imapcts

For me, and I feel comfortable saying anyone reading this, WoW is a pleasurable past time. Sure, sometimes we get annoyed or aggravated with technical issues, low drop rates, etc. but for the most part, the game is fun. We in the gold making community often speak of gold farmers in an offhand way. To be blunt, we take advantage of them by buying the things they farm and sell by turning them into other things that sell for more money. A co-worker linked me an article today that bothers me to no end.

Read that and think about it for a minute. How would your perspective of the game change if it was something you were *forced* to do after a long day of back and soul-breaking labor? Not to play for fun, but as a second job, where your physical well-being might very well depend on someone buying YOUR stacks of items in the AH instead of someone else's.

I always envisioned the stereotypical "Chinese gold farmer" as somebody who came to an office, logged into an account, farmed, sold, etc. then went home to their families. Just like any 9-5 job. The fact that there are people out there being forced to do this under the threat of physical violence makes me sick.

In a way, we're responsible for them. The fact that those of us in other countries enjoy this game so much that we're willing to pay real money for virtual money makes it possible for these people to be exploited in such a fashion.

I've read articles about WoW and other games having real life consequences often, as have all of you. Marriages have broken up, friendships have ended, people have been killed over 1's and 0's.

I used to look forward to tells from random gold farmers. I took it as an opportunity to sharpen my wit and insults. I've said things to gold farmers that my grandmother would be ashamed of me to hear. I looked at them as people who took advantage of other's misfortune. I'm sure some of them were deserving. I'm sure not every gold farmer out there is a prisoner facing a beating if he doesn't meet his quota. But, what if? What if that guy sending you the tell to buy gold is only doing it because he's desperate, because he's fearful for his life if he doesn't move another 10k today?

I'm not saying go out and buy gold. That just perpetuates the cycle. I'm saying, the people on the other end are just that - people. Next time you get one of those tells, don't assume they're a predator of hacked accounts. The account they're using is probably hacked, sure, but that dude might be in a world of hurt you will hopefully never understand. I know I'll treat them differently from now on, and I hope you will as well.

Edit: I've since posted twice on Blizz's general Forums regarding this issue and they have removed both posts. In addition, someone else had posted a similar post and they removed that as well. I'm frankly disgusted at their lack of a response. I know not many read my post, but those that do, get the word out. Post on your own blogs, post on your guild forums. Blizz has a moral responsibility to address this and instead they are sticking their head in the sand and pretending it doesn't exist.

Monday, May 23, 2011

The long-awaited Shout Out Post

Quick update before I get to the shout outs: I hit 65k last night, and didn't get to check my mail this morning due to sleeping late and having to rush to get to work, but according to TUJ, I sold quite a few glyphs and some other assorted stuff so should be around 70k now. Today is May 23rd, I started my gold making venture on May 1st, which means in 22 days I have turned 3k into 70k liquid and about 60k worth of auctions. I'm not seeing the silly 5-6k gains from glyphs that a lot of bloggers are, but my typical day sees me bringing in 2-3k which I'm quite happy with.

Now to the shout outs! These folks are, in my opinion, the best of the best at relating information about making money. Their blogs are the ones that I actually READ instead of just skimming.

First up is Bangkok Bill over at Bangkok Bill's World of Goldcraft. BBWOG (which is really fun to say beebeewog, try it) is the first blog I read after Power Word: Gold every day. He has a ton of useful information and an actual sense of humor. A lot of bloggers try to force their humor and it comes off weird. You can tell Bangkok Bill is a genuinely funny person.

Next up is Khalior's Tentacular Junkpile. Khalior might not be one of the "elite" gold bloggers with a ton of traffic, and even recently said that his blog is mainly for him and his friends, but that said, he has some good info. I like his blog because it seems like he's in a similar situation to me: high population server with lots of AH competition. His post on Fandral might be the first "lore" I've ever read. I hope he does more stuff like that. I've never gotten into the story behind WoW, mainly because it has no impact on the game like it did in EQ, but that post was actually interesting.

Since Stokpile has retired his blog and there is no resident "grouch" in the blogging community, I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that Midas at WoWMidas will take his place. His posts are often tongue-in-cheek and blunt. Two things I hold in very high regard. Like Bangkok Bill, Midas is a genuinely funny person and it shows in his writing. Midas has a way of cutting through the hype and getting to the heart of a matter that I appreciate.

Last, but not least is Faid at Nerf Faids. Nerf Faids is actually the very first gold blog I found. Not sure how, but when I got the inkling of the idea of playing the AH game, I found her blog. From there I found Power Word: Gold, which of course led me to more blogs than I had time to read. I do try to peruse them all, but honestly I find a lot of them sorta...superfluous. As is to be expected, I guess, there is a lot of redundant information out there. We all basically do the same things, we just write about it in different ways. What sets these guys apart is their writing styles and the actual usefulness of their information.

Of course, I read the "big" blogs regularly too. You know all about those, though. JMTC, Cold's Gold Factory, Alto's, etc. In my opinion, the only advantage they have over the others is that they have more traffic. The same stuff is being said (often better in some cases) on smaller blogs with fewer viewers. Chances are, if your blog is on Flux's directory (and if it isn't, send him an email. If I can get listed, anybody can.) I read it. I'm not saying these guys are better than yours if I didn't mention you specifically, but these four plus PW:G are the ones that have helped me the most.

So, to the four of you (five counting Flux) have my thanks and appreciation for making it easy for me to start my way down the road of WoW riches!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

On Time Management and Gold Making

At about 1am this morning, I got a tell from a guildie stating "I'm going to have to enroll you in AH Rehab." PG has also recently expressed a concern over the amount of time I'm spending on AH related stuff. I hadn't really thought about it as I was enjoying what I was doing. For the first time in a long time, the game outside of raid zones was fun for me. As I mentioned in my first post, I'm the raid leader for our guild of friends and family. Until I started my gold making venture, it was pretty rare for me to log on outside of raid times. If the mood struck me to run a heroic, I'd log in and run one or two, but I spent way less time in game. Once I started the gold making venture, my in game time skyrocketed. The vast majority of that time is on my AH toon, who is not guilded. When I did log over to one of my guilded toons, I was busy prospecting, cutting gems, making belt buckles, milling, making glyphs, fortune cards, etc. I guess from my guild's perspective I am less social despite being in game more.

Part of the problem is that I am extremely inefficient in my crafting processes. I recognized this early on because I was switching toons three or four times to get stuff done because I would forget Random_Mat_01, switch back to AH guy to buy it, send it to crafter, etc. I've gotten a lot better in that aspect and even developed a routine where I get everything done on one toon at a time. My restocking process doesn't take nearly as long now as it did before, but can still be improved upon. I'm going to look into using TSM for jewel crafting but I'm not sure how much more efficient I can be there. I use Panda to prospect and mill, and crafting gems with ATSW is already pretty smooth. I queue everything I'm going to make and then just hit "Process Queue". I'm not sure if TSM has a "craft all" option that would make it even smoother but its something I'll look into.

The biggest part of the problem is that I'm doing things on a day to day basis. I cut enough gems, craft enough belt buckles, etc to last the day. The glyphs are an exception because they move so slowly. I'm going to try to set aside a block of time on one of my days off to craft enough stuff to last a whole week and see if that helps. I'm liquid enough now that I can invest in the mats to make 100 belt buckles instead of 10. Assuming my luck with carnelians and inferno rubies holds, I can prospect a few hundred stacks of ore and have enough cut gems on hand instead of crafting a new batch each day or every other day.

I'm also going to stop the cycle of cancel/repost whenever I get undercut. I'm going to check for under cuts before signing off each night and that's it. I have enough auctions up that getting undercut on a few isn't going to kill me. Out of roughly 600 auctions, I get undercut on perhaps 200 throughout the day. Those other 400 will bring in enough if they sell that its not worth stressing over and taking the time to constantly cancel/repost. I had kind of already started this, as I was just checking my frequent selling gems throughout the day to make sure I was the cheapest. Given that most of my competition seems to be sporadic at best, having merchandise on the AH constantly should still give me plenty of sales.

What I've realized is that while playing the mini-game of WoW Fortune Builder, I was missing out a lot in the rest of the game. There were times when friends were asking me to PVP (which, thanks to my shaman I am now addicted to) and I would say I couldn't because I had to do AH stuff. I started the AH game to make the rest of the game more fun and ended up not playing the rest of the game. That stops today. To the few of you who read my blog: Take a look around and see what you're missing when you're busy searching for a great flip or crafting 1000 doodads. If you just play for the AH, great, more power to you. But remember, the gold is just a mechanism to increase the fun you have in the rest of the game.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Where to start, where to start?

So I know I promised a shout out post, and it will happen eventually, I promise. So much is going on though that it keeps getting pushed back. It seems like every night I make a new "discovery" about the gold market. I hit 50k last night, twice actually. Just barely eked over, then bought some ore and herbs, then a lot of stuff sold and put me solidly over. Until later. But I'll get to that later.

Big thanks to all the bloggers who reported the removal of the cool down on Icy Prism (link to Cold's Gold Factory, others might have broken the news but I'm at work and can't find those posts now... If you broke it and actually read this, I apologize. Let me know and I'll add a link, not that it will increase your traffic much. :)) I sold  two +10 stat nightmare tears for 800g buyout already, and have sold quite a few of the blue quality gems for 20-50g. The two nightmare tears more than paid for the orbs and green gems I bought from the AH so its already pure profit. Hopefully I can mange to keep finding orbs for 5-10g. I'm the only person selling Wrath gems at the moment so the market is all mine.

Jewel crafting continues to be my big money maker. For some reason I'm the only person selling Brilliant Inferno Rubies and have managed to sell 10-15 at 150g each. Normally the price hovers around 100g with a lot of competition. Not sure what's going on there, but I hope it keeps up. Now if my competition for delicates would go away...

Thanks to Fluxdada (again, what would I do without you?) and Foo, I had a pretty major breakthrough in glyphs last night. Thanks to Flux's most recent post about TSM and some advice from Foo, I finally got TSM up and running on both my scribe and my AH mule. A profitable glyph scan showed that there were a good 20 profitable glyphs that I wasn't making. Stockpiling three of each of these was going to cost me, though. I moved 5k from my banker to my scribe and let TSM do its magic in the AH to supply me with what I needed to make them. Ended up spending about 2k on mats, but I now have a nice little pile of profitable glyphs with less competition than the leveling glyphs. Less competition is good, since it means fewer cancels/reposts. I'm religiously doing my minor and northrend researches to learn more glyphs and the stupid daily thing to earn points. I'm up to 514. Thinking about dumping some gold into mats for the relics to get the last 10 points so I can make the big darkmoon cards, but the relics don't sell very well on my server so I will probably end up with a big loss there but might be able to hand the results out as presents to leveling guildies or something if they don't sell.

Speaking of Darkmoon cards, I did my nightly scan of cards/decks last night and found all the cards to make a Volcano deck for a reasonable price. Picked the cards up for under 6k and have the deck up for 9500. Expect that to sell pretty quickly since the card had been going for 10-12k a couple of weeks ago with the Faire going on. If it doesn't, I can always hold on to it until the next Faire and get a bit more out of it, or worst case my PVP Shaman has a new trinket.

Also took a tip from Mageshadow and tried out Elixir of Giant Growth. There were no deviate fish on the AH so I flew over to the Barrens to fish some and tried to buy some from the folks leveling there, but apparently none of them were fishing. The only response I got to my offer to buy them in bulk was some barely readable insults. I amused myself by trolling the trolls while I fished up two stacks, which took me about 30 minutes. With some clever ads, I managed to sell a few at 15g each. I'll probably play around with the price for a bit and see how well they sell. Not sure I want to subject myself to Barrens chat often enough to keep them up steadily, might just add deviate fish to my snatch list and put them up when I have the mats available without farming.

All in all, its looking good. I've gone from 30k and stagnant to 45k liquid (on my banker alone) with a good 40k in auctions. My next goal is 100k, and I think when I get there I'll treat PG (and myself by proxy) to a vial of the sands!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

New Shuffle Option

Well, maybe new. I dunno if anybody else has covered it, anyway.

Quick question: What's the best chest enchant? Chances are, most of you said peerless stats. Which is true, but also viewed by a lot of players as expensive. Which makes 15 stats very attractive to both players and goblins. Players feel like they're getting "more for their money" since on my server, scrolls of peerless stats go for around 2k and mighty stats goes for a little over 100. Its very attractive to goblins because the mats to make this scroll are a whopping 2 lesser celestial essence. You know, the ones we get tons of from DE'ing the rings, etc? Yeah, those. They sell for about 15g on my server. So by turning a few into scrolls and putting them up, you're basically turning 30g (plus a bit for vellums) into 100g or more, depending on your server.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Vendor Flip Tip

I have to admit, this really isn't a "vendor" flip for me, but it might start being one. Some enterprising goblin decided it would be a good idea to purchase the BC era limited supply blacksmithing patterns:

Adamantite Cleaver
Adamantite Dagger
Adamantite Maul
Adamantite Rapier
Adamantite Rod

Now, this goblin probably thinks he's clever because he's buying them from the vendor and auctioning them. For 10g. He's loving the fact that every one he puts up sells quickly and he's making 5g each. What he probably doesn't realize is that its ME buying them and reposting them for 50-60g. And selling every one of them on a server that it is ridiculously difficult to move "old" recipes on. I'm not sure if I want to disillusion him and start buying them direct from the vendor myself, or continue to make him happy by letting him do the grunt work for me. I'll probably just keep buying them as he puts them up because its a PITA to get to anywhere these things are sold without bugging PG to port me around.

Even if you're not lucky enough to have someone doing the grunt work for you, pick some of these up if you're near Shatt for whatever reason.