Friday, March 27, 2015

This Blog on Blogger is at an End

I've officially moved this blog off Blogger, and it can now be found at:

That's Zerohour's Abuse of the Economy.  Where I assure you I'll be abusing players, devs, and everyone else every step of the way while I give you little tips and tricks that you won't understand at first reading, but may if you stay long enough.  After all, I'm the undisputed King of Warcraft gold today, there is no equal active in the game.

If you maintain a blog that points here, please update your RSS, if you're a faithful reader, then please bookmark to the new location.  I look forward to seeing you at the new location, and to helping you along.  Remember, just because you read the post doesn't mean I'll help, but commenting always means I'll try to take time out to answer your questions.

Good luck!

And my goodbye to Blogger photo cannot be without a Phoenix.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Site will be moving soon

I'm in the process of moving this blog to a different hosting platform.  While I liked Blogger's platform for it's simple functionality, I've found over the past 2 years that I've got a bit of a following and would like to have more interactivity for my site and get more of what I would like to have for myself and my readership.  Each month several thousand people come to my blog to read my ramblings and railings, which surprises the hell out of me.  Thanks! 

I think a few friends of mine can tell you that I value my readers greatly, I actually do care about them.  Funny story, initially I didn't care and put this together on a dare by Mithrildar, but it's become sort of a learning experience for me.

I've already ported all of my most relevant posts and comments over to the new location, and any new content will be posted there from now on.  I'm also in the process of coming up with a name for it since it's remained "Nameless" all this time.  Very soon I will have a domain registered for it, and am even running a contest over on The Consortium, complete with a small giveaway that anyone's perfectly welcome to join in on.  Feel free to come suggest names like,, and Zerohourpower.kittens.  I have a pretty thick skin and don't take myself too seriously, so have fun with it, I may just pick your idea!

As always, there will be no begging or blegging, no monetization, topics that I care about, and my pipe hittin' sense of brutal humor and contempt.  Stay tuned and thanks again for your support!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

What the Gold Tokens Will Mean for You

Last night I happened to strike up a conversation on Twitter with Sivation.  Somehow I missed this fellow, and they're very interesting to talk with.  They also run a blog.  After some discussion in DMs, it was decided that I needed to publish this article.

Don't get too excited for Patch 6.1.2, this only puts the infrastructure into the game.  From what I've seen we won't have the actual tokens in the game for a little while.  When it does arrive however, I'm off the grid forever.

Well maybe.

Blizzard's system is rife with issues, no doubt about that.  I got a pseudo-chance to debate Elvine in his "expert" column on Wowhead, but that was almost pointless because, well, Wowhead.  There's lots of concerns about inflation, paying to win, how people use their gold, and how unfair it is and how we should all be in some manufactured rage over it.  I want to address something, and I'm no economist, but I happen to understand the mechanics a lot better than most.

At Issue:  This is going to cause inflation

Since day one of the game's release, and prior to it's release, Blizzard games have tended to deal in RMT.  That's Real Money Trading for those of you unaware.  Diablo 2 supported lots of us with extra income to spend on hookers and beer, and I was approached prior to the release of WoW about joining up with a few Indonesian suppliers to sell gold in the game.  At the time I regarded World of Warcraft as a crappy idea.  I tried Star Wars Galaxies and hated the subscription model.  Lots of us back then were going to buy Guild Wars just in protest.  I actually did buy and play Guild Wars for a while and it was really good, so good that I remember actually carting my computer from Phoenix to LA just so I could play it while in a week of sales classes with the company I was with at the time.  It took me over a year to come to the Warcraft scene and several D2 friends chomping at my hide to come PvP.

Quite the digression there, but I chose to play Warcraft entirely legit.  I worked the auction house because it was absolutely familiar, as I had been one of the chief people Blizzard was trying to kill on Ebay.  Before all this D3 RMAH crap, I had made lots of real money off their game when it was a real and fair challenge only accepted by the truly ambivalent to Terms of Use players.  Why would I choose to sell others the great gear one could get for pennies on the dollar from trading sites everywhere?  Because there's a fortune in pixels, silly!

You think I learned my skills just experimenting for a few years in a make-believe sandbox?  I was doing auctions for many years prior, and I love auctions because there's something in them that gets my blood racing.  I should work for an auction company in some capacity because it's a real passion.  But this experience taught me several things about how people online treat their credit lines and parent's checkbook.  I learned that appealing to the masses was the best bet; giving them what they wanted and desired, at a fair price, and how they wanted it.  I also learned that people want things immediately and have no time for bidding wars.  When given a choice, they'll pay a premium if it means they can have their stuff NOW.  Sound familiar?  Well I found the AH at level 5 on my first character, and have been here raking in gold whenever I want it since.  Today I consider a million gold pocket change, and soon to be a week's pay.  How's your auctions coming?

In the time I've played, I've been asked to sell my gold to both players and wholesalers, and yes I've traded for a month or two of subscription time, most people I know have.  While I don't excuse my behavior pointing to other people's behavior, I will say that there has always been a market for this type of trade.  Making gold comes naturally to me and I'll never be broke.  I log in to what many would consider a fortune every single night. 

I've discovered almost every hole in each expansion since, and I've worked at exploiting them to their fullest potential and worked even harder keeping my discoveries under wraps and only sharing my finds with a select few people.  If you want to be rich in the game world, and in the real world, you work at it and you keep your mouth shut about how you're doing it.  Otherwise you take your clothes off for money online when you have nothing else to offer, and based on the twitch crap I've seen and "best of nominations", we're not far off.

Ultimately, I don't think this will cause much inflation, because people have always Mastercarded their way through this and every other game for nearly 20 years of online gaming.  If there is an item or gold seller out there, there are people who are desperate enough to seek them out. In Warcraft, gold buyers tend to SPEND their gold, and that gold is either taken out of the game through vendors, or parked in someone's fat guild bank where it will never re-enter the economy again.  Inflation implies a homogenous growth in the money supply causing prices to escalate relative to that available supply.  This is only achieved when everyone is participating in the system and not in isolated cases.  Inflation occurs at the beginning of every expansion because everyone is participating in quest turn-ins and increasing the money supply.  So unless a vast majority of players suddenly turn into gold buyers, you won't see a huge spike in prices for general goods and consumables.  I suspect many will buy their tokens strictly to get some gold together for day-to-day use.  Buy 50k in gold, you are pretty well set for this expansion for casual raiding.  People that buy their gold also tend to spend it rather freely, which is why they're always buying more.  It's that old adage I like about giving fools a million gold, and taking a million away from me.


Where you WILL see a spike in prices will be at Madam Goya's shack in Nagrand.  She offers all those shinies for gold that nobody has real access to unless they beat their heads against a wall in old raids for a year or two, or they magically come up with an outdated and limited supply TCG loot card off Ebay.  The only way for the vast majority of players to come up with the gold to get those items is to outright buy it, and this can get expensive quickly.  In the past buying gold could result in account closure, but now that prohibition is about to be lifted, everyone with a Mastercard, Visa, Amex, or Discover Card will be able to participate without fear that they will lose all their shit.  The only people losing their shit are the Al Capones of the gold selling world who are about to get some massive competition.

This sounds rather strange, doesn't it?  Am I saying that the token system will ultimately turn the Black Market Auction House into the Real Money Auction House people disliked in Diablo 3?  Yes.  I am.  Welcome to the future of gaming folks, name an MMO out there today that doesn't have micros.  After the system is released, you will enter Nagrand and you'll hear the faint sound of a vacuum cleaner sucking up coins.  As you get closer to the Ring of Blood the sound will become deafening.  This system is going to remove truckloads of gold from the game forever on every server with each passing day.  I wish I could put together a graphic for you so you better understand it, but picture a cyclone over Nagrand dumping exclusive mounts, gear, and TCG items everywhere while sucking a train of gold into the sky.  The Blizzard store now includes the ability to acquire every pixelated unique snowflake item in the game.  It's the mother of all micro transactions, because there's no set price for how much you will have to pay everytime something comes up that people want! 20k? 1 million?  The possibilities are limitless, especially when Blizz is going to set the price of what gold is actually worth.

Further, thanks to the collection tab, you can also shop for these items across several servers on the same account.  You don't have to pay money to only transfer 50k or a guild bank, you can now do this unchained across every server of your choosing.  I suspect a TUJ style listing of each server's BMAH auctions will be heavily in demand because that stupid toy box needs filled.  Just log into the server of your choosing, buy some gold, and go nuts bidding for what you want. 

Consider further that one is completely able to pick up pieces of gear they otherwise wouldn't have access to.  PvP gear and higher end PvE gear.  Removed transmogs.  Think of the catalog of Madam Goya, I think you may get my point.  It's not pay to win because you aren't going to gain any particular advantage at this point.  It definitely will save those with limited time to play a hefty amount of time.

Unclaimed Black Market Containers are also gambling for addicts.  Much like D3's RMAH was considered gambling, these future scratch offs for gold are going to produce tons of revenue from the hopelessly degenerate gamblers.  Will we see news articles about the people losing their homes chasing down those elusive rewards?  One can only dream, right?

But Is This Really Going To Happen?

Will people actually throw down hundreds of dollars just to buy things in a stupid video game?  I hear you, "Zerohour, you're full of shit.  People don't just throw down credit cards on pixels.  People aren't willing to spend hundreds or thousands on a stupid game."  Wrong.  Head, meet sand, population: you.

Look at Hearthstone.  This game had severe Pay to Win elements.  Were people pissed?  Were they quitting over it?  No, they were demanding ports to their phone and entire streams were dedicated to winning the game.  I had friends who used to cash in their Battle Net Balances for Hearthstone cards.  Hundreds of bucks to do it.  This was merely a digital version of MTG and Pokemon, but people fell hopelessly into the business of feeding the machine.

Look at Diablo 3.  The RMAH may have been hated by so many people that they were able to get Blizzard to reconsider it, but I assure you Blizzard did this with a heavy heart and lots of cash in the bank.  It sucks they went to the soulbound gear system with no trading allowed, but this shows that they are quite aware of what would happen if they conceded and allowed trading.  People would be spending tens of thousands on gear that they would never profit from in the REAL black market.

Watch for Overwatch.  This is really nothing more than a reimagining of Team Fortress 2, and that's not Blizzard's fault.  Team Fortress 2 specialized in fun FPS play and a gigantic shop for skins and flavor items.  What gaming giant could refuse this opportunity?  Blizzard saw this and obviously realized that they were missing out on a ton of money in FPS with overpriced pixel shops for special snowflakes.  The prices people pay for these things is nuts, and if I was them, I'd Double It!  Let's ask Jay Wilson what he thinks.

Thanks, Jay, that's what I thought.

Let me introduce you to Jack.  Jack (not his real name) is a buyer of gold.  Jack is a successful small business owner.  Jack competes against me in GDKP runs, and Jack, like me, is loved because he pisses away gold with seemingly no care.  Jack buys millions of gold from gold sellers because he's your average player with real money and this is his entertainment.  Jack hasn't the time to farm up gold because his attention is towards making real money, not pixels.  Jack pays out the ass for gear when he competes with me, because he pays 500:1 for gold.  That means for every 100,000 gold he bids, he pays 50-70 bucks in real money.  He's fine throwing down several hundred thousand because it would mean he wins.  He's like me, a bully with their bankroll that likes to win.

A long time friend of mine from back in D2 days (I met him because he was a customer of mine) actually quit D3 when they removed the auction house.  He doesn't have the time to mess around in the game looking for gear that might be an upgrade, he wants gear NOW because he has what those in the real world call "a good paying job".  I remember what he told me after they removed the auction house - if I can't Mastercard my way through a game, I'm not interested.  He was true to his word.

We have to realize that microtransactions are the future of games.  They've been around in the underground since online gaming for items and gold started.  Ultima Online, Everquest, Diablo 2, Star Wars, Dark Age, Guild Wars and Warcraft.  The research is there, the experience is unquestioned, people will always buy gold for real money.  Can you eliminate it or regulate it?  I think regulation is the answer.  It's a giant market, just like useless apps are a giant market for phones, micros are almost exactly like it.  I can buy an app that tells me when to feed my dog for crying out loud. 


So what does all of this mean for you, the average player who probably won't be buying tokens or selling gold to token buyers?  Not a helluva lot unless you shop on the BMAH.  There are people with both the means and the desire to acquire things with their real world currency.  Is this fair?  Absolutely!  That's the free market.  You are free to sit on your ass and do nothing or free to go try to make something be successful.  If you cannot participate in this latest venture in either capacity, then the only thing you'll notice is a lot more Spectral Tigers riding around, more Mim's heads flying by, and people will finally have the means to pay those stupid repair bills because dailies are a pain in the ass and who has the time to run Heroic Firelands for 20 minutes?

If there is a reduction in gold in the game because of widespread overuse of the BMAH, you'll see prices of your flasks, your enchants, and your gems stay pretty much at the same levels.  Why?  Because the gold that is being unlocked has been rotting away in guild banks for years and has absolutely nothing to do with the future prices of materials and consumables.  High priced stuff is purchased on a perceived value, and most regular players will never acquire these items.  Gold for many of us is a dead asset unless we need to use it.  Those with millions of liquid pixelated currency laying around have chosen not to let their gold work for them.  You, however, have nothing to worry about.

Ok, Jay, that's enough now.

Now for me, I personally help the economy every weekend by redistributing 30-40% of my weekly profits to help my local world ranked raiders increase their gold supply in GDKP runs.  Remember, these are the highest stakes GDKP runs in the world where a seat at the table requires a quarter million gold on hand minimum and the pot grows to several million in just hours.  There are no friends in GDKP, and that's good because I don't have the room for more.  I can't wait to see if this token system actually affects anything for us.  And if you're on the US realms and interested in getting into these runs, please feel free to tweet me @zerohour15 for more information.

Thanks for stopping in!

Monday, March 16, 2015

10 Reasons to Hate Inscription

Most people know I dislike glyphs, but how many knew I disliked Inscription?  Ok, I'm sure most of you.  But there was a time when I used to make a very good portion of my gold from it, but we call that Wrath, and Greatness cards, and Glyphmas.  Since then the allure of the profession has made me wince whenever I log into my druid.  I've just had a real disdain for it, while I know most of you out there think it's the best thing sliced bread.  I wish it would go away already.

Here are my reasons for disliking Inscription to the point of using the word HATE.  It wasn't hard coming up with an even 10 reasons, I actually have a few more but they're really nit-picky.  If you like Glyphs and DMF decks and making staves/off-hands, please stop reading.  You have been warned.

1) This is a profession, that since Cataclysm, has practically been for "opening of expansion only" and then turns into a bot farm - both actual bots cancel posting and people bots doing it manually.  Right now the only thing you can do is upgrade what you have, and in most cases the gear offerings are subpar and really only appeal to non-raiders in LFR or those raiders who have gotten extremely unlucky with particular drops and want a weapon with their exact secondary stats.  Unfortunately with talent trees being reduced to only a few real choices with each class and glyphs being only learned once, they become a market for Pokemon style players and new players just needing a few for their alts.

2) Glyphs are the lowest form of goldmaking within the crafting family and as such are a beginner's profession.  If you run over to The Consortium and read the endless questions about setting up glyph making empires, you can find oodles of explanations about what not to do and the mistakes of others.  And if you don't want to do a search, be like everyone else and start a new thread.  Yes, the people doing this tend to be getting 'serious' about goldmaking, so their first act is downloading TSM and setting it up incorrectly.  To do it properly, you HAVE to set up the actual costs, because we all know you aren't out farming your own Celestial Ink, you're trading it for current content inks like everyone else.  Further, it's a make money button in most people's eyes.  Very little depth to it so it appeals to the people not interested in thinking too much so the overall market is saturated with stupid.

3) Gevlon used to make all his gold off glyphs.  If you ever read his blog when he was actually grinding gold, his #1 suggestion whenever he wanted to "help" people on other servers make gold was "make glyphs".  Gevlon LOVED to troll the bads in this game, so if Gevlon recommended it, you know something was awry with it.  While Gevlon's more or less long gone, the armies of people sold on this profession is endless.

4) The weapons made with the profession carry an extremely high opportunity cost to craft (and for me at least) don't move.  With everyone now able to reroll for very little gold, this craft is now all about who can craft that staff with the best stats and post it for the lowest price on the AH.  As a complaint in general, all weapons are 630 and will always upgrade to a max of 10 points below the content.  Today a person can snag a 640 out of LFR with no problem so there's no appeal to grab an item that will make do until they get what they need...  unless they intend to upgrade it with expensive Savage Bloods, it's probably going to sit around a while, or someone got desperate and failed Bronze Challenge modes.  In summary, your target market is the masses who either have no gold, no skills, no guild, and no luck.  Yuck.

5) DMF trinkets were changed this expansion to be available for crafting without the DMF being in town.  This means that all the junior scribe geniuses can keep deck prices screwed up year-round now rather than once a week.  DMF decks already lost their luster within the first tier of content, and thanks to most of them being poorly itemized come down to one deck that everyone wants, and then 3 others that you work hard to give away; see Tanking Trinkets.  You spend an inordinate amount of time trying to trade off bad cards so you can get good cards.  Of course there are those that swear by these items, and every so often MrRobot says they're a BIS for crafted items, but I'm not interested in appealing to specific niches when I get to be the one constantly reposting them.

6) It's too time consuming for low reward.  Post a hundred glyphs, spent 2 minutes clearing out your mailbox of them.  Posting them takes far too long even though it's almost entirely done with TSM.  Undercutting happens within 5-10 minutes of a post, and resetting your inventory takes half that amount of time if not the same amount.  This is why there are so many glyph bots - people are willing to lose their accounts rather than manually deal with the market.  Need I mention milling?  We were told before beta that we would not be milling our own herbs.  They could easily have done for Inscription what they did for Jewelcrafting, and I would not be making this post.  I've been messing with glyphs lately and it boils down to about 1-2k revenue per day.  On my server that's astoundingly awful.  I used to pull an easy 5k per day before MMOC made this mainstream in Wrath, and I miss those days.

7) At the end of every expansion since introduction of the profession, you get charred glyphs.  When they change the content, they remove glyphs from the game and your reward are a bunch of vendor grays.  Like I always say, glyphs are nothing more than a substitute talent tree.  You have to buy new ones each expansion because they flat out cannot remove this profession because too many people are in love with it.

8) The majority of glyphs are horrible and boring.  This is just poor design.  They removed talent trees because of complex decisions having to be made by their playerbase, which is mostly non-gamers calling themselves gamers.  Now the new mantra is to make the major glyphs do almost nothing for you, but just being somewhat useful in given situations.  I really dislike that and I say remove talent trees all together and have glyphs be the talent tree.  Level 15, 30, 45, etc there are glyphs for everything you want.  This would at least make them sort of interesting again.  They could have made glyphs in reduced quantity through the garrisons (see above) and made a very rich talent tree via glyphs.  Talent trees and glyph UIs look extremely similar, merge the two and set level requirements on glyphs that aren't game breaking.  Revamp the crafting of these to require you to actually perform a CD for each level of glyph you wish to make, up the mat requirements. 

9) As I alluded to, it is the ONLY profession in WoD that did not get some sort of major change or overhaul.  Jewelcrafters no longer have to prospect.  Leveling it requires the same trek as before, unless you want to spam something for 600 levels that's ultimately not profitable.  Armor crafters received the ability to make great items for disenchanting.  And I'm still milling by hand.

10) It takes very little for the entire market to get screwed up within seconds and there's very little you can do about it unless you want to constantly play the White Knight and reset the market, only to have the same thing happen within minutes or hours.  Like I mentioned with #2, it's so easy, any mouthbreather can do it.  Therefore, the prices are generally screwed up because said mouthbreather cannot compute the actual costs of herbs as it relates to inks and they post it because TSM told them to (mouthbreathers are bad at settings).  But then said mouthbreather will tell you they have no costs because farming makes them free so deal with the 10g glyphs that cost 40g to make in real costs, these guys have their leet dual gatherers running all over turning gold into lead.  Mouthbreathers make me sad.

That's a lot of hate right there.  I guess it sucks that the only use I've gotten out of my scribes since WoD's launch has been in daily cooldowns and weekly work orders.   I do have a lot of love for one particular part of the profession however, and I'll let you guess which part.  Everything I talked about above makes my process continue to be highly profitable, so if you can guess how that works then you're looking at a gold mine of your very own.

The Number One US?  World?

Lately I've been seeing friends and extreme goldmakers like myself drop like flies.  One of my heroes notified the world last week that he was out.  Others have been inactive and not interested any longer.  Am I the number one by attrition?  Have I outlasted the best?  You can talk about streamers and such, but they're all pretty sketchy.  Here, this is my week, which is almost 100k less than the week prior.

These numbers are 100% through professions.  There's zero transmog, zero resetting, and zero dupe selling (Savage Blood, TCG).  Just good old fashioned spreadsheet application and profit taking in those markets which are best served.  So the question stands...  who's the best?

Appeal to the masses and sell them what they want, being exclusive doesn't guarantee a consistent income.

Thanks for stopping in!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Thank Goodness for Small Miracles

It looks like the token system for gametime is real, and from my post at the end of last year, it looks like they're going to do it right!  Not tradeable, BOP after the first sale, and the system doesn't seem to look like it will be exploitable.  Further, a separate part of the AH will be dedicated to it.  It sounds like I was in the development meeting for it.  The only thing I didn't get was notification that there is an economist in place to insure that those buying the gold are getting a good deal.

Now if they'll just release it in a timely manner before I bankrupt myself in GDKP runs.

Oh yeah, the complaints from those with the gold have already begun.  Lots of worries for no reason.  And I can't believe what I'm reading.  It's either for one of several reasons:

1) People are concerned that others will have a means to access gold they didn't earn, just fill out the merchant services information and go get your unearned gold.

2) They're ultra legit and this is an affront to everything good and decent about their favorite game, even though gold sellers have been in the game since day one and their precious little world is about to be tarnished by the real world!

3) They're very concerned that people will finally wake up and realize that grinding gold is worth it!  And that spending time grinding it means they will have more competition.  Oh no! Or that Blizzard will not slack off on their aggressive anti-bot stance, and the fellows over at Honorbuddy will get away with something even more because of some imaginary concocted reason. 

4) People are actually pissed because they currently sell their gold for more cash than the lousy subscription cost, and this is going to interfere with business.  Getting a job is hardly in the cards, because that would interfere with sitting on their asses.

Pay to win (P2W) isn't even an argument here, because gold is pointless unless you need it for something gamebreaking.  Nothing has even come close to that outside of the BMAH, and I'm fairly certain that world ranked guilds already have their subs paid.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and let people know now that grinding gold for your sub is not worth it.  Unless you're me, and you pull in over half a million and over in sales a week.  And I can guarantee you that the vast, vast majority of players in the game are not me, because I only play on one server and only I have access to my account.  In fact, I'm 1 in 10 million according to the current stats.  I'd like to meet the person who's making more than me, I'm pretty sure they're not dealing in legitimate Blizzard intended markets or they're running a dupe technique.

But let's discuss my reason behind #4.  I know point of fact that many of the people out there grinding gold right now are doing it for nefarious reasons.  Maybe nefarious is too strong a word, maybe the money pays for their beer and good times.  Maybe it's how they subsidize their income.  People, for whatever reason, are people.  They're going to try to get ahead with the least amount of effort.  People bring coffee machines to work because they can't get off their asses to get a cup in the break room.  Anyone who claims to have made over 5 or 10 million gold in this game and isn't able to show you the gold on their characters at this point is probably selling gold or has contacts over at Ownedcore or in-game that are buying from them, wholesale or retail. 

I say all that and I can't show you my gold results from expansion to expansion.  Why?  Because I love to piss it all away at the close of each expansion.  It's just what I do.  Gold is meant to be spent, and to acquire millions without a use is the ultimate in useless life spent.  When I started WoD I had under 400,000g between my characters.  I was broke by my standards.  What happened to all of it?  Well I did some BMAH, but I also did GDKP across 5 different characters with the top 3 guilds on Illidan.  I went through millions just doing that because I like treating other "rich" people like they're shit and their tears are more delicious.  In the last GDKP I ran in SoO I detected a hint of lemon.

Besides all this, the efforts by Blizz to crack down on bot users is going to probably escalate to Def Con 1.  Harmless bot fishing?  Bye.  Gathering herbs and ores because you're 15 and you pwn everyone?  Probably should stay in school.  Running a posting bot because you're asleep at 2am and you just can't fathom that sales are being made while you're sleeping?  Hasta la vista, bitch.  I have a feeling Blizz is going to be monitoring AH activity with this change even moreso.

How?  Well money silly.  Goldselling in games is a multibillion dollar business.  In some MMOs, selling the currecy is more profitable than the game itself.  This service is going to cost the people buying that gametime.  I am expecting to see a price tag of $20-$25 US for each token purchase.  This is going to be a gigantic windfall for Blizzard, and they'll probably have the extra resources afterwards to boost many QOL and security issues within the game itself.  That premium is definitely deserved.  Funny story.

In my first job out of college I was talking with my boss (who owned the company) about the future of phones.  He believed we would always have landlines, and I believed that one day we would all be talking online for free and that phones as he knew them would go away.  I argued (I was a young and clueless fresh college grad of 23 and an idealist at one point) that the phone companies deserved to take that hit, after decades of overcharging for services that they didn't deserve any premium for because they already laid the lines and that bill was paid years ago and if anything the prices should go down on landlines.  His argument was I had a long way to go to learn about business.  They laid the lines, they deserve to be paid for that service.  Well, he was wrong about several parts and right on one.  I definitely learned about how business works (took about another year of getting my teeth getting kicked in), and I really learned that the business that makes the exclusive offering dictates the price that the market will bear, so he was right. 

Blizzard deserves whatever price they get for this offering.  They make the game, they make the rules.  Everything they do has been focus grouped and test marketed, it's not done on a whim.  The results are pretty clear - they retained 10 million subs this last expansion again.  Don't like it, play something else and vote with your wallet.  Of course, we all know you can't.

By the way, we're not all talking on landlines today, are we?

Thanks for stopping in!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Did You Stockpile for Blackrock?

Well didja?  If not, there's still time left.  Unless you're on my server, where prices will be maintained at their usual "holy shit what are people thinking" levels.

This is getting silly at an average of 553g per.

Stockpiling...  a word not commonly used anymore because everyone is rolling Just-In-Time it would seem.  Why stockpile things, right?  Economies are dead, professions are dead, people don't care about anything other than garrisons and maintaining enough materials to fill work orders.  This is basically what the big world is saying.  It's also not surprising to me to see the vast majority of big names take breaks.  A break at this point?  Why, I'm just getting warmed up! 

As an aside, truth be told, I have been enjoying Diablo 3 this past week, mostly because I need to do something besides collect gold from mailboxes and wipe on Imperator.  But I'm usually dual boxing it.  One machine watching the AH, the other blasting away at demons.  I wouldn't say this is a break.  Break to me means you haven't touched auctions in about a week or two, and haven't considered logging in to check the live action that goes on every single day.  Of course, unless you're on some dead server, then I guess you should have considered that a long time ago before you pressed on only to watch your mailbox fill up with returned auctions as everyone undercuts to the ground.

You know at this point in MoP, it would have been mid-December after the release.  I remember at that time I was just getting warmed up, and I was still a full month out from starting my blog - the blog started on a dare.  I hope you've enjoyed reading my stream of consciousness to date - I do it for the people.  Which people?  Me to know, you to find out.  But the point is, if there even is one, we're a long way off from the finish line here.  Back then people were starting to cry loud and hard about those Tiller farms and how much work it was.  Back then people couldn't be asked to do raids anymore because they were so boring.  Back then people were pissed off about the PvP situation because everything was so bursty.  Sound familiar?  Same cycle, different trek.

You have to be patient, you have to be consistent, you have to be willing to take risks, and you have to be willing to fail and learn from your mistakes.  Stockpiling is risk and fail wrapped into one, you have to call the market weeks and months ahead of time because if there's a glut or shortage, you won't be able to maintain a steady workflow and then the patience and consistency that comes with making millions very quickly goes off the rails.  And millions don't come quickly, they come slowly at first, and everyone just sees the results of the work in the end but never sees the actual work itself.

I personally have tried to stockpile every single week since late November.  It's been almost impossible to keep a continuous flow of raw materials on hand in several markets, specifically raiding and PvP markets.  Consumables are at insane demand levels and great margins, while durable products are at nominal levels and nominal prices.  What's funny is this was the reverse trend of last few expansions for me.

It probably has to do with the death of JC/DE and the death of alchemy specializations, and to each I say good.  I hated both of those for years simply because they were a keybinder's way of proclaiming auctionhouse genius.  Gimme a break.  Milling on the other hand still sucks, and if they had removed this entirely from the game I would be fine.  Glyphs should have gone another direction, but they remained the same, so I still despise them.  But arms trading remains incredibly profitable, and looks to be in the ballpark for the rest of the expansion, regardless if people are pissed that their items are now only worth a few thousand.  One has to look further than 100 of each mat, there's opportunity there with each cooldown and work order.

In Case You Missed It, We Have a New Raid Opening

Blackrock is basically a new tier of opportunity.  I think this is what people are missing.  Unlike when they released Heart of Fear and the Sha of Stink raids, people have been beating their heads in for weeks collecting their BIS out of Highmaul.  Outside of the extreme raiders who finished weeks ago and have been working the PTR, I'm seeing over 260 guilds on my server that have made 6/7H or better progress.  Sure, some are dead and buried and disbanded, but that smells like an extreme profit situation to me.  Let me break this down, and you can apply it to your own server.

1) What's the server population like here?  It's insane, guilds are everywhere, people are recruiting constantly.  Everyone here wants to do better and some want to better deal their guilds and guilds want to better deal their weakest links.  People tend to wear their very best to fight nights, so there's no shortage of money flowing through the AH to accomplish that.

2) What the progression like?  Guilds pride themselves on downing bosses quickly.  We have the #1 guild in the US on the server and several want to be like them and they play like it.  If you're sitting in LFR on my server, you're not in the game, and if you want to get in the game you better prepare to act-as-if.

3) What's the economy like?  We have every duped item you can think of.  CGFs think Illidan when they consider what server to come hock their ill-gotten wares.  We have closet millionaires everywhere.  People like a good deal but they pay what it takes.  I have no idea where they're getting their gold from to buy from me, I suspect it's from any one of the people BadBoy catches... like one a second it seems some days.  On any given Tuesday, if I have the laptop open and keep posting, I'll sell out of most everything at really solid profit levels.

4) Does your server have queues to get in usually around patch time?  Our queues are legendary.  People roll here and it's almost a badge of pride to get a two hour wait on a raid night after content opens.  People avoid my server because of lag, wait times, elitism, and trade spam they can't understand because they can't read Mandarin.  These people are all future customers of mine.  I use the TSM App and check my Excel files and see hundreds of different buyers (and sellers) each week.

So why should I stockpile anything?  I should be parting with everything the second I get it, right?  The problem is there are market forces at work on my server just like any other apocalypse event.  When raids open, raw materials go up in price that day and that second.  I'll give you an MoP First Tier example.

One of my greedy little pastimes back then was to dominate the weapon enchant market.  You really had two choices - everyone wants to dps or heal, nobody wants to tank.  So I saw Dancing Steel and Jade Spirit prices in the 10k range for a good while.  The problem with MoP was, shortage.  Enchanters could make one per day and if you chose to run LFR for your crystals, the gear wasn't dropping.  The price of crystals sat accordingly high, because you needed TEN per enchant.  That meant a person could DE almost all of their gear and make one enchant.  Of course, demand of these petered off between content, but there was always a progression through different bosses.  Then the new content in Throne of Thunder came out and everyone in the gold community seemed to proclaim "there will be thousands of crystals appearing because people will DE their gear and prices will drop!"

It barely happened.  Prices of crystals actually went up again, and the cost of Dancing Steel and Jade Spirit went right with it.  By this time I had been buying hundreds of crystals per week so my costs were way down.  Once the new content opened, I was ready to kill it.  You probably saw me posting results in the half million gold range per week at the time, and this was one thing that contributed to it.  Of course, once the third tier came out with the Isle, prices were worse but the profits were just as good.  I work off projected profit and concrete pricing when buying, and my numbers stay the same as long as I have inventory to sell.  Adjusting on the fly would just be cheating and result in really off kilter results.  Regardless, during the first tier of content, I maintained extreme profits because I was always buying.

I don't sit on my gold and roll around in it like some Scrooge McDuck, I invest it and spread it around to those willing to part with their goods for a reasonable price.  I then turn around and sell it to those that are willing to pay my price, I don't undercut for the sake of undercutting... ever.  The stooges that blindly run Cancel/Posting addons have little to no idea what their actual profits and potential is during the week, but I do.  My big rule - if I'm forced to pull out of a market because my profit expectations cannot be met, I'll wait and find the right buyer at a later time.  This is something that goes on in the real world all the time with most products.  You don't make sales just to make sales, you'll sell yourself broke.  I hold my inventory because I had to work to get it and then sell myself rich.

In the end, I stockpile naturally because it's a habit and because I've developed my own formulas to manage profitability I keep the AH stripped of anything that might resemble a well price mat.  I might sell 300k in crap on a Tuesday, but I'll turn around and reinvest those funds within about 3-5 days.  Since the beginning of WoD, I've built a guild bank loaded down with inventory of all types (200 stacking items isn't nearly enough) while still hitting net profits in the range of 1.8 million in a little over 2 months.  Remember, I'm just getting started, I haven't even finished several alts and we're only in the first real tier.

And what do I deal in mostly?  Well you'll have to take me to lunch to find that out.  Who knows, we may even discuss my favorite topics before we get to WoW.

You Learn Something New All the Time

I posted in Twitter on Superbowl Sunday that I found something out.
Yeah, so here it is.  In doing my Blackrock stockpile shopping this weekend I noticed something...  more mats were appearing than I have ever seen.  I normally buy several hundred of certain items per week, thousands of some, and dozens of others.  This weekend, I was blown away by how much gold I was parting with.  I knew it was going to be a mad dash for many to unload their mats, but when I hit a million in hard currency out the door this weekend I became very concerned.  Was the market crashing?  Are they duping freaking crystals, elementals, and herbs?  Was I the only smart person that wasn’t jumping into the life raft and still sailing full steam ahead?  Normally I don't believe in joining the herd in anything, because usually the herd is running straight into the lion's jaws because the herd normally jumps first, and then asks questions on the Consortium later.

So I asked some sellers I had bought things from on their items since they had several hundred of the things up, and that’s when it started falling into place.

Enter Bluehand, a massive seller of crystals I’d never seen before.  Was this guy a duper?  Was he just now selling his reserves?  Someone like myself makes 154 crystals per week, but I doubt they were like me since nobody is.  They were posting dozens of crystals, and I bought over 70 of the things when I decided to ask them the question – Will you give me a bulk discount off the AH?  They cut the price by 20g per, which I found agreeable.  Whoever they were was really excited and was willing to cut that price very quickly.  I got to questioning if it was something shady.  It turns out they were just getting some gold together because they ported from another server and were going to be raiding.  Lots of people port here so not a big deal, and people often come here to raid and have a guild in mind already.

Enter Arixiza, level 40 druid healer to the stars.  I went to buy some elements I needed for all those crystals I bought this weekend, noticing the person had posted several hundred at below my normal buying price.  I snapped up every last one.  Then they reposted several hundred more at prices above my range, and I started freaking out…  Are they duping elements now?  Surely not, let’s ask for a deal.  I sent a tell and they agreed to deal at the price I bought for previously and face to face.  This time I inquired…  how did you get all these?  Turns out they were unhappy with the price of TCGs on their server, so they ported a toon that could learn the mounts, along with an inventory of crap that sells for about half the price where they came from.  They figured this was a good time to do this because 6.1 is coming and the prices are going to fall with the new transmutes – whether or not they will is still up for discussion because they will more than likely have a daily CD attached to them and there’s no proc for a mastery anymore.

It was an ‘ah ha!’ moment for me.  People were dumping their trash on Illidan just to buy stuff and increase their gold count.  I had also tweeted over the weekend that if I was to just port to another server with gold and buy their cheap mats, I could double or triple my money.  Interesting how I foreshadowed this discovery - people were doing it to me all weekend with the mats and I was parting with hundreds of thousands of gold per hour.

Normally people do this with TCGs, but on Illidan, we’re one of the most expensive markets in the raiding universe.  Why?  Over 250 active raiding guilds doing end-Heroic and up content.  When you have that much gear dropping on a weekly basis, you put real strain on the Supply/Demand curve for enhancements and supplies.  Case in point – I love me some high end enchanting, always have.  I usually buy several hundred crystals and add that to the 154 I make every week.  On a normal week I’m lucky to snag about 200-300 at reasonable prices that allow for acceptable profits.  I sell out usually every Tuesday, and have a handful of leftovers for Wednesday, when demand drops off a bit but prices remain very aggressive for the sellers.  Further, our crystal supply is depleted so badly that prices for buying them remain trashy until about Friday when things settle down, hence the reason I do my buying over the weekends.  Just a few weeks ago the things were up over 725g per on a Tuesday.

But this weekend was different.  People were porting here to try to raid and/or save/make money.  As crazy as this server gets, it was just a buyer’s paradise.  Blackrock is coming out, and people want to insure that they are free of materials because 6.1 is going to change everything!  The sky is falling!  Time to dump those mats!  And 6.1 hasn't even been announced for release yet.  And people like me with bankrolls will absorb that risk, provided we know what we’re doing and can take the hit if it comes.

I’m confident I know what I’m doing (MY server here, not a blanket assessment), because even if 6.1 doesn’t make another change, the cost of dust is going to skyrocket so people will be prevented from getting those shards cheaply and easily for the daily.  People can also select spirits in lieu of the fractured crystals, which boil down to 4 work orders without a follower?  Additionally, who in their right mind will exchange spirits for anything but Savage Bloods?  There are upgrades to be had, 3 full tiers of them and they don’t require one or 2, they will require 60 of the things PER piece to go Stage 1 to Stage 4.  For many people, these upgrades are going to remain BIS for a while until their guild is capable of actually killing Heroic Blackrock bosses and proceed into Mythic.  That’s a tall order, and on Illidan if you aren’t trying to be the best, your ass is just asking to ride the bench on progression nights.  And Savage Bloods will crater in value, and I’ll still make a mint.

Good luck to those of you raiding Blackrock this week, and if you’re on Illidan don’t forget to buy your enchants and gems from me, I’ve got plenty in stock.

Thanks for stopping in!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Who Doesn't Love a Good Alchemist Army?

Since I gave up on Alchemy being worth a damn, well, most every profession for that matter...

Just kidding, everything is worth having.  Some moreso than others.  My breakdown across my characters right now:

Engineer - 2
Blacksmith -4
Tailor - 4
Leatherworking - 5
Enchanting - 11
Jewelcrafter - 6
Inscription - 2
Double-Gatherer - 1, yes a Tauren Druid


Alchemy - 8

3 of them have been powerleveled since the 6.1 announcement, because cooldowns.  The logic being that if they aren't busy making bloods, they'll be busy transmuting elements, and at the very least crafting catalysts every single day.

Let's do the math here.

Alchemy is by far the easiest profession in the whole damned game to level, regardless of racial.
Alchemy produces 10 catalysts from the daily cooldown.
Alchemy produces 6 catalysts from workorders per day, double that with the follower.
Alchemy's powerleveling produces items that are readily purchased for full market value plus profit every single day of the week (on my server, if not on yours then I'm sorry for your loss).
Since Draenor's removal of the stupid flask procs, the profession is again profitable.
It's the only profession where you could stockpile 3000 of each item and not be considered stupid for doing so.

QED - Alchemy is one of the top professions in the game, again.  Back in Classic, this was THE profession to level because you were stacking every single elixir in raids.  It is nice to see since it's been basically screwed up since Tier 6 of The Burning Crusade.  By screwed, I mean it was only good for one thing.  Now it's essentially coming back to where all 3 disciplines of the profession are actually worth crafting again, just like the good ol' days where you made potions and flasks for raiding, and transmuted items on cooldown.

For those keeping up with the news, we have new transmutes in the works, and I'm happy for it.  Finally, the game is released in it's entirely, and not like some group project that didn't get finished on time.  Sorry Blizzard, but the game's professions felt unfinished.  I know, interns.

We haven't seen the cooldown on this (if there is one), and what makes me a little nervous about plunging head-long into this glorious change is so deep seeded and involves years of getting fucked over by our host.  Reason?  Well two.

1)  Dupers have been screwing this item up for weeks now and Blizzard has done jack and shit about it.  How hard is it to answer a report, then track what the character was doing, or follow the chain of ownership of the items and review the logs and close the loophole?  It must require elite skills to review these logs, better than anything the dipshits managing the show will throw money at.  I would guess they're too busy having meetings about upcoming fart and poop jokes in the next expansion.

How hard is it to spot them?  It must be extremely hard, because they usually sit in Org on level 1's for days spamming SB's in batches of 100.  Sure, I did some business with them because I'm forced to if I don't want my SB's to get screwed in value and these dupe events will usually screw the price of bloods for a week or more.  Raid quality armor crafting has always suffered when these guys make an appearance.

People don't think about this - their costs are zero.  You cannot compete with them.  They can ride the value of an item all the way to zero if they wish.  Of course they won't, but they'll contribute heavily because this is how they eat in whatever backwater country they live in.

And as always, if you don't believe in dupes, then fuck you and the Easter Bunny you rode in on.  Hacked accounts, bots, and overzealous farmers are bullshit lies, these are outright hackers subverting the game's code on throwaway and invisible accounts.   Try /who on a mass seller if you see one and see if they even show up, pretty soon you'll get the drift.

2) Alchemy will allow you to collect a maximum of 154 Cats per week without any rush orders (which are nothing more than another daily CD at max skill).  So someone like me will be making 1,232 per week.  Half of which will go to flasks, the other half probably ending up as bloods.  The cost to make each catalyst will still be attached to the value of Frostweed and Blackrock Ore, both of which will probably get a small bump from all of this.

So let's say everyone dusts off their alchemists or rerolls them after taking Blizzard's name in vain for making them do something other than alchemy (perish the thought), and you'll get thousands of players making catalysts every single day.  Having a rather extensive knowledge of flask crafting this expansion, there's going to be a flood.  It wouldn't surprise me to see flasks either take a huge hit from the glut of catalysts available or rise in value tremendously because the cooldown to make the bloods never goes live.  I'm guessing the latter, because everyone is either going to grow the shit out of frostweed in their gardens putting extreme pressure on the price of other herbs.  If people do not grow it, then they'll have to buy it, which means others will see that selling frostweed will be more profitable than selling catalysts (or waiting around for 50 cats to stack).

The price of bloods versus the price of catalysts is a huge concern of mine.  Part of me hopes the price collapses in these so the hacking gold farming dupers all need to kill themselves, but I know that market pressure will push it to something reasonable.  Neglecting the value of Crescent Oils:

700/50 = 14g
600/50 = 12g
500/50 = 10g
400/50 = 8g
300/50 = 6g
200/50 = 4g

You get the idea I hope.  This is the cost you have to beat to craft one Alchemical Catalyst at a profit given pricing of Savage Blood.  Currently 20 Frostweeds and 10 Blackrock Ore will net you 10 cats, meaning that the cost of Frostweed and Blackrock Ore MUST be proportional, or else people will be operating at a loss.  I know the AH audience is not necessarily the sharpest knife in the drawer, but roll with me here.  If Frostweed today costs 2g per and BRO costs 75s per, then it's 47.5g per 10 Catalysts at 700 skill.  1 Catalyst would cost 4.75 gold to make, which means that there's a floor in this scenario of roughly 250g before AH fees.  Remember that there IS NO TRANSMUTE PROC, can't believe people still believe there are.

Now, how low can we go?  Well, I farmed it so it's free!  Farmers will not do this level of accounting, so as long as their crap is selling and they can make more free herbs and ore from level 3 gardens and mines that cost them over 5000g each to build, then it's all good, right!?  Everybody in the pool!  I'm putting on my stupid hat here to imagine what's going to happen, because this is what usually happens.  What I'm describing here is a total crash in the price of these, regardless of a cooldown.

If Scenario:Stupid comes to fruition, then I can almost guarantee that the next mass duped item will be Temporal Crystals, because those things are still competitive in price with Savage Bloods on my server and they require as many materials to craft weapon enchants which everyone needs.  Upgrading epics at this point is just a luxury, whereas enchanting your weapon with something besides a bleed is required reading if you're doing any sort of serious raiding.

Time will tell, I'm normally an optimist but with professions and the release of Attack of the Interns this expansion, I really have gotten good at playing it by ear.

This is Fun

I used to always post weekly results in my blog showing you my sales volume for the week.  This last week I did some massive spreadsheeting (not a word) and found that my profitability was actually an average of 48% on everything that I've been selling outside of armors, which still carry ROIs in the 1000+% range.  Additionally, I've discovered 2 new markets this last week, still not participating in inScrubption.  Below are my numbers from my primary posting account, my other account sells the armors so it doesn't show here, but they were only 80k.

As always, the top number is the total sales revenue for 7 days and the bottom is the daily from TSM.  If I had a goal to make a million gold per month, that would require 33,333g per day in profit.  If I'm sitting at 48%, just using ballpark numbers here, I'm at 38,196g per day profit.  Sure beats the shit out of dailies.

Having a blast, wish you were here!

Thanks for stopping in!