Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Locked, Loaded, So Why Unsub?

First, a quick toasty and tasty roast.

I recently caught a retweet from Power Word: Beg about “Top Gold Makers to follow on Twitter 2014!”…  which I affectionately call “People who have not yet told me to go get a job”.  In the list, he listed a whopping 2 people I would definitely follow if you’re looking to score gold consistently (and not luck of the draw 10k crap).  I’ll let you decide who.  And if I chapped your ass by saying only 2 because you know who ONE of them is and you know you aren’t the other one, then please, feel free to take it up with me after class.

Besides, anything you read in public is useless information because when everyone knows, nobody wins.  It’s one reason I don’t publish “How To” guides on my own blog, I muse about thought processes because I already know what I’m doing and obviously most don’t.  For example, if you follow me on Twitter, you’ll never get anything except my kneejerk reactions to things, so you have to follow me for entertainment purposes only.  Since I’m not doing this for money, I don’t care how many or who follows me.  Professionally I’ve dealt in trade secrets my entire career, even signing NDAs with every contract I enter into.  One even forced me to relocate geographically upon severance.  So if you want to know what I do, you become my friend and prove we are on equal footing and the relationship would be beneficial for both parties.  Twitter is essentially high-tech bathroom graffiti with hyperlinks.

I don’t follow the Stay-At-Home streamers, they either need to get back to school or do something more productive, and I’m busy.  I do however rely on retweets of others to let me know how these boneheads are doing because it’s just not worth the time to follow the inane banter that their pointless little lives produce while calling it their pursuit in life.  Check out Gamebreaker and see how that’s going.  Just saying, my company is hiring.  Within a few hours you could pay for that fresh 90!

So support your local bleggar – tell them to go get a job.  And on to our topic!

What’s Content?  Certainly Not What You Think It Is From The Looks of It

Blizzard went and released the pre-sale event with a ~9 month projected release date on it.  They knew what they were doing, Q1 ends in 3 weeks, and they knew there would be some fallout from it because the majority of their playerbase are whiney little entitled shitheads that are used to being handed the carrots now rather than chasing them.

Let’s further talk about how freaking stupid people act by saying there’s nothing to do between now and expansion and we have months of endless boredom ahead of us.  No, really, these are talking monkeys who should uninstall and leave my game alone – everytime these chimp brains get together Blizzard takes more shit away from me.  Back when I raided was always pushing for server pole positions and having to loot players from competing guilds, my favorite time in the game was “Me” time.

Progression is over, you have just under a year to play the game your way and do interesting things that you didn’t have time for normally.  It’s been this way for freaking 10 years, progression, break, progression, break.  Anyone who’s screaming for new content at this point needs to join the bleggars and go get a job with all that free time they now have.  Like I said, I love getting content breaks, it’s sort of like daylight savings, you get an hour of extra sleep but at the expense of losing sleep when it begins!

Given how behind the devs have seemed in Twitter and elsewhere, a summer or early fall release just never seemed to be in the cards.  I said June, but that was way back in January and prior to seeing the type of tweets we’ve all seen.  After all, Blizz has historically been about polish, and forced releases are just not going to be something they engage in.

Today is all about staying occupied while we’re in a time of relative peace.  That’s right you serial killers in training, there’s lots of content.

Interesting Things To Do Between Now and Expansion Release

1.    Join OpenRaid

I know the vast majority of players are decent people.  Some decent people are also decent players, who know how to treat their fellow players in a public raid setting.  Check out OpenRaid.org, get yourself some street cred and make some friends.  I’m on there, and I do things from time to time when I want to go for an achievement.  If you suck, or like to rage in vent or drop groups as a revenge tactic, please stay away.  Otherwise, everybody in the pool!

2.    Complete Gold Proving Grounds

Most of you are going to have to do Silver just to get into Heroic dungeon modes anyhow (thanks to Blizz for letting us know LFR is definitely trash for the first new tier).  Get gold and then see how far you get with Endless.  It’s merely a test of your ability to time cooldowns and spec for a fight.  If you cannot get Silver, it’s ok, you can always …

2b. Learn how to play

It’s a perfect time to get that dps up over 50k with i500.  You know who you are, I see you in LFR with ungemmed/unenchanted gear.  If you’re rolling Timeless Isle 496 trash, you should easily be doing 80-100k regardless of mods and with the right mods.  I ran across a 515 hunter in ToT LFR the other night.  The guy was doing 34,000 dps and whining because he wasn’t getting battle rezzes.  And we wonder why tigers eat their young?

3.    Challenge modes

Grab 4 friends, some flasks, and invisibility potions and go get the gear before it’s gone forever.  Or find a group running them for gold.  I’ll tell you this, this is one of the only Tmogs you’ll want to have.  Between my S11 Elite Paladin set and my CM Gold Challenge mode gear, I’m set.  Two sets of very exclusive pieces, and the mount isn’t half bad either (Silver).  You don’t even take durability in CMs, so there’s really no excuse – except not knowing what you’re doing.

4.    Get Beloved

I personally got this when it required 70 Exalted factions, but it now only requires 60.  You make a ton of gold running the various raids for rep, and some also give up pets now.  There are plenty of resets left between now and expansion.  If you can’t be asked to do some dailies, then there’s just no hope for you.

5.    Over 600 battle pets are available

And they need to get to 25!  If you haven’t done them by now, give them a try.  I was the original “Pokemon sucks, screw MOP” asshole, now I’m with the program.  Go visit Warcraftpets.com and read some guides or see where you fall.  I’m currently working my up the Illidan ranks again, 21 spots til #1!  I love when you can keep score.

6.    Finish the Pandaria dungeon achievements

These are pretty easy, although some are annoying.  Get it done before Blizzard goes and fucks up something they’ll never fix thus removing the mount forever. It happens!  The pink dragon is a decent skin.

7.    Finish the remaining quests

I’m big on quests.  Finish Loremaster of Pandaria, it’s a decent amount of gold, rep, and toys.  You may also find out the answers to several things you’ve seen in game.  I know when I finished Dread Wastes it was an “a ha!” moment.

8.    Archeology – Seeker of Knowledge

If you have this achievement, you’ve got one of the rarest titles in the game.  It will only take you several dozen hours to get it assuming you don’t get screwed by the RNG gods, so get started now.  Besides that, you get a really nice amount of gold from the Tolvir boxes which would be the preferred box-dump.

At the very least, you will get all the BOAs offered for MoP, so when WoD hits you can start on those, too.

9.    Grind Conqueror or Justicar

Old school achievement, entirely time spent based.  Don’t suck and you’ll get it faster.  Get a group of people and dominate!

10.    Finish leveling all character slots and all classes on your server

Who needs free 90s?  Or at least have 10x90s and 1x60 for when you buy the expansion.  The 60 will receive 600 professions.  The only real reason to have a free 90 is to kickstart your WoW playing career, reroll for free, or get carried in LFRs until you get some better gear.  Profession slots are nice, but we’re not really in a boom time for those.  Besides, I think it’s more interesting to learn where the class has been instead of just seeing one level of it.

I will say I’m disappointed I’m being asked to pay an extra 10 bucks for this expansion, which offers a free 90, when I have all my server’s slots at 90.  This is more of an annoyance, like being told you are required to tip 18% for parties of 6 or more and then having a server that gives you a terrible experience.  (yes, Humperdinks, thanks for the memory)

11.    Finish all old content raids and their achievements

Hey, it’s a free mount most of the time, why not?  Gear is temporary, mounts are forever.  You will need a group for most of them.  Ulduar through Dragon Soul, and using OpenRaid makes this definitely possible regardless of your server size.

12.    Finish something that will take weeks

During Wrath it was Insane, the Scepter of the Shifting Sands, and ZG mounts before they changed them forever (also, check, check, check/check).  Today, you can go for the mount in Vale of Eternity (shard drops), which also allows you to grind exalted Golden Lotus across all toons since the shards are BOA and can be mailed to one character.  Grind the remaining achievements that require you to get exalted with competing factions (Sholozar Basin, Shattrath) and be the envy of achievement whores everywhere.

13.    Roll the other faction on another server, or maybe on your main server

Go 1-90 as your favorite mirror faction/race.  Gnome? Go Forsaken.  Tauren? Try Night Elf. Worgen? Go Goblin.  This will award the Double Agent achievement and you get to see the storyline from another perspective.  I did this back in TBC and I was shocked at how awesome the Horde was.  Today I’m almost entirely Horde. That’s right, fuck the Alliance.

14.    Do something bizarre, crazy, and probably against the TOS

For me, it’s always rolling over to the Goldshire Inn on Moon Guard.  Nekkid neckbeards all over the place all looking for the hookup and to act crazy and like deviates.  It’s entertaining for me, but for some people I’m sure this will be memories that last a lifetime.

15.    Play for the sake of playing

It’s not all about getting the best gear out of carrymode raid instances and then demanding more “content”.  This game is an endless carrot chase, with different modeled bosses doing the same thing – dropping loot.  Take it from someone that remembers the reaction to Hellfire Peninsula when it was 10 minutes after midnight on release.  Your epics become worthless in the next expansion and frankly, that LFR gear is garbage anyhow when within a month of WoD’s release you’ll probably have access to Heroic SoO versions for your xmogging pleasure.  Get away from the Auction House for a few hours, go make some new friends, do someone a solid and run them though some dungeons.

There’s a truckload of things to do, and if you can’t find something, then you aren’t really trying.  If you must unsub, then do it and leave the rest of us alone.

I await the first “That’s All Boring” reply.  Fine, if you’ve gone as far as you can this expansion to your satisfaction, then take a break.  Maybe join a gym and get rid of the Panda-Paunch, fatty.  Can’t be asked to go outside?  Fine, pick a different game for a little while.  But do not sit and demand more content because you’re bored, entitled, or have higher than hell expectations from a 10 year old game that’s had this same track record of lulls since the end of Classic.

This remains an MMO-RPG.  MMO doesn’t stand for Money Making Online (yes, you, the AH Junkies) and RPG has always stood for character progression.  While they’ve removed a lot of the aspect of progression with keeping everyone at current content by fiat (and losers calling it Quality of Life improvements…  really…), the majority of the remaining content requires your attendance and attention.  While we’re experiencing an RPG within a video game format, there’s still a world outside of stupid raids.  If you aren’t entertained, then check out.  Again, for the third time, stop acting like degenerate addicts by demanding new content from a manufacturer that historically doesn’t respond well to customer demands and threatening them with withholding your wallet.  They’ll let you in on the next adventure when they’re good and flippin’ ready.

Oh yeah, I’m probably going to go play some Rift again!

Thanks for stopping in!

Friday, February 14, 2014

The Sky is Falling!

People always forget from expansion to expansion that there are some things people will always need, so they assume that things like enchanting materials, ores, herbs, cloth, and even leathers are not needed any longer.  Here's a short list of crap you do not really need moving into another expansion, unless you are going for extreme niches:

Rare cut gems, and rare uncut gems unless they are used in engineering
Non-PvE Meta gems
Most specialty leathers (scales, mag hides)
Enchanting Epic crystals and rare quality shards
Uncommon quality inscription inks
Enchanting scrolls, with the exception of weapons
Cooking materials*
Feasts of all types
Flasks, elixirs and potions
Any and all raid drop crafting materials (Spirits)
* With the exception of carrots, scallions and other pre-575 cooking materials

It never fails that crap on this list tends to just drop in either value or demand, so don't get stuck holding them.

Things you want to horde between now and release, something I call safe bets:

Ghost Iron Ore/Bars
Trillium Ore/Bars
Windwool Cloth/Bolts
Rare 415 JC trash rings
ALL non-bound glyph recipes
Uncommon Quality Blue gems (Lapis, ok?)
Surplus dusts/essences - if your prices look like crap like ours here
Underpriced exotic leather - wait on the dump

There are a few other things I'd be careful of, as we progress into Beta and see drops and changes, but that's my list and I'm sticking with it.

Thanks for stopping in!

Friday, January 31, 2014

1 + 1 = Chair, 90s for all, and Why Nothing Else Matters

Time for a rant and nothing too educational today.

I intend to use my free 90 when they open up more character slots per realm.  Why?  Because I already have the 11x90s on my main server (and 9 others scattered all over the place between 2 accounts) and I had the vast majority of them before the nerfs to XP.  I got cheated, so as reparations I would like about 48 hours time back and $20 off my purchase price for Warlords of Orcland.

That's right, I am not calling it Draenor because space-berries suck, and if you bothered to read the quest text while leveling in Outland you would understand that the entire mess was their fault.  Not only that, I'm a Horde player, and this expansion is dedicated to even more Horde shenanigans just like the last one.  I'm a rather unbiased person, but this time I really look forward to whipping Draenai asses and not having the Naru around to save their puke blue skin.

Where was I?  Oh yeah, if you don't have at least an account with your main realm filled with at least all high level characters, then you're the target audience and cannot be trusted.  But don't worry, the store's got you covered.  With this new experimental service, you just click a button, insert credit card, fill that server up with 90s.  And I'm pretty sure it will make it out of experimental stage faster than the Armory made it out of beta, because people like stuffing holes with money.

There, I feel better.

You know what?  All cool with me.  I personally find it relaxing to take a character through all the familiar zones.  I personally have loved this game for nearly 8 years now.  I enjoy the nostalgia of running the revised questline, and remembering what used to be required, and how I can't believe I go 1-60 in a few hours, when it used to take about 2 weeks played.  I play the game to be entertained, whether it be by leveling, PvP, raids, working the auction house, arranging extravagant business propositions only for the rich and infamous of Azeroth, or finding new ways to do things better.

Love the game, hate the players...  That's my philosophy

Leveling for most everyone else sucks.  You started in this game a few years ago when they introduced BOAs.  You have short attention spans and can't be tasked with spending a few days leveling the character from 1-90 because it's not entertainment, it's about the end-game and being better than your friends, right?  Hurry and get those characters to 90 so they can begin buying their shit from me!  And this is one of the only reasons I like the players.

Once you hit 90, you work for me.  (Insert the sound of chains and shackles ramming home)  Get your ass out there and get new epics, or try to start PvPing.  I encourage you to do LFR until your brains fall out.  Go level a profession, I have a wide assortment of available materials, all overpriced to you for my pleasure.  Don't forget to do your dailies, I mean without them you wouldn't have the currency to be allowed to interact with me, I won't allow it!  Then stand around in Org, or where ever your kind hangs out, and show off them epics.  So why the hell WOULDN'T I like hearing people are going to be buying more of my stuff?  We're going to have a bigger market because there will be more alts to gear!  Gold just falls out of the sky.

In fairness, this service is a service whose time has come.  No more wishing you had a Warrior because they're so OP and it would take a few days to get there, now it's only a minute away!  They should offer gear that gets people into the previous raid tier of content.  A package deal, yours for only $199.  Which reminds me I would like to see 90s start at about $49.  If the RMAH from D3 taught us anything, people are willing to pay $250 for pixels, so it is my hope that Blizzard was taking notes.  You get it all, gear, bags, epic flying, and 1,000 gold to give to me upon login!  The Great Start package!  Of course, no boosts to professions, otherwise you're encroaching on my territory.

Blizzard Partners With Twitch ...  for streamer of the year...?

I'm such a sucker for streamers.  I was reading a news article recently about someone that makes several thousand a week, and all they have to do is take off their clothes for random people online!  Take THAT stupid low paying corporate jobs!  And why was I born a pointer and not a setter?

Something that drives me nuts about the human condition is we are a voyeuristic animal.  We love to watch. We like to watch sports, actors play out a story, car crashes, people eating dinner, the next door neighbor, etc.  Adult films aren't a multi billion dollar industry for their plot lines, folks.  The internet feeds this.  Apparently, we like to watch people play video games, too.

Make sure you vote for the candidates, because without your support more people won't quit their lives in hopes of becoming a top ranked streamer because in order to even be nominated in this thing it sounds like you had to work it like a job.  Video games are a pretty ruthless business.

I'm having a change of heart on this topic. If you're entertained, by all means watch it. I'm waiting for live gladiatorial streams of combat to the death from remote parts of the world where it's not outlawed and they cover bets with Paypal before I subscribe to anything, however.  My tastes are refined and very discriminating.  And if someone knows where I can find this, please send me a message. I kid, but this is the next evolution!

I must admit I like Profitz' stream.  Probably because he's got that awesome Connecticut Italian accent that I can listen to for hours.  And he speaks like it's a smooth jazz station. Ultimately, I fear he could possibly reach through the internet and strangle me with a piano wire and bury me under his house, so I'm too scared not to watch.  Have you seen his prison tats?  Now if he would just bust out with some wrestling for the home audience from time to time.  Showering with Profitz does have a lot of potential for some viewers, too.  That segment should go into full production.  Just my opinion!  Do him a favor and "follow" him, he likes stalkers and has a lot of gold waiting to be given out.  He also entertains for tips!

The Great Auction House Run Up to Warlords

I've been spending my gold as fast as I make it anymore.  If you want to feel more broke, get yourself into GDKP.  The markets over here are pretty solid, and here's what I'm making:

Royal Satchels
Illusionary Bags
Enchanting Dusts and Essences
Belt Buckles
Weapon Enchants
Old School Enchants
502 Blacksmith Weapons
Sky Golems
All PvP Armors
553 Epics
More 90s

Between all this is an amazing income for this time in an expansion. My revenue is averaging 22.6k a day with very little maintenance, with weekends coughing up twice the average normally.  Costs are minimal because the mats are cheap and I come by them over the course of playing.  I'm also selling lots of garbage I find while leveling other characters.  My dream is to finally achieve the 10 million liquid milestone, but my habits often keep me from ever getting there.  Keep the hamster on the wheel.

Thanks for stopping in!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Why grind it if you won't spend it?

One of the interesting things about 5.4 is that the brakes were sort of hit when it came to just making truckloads of gold on a daily basis off the staple markets.  That is if it's me and my overpopulated server where everyone is doing the basic markets.  I know lots of you are still getting great numbers on gems and enchants, which are staple products for most AH farms.  I have characters on other servers, and yes, 200g for a gem makes my mouth water.  Amusingly, my staple products (non-gems, non-enchants, non-glyphs) are still selling quite well.  But reality is, the more populated your server the more downward pressure there is on pricing of most everything. 

This is not an unusual phenomenon, since in the real world, whenever there is a free market that is also free of price fixing (cartels conspiring to keep prices at an artificial level), you will always see a race to the bottom as people try to make their products as cheap as possible.  Eventually, the raw material suppliers determine the price of goods as VARs (Value Added Resellers) take a smaller and smaller cut off the top.  This is where certain traders I know take over the entire AH's supply, making the AH their personal guild bank because the money is better in volume than in one time sales.

Are you unfamiliar with who you are in this situation?  If you're buying ores/herbs/cloths/reagents, the seller of those products is the material supplier.  You are nothing more than a VAR.  Ultimately the only value you are adding is your time converting those products into end goods.  The more you control the channel in this situation, the better your profits will look.  You are merely trading your time to do it, so it's not free. 

I tend to command a minimum of 50% ROI on a finished product before I'll make it, and 20% for products that are a bit exceptional.  The reason is I'm a Power-VAR, I buy so much in raw materials on a daily basis that my time is best spent only working with those products that will net me the highest possible return (on the day), rather than just take the shotgun approach and make every flipping thing TSM says to make.  Again, I still use my spreadsheet over anything TSM or Auctionator says, I utilize fixed costs so I can keep from selling myself broke and running out of materials and hitting a dry streak and it enables me to do some very interesting calculations you won't find in your local addons.  For example, I hit a dry spell here on well priced cloth.  It took me a week to get back into the market because demand was higher than my supply.  I sold everything at standard margins but costs rose while mat supply was down, so I found myself not making anything in one market until I could rebuild an inventory.  Right now I'm overstocked in that same market, but you have to make hay while the sun shines so to speak.

So for all of you people who are playing on soon to be fused realms, this is the economic phenomenon you need to become familiar with.  Right now on the low/med population realms, you have people running sheer monopolies, or competing with only 1-2 people daily.  People on these realms talk about "friending" competitors.  That doesn't happen over here, I'd run out of slots in just one category.  If they fuse them right, you'll see prices drop because there's more supply, more people will be interested in farming when there's not just one guy buying all the ores, and you'll need to track the other stuff just like me.

And as they fuse servers, guess what probably will start cropping up on your otherwise dead server?  A better way to spend those millions and not at the BMAH.

I know you have millions laying around, but...

This drives me nuts, but much like the pandapeople ask "Why do we fight?" every person who grinds gold needs to ask "Why do we grind?"

It comes down to:
1) To be Scrooge McDuck/Walter White and count it up so you can leave it to your heirs who will be ungrateful and spend it for you, or to let it rot.
2) To play the meta game and play Gordon Gecko, spending it on lavish things that you want and others can only dream of having
3) Security, having enough to do what you want in the game
4) To fund the efforts of everyone else because you are the only one in the guild who has an IQ above 'talking monkey' and can push Craft Next and Post Auctions in rapid succession better than them (also making you the white knight and everyone in the guild beholden to you!)
5) Nefarious reasons
6) To buy the services of others, giving you purchasing power.

I like #2 and #6, and it's really the reason I grind.  Let's go with that.

If you're me, the idea of not spending your in-game gold is ridiculous.  I'm always on the lookout for new gold dumps.  I hit the 1 million mark at the conclusion of Wrath, and since that time have made and spent millions on both worthy and frivolous things.  I have to say that spending gold is far more fun to me (I get a bigger thrill out of spending 300k than seeing a 50k auction sell).  You see the fruits of your labor pay off.  It brings a smile to my face when I'm rolling around in something new.  Just like real life, it's nice to save money, but even more fun to have the excess to do something fun.  I could wax about how you can't take it with you, but I won't.

I have spent several weeks waiting my turn to go into a GDKP run hosted by my server's top guilds.  I know I'm normally critical of high end raiders for not hiring me as their financial adviser but I got my vindication.  I got to go in and have my way with the loot and the competition, and it was yummy.

GDKP runs, for those who have been under a rock since about Wrath, are simple:

* Top players want your gold and invite you to spend it on gear, mounts, and achievements in current or recent content while raiding with them.  The money spent goes into a pot and the pot is split at the end.  Everyone wins. *

The GDKP runs use gold as your currency.  Not loot rolls, no MS>OS bullshit, not attendance, nothing more than the coin in your pocket determines if you are entitled to that gear.  That's the fairest and most capitalistic system in the history of MMO gaming, and the Koreans were the ones who started it way back when and it took a long time to really catch on in the US servers.

They are mostly meant for gearing up alts, or retaining certain items you can't normally get like Heroic pieces or mounts.  Conversely, if you don't regularly raid or are having problems getting into an adequate guild because of gear (and don't feel like wiping on Immerseus with the (Raid With Friends) guild), this is your golden ticket.  There's nothing wrong with raiding the AH weekly and then getting the stuff you want in one night.

For someone like me, the feeling I get in runs like this is sort of akin to hitting the lottery and heading to the nearby Ferrari dealership - "Hell, I can't decide!  I'll take one of each!"  And you get all the red carpet treatment, especially from the otherwise pompous salesman who will gladly arrange to carry your wallet to the management office.

I can live out my lootwhoring fantasy because I'm richer than 99.999% of other players and gold to me is at a point of being pointless because I have so much sitting idle - and I am WILLING to spend it.  I'm a GDKP RL's dream customer.  And yes, I said it, I'm part of the 0.001%.  Now get those protesters off my lawn.  You too, cute Night Elf, I know you're really a dude.

In the past few months I've dropped a million (easy) on battle pets.  I bought some stupid mounts I didn't feel like grinding out off the BMAH (I don't even use the things... I like the Ashes that dropped for me on kill #3).  I have every TCG mount.  I now have 17x 90s all with their 310 flying and some nice gear, and I still have a warchest that will never spend itself in 10 more years of playing WoW.   I also have the capacity to replenish whatever I spend in a reset or two (maybe three, depending how bad I get).

It's mindblowing to me (see a previous post on Gold Cap and why it's full of shit) that people still think 250k or even a million is a lot of gold right now.  At this point, acquiring 100k is not too hard.  Getting to 1 million can take a little while and a friendly market, and getting to 10 million or more is merely a matter of time, patience, and being able to punch yourself in the head.  Note: I do not have the 10 million mark liquid, yes I suck, I know, I keep spending it.  But I'm saying, they throw the stuff at you.  If you do 25 dailies per day at 90, after 100 days you will have 100,000 gold.  Not even joking, there are people that do this.

I got to go last night, spend several hundred thousand, and walk out a better man for it.  It's been a while since I got to go hogwild in a GDKP run, but dammit I got up this morning feeling much better.  Sadly, not everything I wanted dropped.  Doesn't it suck?  Rich enough to buy all of Azeroth, but still not richer than the RNG gods.

GDKP Etiquette (From My Perspective)

I had a brief chat with the raid leader last night, and honestly, it appears people need a good talking to about how to act in these things.  If you're invited to attend a GDKP raid, to make it fun for the people running the show and to encourage them to continue the runs, you should always follow some basic rules.

* The run is not a free carry.  Unless you're in a top guild on your server or there to put up top 5 DPS and take a cut of the pie, your role here is to buy gear.  Not bidding or taking gear is an insult.  You won't be handed any gear that nobody wants, those become shards.

* The bankroll you state and show is on the table.  If you tell the raid leader you are bringing 250k/500k/1 million, you are expected to use it.  Further, you are expected to bid it.  Don't say "I am looking to spend 500k" and then bid 5k and stop.  That's just being a jerk. When you want something, man up and put up a bid.  Knock the others in the teeth with big, fat increments.  Own that gear.  Show off when it comes to bidding, the raid leaders will appreciate that and want you to come back again because they aren't here for their health, they're here for their wealth and they are watching you.

Example of how to bid (sorry, screenshots would be awesome here but meh):

Raid Leader:  [Piece of the Awesome Awesomeness], 10k minimum, this is BIS!
Raider 1:  10k
Raider 2: 11k
Raider 3: 13k!
Raider 4: 16k
Me:  50k
Raider 4:  Fuck, not getting that one I guess.
Raider 5: 51k
Me: 65k
Raider 5: Pass

Bam, just landed a BIS for 65k.  Did I overpay?  Hardly.  It's worth every copper to me because I don't care about gold.  A night's worth of AH sales gets me something that could take weeks of raiding and a possible spot in a regular run with a guild.  For sure, they may be getting you to bid more, but who cares?  If you have the problem where you might run out of money because someone bids you up, you don't really belong at that table in the first place, right?  Further, you could always stick them with it. 

* Realize that gold is just pixelated money.  It's not REAL.  To paraphrase Warren Beatty from Bugsy, "Who cares?  It's only dirty pixels, I'll make more".  Like professional gamblers, have a healthy disrespect for the value of gold.  If you're someone who says "that's too much gold", you're not doing this right and GDKP may not be up your alley.  Be known as the guy with too much gold and a psycho bidding style, you'll get invited back to get everything you want.  Remember, it's just a game, not like you have to go home with these people.

* If you can't afford to blow your gold like a champion, then you're in trouble.  Sure, you can make it like a champion, but can you spend it like one, too?  I take a percentage of my wealth to these things, and if you're bringing your entire net worth, you're playing scared.  It's very much like poker, and you have every right to buy the pot and bully the weak.  Trash bids are for wimps.  Who do you think the raid leaders cheer more?  Some coward that pulls back after 20k or the guy who opens everything they want at 50k?

* Play your class optimally or as optimally as you can.  Don't play like you just picked up the game and haven't read anything.  See "Not a Carry" above.  Don't make them kick you or cut your share for being a hindrance.  Being at least competitive with DPS is good, being consistently at the bottom with 80k is bad.

* If you are unfamiliar with a strat they are using or need to know your duties, ask.  Don't cause unnecessary wipes because repair bills for the leaders are not why they are there.  Have a good idea of the fight mechanics before going.

* Have Ventrillo or Mumble installed and join the server and channel you are asked to join.  Don't be that shy asshole who "wasn't in vent".  Along those lines, keep communication clear and concise.  Don't troll or spam vent.  Be respectful of the raid, these are people trying to provide a service, not babysit.

* Tears for losing gear are not appreciated by anyone.  Proclaiming that others are taking your gear is something best left for a PUG Master Looter MS>OS run.  Spamming winning bidders is also not a good idea unless it's a simple "grats".  I know if you piss me off in a run, you will never get another piece we both want.  You know the consolation prize waiting for these people?  "Sorry you aren't rich, bid more".

* Make certain that if you are on a wait list, that you follow up with the raid leaders.  Ask why you are sat.  Is it gold?  Experience level?  Class?  Role?  Are they gearing their alts so they can do more runs?  Update them with how much you are bringing and when you get your shot, hit the gas and leave a trail of fire in your wake.

* Do your best to get invited back or to better runs.  How do you do this?  Play well, bid well, take home gear.

Tip for the week-
"Gear is temporary, gold is forever if you know what you're doing, and pride is not just for Shas."

I hope to see you again sooner rather than later, things are rather busy around these parts between work and new content.  Hopefully we can discuss Blizzcon and what it means sometime, I have lots of things I saw there that I hated and liked, and we need to hammer them out before they patch this thing and release Warlords.

Thanks for stopping in!

- Zerohour

Sunday, September 8, 2013

5.4 Release Notes

Those of you that endured the summer of discontent and got to see a long summer where there really wasn't any massive goldmaking to be had have been waiting for Tuesday.  Before I share my thoughts, a quick aside.

Back in late June, I really got into pet battling.  So much so that as of this writing I'm #25 on Illidan on Warcraft Pets.  Notice I don't collect trash pets like the majority (trash being poors to uncommons just to have them), I collect rares or those pets that are very desired by breed, thus making me a true blueblood pet breed snob from hell.  Part of the beauty of being someone with truckloads of gold across multiple servers and not giving a crap anymore is that I can shop bargains for Battle Stones and build a stable of pets that I really want!  Additionally, I love leveling them.  And thanks to Battle Pets I now have:

* 4 more 90s leveled for a total of 15 (started pet dailies at 85-87, amazing easy xp)
* Several characters on my main server with over 1000 lesser charms.  In fact, in total, I'm sitting at over 3000.
* Something fun to do between queues

The lesser charm one I thought was amusing.  I have enough charms to do Greater Charm turn-ins for 20 solid weeks.  That's 60 bonus rolls in the upcoming raids.  I stopped at over 1000 on each just because the number sounded good. 

I figured out the majority of the mechanics behind PvE, and have some very interesting information I haven't seen elsewhere with readers.  I just have to actually do it - and between my new job and doing everything I like to do when I'm not working, honestly the last thing I think about is writing anything.

So...  5.4 comes out Tuesday.  Garrosh finally goes down, and he's only been hated since every Horde player hit Nagrand over 6 years ago.  I hope he dies well.  That is, you see him explode into bits and pieces and Thrall takes a piss on his ashes and Jaina launches the rest of him into the sun with a cannon as payback for Theramore.  I would demand playback on that cinematic for a month.  I haven't really been reading patch notes, I like surprises.  But if this happens then I guess I think like a Blizz dev.

Something all of you should keep in mind:

* Littering the AH the minute the servers come up with PvE gems and enchants is probably stupid * 

No, it IS stupid.  Even dumber will be camping the AH cancel/reposting.  Just like 5.2 release, there is no LFR until week 2.  And even more similar, the LFR is staggered again over 6 weeks.  The audience in the first week will be those people who are raiding the very first tier of the new content, so unless you're trying to sell to guilds like Blood Legion or Method or Midwinter or other major progression guilds (who probably all have their own people lined up to supply them within their own guilds), there's really no target audience the first week.

LFR is huge business.  The vast, vast majority of players in game today are using LFR as their chief source of "raiding".  I don't care how you feel one way or another about the mechanic, it's here to stay because it's the best possible method for Blizzard to offer content to everyone, offer effective catchup mechanics, and make people feel like they are progressing.  Therefore, this is the target for all gold makers because they are probably only running with one 90, no JC/Enchanter, and are working on mining because they need money.

PvP will be a different matter.  Players that are still into that aspect of the game will probably be cashing in Honor the first week, so these are going to be your real focus.

I say all this, and I know everyone reading is probably mindlessly clicking Restock/Craft Next without paying attention to what the actual prices or opportunities are.  Be smart, make more.

I personally hope everyone that doesn't have 2 brain cells to rub together posts everything and sells out the first week and either breaks even or worse (while they destroy another keyboard with all the drool), the real gold is going to be made in weeks #2 and #3.  Hope you have a stockpile like me!

If anything, you should have a nice Sha Crystal stockpile set up.  Unless there's a cheese mechanic to get them for free.  And then you're screwed!

Stockpiling for 6.0

How long will 5.4 be around?  This is the last tier of this expansion, right?  Sure, they may do a minor patch in between now and next release, but the assumption right now is that we'll see the expansion announcement at Blizzcon and then within the next year we'll see the next expansion. 

What this means to you is that there's a window that we'll have to guess at as to how long to be selling and then how long to hold onto things for the next expansion.  Nobody really liked talking about Cata stockpiling, but who today would like to have purchased all the Hypnotic Dust in existence the week before MoP came out?  There are a few things to keep hold of, and we'll figure all that out in the coming months.

Unanswered Questions for 5.4

Are we at a point yet where we can make feasts profitably? 
Will 5.4 give all the cooks that opportunity?
Is anyone still using the Black Market Auction House?
Where the hell are the epic gems?
Is Caverns of Time really finished now?  I mean nobody's said anything since Cata!
Why didn't we get a Pet Battles PvP rating system or ladder?  Seriously?
Are Pet Battles the future of the most rewarding dailies?
How long before they release fused realms and will they finally put the bullet in the head of the worst invention in the history of Warcraft by removing it entirely forever - CRZ?
Why is the item level difference between Heroic and LFR practically in a different expansion tier?  I know, they're gonna "smoosh" stats sometime.
Is anyone interested in teaming up (Horde side) and knocking out previous raid tier achievements?  I was looking at my achievements on my main and got kinda sad!

Have a nice patch!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Summer sucks

Ok, yeah, those of you who are beach bunnies disagree.  It's a great time to hit the beach, get some rays, take the top off the convertible (yeah, I had a Vette once, I get it), and go outside.

But really.  This is Warcraft.  If 8 years of this crap has taught me anything, it's you may as well go into autopilot when school lets out, because frankly gold grinding at this time is really pretty crappy.  Not only are your guildies out of school, many of your guildies are parents with vacation time saved up.

Bothering to raid or PvP during the summer isn't a bother either.  Blizzard never releases any new "real" content during the summer, which some exceptions:

Patch 1.11 - The original release of Naxxramus, released on the first freaking day of summer.  Really great when you think about it since it was 40 man and in the end gave people 7 months to get everything done before TBC release back when WoW was a real MMO and KT wasn't exactly downed by every top guild on every server.
Patch 3.3.5 - Ruby Sanctum, again 2 days after summer start but a VERY minor patch giving 272 epics to people who replaced them a few months later within 8 hours of playtime.
Patch 4.2 - Firelands release.  Ahhh, yes, the patch that killed my Cata guild because everyone under 23 decided it was "summer break man!"  WoW raiding became dead for me, I went completely PvP for the rest of the expansion.

We are now in 5.3, which means we are in Part 2 of 5.2 which was released in March, which means most "raiders" have really finished the content they want to see.  Those that didn't complete most of Heroic mode by at least late May gave their guys the summer off to go get some sun.  No offense or anything, I was just a hardmode raider when I raided, so I can only believe that anyone who is sitting on 1-3 bosses of ToT in Heroic is probably behind the curve.  How you could stand raiding (since March 5) the same bosses and not able to get Heroics down at this point - what the fuck man?  Seriously, Heroic is the new Normal mode raiding, has been that way since Ulduar.  Just throw in the towel, because really, it sounds like a guild I was in during Molten Core.

Sales of items for alts is obviously the in thing to do.  I've worked this market now for months, and it's produced "decent" sales.  I'm not the most happy, but when 5.4 kicks off I'll have a helluva stockpile ready to go.  Remember, it's all in the stockpile.

For those wondering

I haven't quit, I just stopped giving a shit.  And by that I mean, giving a shit about communicating what I know with the populace.  Total PMs/Emails since May: None.  Yeah, fuck you too.  I go afk for 2 months and nobody asks where's a post?  Guess I don't matter, and that's a good thing.  The feeling's mutual.  Why care?  This game's always gone on summer vacation every Children's Week.

What I have been doing is continuing a project I started last year prior to D3's release.  I'm enjoying it so far.  I'm not going to be talking about it because that would just create competition, but it's producing several hundred thousand per week.  I enjoy doing it.  And that's all that matters.

I'm predicting that this post will be my last for a few weeks, so until then, enjoy the sun.  Get out of your caves and go get a tan.  Life's too short to waste it sitting in front of a monitor when you don't have to.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Experimentation, Another Lost Art

I'm the archeologist of WoW gold making.  Zerohour and the Baddies of the Lost Art.  I'm the guy curating the museum of long forgotten habits and methods.  I had a talk with Profitz this last week and it reminded me that I've been around so long, I should get a PhD in WoW Auction House history.

Something I usually talk with in my circle of gold-making friends is an extremely important aspect of the game - Experimentation.  This is an art, and usually one of the hallmarks of a stellar gold maker. 

Those of you that are looking for techniques usually follow blogs out there that show you a variety of methods; usually cutting gems, flipping xmogs, making and selling glyphs, setting up TSM, your basic BS that everyone does.  Real low information stuff and meant for those that are looking for solid ways to join the herd.  But everything required some experimentation to get to that point, someone got their hands dirty and did some digging, which is essentially research and development.

The process behind the delivery of a technique:

* Selection and analysis of a market (philosophy, creativity, and critical thinking)
* Experimentation (research, problem solving)
* Refinement (development)
* Delivery of the technique (application)

Generally, the vast majority of people trying to learn about gold making are only interested in the last part.  There's two camps in the gold making world - Homo Erectus and Modern Man.  Homo Erectus had the distinction of picking up the stone hand axe and thriving with it, he learned it from his predecessor Homo Habilis, and then proceeded to use it for the next 1 million years without improving it.  He had no imagination, was trapped in the literal world of his own mind and needs, and never thought "What if I was to somehow attach a handle to this thing?"  For him, his life was a daily grind doing the same thing day in and day out because that's what he was taught.  Could you imagine 1 million years of no new or improved technology?  Of course not, it's in our nature to be curious and creatures that want to experiment with building a better mousetrap.  You have an imagination that took millions of years to develop, so don't be a talking monkey.  If you aren't experimenting, then you're not using the best tool set nature gave any animal on earth.

I love finding new things out, and I find them out all the time.  From Vanilla through about Wrath I relied 100% on my own discoveries.  I didn't participate in forums, I didn't read blogs, I just looked up everything on my own and tried and failed many times before I got something to work.  This is why I don't discuss techniques much, and I can assure you that there's a very solid reason why.  Of the things I'm doing today, nobody blogs about them, and I never will because I put the time into finding them out, and why would I want to share a competitive advantage with you?!  I think anyone can respect that, techniques are only good for a short period of time before they become common practice.  If all I did was explain techniques it would be a boring "what will everyone be doing today" blog.

Experimentation keeps the gold engine humming, since it means you're constantly seeking new markets and advantages that are hidden from the general public.  If all you do is wait around on others to pay the freight, you're always the 12th man on the deal team, and you will run into constant competition and be forced into spending abnormal amounts of time in front of the auction house.  Experimenting is essentially what any entrepreneur engages in regularly, looking for little niches that offer the opportunity to make a profit.

A little tangent:  Over on The Consortium, we have an application process for Wind Trader, which is our elite membership rank.  My favorite applications are usually those where the person explains how they've made all their gold with jewelcrafting, glyphs, enchanting, making DMFs, or other such nonsense.  I guess they're equating the rank with total gold earned, because honestly, we don't give a rat's ass about how much gold the person has, only that they are a creative person and can come up with the techniques that everyone will eventually be using ahead of everyone else.  Here's how I handle these apps before letting them know they should continue grinding -

"Please explain to the group here at least one technique or process that you've come up with in your WoW career, how you came up with the idea, and what did you learn?"

This question generally chases them off pretty fast when they realize that we're looking for brains, not a resilient mousewheel finger.  Hell, I don't even care if it was profitable, what I care about most is that the person at least TRIED something different from the pack of talking monkeys who haven't a creative cell in their brain.  For certain, I use my gold to keep score like about anyone else, but if you really want to be cutting edge, you don't do what others do and you delve into the caves that no spelunker has ever considered.  I do it all the time, especially with my multi-server project where I'm fighting all the major auction houses in the US.

This does go back to my spreadsheet argument, where I advise ANYONE looking to make the real gold in this game to learn how to develop one, and then utilize it to locate niche markets.  But this isn't the ONLY thing you should do in the way of experimentation, so let me give you a quick story about when MoP dropped and what I did.

One of my good friends online is Z-Man (or Zamboni).  For weeks after patch, we were sharing information back and forth in-game about things we found.  Neither of us were in the beta, so we were hitting the ground fresh and with no real information except what we saw before us.  For several weeks all we did was experiment with various mob drops, investigate Wowhead, level characters, watch the auctionhouse antics and find out where we needed to be killing certain mobs to get what we were after.  Since both of us are notorious for farming mats for ourselves when we need something, we knew the approximate price and ease with which certain things were available.  One of my favorite things I figured out was that I needed ZERO spirits of harmony to get to 600 on tailoring, leatherworking, and blacksmithing, and in the process discover a lucrative market for the expansion.  I re-leveled skinning on my Jewelcrafter and sent him out on a mission to check leather skin rates and collect meta cut recipes (today that JC is a Blacksmith, too).  All of the little finds we shared back and forth, because we are both heavy into experimenting with things.

Keeping yourself only to MoP content is also not really a good idea, things are constantly being changed and discovered in the game all the time.  The people that investigate different places in the game and think the most creatively are generally going to have an advantage for quite some time.  And to clue you in here - this is a huge game, and was rebooted in Cataclysm which changed almost the entire first incarnation of the game, and there are lots of things to figure out even to this day.

So what's the process for experimenting?

Usually I pick a particular market that I'm working, and see a potential profit to be made in a certain area.  Let's say tailoring, since cloth is generally the most needed.  Can you name for me the best possible areas in the game to locate Linen, Wool, Silk, Mageweave, and Runecloth?  For certain you can buy them off the Auction House, but what if Silk is sitting at 5g a piece?  Are you going to give someone 100g a stack for it?  I know I wouldn't.  What if you want to reset this market?  Is there an easy way for it to be replenished by a farmer who could crush you after you decide to buy everything?  What if you were trying to make a particular idea work, how much farming on your part might be involved?

I do a lot of pouring over Wowhead information and comments, and I treat this information like anything else - I trust but verify.  In the silk example, the top rated comment today still gives one area top billing, but if you go a little deeper it names another place to go look in later comments.  If it's me, I get on my horse and go out and check for myself.  I found that the top rated areas mentioned on Wowhead in the Silk example were completely bogus compared to the later comments that didn't receive as many upvotes.  True story:  This is the case for MANY things on there.  Now that I know, I can develop an entire market model around what I now know.

Many things I do in-game are probably published in some places, but most things aren't.  I don't work markets like everyone else, I have processes in place to get to the end result in the lowest cost manner possible while maximizing my fun.

Have you ever read anything about the Vanilla shuffle?  No?  That's because the people that developed it aren't saying anything about it.  What delivers you the best possible results in prospecting?  Enchanting?  Engineering (of all things)? Are these markets even viable?  Are people buying these materials?  How long since you leveled a profession JUST TO SEE the difficulty of certain points?  How many different ways can you arrive at the same end result?  You won't know unless you try for yourself.

How about acquiring materials and selling crafted goods?  Have you every checked various times of the day and times of the week?  What if you were to look on the AH for materials at 5am or in the morning before you leave for work?  Got access to Remote AH?  Ever look around lunch time or while on a break?

Have you ever experimented with the demand of certain items in the game?  There are hundreds of items weekly that fluctuate, and many that are great for making quick cash.  The opportunities are almost endless.

When was the last time you checked for a new addon?  Maybe played with an existing addon's settings?  TSM and Auctionator aren't the ONLY addons available, though you would almost believe they are if you read blogs.  I've discovered several other addons that improve my QOL and efficiency, and nobody else really talks about them so I guess I'm the only person using the things.  Thank goodness they keep updating them. 

Step outside your comfort zone and invest in yourself.

This is all the difference between someone that is just interested in making some gold, and the person that's in it to hit homeruns everytime they step to the plate.  And this is what's missing.  The innovators are slowly retiring from the game as we move forward, and unfortunately many of you are going to be stuck in the future with just the basic professions that everyone knows, and everyone engages in.  Streams will all talk about the same things, blogs will all post the same patch notes information, gold guides will be sold by bloggers and will be terrible.  Actually, I think we're there already.  I don't know how you people stand it.

Learn how to experiment and take some time out to discover something new, because the future belongs to those people.  If you want to be a 10k a week back-of-the-class-gold-guide-buying-leeching-complaining-stream-watching-terrible gold maker, I guess that's fine, too, it is your $14.95 and 24 hours in the day.  I just don't like to waste my time, and hopefully you're not a person interested in wasting yours.

Margin Call - Week of May 5th

What a great week coming back after being ill.  I paid more attention this week to cross server projects than I did my own auction house.  I was also more interested in getting RL things done since I'm behind on all of that stuff.

What's depressing is watching Sha Crystals crater further in price.  Oh well, live and learn, right?  This is why I have my fingers in other markets, because I'm half tempted to just blow that market out this coming week and eliminate them from the stock.  5.3 doesn't look to be very promising to help get those back on board, so why hold onto them?  If anything, they're an uphill battle right now that probably won't recover.  Kinda fun knowing I invested roughly 500,000g in them prior to the crash.  Like I'll never make that back, right?  Here's a saying you should learn - cut bait.

How about Diablo 3's debacle?  That was amazing.  Dupes don't exist people, Blizz has stated this many times and it's impossible for there to be holes in the code that would allow duping in any of their games.....  oh wait.  What we saw this last week was clear and present proof that Blizzard is full of shit when they say it's impossible to have anything like that happen in WoW as well.  People should be linking the blue response to blue posts that say anything about this in the future. 

They're worse than a political public relations team - deny, deny, cover up, deny the cover up, proof arrives and gloss over it, point out how awesome they are for doing anything about it.  Truth be told, there are holes in WoW's code as well.  All it takes is someone with a little knowledge of how to make it happen and you can make all the Haunted Spirits, Epic gems, Deathcharger mounts, and Vial mats you want.  They've been doing it for years, and hopefully the general Blizzard gaming public has figured out that they are being duped in more ways than one someday.  At least they cleaned up most of the mess this time, I remember February 2003 when D2 got a public dupe and they did absolutely nothing about it except shut it down 48-72 hours later.  They didn't even acknowledge it existed even then.  Yes, I do hold grudges.

Thanks for stopping in!