Monday, March 31, 2014

Diablo 3 Legendary Crafting Items Drop Locations

I was doing bounties and frequently thinking to myself "While in this particular zone, act, or dungeon is there any mob I should check for?" This list was very helpful but I wanted a way to sort through things a bit better, so I used the information and made a spreadsheet today. Thought others may find it useful as well.

Hope it helps!  (Oh, and I didn't include Griswold's Scribblings or Adventurer's Journals because there's no real point to it.)

Lists last updated: 9 AM Mountain Time April 1

Monday, March 24, 2014

Glyphs - Crafting, Storing, and Selling [Video Guide]

It seems my recent posts about competing in the glyph market has sparked an interest that none of my previous posts in years past have sparked. I've had a lot of follow-up questions since writing the posts about how I decide on prices, how I do crafting math, how I store glyphs, how I sell, etc. Rather than answer this question a million times I decided I'd make a video. So here it is; a walkthrough from the beginning of crafting to the end of selling, all about how I do glyphs and why I do what I do.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

How to Waste Time, Gold, and Money

Yesterday after posting about how much I missed Liquidate I made a split second decision and resubbed my second account. I only did one month (thank god) to get things set up and figured I'd see how I was liking it after a month.

I hated it after a day.

I spent yesterday afternoon livestreaming the set up (I'm streaming semi-regularly at the moment at and after the fifteen bucks to resub, several hours moving items around and getting generally set up, and god knows how much gold in posting feels and mailing fees I realized something: It's not worth it.

My original thought was "Yes, I can get my Tiller's Farms done without having to leave the AH, just like old times!" But the more I look back the more I realize how silly that was. I love having a constant presence on the AH, don't get me wrong, but I certainly don't love it to the point of fifteen-bucks-a-month and constant TSM headaches. (I believe TSM's alt account integration is much better than it used to be but even a bit of extra work or concern is still extra work and concern.)

After spending hours trying to get all my glyphs to my old glyph selling toon I was faced with a difficult problem: I had more glyphs than I could reasonably hold. I knew that there were more glyphs in the game than all the bags could hold but I thought that would be counteracted by the fact I still have several unlearned 5.4 glyphs. I was wrong. My bags were promptly filled and I needed many more slots. "Well, I guess it's back to using a bank guild, then!"

So then I put them all into one guild bank, which immediately removed the ability to layer the AH instead of cancelling when directly competing with an undercutter. At least the ability to do that easily, anyways. But oh well, if that's what it was going to take to sell glyphs easily, whatever.

So they went into a guild bank. But as I sat there putting them all into my guild bank it sunk in that I'd paid 15 bucks for no real change. I was still going to have to split my markets, like I discussed in yesterday's post, and that meant I was still going to have to toon swap, meaning I wasn't going to be able to maintain a constant AH presence anyway.

Was that worth fifteen bucks a month? No! So twelve or so hours later I'm cancelling the second account again. Thank god I didn't pay for six months in advance!

Some good did come out of this; it wasn't a complete waste of money and time. I foundmy old guild banks, full of glyphs and herbs, several stacks of Golden Lotus and Living Steel, so I would say I broke even on all this situation. I moved my favorite guild bank to Trixten, my boosted rogue, who will now handle all glyph walling, leaving Misten free to handle all other markets. So I also got another six tab guild bank out of resubbing as well.

Anyways, that was my headache yesterday. I spent the entire day wrestling with inventory just to basically put it all back where it came from.

And I still didn't finish my Tiller's farm. :(

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Misten Problem

Since returning to WoW I've cut down to only my primary account. On a college budget it's tough enough to run one, let alone having the second account (aka the Liquidate account) which was mostly just bank and AH toons anyways. It was super convenient but it's just not in the funds right now.

I miss u. <3

So when I was looking to get started in gold-making again I had my decision largely made for me: If I were to split my stock onto different characters, say by having one toon doing glyphs, one for gems, etc. I would have to clear the bags of my "real" characters in order to do this. I decided instead to work with one character and a guild bank, not because it was the absolute best strategy but because it was easiest at the time and with my available tools.

So that's where Misten came from. She'd been a neglected alt that I repurposed for AH-ing. I got her a guild bank started up and the guild bank holds all the glyphs, gems, enchants . . . everything, really. This has a few interesting effects on how I make gold right now.

In the "pros" column I am able to handle all of my markets from one character and it's easiest to explain where this benefit comes in when comparing my setup to a competitor.

I have a competitor who I will call Greg. Greg competes with me in nearly everything; gems, glyphs, enchants, crafted gear, etc. But he splits all of these markets onto different alts. Gregpaladin posts his gems, Gregwarrior posts his glyphs, Gregdeathknight posts his enchants, etc. This is great for me because I know what he'll be undercutting when. If Gregdeathknight is online I can tell TSM to only scan the enchant market for undercutting, cutting down drastically on my turnaround time for undercuts. When Gregdeathknight logs off and Gregwarrior logs on immediately afterwards I can do a final enchant cancel/repost, then switch from scanning enchants to scanning glyphs. (Then since Greg likes to use the Remote Auction House every once and a while I can throw in a total scan here and there to catch anything he's trying to sneak past.)

This is where having one central bank toon shines; since I'm posting everything from one source there's no big flag to competitors to say "Faidglyphs is on! Worry about glyphs, disregard other things since she's more than likely not undercutting them right now! You'll know when she starts when she logs onto Faidgems!"

I never saw an issue with single-toon posting. Other than a few slower-moving niche markets like transmog or low-level crafting materials which rarely benefit from undercuts I thought that One Toon to Sell Them All was always going to be the best.

But I'm considering splitting a few things up now. I was doing my usual cancel/repost scan and noticed that all of my Tinker's Gears were reposting to their fallback because the market was under crafting cost. This is very strange because, not only is that a silly thing to do, but because I pretty much never have competition on these. So I decided to take a look.

If I had to guess I'd say I wasn't the only one who powerleveled Engineering recently. Someone had crafted a bunch of every one of them and posted them for 3-4g each. (For reference 5g is right around the lowest you can get a single Ghost Iron Bar for on Argent Dawn, so this was under half the crafting cost.) So of course I bought them out to supplement my own stock and raise the prices.

I almost never do this whole "buyout ones under crafting cost" thing. I've always told myself it's because it doesn't happen that often.

But does it? When I do a post scan I literally see hundreds of auctions fly by my screen; I don't have time to notice weird changes in pricing. The only reason I even noticed this Tinker's Gear situation was because I was looking to make sure something else was being scanned properly. God only knows how many of these situations I missed over time since I just "let TSM handle everything" for me. I know TSM has resale scan options but that's the kind of thing I'm not super-keen on automating.

So I'm thinking today that I may play around with splitting markets among my characters, at least until I can afford to get Liquidate up and running again. While I'll lose the great benefit of a central character for all markets it will allow me to have a better view of each given market and so it may balance out over time. We'll see.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

How to Make Gold with Professions: A Crash Course

Time for a crash-course in gold-making for new gold-makers. So you just boosted a toon to 90, got a profession you don't know anything about, and want to start making gold with it. How? There are a lot of nuances to profession-based gold-making that rely on server differences, niche markets, etc. but here's a basic guide to getting started with whatever profession you've picked up. This is aimed at new gold-makers. If you already know what you're doing there's likely nothing new here. Just be aware this is not everything to know about any profession, just a general intro to basic gold-making with each. Not everything will work 100% of the time, it's up to you to use your brain. Use this as a jumping off point, not a bible.

Also, WTF I just can't help myself from writing educational stuff, can I? Ergh, I'll never escape it I guess. Oh well. Might as well roll with it.

Alchemy is a decent gold-maker on its own but it really comes into its own when you can pair it with jewelcrafting in order to produce large amounts of gems via transmuting. If you have the Jewelcrafter to pair with it transmute Primal Diamonds and any other gem that's profitable. If doing this you really really really want Transmute specialization to get maximum profit. This is the best way to make gold with Alchemy.

Outside of the pairing with jewelcrafting consider making Potions of Luck and Invisibility Potions (You'll need to get the recipe off the Auction House since it's a world drop). If you're specifically not using a Jewelcrafter consider a specialization for whatever you make most often; if you make a lot of Invisibility Potions and Potions of Luck be a potion master, if you'll be making lots of flasks (not very profitable on most servers) be Elixir-specced. 

Hands down, though, strive to level a Jewelcrafter if you want to get the most out of alchemy.

Blacksmithing's bread and butter is Living Steel Belt Buckles. Check your AH for the cost of Living Steel bars and the belt buckle, as long as there's a decent gap in prices just buy Living Steel, turn it into belt buckles (1:1) and put them back on the AH. Try doing this on big raid nights when people are likely to be getting new belts.

Use one Trillium Bar per day to make a Trillium Ingot. (Get this pattern as a drop by killing mobs on the Timeless Isle.) Doing this will teach you a new PvP piece pattern and will save up materials to make 553 Epic belts and pants. Roughly every 3-4 weeks you will be able to craft one of these to sell for a few thousand gold. It's not going to make you rich overnight but will give you a few thousand guaranteed gold each month.

You can also make crafted Malevolent PvP gear, patterns you'll be learning while doing that Ingot cooldown; unfortunately its item level is only 476, putting it slightly below what the new boosted 90s will get and lower than Timeless Isle gear. This has taken a huge toll on the demand for these items, however new PvP-ers still will want teh resilience gear. Consider making a couple pieces to gauge demand on your server. If materials are limited stick to belts, bracers, and boots since these can be used by all Plate classes, compared to other pieces like chest and shoulders that are particular to one class and thus have lower demand.

Believe it or not the best way to make gold with enchanting is by enchanting! Use Trade Skill Master or a similar addon to create a group of MoP-level enchants. Craft a few of any that are listed as profitable and sell them.  (If you don't know how to use TSM you should learn right now.)

You can also look at other, pre-MoP enchants, like Mongoose (pattern from Moroes in Karazahn) and Executioner (pattern from a vendor in Netherstorm).  Use TSM to do some Disenchant scans to resell materials at a profit. (Particularly look for items that DE into Sha Crystals, they're commonly sold for under Sha Crystal value!)

Don't listen to the nay-sayers, Engineering can make gold! Here's what you're gonna do: Make a few of each type of Tinker's Gears to sell on the AH. The mats are very easy to come by, just some bars, and you can sell them pretty high on most servers, I sell mine for 110g each. Make some Ghost Iron Dragonlings, start with just two or three, restock as they sell.

Depending on what your specialization is and what patterns you have you can make a variety of different pets. Some are trainer-taught, others like the Tranquil Mechanical Yeti or Lifelike Mechanical Toad come from quests or rare patterns. Find out which pets you can make, which ones you're missing, and try to track down the patterns you still need. Craft one or two of each that you can and sell them.

Make your Jard's Peculiar Energy Source (Get this pattern as a drop by killing mobs on the Timeless Isle.) every day. If you have a good source of cheap Living Steel you can make the mounts or pets yourself to sell but I usually just post my Engineering in chat when I have enough Jard's and have buyers bring the Living Steel.

If you're more interested in farming head to Zangarmarsh and do your respective quest for your Zapthrottle Mote Extractor. You can fly around in BC or Wrath areas and gather gas clouds; the demand for these items aren't high but they're also not usually very common on the AH so can frequently be sold for a good amount. You won't get rich but it's a good way to get a bit extra out of Engineering. (This pairs well with Mining because you can gather Fel Iron and Motes of Fire at the same time to maximize those delicious Burning Crusade profits.)

The main gold-maker from Inscription is glyphs. Whether you want to sell glyphs or not be sure to do your researches every day. (Minor Research, Northrend Research, Scroll of Wisdom.) Stop one once you've stopped learning glyphs from it. Even if you don't want to sell glyphs now you may wish to one day and you'll be glad you've finished your researches.

You could dabble in glyphs, crafting what TSM says is profitable. There's nothing wrong here getting started but if you are interested in truly competing in glyphs there's more to talk about than a simple paragraph. I recommend this post for new would-be glyph sellers.

Use your Starlight Inks to craft the epic-level Shoulder Enchants to sell. Some servers do well with the Kite pets but the aren't a hot seller on my own. Don't bother with Darkmoon Faire cards at this point in the expansion, there's no real demand. (ep recommends making decks in the comments. I disagree unless your server is very into challenge modes but, if you have the Scrolls to do so anyways, might as well give it a shot. My server just buys carries in CM so there's very little demand, but your server may be different and it may be worthwhile for you.)

Jewelcrafting is one of the most popular professions among gold-makers. It pairs particularly well with Alchemy and Enchanting but can do very well as a standalone profession as well. The main way jewelcrafters make gold is through what is colloquially referred to as shuffling; the act of buying cheap ore (usually Ghost Iron) and prospecting it down, then turning the materials into different profitable items via cutting gems, making jewelry, possibly disenchanting that jewelry, etc.  You can do this at a basic level "by hand" by just buying Ghost Iron at a cheap price for your server, prospecting it, cutting all the blue-quality gems into the most profitable cuts (Do your Facets of Research if you don't already have all the cuts!), turning the green-quality gems into jewelry, selling the green-quality jewelry to a vendor, and putting the blue-quality jewelry on the AH. This may not be the best possible route for profit on your server but it should turn a good amount for most.  If you want to get more into shuffling check out Xsinthis' shuffler spreadsheet.

Outside of the shuffle be sure you're cutting Primal Diamond meta cuts; the cut patterns are world drops so you may need to play a bit to get the cuts but they're well worth it. For sure cut Burning, Agile, Revitalizing, Reverberating, and Austere. Consider Eternal, Ember, and the PvP-oriented cuts if there's enough demand on your server or you have lots of leftover mats after covering the first ones listed.

If you're on a character that actually gets Spirits of Harmony pick up the leg patch patterns from Golden Lotus and make a few of each to sell. 

You can also make crafted Malevolent PvP gear, patterns you'll learn if you do a Hardened Magnificent Hide cooldown, learned via a drop that's common on Timeless Isle; unfortunately its item level is only 476, putting it slightly below what the new boosted 90s will get and lower than Timeless Isle gear. This has taken a huge toll on the demand for these items, however new PvP-ers still will want the resilience gear. Consider making a couple pieces to gauge demand on your server. If materials are limited stick to belts, bracers, and boots since these can be used by more classes, compared to other pieces like chest and shoulders that are particular to one class and thus have lower demand.

With the Hardened Magnificent Hides you can make a belt or legs piece every few weeks for some extra gold as well.

Do your Firelands dailies in Hyjal until you've learned the bag patterns; make and sell the gem bags, glyph bags, and mining bags.

Do your Imperial Silk and Celestial Cloth cooldown every day. You have two good choices for Imperial Silk; you can use each piece to make Greater Spellthreads to sell; I do this. Or you can save it up and, with August Celestials at exalted, you can make the largest normal bag to sell. Both are good options, I just find the spellthreads more profitable personally. Check prices on your server.

You can also make crafted Malevolent PvP gear, patterns you'll learnby doing that Celestial Cloth cooldown, learned via a drop that's common on Timeless Isle; unfortunately its item level is only 476, putting it slightly below what the new boosted 90s will get and lower than Timeless Isle gear. This has taken a huge toll on the demand for these items, however new PvP-ers still will want the resilience gear. Consider making a couple pieces to gauge demand on your server. If materials are limited stick to cloaks, belts, bracers, and boots since these can be used by more classes, compared to other pieces like chest and shoulders that are particular to one class and thus have lower demand.

Consider Netherweave Cloth and Embersilk Cloth to make their respective bags; these are very popular bags even now and can be a profitable venture for most tailors.

Note that if you do both cooldowns every day you find yourself in need of a lot of cloth. Try to farm it on the actual tailor since they find more cloth than non-Tailors. I pop a Potion of Luck and farm for the duration to increase my profit and cloth-yield.

This is relatively straight forward. Just fly around and herb. A few tips about it: If you have a Sky Golem you'll be able to herb without dismounting just as druids can. If you get Forager's Gloves from Korda Torros or certain mobs on Timeless Isle you will gather even faster. 

You could also look at specific herbs from previous tiers of content; Whiptail is easily farmed and important for leveling Alchemy. Ghost Mushrooms are usually pretty valuable due to their value in leveling alchemy and their role in making Invisibility Potions in challenge modes. Goldthorn, Fadeleaf, and Gromsblood are also major Alchemy chokepoints and thus are relatively valuable and may net you more gold per hour farming than MoP-level herbs.

This is relatively straight forward. Just fly around and mine. A few tips about it: You can find an Ancient Pandaren Mining Pick in Jade Forest which (rarely) procs extra gems when mining. If you get Forager's Gloves from Korda Torros or certain mobs on Timeless Isle you will gather even faster. 

You could also look at specific ores from previous tiers of content; Fel Iron, Adamantite, Cobalt, and Obsidium are frequently valuable due to their use in things like leveling professions. 

One of my favorite things to do is buy cheap copper and tin bars off the AH and smelt them into Bronze. Bronze is not farmed, it is only smelted using copper and tin. Because of this a lot of people don't think to craft and sell it or even really remember it exists. You likely won't be able to charge a whole lot for it but it's some easy gold pretty regularly.

This is relatively straight forward. Just skin dead things. A few tips about it: You can usually run around Timeless Isle without killing anything at all and just scavenge corpses others leave behind. If you get Forager's Gloves from Korda Torros or certain mobs on Timeless Isle you will gather even faster. 

Keep an eye on the AH for lower-level leathers without much representation on the AH. When leveling engineering the other night I was paying 20g per piece for Medium Leather because there wasn't any on the AH. Gold from skinning will largely be about serving these under-served markets.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Veteran Bonus vs. 1-90 Boost: Which to choose?

Okay, I asked on Twitter and you sadists said you wanted to see me power-level engineering, so here it is, along with my discussion of why I think the veteran bonus is a waste for most gold-makers.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

How to Compete in Glyphs

I was hanging out on Jim's stream the other night and got into a chitchat with a few people about glyphs. Another viewer contacted me via message and asked for some general advice on how to make gold with glyphs. Different people will have different strategies but I laid out my general set-up to gaining a glyph foothold and it occurred to me I don't think I've ever laid it out in this kind of way. I'm not really interested in writing a lot of how-tos but I basically wrote the whole thing for this guy so, hey, why not just make some edits and turn it into a post.


So You Want to Enter the Glyph Market . . .

There are many ways that people choose to compete in the glyph market. Some people choose to only craft the most profitable glyphs, some people craft all of them. Some only keep in stock exactly the amount they post, some manage an impressive backstock. I can't say which one is the best way to approach it but I can tell you what I would recommend and why.

You don't win by sale. You win by scale.
There are probalby some exceptions out there but time and time again I notice two familiar trends: People who don't like glyphs do not have a large infrastructure built for glyph selling. People who do enjoy glyphs do have this infrastructure.

"Well, Faid, if they like it of course they'd build an infrastructure. Duh. Are you stupid?"

But what if, rather than the infrastructure coming from a love of glyphs, their love of glyphs is present because of the infrastructure? By having a streamlined process of crafting and selling glyphs you are poised to love the market: You will spend a very small amount of time and will see profit from even minutes per day invested; something that can't be guaranteed if your glyph process involves scanning the AH, figuring out what's selling that day, buying herbs, milling, crafting, and posting. Take all of that out of the equation, though, and glyphs are fast and profitable, allowing a player to not feel bogged down, leading to the resentment I've seen time and time again from glyph sellers.

And so my advice to you is this: Do not half-ass your entry into glyphs. If you are going to sell glyphs be prepared to sell very nearly all of them. (If you want to save some inventory space then don't do the shitty ones like Voidwalker and Sap, but do almost everything you can.) Craft in bulk, store in bulk, always have your glyphs on the AH. The sales will come.

As I mentioned, I was only Jim's stream and he was doing some glyph management. He doesn't have a solid glyph infrastructure set up because it's not one of his preferred markets and so he actually spent twice as much time managing a significantly smaller, less profitable inventory than I spend managing an inventory of nearly every glyph possible. While a larger inventory seems like it should mean more work the fact of the matter is it takes the chores out of the glyph market. You no longer need to worry about what to craft or if you have enough of something in stock. When you're stocking a shit ton of everything then nothing's ever going to be out of stock and you'll always be able to sell whatever's profitable, turning glyph inventory maintenance from constant crafting to infrequent restocking.

Think of it like this: An organic grocer must sell their merchandise and restock it several times a week because of seasonal changes, selling out of popular products, etc. On the other hand, Faid's Trail Mix and Pickled Food Emporium doesn't suffer from that problem. I can literally order a year's worth of stock at once because it won't go bad. This means I don't have to deal with the ordering place, delivery trucks, shelf-stocking, or restocking when my stuff runs out: It just doesn't run out! So my store largely takes care of itself except for the yearly big order and the occasional mopping up when some brat breaks a jar of pickled okra all over aisle three. Meanwhile Mr. Organic Grocer must deal with all of this nearly daily. Of course he's going to burn out while I'm off living on my trail mix fortune. (THE SECRET IS M&M'S)


Fine. I'll post everything. So now what?

Step 1: Testing the Waters
After you've maxed your scribe you'll still be missing a lot of glyphs. During the time you're researching these you should be selling what you do know and keeping an eye on the markets. You don't need to know exaclty when Competitor A goes afk for a snack but you should take this time to identify major players in the glyph market. Are there bots? Report them. Are there super-zealous competitors? Poke them with sticks, and by that I mean play with undercuts to see if you can figure out their thresholds, veracity, undercut habits, etc. for future knowledge.

You should be getting some sales here. If you're happy with the sales you're getting just keep with this step. Selling everything and playing nice with others is totally fine if you're okay with it and seeing thenumbers you'd like. Just continue to keep your stock up and post your glyphs. If you're happy there's no reason to move on to Step 2.

Step 2: The Hammer Drop
If you are not happy with your numbers you'll need to make some changes.  You've already got your glyphs learned and your infrastructure set up by this time so the main problem you're likely running into is competition, and that means it's time to drop the hammer.

With your large backstock commence walling the glyph market. Your competitors may try to buy you out. That's fine; if walling correctly you're still making profit. Keep posting, keep restocking. Determine how many of each glyph you need to post to have your glyphs on the AH constantly. During this phase the AH is very hands-off; post for 48 hours and cycle them to keep them up constantly. Enjoy all your free time. Try out that new trail mix and pickle place everyone's been raving about.

I cannot stress this side-point enough: Your profit doesn't matter at this point. You aren't supposed to get rich now. I've known people who start walls and are whining within days that they're not making gold. That's how walls work. You're not making a lot of gold but neither is anyone else. The point is to discourage them. Don't let yourself become discouraged in the process. It will all come to fruition in time. How much time? That's for you to determine.

Step 1 Redux: Six More Weeks of Winter?
After some time walling, usually a few weeks to a few months, lift the wall. If the wall was successful most of the fair-weather scribes are now gone, leaving a much less-competitive glyph market, allowing you to reap much higher profits per sale. Enjoy your delicious profit margins. If competition returns very quickly (within a day or so) then repeat step 2.

You'll alternate between long periods of walls and short periods of higher prices until all your most problematic competitors are thoroughly discouraged. Repeat as necessary for new scribes that start getting a foolish notion they can compete in your market. Whether due to the frequent rock-bottom prices or just the general volatility of the market most competitors will be discouraged in time. Some you may never fully dissuade but shaking the glyph market up and getting several scribes to fall out is better than nothing.

If you're a low-risk person like myself feel free to stick with Step 1 forever, there's nothing wrong with it, but if you have a high-risk/high-reward seeking attitude then try Step 2 a few times. Step 2 is largely meant for markets where you are unable to get a satisfactory amount of sales: If you're satisfied in Step 1 I'd recommend not rocking the boat, but that's just me.


So there you go. If you've done this entire process and still don't like the glyph market then, yes, maybe glyphs aren't your style. But I believe that most people, if they handled glyphs in this way, would enjoy them much more than they would if they stick to a Just in Time setup.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Not that there's anything wrong with that . . .

Don't worry, more Interacting with Players to come; at least a few more, but the most recent post (Bernard) has finally given me enough of an idea of what I want to say on a subject to actually make a post about it.

For those who haven't already I recommend reading the previous post, Interacting with Players: Bernard as well as the comments. I'll stop referring to him as Bernard since Brongly actually came in and replied himself, so I don't think he minds.

We've been having a bit of a discussion on the concept of casual and/or fair-weather gold-making. He makes a lot more gold than the average WoW player; is probably on-par or a bit above the average gold-maker, but is likely not at the same level as most advanced gold-makers. After saying this I constantly found myself adding in "Not that there's anything wrong with that" type of comments.

And I mean those comments completely sincerely.

Most of what I do is not fun for the majority of people. Hell, it's often times not super fun for me, but it's easy and can be done while doing something more fun. (CKS + D3? Yes please!) I expect that if most players played the way I do they would not have the stomach to stick it out. That's not that they're not up to snuff, but that I have a very high tolerance for boring, repetitive tasks others would find mind-numbing.

Unfortunately the word "casual" has become somewhat of a put-down in the general-gaming world and so I think people see it as a put-down for gold-making. "Oh, you only make gold casually, you're not as good at it as the rest of us."-kind of a thing. But that's not how I'll ever mean it when discussing gold-making.

There is no right way to make gold. I mean, maybe grinding out vendor greys for cash isn't ideal, there are probably better ways than that, but I don't see anything wrong with people who only make 1k a day; and I don't think they're less skilled than someone who makes 20k a day.

Income is largely about effort invested. You can invest effort in many ways: crafting a lot, camping a lot, researching/learning rare patterns, gathering a lot, learning markets, leveling profession alts, managing addons and spreadsheets, etc. and so depending on where you like investing your time and effort you will find a way to make gold that works for you.

I said some time in the past that I consider myself a blue-collar nose-to-the-grindstone gold-maker. I don't flip, I don't go for big profit margins. I spend my effort through flat-out perseverance and stubbornness. This is actually not very efficient. Someone who takes the time I spend on the AH and instead spends it discerning the most valuable use of that time will likely make gold successfully as well; possibly more, possibly less.

And so when I refer to "casual" gold-making it's not meant to refer to people who don't know as much, or people who aren't as skilled. It's people who don't put in the same amount of time, flat out. But if they use their smaller amount of time more efficiently than I use mine they can have much better numbers while still being "casual" in the time-spent sense.

Once again, I recommend you read Brongly's comments on my last post; they're largely what sparked this one. Brongly takes a very different approach to auctioning, dealing with competitors, etc. than my own stance but I hold that neither of us are wrong, just different. In fact, in some ways I would probably say his stance is a better one to take. He probably enjoys the game a lot more than I do, to be completely honest, because it's not mind-numbing prospecting, milling, etc. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the game as well. It's just a "different strokes for different folks" kind of situation and I wanted to clarify that I don't believe that people who make gold differently necessarily do so because they are wrong or lacking in skill; simply that it's not the way I would do it.

Find what you like to do. If you spend five minutes a day reposting auctions you're not any better or worse at gold-making than the guy who spends five hours. You're just doing it your way, and that's what's important in this game.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Interacting with Players: Bernard

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.


#2: Bernard

Ah, Bernard. Bernard's been around for a while, actually. I used to compete with his hunter on belt buckles and other crafted Blacksmith pieces but he wasn't really a big deal; he'd hit the AH hard for a while then fade away, as fair-weather gold-makers are wont to do.

I do believe he's been successful over time, either that or is just incredibly lucky because he has one of the only Mini Tyrael pets on Argent Dawn which, in my mind, is the badge of a rich gold-maker. Anyone can get a Spectral Tiger at this point; it's the Tyraels that are truly rare in my eyes. So when I would see him pop up, while I knew he wouldn't be a real pain in my side, I also didn't shrug him off as I would any other fair-weather competitor. In fact, you could even say he intimidated me a little bit.

Until he opened his mouth.

At some point during this encounter I rolled my eyes so hard I damaged the area of my brain that regarded Bernard as a threat.

The very brief backstory is that most gems on my server have been doing pretty well; no one's owning the market (myself included) and there's a good amount of profit going around. I do probably get more sales than most but I certainly don't have any form of control like I do with glyphs.

For whatever reason Bernard decided today he wanted to be "that guy" and he took several valuable Vermillion Onyx cuts from 160-220g to about 65g. He started out with posting several per cut; his statements lead me to believe that he expected me to balk and back off for a while. However, I continued to post. After a few rounds of undercutting him he began posting only one per cut to save on deposits and/or mail fetching time, and as you can see he logged off within an hour of beginning his short-lived coup.

Let us count the ways in which Bernard screwed up here.

  • Whispered me in the first place, "taunting" me while calling me by my main's name.
    This is a multi-part screw up; let's hit each of them. First off, he called me Faid despite being on Misten. I don't hide my alt so I'm not bothered but in a game where people don't even really register the names of people other than guild-members and competitors it's pretty telling when someone calls you by your main's name while on your AH alt. It shows they care enough about who you are to determine your alts (even if it's not difficult) and that shows that you're under their skin for whatever reason. It also is frequently used as an intimidation tactic; a way of saying "That's right, I know who you are. I've got my eye on you." I'm not sure if that was Bernard's attempt, but it's a vibe I often get from such encounters.

    So then he decided to tauntingly whisper me. This is a clear sign that what he's doing is not likely going to last. How does it say that? It shows he is doing this for a reaction. If this were market manipulation, similar to a glyph wall strategy, there would be no benefit in alerting the competition to what you're doing. After all, they'll see it as soon as they hit the AH. The only reason to goad competitors is if you care about what they are going to think/do in reaction, and you only care about their reaction if you're doing this for them, and not for yourself. Once you're able to determine that someone is undercutting you as a personal vendetta (either specifically targeted or meant to be about being "that guy") there are two very simple ways to combat him:

    1) Not care. Just don't care. Continue as you normally would. Undercuts and low buyouts may dampen my profits but words will never drive me from a market. :P The thing we tell kids is that if you just ignore the bullies they won't have any fun and they'll stop beating you up. Now, I think that's kind of shitty advice to give a bullied kid but it works pretty well in the AH; if their entire desire is to make people balk the best thing you can do is deny them that satisfaction and keep on trucking. It goes very well with the second strategy:

    2) Either explicitly say (only if you're already talking like we were) or implicitly show that their tactic is completely ineffective. If someone's goal is to rob others of profit; which Bernard specifically stated was his goal, then making it clear you are perfectly happy with the new, lower profit margins will take the wind from their sails pretty much instantly. Given the rate I pay for the ore I honestly consider 60g to be a pretty decent price. Of course I'd prefer 225g but I'll happily sell gems at 60g all day long and, given that fact, Bernard's tactic was incredibly /facepalm-worthy.
  • Failure to Know Competition
    Considering he cares enough to identify me and call me Faid I found it surprising he didn't have a clue when it came to my willingness to forego large profit margins long-term. I mean, I'm maintaining my glyph wall (currently @20g/ea) on the same character he's talking to/competing with. If he'd done half a second of research he'd see it's laughable to attempt to dissuade me by claiming he will forego profits long-term in order to keep prices low.
  • Empty Threats
    I consider a three month glyph wall to be a short-term endeavour. You can imagine how I feel when someone boasts about ruining the market and quits within an hour.

    After Vermilliion Onyx he moved on to undercutting a few Sun's Radiance cuts, then logged off, and hasn't been seen since, at least not in any market I care about. I was back to 150g+ sales on my gems within two hours and everything is peachy.

    If you are going to threaten a competitor with market manipulation you sure as hell better be ready to put your money where your mouth is when they call your bluff; otherwise you will never be taken seriously.
Bernard stands out to me as someone who did nothing but hurt themselves by approaching me. Sammy, from the previous post, may not have gained anything but he had nothing to lose. Before this exchange I was wary of Bernard when I saw him approach the AH but between his actions and his words on this morning just past he has lost that completely. It's the perfect example of why you should never approach competitors; you'll usually end up giving up more than you're getting.