Wednesday, December 22, 2010

fraud factory - mysterious fortune cards

Whilst I thought I'd let his previous post pass through to the keeper Cold's salacious licking of his fiscal chops has thrown me over the edge into response land:

"I admit that I do feel a little dirty from swindling so much gold away from other players by getting them hooked on in game gambling."
Cold - Cold's Gold Factory

Admitting it is the first step they say…

It's single-arrow sales time all over again people except that this is quite a lot darker. But I’m not interested in Cold himself here – yes, he’s is an early adopter and a highly visible one but his is more a cautionary tale within the in-game gambling into which Blizz is delving.

It's worth considering for a moment why Blizz introduced this product in the first place.

I read a forum comment where a pundit was asking ‘how could this be a gold sink’ when more money was being created. After all the purchaser buys the ticket, the ticket pays money and the initial purchase money goes to the poster – ie, ‘more’ gold is there than before. Sure it is but it’s not the amount of gold in game that’s the issue, it’s where it ends up – or rather who ends up with it. Another 60g in a goblin’s bank is a drop in the ocean, whereas to the purchaser that gold could be the last 60g they had – yes, there is a chance he/she will walk away with 5000g but excuse me if I tell you now, I don’t think it’s a very high one. It’s far more likely that on average these cards will return less then they were bought for. So now our optimistic purchaser has less than they started with and needs to farm/quest for more gold. They will spend more game time and consequently play for longer. Good work by Blizz imo – they haven’t created less gold, but they have created more time spent ingame and as a result, more RL money in their coffers as game time is purchased. Goblins hawking these cards are not the Pimps they imagine themselves to be, they’re occupying a lower rung on the ladder.

Now a couple more points before I get off my soapbox:

Firstly, the World of Warcraft works on an abundance system. When people say that making gold in WoW is hard, that's irony! The system is designed to allow you to profit from your work and hence inspire you to continue, seeking further rewards. The saronite shuffle is a good example, there are so many ways to turn a profit that unless you buy the initial mat at crazy prices you will make gold. The introduction of the Mysterious Fortune Cards is a definitive move away from abundance towards paucity. Now Blizz is trying to motivate you to play/work longer not but giving you nice things, but by arranging to have them taken away from you so that you can work to get them back again (endgame/new expansion model in microcosm ; ) Further, you may also find it harder to gain gold in the future due to your new addiction to games of chance on the AH – it’s a worrying trend for WoW and certainly not a pretty one.

Most disturbing about these cards is what happens outside of WoW. Young folk play this game. Sometimes they are young of heart (ie, old ; ) but often they are young in age. Deliberately introducing to a young person’s game what is in effect online gambling is neither a cool nor a responsible thing to do. You're setting people up to chase similar experiences in RL.

The thing I think we, as Auctioneers, need to ask ourselves is which way we fall on this? As Cold points out this is a totally legitimate part of the game, as supplied by Blizzard. I myself, however, will not be selling these on the AH. I think they mark a departure for Auctioneers from supplying products which are of use and help people pursue their ingame aspirations (at a reasonable profit certainly) to supplying, occasionally gold, but mostly... thin air. Our usefulness to our communities becomes diminished, and so do we.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Golden Opportunity – Hyacinth Macaw

Okay folks – this one’s an oldy but a goody. This sweet little bird is on everyone’s snatch list as we all hope for the ‘noob factor’ of a 50g posting.

Since Cata though there’s been a change – this bird is still a 1 in 5000 drop but is now a ‘zone’ drop rather than just a pirate drop. So though the drop rate remains unchanged there is now a larger pool of mobs from which it might drop and at the moment as the levelling wave passes through STV a lot of these fellahs are popping up on the AH.

The Undermine Journal gives a spead of about 15K from a few 5K sales through to the standard 20K.

So where’s the opportunity here? Well, the levelling won’t be here forever and once the wave of goblins and worgens passes we can reasonably expect these items to become not ‘as rare’ as before but definitely ‘rarer’ then they will be for the next couple of months. Some servers are reporting two or three birds up on the AH at once.

So if you see this item for between 5000 – 10000g I’d buy and hold for the next three to six months at which stage your investment should have matured. This one is not without risk but potentially will have sizable payoffs.



Sunday, December 19, 2010

on triple cap and the dangers of fishing

Current liquid: 650K.

Woot! Triple cap! The old cap anyway. ; )

The stockpiling that I did for about three months or so leading up to Cata appears to have been worth it. I was buying both netherweave and frostweave for 6g a stack max with the occasional frostweave purchase going up to 8g a stack when I got excited.

Netherweave bags are now selling for between 25g and 29g, or on average 20g profit and the frostweave bags are going for around the 95g mark; about 50g profit.

Glyphs are also selling very well - in terms of Outwit, Outlast and Outplay, glyphs at the moment come well and truly under the Outlast category on our server – as the days pass I’m uncontested in more and more glyphs. The new Cata herbs are still very expensive and in sufficiently small volumes as to not be worth buying; the old world herbs can be very cheap but supply is patchy/laughable. I have a fallback on my glyphs of 65g and its very rare that I see anything sell for less than that. Stocks are starting to run low but I'm still holding at least a half stack on most glyphs.
I’ve started selling Cata green gems and am putting the dailies together for JC. This evening I should get my first blue pattern though I don’t intend to delve too deeply into this market, saving my tokens instead for the epics.

Looking forward - where to now? Well, a couple more months on this server before I start putting my exit plan into effect. At that stage I'll be purchasing a second account and moving most of my gold across to horde, taking a 15% loss in the process. There I'll stock up on whatever epic goodies / high-end mats I can and will then be moving them back across the neutral AH for peppercorn gold.

Why move all that gold to horde and the mats back? Well, I like playing Alli and there are no mats on our side of the fence, certainly I doubt we’ll ever see BOE Cata purples in any great abundance. The horde side of our server is very strong; the alliance has fewer than 1000 active toons. Mats might kick in when people have finished levelling professions and if so I’ll change my strat but it ain't looking rosy.

There is of course another option… level all 10 server toons to 81 and carry 500k out that way. ; ) I should be able to move at least 300K on characters so there’s that.

Here’s something amusing to finish on:

I had an epic pvp last night with a 62 pally (my lock is 61). I logged in to see a bunch of dead, skinnable hellboars dotted away into the distance and instantly started following the trail before they despawned, skinning as I went. So preoccupied was I that I didn’t notice the pally who was creating the trail until I was almost upon him. He mounted up and came straight at me. So with no Soulstone or Healthstone I only had a pot, Drainlife and Deathcoil to get my health back up. He charged across the red plain, jumped off and got into it – I slapped Exhaustion on him, whacked up a couple of dots and kited the bugger. His Exorcisms hit like a truck; I dotted and bursted him down as I was able whilst running. In one of my longest PVPs so far I got him close a number of times, forcing him to stop and heal himself up, but finally he got me low enough to finish me. I was itching for a rematch but by the time I rezzed, got all buffs and so forth up and jumped on the gryphon he was long gone. I was surprised at how tough he was and decided now might be the time to get those Knothide LW patches to up my health. As I logged out to swap to my crafter I saw that instead of beating on the pally whilst holding my heirloom staff I’d be doing it with, you guessed it, my fishing rod. My SP with fishing rod equipped is 334, with staff equipped is 540.

: )

Ahh fishing… such a pleasant pastime and yet, so unexpectedly dangerous.

Have fun out there guys,


Thursday, December 16, 2010

pvp happund!

This past week as the furore that is horde levelling on my server died down I dusted off my druid and braved Vash'jir. This fellah is ICC 10 and 25 geared and at 80 is quite competitive for deeps although unlike my mage he’s done little pvp and wears no resilience gear. I respecced, put on my deeps gear, reviewed my deeps rotation (I’ve been tanking on this guy for a very long time), glyphed, remembered where ‘stealth’ was and headed out.

First things first, Vash’jir is beautiful, hats off to Blizz for creating a lovely zone. Not that I saw too much of this as I was looking over my shoulder the whole time. Although we’re a while after Cata dropped the start zone was still awash with horde. As mentioned I love a bit of pvp but because of the sheer mass of horde toons around no sooner have you engaged with that rogue who jumped out of stealth and begun making him regret his decision but three more horde jump in on the fight and that’s it. Luckily ocean-going druids are built for speed with angry-sea-lion form properly glyphed being very fast. Regardless of this I would still not class the 80-85 zones as ‘fun’ yet.

So again I find myself considering the levelling experience on an unbalanced PVP server.

Blizz has placed many of the quests for horde and alli from the same quest givers. This is not a new trend but it seems to be more prevalent in this expansion; more prevalent also in the reworked areas below 80. On servers such as mine this bottlenecks a minority in with a majority – merciless ganking of said minority follows. Soon after that follows a litany of claims as to what should be done to fix the problem.

There’s no answer for this although the forums present many amusing views:

Blizz should open free transfers for X (minority) faction from other servers.
Why would they do that? You’re playing on a PVP server because you like a fight – now you’ve got one. Also, when you eventuially get tired of being ganked you’ll transfer off = more money for Blizz.

People should not pvp when levelling!
I love this one – it seems rational, world PVP is often unequal and as a result can be unfair. Either levels are not aligned or you get others joining in to gank; doesn’t it make more sense to simply live and let live until we’re all 85? Why yes, yes it does but many folks who play our grand game like dishing out regular gankings to those of lower levels, many are so skilled they can stroke their epeen at the same time. So good luck with that one. I’m reminded of the classic MiB quote:

Edwards: People are smart. They can handle it. Kay: A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it.

Get a bunch of your faction together and gank em back – it’s what world PVP is about!
Coooeee! Anyone out there? …. anyone? There’s no one there, certainly not on my server where in the aforementioned crowded start zone I was the “only” alli around, but in general as well. People are enjoying levelling their toons and dropping everything to traverse a zone to come to your aid when often the assailants have flown, does not usually doesn’t happen.

So if you’re PVPing on an unbalanced server then you’re doing it on your own. So how do you enjoy the process?

Well, PVP seems most enjoyable when the odds are even. So if you have to be on your own then make sure that those you’re PVPing against are on their own as well. And at this stage of a new expansion that means you need to be in the lower levelling zones. 20 to 75 is where all the fun is at. : )

Since my lock broke free of his dwarven nursery I’ve been having compound fun on him. He’s geared in BoAs and I know how to play him + horde on my server, if you’ll pardon me for saying, can’t PVP for shit! It’s not their fault directly, they get no practice on what is largely a PVE server for them and have not for some years now. The few roaming Alli who are brave enough to venture out on the other hand get a bunch of practice. Of my recent encounters I have to say 80% have gone my way, sometimes with a serious level imbalance not in my favour. I’ll stop there ere I stray into the epeen stroking myself. My point here though is that the game is not just enjoyed at cap, in fact in some instances the simpler world of levelling is where the most joy is.

So enjoy yourselves out there guys and remember, 80-85 will still be there when you want it. In the mean time roc those lower levels and get yourself into some trouble.

; )


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Elementium my dear Watson...

What an odd time to take a break from WoW right?

Surely levelling new crafters is a buzz no mogul could resist. Well you’re right, I can’t resist it but I can’t do it either. I have mentioned in the past that I’m on a very small server – well a very small server Alli-side anyway. So here’s what being outnumbered 10 to 1 on a PVP server at the release of Cata looked like:

Cata drops – very smooth, thank you Blizz : )
I fly in Dala – how very useful : )
I fly for the first time in Azeroth – simply wonderful : )
I carry out the prequests and hit Hyjal…

…only I don’t. The closest I can get to the quest giver for the jump-off point is to hover overhead while a mass of horde toons crawl all over each other like a thousand drones trying to impregnate their queen. Straying too close earns me a bunch of dots and leaves a buzzing noise in my ears.

Now this might be starting to sound like a whinge and yes, the simile above does stray close to invective. But, I play on a PVP server and a severely unbalanced one at that so I was kinda expecting this. Alli-side the discussion was that we’d all be levelling worgens and goblins for the first few weeks and that was cool by me. And don’t get me wrong, PVP server = good. More horde = good, more chances for me to find foes for world PVP, which I rather enjoy.

What I hadn’t counted on was the severe restriction on mats that this festival-of-the-horde would create. I knew mats would be low due to the low Alli numbers but was confident I’d be able to use my muscle to get what I needed. No dice! Very little is finding its way on to the AH at all. The multitudes of horde are finding the Alli rarespawn too tantalising to resist and I assume that the few Alli farmers brave enough to venture forth are getting ganked mercilessly; a couple of stacks of Savage Leather does not a capped leatherworker make.

It’s an interesting take on the standard WoW supply and demand. I’m sure I’m not the only person Alli-side on server willing to pay the big bucks for mats at this early stage of the expansion. But why pay those big bucks for an amount of mats that won’t allow me to reach my goal quickly? Under the circumstances I should wait until supply is better established and costs are lower.

I’ve also realised that I’ve missed a vital element of what one might call “small faction procurement”: normally I’d proudly proclaim that I would never farm mats for myself. At the release of an expansion though it really is opposite-world. Farming is big and profitable and I should have been better prepared, levelled up my DK and lock and been out there seeing the new sights and making good goldz.

Ah well…

So I’m taking some time off. I’ll do a little lock levelling and will refresh my bags and glyphs every 48 hours but for the next few weeks it’s going to be mostly WoW holiday for this mogul.

Let me know how supply and demand on your PVP server is working out.

: )


Monday, December 6, 2010


Well folks it's the end of WOTLK and I've hit the 600K mark.

This make me a very happy Mogul.
What have I been up to recently? Levelling this guy! : ) I've got to say that levelling an affliction lock feels perilously close to cheating and is a bag of fun. It's likely though for the next couple of days I'll hop onto my crafters and open up the higher levels.
What was my Cata prep? 3500 glyphs, 5x 32 slot bag of all sorts (well, almost), 200 Netherweave bags and 80 Frostweave bags. I'm pretty relaxed about it and am not expecting huge things early as all those worgens need a chance to level out of the starting zones before they really start buying.
So thanks for coming along for the ride in WOTLK guys - it's been fantastic fun, both the gold making and the learner blogging.
Have fun guys,