Friday, February 28, 2014

Interacting with Players: Sammy

Gold-making has a lot to do with numbers and math and other such things. Then there's lots of game mechanics to take into consideration. But one of the biggest aspects of gold-making that doesn't get the amount of discussion you'd expect is the interpersonal dynamics involved.  Be it an intricate undercut/repost/modify fallback to attempt to change your competitor's posting habits setup or an actual conversation we are, in one way or another, interacting with other players; both buyers and other sellers. How these relationships are managed are of the utmost importance to gold-making success.

Like in life, there are a lot of different types of people and even more ways of dealing with them. I'm going to do a little series of the people who have contacted me in-game (or those I have contacted) and what came of our discussions. Names have been changed to protect the foolish.


#1: Sammy

Sammy was one of the first people to respond to my Trade advertisement about how I'm always buying materials in bulk via COD. However, unlike most people who whisper me in response to my ad, he did not open with a "That sounds good" or "Can we work on the price?" (No, we can't!) or any other normal thing to say. He opened with this:

So, right away, it was clear I was in for a good time. Here are some tips we can discuss right off the bat from Sammy's introduction:

  • Never presume that you have a reputation.
    If you do have a reputation, then great for you, but if you don't you come off like a complete tool. Not only is this guy not someone who has ever been on my radar but he also thinks very highly of himself for a reason that doesn't seem to hold water. This is not a good first impression to make on anyone.
  • Even if you know you have a reputation, do not attempt to use it to intimidate or impress people.
    In his defense I was on a brand new toon, not on Liquidate. But even if he is 100% correct and he sells a ridiculous amount of volume the fact of the matter is he likely doesn't even come close to a quarter of the business I am used to doing. While being in the top 10 sellers may make him feel special it really doesn't matter to someone like myself who, in full swing when top sellers were listed, accounted for 5-7 characters of the top 10 sellers and was likely allied with the rest. That's not even considering the fact that most Top Sellers lists take into account amount of auctions posted, not sold.
  • If you're going to boast you better be able to back that shit up.
    Sammy was approaching me about selling bulk ore. He opened in such a way that, while he was pompous, I was pleased to find someone willing to sell me thousands of stacks of ore that he claimed to have. He talked my ear off about how he farms for hours every day and gets hundreds of stacks every day and oh if only he could find someone who was able to buy all this ore his awesome self farms up. When he asked me how much I wanted to buy and I said "all of it" his tune changed a bit though.

    You see, Sammy doesn't actually farm very much at all and had no idea that there were people who would buy so much ore. I ended up getting maybe 100 stacks of ore from him over the course of one month. I'm happy that he sells his ore to me but his credibility is completely and totally shot with me now and he's, in my eyes, rather pathetic which means that all future interactions with him have been met with eye-rolling. I just don't take him seriously and that's not something you want people thinking about you.

So, like I said, I offered to buy as much ore as he could send me and he sends me a bit here and there. He is probably my ninth or tenth biggest supplier. But here comes Harvey.

Harvey is Sammy's friend. As far as I can tell they are friends, probably around fourteen years old. Harvey is a very polite young man compared to his friend, however. He began selling me ore here and there and at one point he caught me while I was online and we talked a bit.

I won't go into Harvey's conversations too much since he's done just fine with the interpersonal thing but he mentioned that he got my name from Sammy and that Sammy said he makes dozens of thousands of gold from me. I was amused because at that time Sammy had maybe made 2,000 gold off me, if that. So I told Harvey his friend was likely mistaken but I tucked that bit of info into the mental Sammy file. 

Through more discussions with Harvey it turned out that apparently Sammy has told Harvey all about me, which is surprising considering none of the conversations actually happened. Apparently I've bought dozens of thousands of gold worth of ore from Harvey and I do so because I'm "exploiting the ore" and that's how I'm making gold. Also, I hack apparently.

I set the record straight with Harvey (that Sammy is talking big but none of the above is true) and pointed him towards Stormspire since he seemed interested in gold-making. But the Sammy file was now a bit more eye-roll-worthy.

Last week, at the behest of many buyers, I added leather into my barking macro. I set my price the same as with other markets; take the lowest I regularly see it at market and subtract 5g per stack. However, because leather prices fluctuate so much this frequently looks much lower than the current auction house price and that has lead to some interesting blowback I never saw before.

Side note before we get into more Sammy lols: I don't care what other people think of my prices. That's not a defensive "I don't care what you think, you're not my real dad!" statement, it's just the truth. My prices are set where they are for a good reason and that reason is not public opinion; if people sell to me that's great, if they don't that's fine. I literally don't care what people think of my prices or what they think of me charging them. I don't hide this fact.

Now, onto Sammy. Sammy apparently has quite the issue with what I pay for leather; so much so he began mouthing off in Trade chat about how I was ripping everyone off. I responded with my usual "I don't care what people think of my prices. Buy them or don't, I don't care." spiel and he apparently took this as a very personal attack.

He whispered me reminding me that he was my ore supplier and I should listen to him or else I'd never get any sellers. I was bored so I decided to engage in the conversation, stating once again I don't really care what he thought. Apparently this was very very upsetting for him since I was immediately put on ignore and told that it must be my time of the month. (Protip for anyone: Nothing makes me think you're a young boy faster than references to PMS/periods as rationale for someone treating you in a way you view as negative. Grow up.)

Now, you'd think that him putting me on ignore would be the end of it, but no, it gets better. You see, apparently he missed me very very much, because he took me off ignore within five minutes and began responding in Trade chat whenever I'd hit my macro. I just disregarded it and finished for the night.

The next day I was doing my usual Shopping List search before hitting my macro and found all of his ore on the AH . . . for 5g less than what I offer for it. Even if he is a tool cheap ore is cheap ore so, naturally, I bought it out. My personal opinions of someone won't get in the way of good gold-making.

He whispered me, thanking me for buying the ore, and began CODing a bit here and there again.

I imagine the Sammy tales may continue; I'll update y'all if they do, but that's where the Sammy situation is right now.

Here are the takeaway points from Sammy's tale:
  • Don't talk big at all, but especially if you can't back it up.
  • Act like an adult when dealing with others; how you speak to them may not have a great impact on your bottom line but, in the end, it will impact the way they see you which can really help or hinder you in the long-run. (We'll get more into this in a few more posts when I post Alice's story.)
  • People are weird.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Let's Talk about Glyph Walls

I mentioned off-hand in my previous post that a glyph wall was currently in effect on Argent Dawn. I still wasn't sure if I'd do a post on it; and truth be told I'm not sure it's such a good idea I'm posting this given I know that many people on my server read this blog. But we'll see where it takes us.

Anyways, like I said, I mentioned in passing that I enacted another glyph wall. I used to call it the 30GGC; 30g Glyph Ceiling, but the price is changing rapidly. Currently we're at a 25GGC. 

Inevitably when I discuss this strategy I get some interesting responses. Most people are confused, annoyed, or both; they see selling glyphs at a low buyout as a waste and why would anyone sell lower when they could sell higher? To put it simply: We are playing a different game.

Think of the time you used to make 5k a month or so; when you quested and did dailies like everyone else, maybe sold a BoE here or there, but you didn't really play the gold-making game. You might not have even known there was such a thing as folks who actively play to make gold.

Now you've moved up from there. Perhaps you're still a beginner setting out and getting your footing, perhaps you've been at this quite some time and consider yourself fairly well-versed. But at the end of the day if you believe glyph walls aren't useful then you are still not playing glyphs to the level they can be played.

Glyphs can always be profitable if played correctly. The level to which you play will determine how profitable glyphs are for you. However, the vast majority of people in the glyph market play the short game. They might feel like they're playing the long game because they're in the game so long or have been in the market since we were all twinkles in our fathers' eyes, but they're still out for today's profit, for this week's bottom lines.

I'm going to link a few blog posts from others at the bottom of this post, many of which are ancient in gold-blog-years, but I think that glyph walls aren't being talked about enough nowadays. The lost art of glyph walling. Other than Twitchie, who is awesome, I just don't see a lot of glyph-centric bloggers playing seriously at glyphs anymore. But I digress.

In 2011 croda wrote that the ultimate aim of a glyph wall is either to permanently reset the fallback of glyphs, thus increasing profit for anyone in the market after the wall has ended, or to force market participants to leave the market, allowing the waller to take over their market share. In response Moxnixx added a third reason: using glyph walls as a learning tool. 

Glyph walls have served me in all of these ways and more. I have learned far more than I can ever write about in regard to the glyph market and my competitors. I have made boatloads of gold both during and after walls, and I have driven many competitors off, never to be heard from again. I also offer a fourth purpose to the glyph walls: Fun. Who doesn't like to mix it up again? Be it spiteful glee or just enjoyment from a change of pace, glyph walls can really break the monotony in an otherwise pretty vanilla market.

If you look at today's bottom line then it would be foolish to sell a glyph for 30g when I could sell it for 300g. But when you look at one sale today at 300g or hundreds of sales at 425g once the wall lifts then you see what I mean about playing the long game. You can even see the effects in comments on my last post. One commenter writes:

I was selling Glyphs for a good profit on Bladefist and when they merged with Kel'Thuzad a Boyfriend / Girlfriend guild and all there alts killed the glyph market. Glyphs were selling from 25 gold up to 700 gold each and you could all ways find the glyph you were looking for. Im not going to sit and fight over selling glyphs for 12 to 15 gold each. I have even tried talking with these people but all they are is rude I'm not saying all the people from Kel'Thuzad are that way just the two of them. I hope one day they will get tired of the posting 10 stacks of glyphs for nothing and the market can be restored back to what it was,

There's nothing wrong with this; if one doesn't like a market they should definitely spend time on things they find more fun and profitable. But this, ladies and gentlemen, is the essence of a glyph wall. Unflinching, discouraging, soul-crushing, cock-blocking market manipulation. It's not about the sales, it's about breaking the will of those who are standing in the way of your maximum profit. (Though admittedly it sucks they were rude. Though I guess I can be pretty snide when talking to competitors myself . . .)

Anyways, sometime in the distant future I'll talk more about this particular wall event but until it has run its course I probably won't talk too much more about my specific goals and intent at this point. Until then here are some great posts from yesteryear on glyph walls:

Critical's War (17 Posts)
Breevok's Glyph Experiment (60+ Posts)

Also, el oh freaking el. I was just reading some old stuff I wrote about the glyph market. "I guess my stance is, if you view the glyph market as a box I'm tired of pretending it's a spaceship, now I want to pretend it's a boat." What the fuck was I smoking in 2011?

Sunday, February 23, 2014

I Don't Understand How I Do It

In my last post I mentioned I made about half a million in seven weeks. This breaks down to about 10k profit per day. That's a bit higher than what I'd done back when I was playing super-hardcore but not by much and that could be a reflection of market changes. But it got me thinking about how I'm able to make more gold than a lot of people who do the same things.

Most people who talk big numbers have one or both of these things going for them: They are in nearly every market or they are in high risk markets that bring them higher payouts when they succeed.

I'm neither of these; I used to be in pretty much every market but, while I have the infrastructure, I just don't have the desire to make gold at that level anymore. I've also always been one of the most risk-averse people I know in gold-making as well as in pretty much every area of life.

So I've been trying to determine what's "special" about what I do and I just can't do it. The day after posting that post I had a 40k profit day. I made 100k profit since the last post alone doing nothing special.

In fact, not only was I just plugging away like usual but I actually put myself at an extreme disadvantage: I've started another 30g Glyph Ceiling on my server, gutting the glyph market of almost all profit for myself and others, and I also accidentally messed up my TSM settings. I'd unselected a bunch of groups in the bankui meaning I wasn't pulling items from my guild bank as they sold. I noticed and fixed that today, thankfully, but holy shit guys, I made 100k in 6 days despite all glyphs going for <30g and not restocking my gems. WTF.

I honestly don't understand it; it's like the less I try the more I make. 

Argent Dawn is a bit strange compared to other servers in that we seem to have more inflation than the average. While I see others saying they buy their GIO for 35-40g/stack I'm tickled pink if I can buy it at 55g/stack regularly. So everything costs more, which does explain a bit of why my numbers might be impressive to off-server gold-makers but it doesn't explain why my profit increases as my effort decreases.

I just don't get it. I'm magic. I have magic powers.

Oh, I also have a legendary. :D (Well, a bunch of them, but this is the new one!) I'm not sure what my main effort will be in-game now, outside of gold-making. I wanted to finish Faid's cloak but have no desire to do the same for alts. I've had enough ToT LFR for a lifetime, thanks very much. Faid's nearly BiS from Flex and probably won't do much more beyond that, so I guess I'll be returning to pet battles and stuff.

We'll see I suppose. For now I'm just excited to be able to have the legendary and to be getting closer to being goldcapped again. I just want 1.5m before heading into WoD so I can be sure to buy my Realm Firsts in professions without having to go broke doing it.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Half-a-Millionaire and the Casual Routine

It's occurred to me that my routine may not look particularly casual to some people. I honestly am not sure how to define casual. As someone who, at one point, raided 40 hours a week on top of many other hours per day play time (at one point I averaged 17 hours a day playtime) even playing 5 hours a day could seem casual.

So I've decided to put down what I'm actually doing so I can give a better picture of what "casual" means to me right now.

The main change in how I play isn't actually in what I do in-game but when and how I play. I used to skip classes to play, I'd play late into the night, and there was always something that needed to be done. Now I fit WoW into my schedule, my schedule is no longer built around WoW.

With one exception, and that is the time that I wake up. I have my first class at 8 AM and live 30 minutes from school, so I could get by waking up at 6:45-7, but instead wake up at around 5 AM. I like having a relaxing "sit around" feel to my mornings so I don't feel rushed, and I spend that time cancelling and reposting auctions. So from around 5-5:15 I cancel and repost auctions. Somewhere in there I shower as well.

I try to get my alt army through their Tillers farming and Faid her 20 Elites on the TI done during this time; but depending on how long AH chores took I may not have enough time, especially this week when Crown Chemical is tacked on to every alt's daily farming routine.

On MWF I only have class until noon, then go to the gym, then with the necessary post-gym shower I'm home and free again around 2. On T/R this is much later due to lab times and longer gym visits. Tuesday nights are Flex night with the guild, so no gold making happens on Tuesdays except for the occasional cancel/repost. This sucks because Tuesday nights are prime gem selling nights but gold making is not my top priority while Faid still has to gather Runestones.

When I get home, whatever time that may be, I cancel and repost auctions during my post-gym shower. (Cancel scan, hop in shower. Hop out, Gather mail. Finish drying off, Post Scan, etc.) From then on it's basically free time; some of it's done making gold; usually spent prospecting or milling while doing homework, and I'm usually "done" with my WoW "to do list" within an hour. I may pop on here and there to do some pet battles, cancel and repost, etc. but that's basically my routine. I do one cancel/repost before I head to bed and then keep going.

It's weird to be so loose in my gold-making considering the regimental routine I used to stick to but it's also liberating. Since nothing's perfect anyways I don't feel obligated to make sure I get to every task or be absolutely sure to be the cheapest on the AH. Things are much more laid back, it comes down to "What can I do in the time I have?" instead of "How can I make time for the things I need to do?", and I'm enjoying it a lot.

I'm up to half a million again, so that's like 500k in ~7 weeks? I'm happy with that. Plus I'm 1-2 weeks away from my legendary cloak, so yay!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Caterpocalypse 2014

A few signs have been pointing me toward leveling alts this past week.

I really wanted some glyphs that drop on the Timeless Isle so I was running my 85 shaman out to the island, intending to follow around guildies while they did their 20 Elites daily and scrounge what I could. When a guildmate saw me out there he said "Oh, are you doing Caterpillars?"  Caterpillars? Whachyu talkin bout, Izi?

It turns out that there's a super-efficient grinding method to level from 87-90 (technically can be done before 87 but it's tougher) on Timeless Isle.  Here's a video someone made for those interested in seeing how it goes.  It's a great spot since you level quickly, it can take a bit of time to repop the caterpillars which is great for semi-afk grinding while doing homework, and you end up with lots of Timeless Coins, meaning you're well on your way to your 476 weapon at the time you hit 90.

I still wasn't convinced to go out there, though. They didn't drop glyphs so what did my shaman care? He only exists to make glyphs!

The next morning I was killing twenty elites with my friend John and he mentioned that he sends the Timeless Cloaks, Rings, Necks, Trinkets, and Cloth pieces to his priest to disenchant. I was shocked to find you could do that! Immediately I thought about my other alt needing leveling, my mage Rixen, aka the original Faid from before I ever dreamed of playing Alliance or rolling a paladin.

And so I was off. Over the course of two or three days I spent several hours sitting around the ghost pandaren village, doing homework and killing caterpillars every five minutes or so. And it worked great!

So now all my "alts I kind of care about" are 90. I still have my bank alt Monk, my 60 twink rogue who will never level, and my hunter I pretend doesn't exist but they're all far below even 60 and will never be played seriously. Oh, my other warrior, I forgot about her. I do need to level Verixi, she'll probably be next to get Double Agent. (Fuck why can't Alliance have goblins? Even better, why can't my guild faction transfer so I could make all my toons male belfs and female goblins?)

Thanks to all the Timeless gear tokens I'd been saving up and the tokens they earned while grinding I was able to get full epic (save one trinket slot) on both of them the moment they hit 90. I don't intend to do anything with them except Tillers Farming but, hey, they'll kill those virmen and birds much more efficiently now!

Gold-making's going decently well. I'm spending it only slightly slower than making it because people are sending me humongous shipments of bulk materials, which is great in the long-run but leads to an unimpressive-looking gain this week. Only around 250k liquid total at the moment but I've got more materials than you can shake a stick at so it should all work out in the end.

(Oh, and I killed Garrosh in Flex with my guild and got the 2H Axe Heirloom, so I'm stoked about that!)