Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Breja, what have you been doing?

I know, this blog has been quiet for the past 2 weeks.  Not to fear, I have not gone anywhere.  This time of year, as well as the fall, tend to be very busy with my boys playing sports.  Practices and games 5 days a week, but I would not change anything.  It is a lot of fun to watch them.  During this time off, I have been keeping in the loop by reading and listening to several WoW podcasts. 

I have been enjoying my WoW playtime more the past few weeks as I have spread my in game activities.  Instead of feeling like a grind with one toon to get prepared for raiding, I find myself enjoying the exploration of Azeroth again and the many nuggets hiding around the world. 

One thing that I am doing is leveling a hunter on a new realm without any heirloom items.  This experience is fun in that I can take my time leveling through zones without out-leveling the content quickly.  Also, I have no established footing in the economy of this server.  This is allowing me to return to the basics of gold making.  As of this morning at level 23, I have 150 gold just by gathering and selling raw materials.  At some point soon, I will begin to play the auction house to accumulate some gold for making my toon independent on the server.

As far as the blog goes, I have 2 projects that I am working on to share with you.  First, I am growing interested in the history of the Trolls on Azeroth.  Breja is a Troll Priest and I have always been interested in the lore behind his existence.  I think with the return of Zul'Gurub and Zulaman in patch 4.1, it would be fun to trace the history of the Troll race up to this point. 

My second project will be ongoing for the next few months.  Last year at this time, I made a push to be active in the market on my server to accumulate wealth for my needs in the Cataclysm expansion.  I plan to restart my businesses and see how much gold I can make.  Each Sunday I plan on giving an update on how much I have made and what worked or did not work that week. 

Thank you for stopping by.

Time to go check some auctions and level a hunter.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Why do I farm for materials?

So the other day I was listening to Episode 5 of the Auction House Junkies podcast with Wes of Capped by Cata and Cold of Cold's Gold Factory.  In this episode, the hosts answered a listener mail about why they would farm materials or purchase the materials from the auction house.  They had some great points about why farming is still a good strategy for making gold, but for them farming is more of a supplement or leisure game time activity than it is a viable long term gold making activity.  I decided to look at why I farm in this game...

Like any aspiring goblin, I too believe that Time equals Money.  When I have a low level toon on another server, I do not have a lot of money, but I do have the time to gather as I level.  I invest a few extra seconds to gather that mining node or skin that animal to have materials I can sell on the auction house.  This provides the starter cash to help me begin to make investments in the server's economy.  The extra experience gained from mining and gathering herbs is just a bonus now for me.  In essence, once I develop enough money from my time, I can then begin to use my money to make more money and utilize less of my time on gold making.

There can be times in which I return to farming, even after having plenty of money to invest in the market.  For example, at the beginning of the Cataclysm expansion I used my gathering toon to gather both mines and herbs.  The gold people would pay early in an expansion to help level their professions was borderline ridiculous.  So, I set a plan to spend 1 to 2 hours per day gathering Cataclysm materials if I was not leveling my main toon.  I listed everything that I gathered from those few hours of gathering the first two weeks after launch.  Looking back, I wish that I had spent more time farming and less time leveling my main toon.  My main toon did not need to be ready to raid as soon as possible and the money made in the first 2 weeks was incredible.  I made over 100,000 gold just from the raw materials I gathered in probably about 10-12 hours of total time spent on farming.  After 2 weeks, there was an abundance of gathering materials on the auction house and the prices were beginning to come down. 

At this time, I buy many of the materials I need form the auction house rather than farm them directly.  There are times that the prices of trade goods go higher than I am willing to pay for.  If I also have the time, I will put on some good music or a podcast and fly around picking up the materials that I need at the time.  Also, I tend to fish occasionally to help our guild towards catching 10,000 fish for the achievement, That's A Lot of Bait.  For the most part, I enjoy doing something which would be more fun to me, such as raiding or pvp or leveling another toon.

Thank you for checking in today.

Time to go help my guild get more purples...

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Woah the Darkmoon Faire came and took me away...

Did not realize that it has been a week since I last posted on the Long, Strange blog.  Thinking about everything that has happened in the past week, I can see why I have not gotten back to a post until today.

In some ways, the Darkmoon Faire really did take me away from my usual routine in WoW.  I have to admit that I am still learning about this game, even after 5 years of playing it.  The Darkmoon Faire has been in the game since its introduction in Patch 1.6 back on July 2005.  Although I had paid a visit to the Faire several times over the past few years, I never properly researched what the Faire was about.

I have to say, I am truly glad I took some time to research the Darkmoon Faire.  I decided to look into the Darkmoon Faire because of the large number of trade chat barkers looking to trade cards.  After doing some research, I decided to scrounge through my current inventory to make various Darkmoon Cards.  I was able to create the Darkmoon Card: Hurricane, a couple of level 70 and 80 decks, plus several left over cards.  I listed many of these on the auction house throughout the week that the Darkmoon Faire was visiting Goldshire.  At the end of this week, I came away with 34,211 gold just from what I had in my inventories.  This was gold in addition to the other gold making activities that I have each week.  Overall, this was the boost I needed to energize my gold income that seemed to have stalled the previous 2 weeks.

This endeavor shows me that I should continually be open to new market opportunites.  As an aside, I really need to look in my inventory more often to see what treasures I have collected.

Thank you for rescuing me from the Darkmoon Faire.

Time to go do some much needed exercise...

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Tools I Use for Making Gold

Today I thought that I would share some of the tools, more specifically add-ons, that I use to help me make gold in World of Warcraft.  Although the add-ons that I use maintain a lot of historic information based on scans, I do not solely rely on those scans.  The information gathered is a guide from which I can extract personal knowledge of game trends to make decisions from which I can make gold.  Listed below are the add-ons that I use

  • Altoholic - as described by the author, "Altoholic is an Ace 3 addon written for people who dedicate most of their time to leveling alts, and who want to have as much information as possible in one addon. The main feature of the addon is the search functionality which allows users to search their alts' bags or loot tables in an Auction-House-like frame (see screenshots). All this with multiple-realms/accounts support."  This add-on is great in quickly searching other toons for crafting materials and general information without having to log in an out between toons.  This is a time saver.
  • Auctioneer Suite - "From purchasing to posting, the Auctioneer Suite provides time-tested tools to allow you more time to actually play your characters or play the market. As you will soon discover, it is much more than a simple "Auctioning AddOn", the Auctioneer Suite also shows in-depth information for all game items, such as those used in quests or recipes, enchanting, milling, prospecting and more."  The scanning option saves a ton of time for you by looking at the values of everything posted on the Auction House.  This add-on has many additional features that allow you to look at an item away from the Auction House and that information can help you formulate decisions on what to do with that item.
  •  Auctionator - is designed for the casual everyday auction house user.  What I like most about Auctionator is the quick scanning capability and ease of posting auctions.
  • LilSparky's Workshop - "LilSparky's Workshop adds auction-derived pricing information for trade skills right into the trade skill recipe frame. Each skill is evaluated for material costs and potential value of the item created. These two numbers are listed next to each skill in an easy-to-read format."  I love this add-on because it takes scanned information to help me quickly decide what crafted items are worth my time to create and list on the auction house.
  • Skillet - this is a trade skill UI replacement add-on.  I like using this because it provides a larger move-able trade skill window.  This allows me to do other things, like searching bags/auction house while having it open.  Skillet allows me to see more recipes and has a great search function within trade skills than the standard UI.
  • Postal - is a mail box add-on that allows great flexibility in sending and receiving mail.  It also helps to gather mail faster than manual clicking on each item in the mail box.  This is for convenience and ease of collecting the many auctions that I post each week.
All of the add-ons help me do one thing: be more EFFICIENT with my time.  Like most people, I enjoy making gold in game to use as I would like.  I just do not want to spend too much time trying to make money, when there are more efficient ways to utilize my time.  This then allows me to more quickly move onto the more fun aspects of what I like to do in the game.

I recently heard the latest Call to Auction podcast, episode 26, in which Euripides and BigJimm discuss the TradeSkillMaster add-on.   Based on their recommendations, I may have to give this a try as it incorporates several features of the above list of current add-ons I use and additional features I may want to use.

Thanks for stopping by to peek in on my tools for gold making.

Time to cook some Chicken Cordon Blue for the family, yum...

Monday, March 7, 2011

PvP changes for 4.1 on the PTR

In the recent 4.1 Patch PTR Notes released by Blizzard on March 3, 2011, several changes we can expect to the game have been noted, including some PvP changes.  Below are the current battleground changes being implemented on the PTR:

        *         The Focused Assault and Brutal Assault buffs have changed.
                     o     After 3 minutes of both teams having the flag, both flag carriers will get Focused Assault, which increases damage taken by 10%.
                     o     Every minute afterward, an additional stack will be applied to increase damage taken by an additional 10%.
                     o     After 7 minutes, Brutal Assault will be applied in place of Focused Assault. In additional to the damage debuff, this debuff also caps the player's movement speed at 100%. The damage taken debuff works the same and will add 10% to the debuff up to a maximum of 100% damage taken.

        *         The Battle for Gilneas
                      o     Graveyard Changes
                               +       Players who die at a control point that they own will now be teleported to the next closest graveyard, instead of the one at which they died.
                               +       If a player's team owns the Mine and Waterworks, and dies at Waterworks, they will be teleported to the Mine.
                               +       If an Alliance player's team only owns Lighthouse, and dies at Lighthouse, they will respawn at their base.
                               +       If a Horde player's team owns Waterworks and Mine, and dies at Lighthouse, they will respawn at Waterworks.

          *         Twin Peaks
                      o     Graveyard Changes
                               +       Players will now only spawn at their base graveyard when they die in the enemy base.
                               +       Defending players will respawn at the middle graveyard.
                               +       Midfield players will respawn at the middle graveyard.
                               +       Attacking players will respawn at their base graveyard.

It appears to me that these changes are forcing more dynamic play within the pvp zone.  Flag carriers will not be able to sit on a flag for long stretches of time and with a good group of healers/cc never be touched by the enemy.  It makes it necessary for the teams to kill the opposing flag carriers and cap the flag faster now.  You could sit on the flag but that would require more people to help cc and heal, taking more from the attacking side.  We will have to wait and see how this plays out.

Also, a much needed tweaking of the respawn at graveyards was applied to the newest battlegrounds, Battle for Gilneas and Twin Peaks.  Before, you would respawn closest to where you died on the battlefield.  This gave an advantage to the defending or attacking players, depending on where you located.  There was no penalty in essence for dying, since you could respawn an reenter the fray seconds later to recapture the node.  Now with you being placed further from the spot you were attacking or defending, there is a slight penalty to your team in that you will need to travel further to recapture a lost objective.  This spreads out the battlefield a bit more.  I like this idea, but will have to see how this changes the dynamics of the 2 pvp battlefields.

Thank you for stopping by today, see you all soon.

Now to play an intense game of UNO with the boys...

Saturday, March 5, 2011

4.1 and What does the Troll think...

Since the 4.1 patch has been announced over a week ago, many people have made their opinions known about what Blizzard has decided to do with this patch and future patches.  I understand people feeling a bit disappointed in the lack of raid content with 4.1.  My initial reaction to the announcement on 4.1 was in line with the "tin foil hat" theory on Blizzard releases.  I found it interesting that Blizzard announced the 4.1 release on the PTR the same day the pre-launch of Trion's new MMO, RIFT.  Blizzard has a history of making announcements to take attention away from competing titles. 

Since the announcement of 4.1, we have come to find out that it will not have a new raid tier, as Blizzard had originally announced at Blizzcon.  Bashiok has posted what Blizzard decided to do with their patching going forward.  Basically, Blizzard plans to release content on a more regular basis, rather than jamming a large amount of content into monolithic patches.  Now that I have heard several people's analysis of the shifting Blizzard philosophy of patch content, it begins to make more sense to me.  Lissana of Restokin has posted a great listing of all patches in WoW since its release on 2004.  Along with the dates of the releases and its content, I was particularly drawn to the "average time between patches" noted at the bottom of each game release.  Starting in Burning Crusade, the patches grew larger in content at the same time as they grew further apart in release time. 

Blizzard had set a precedent over the last 2 expansions that every patch must include some form of major raid tier.  This limits Blizzard's creativity in content since they are expected to design raid content first and additional content as an afterthought.  This Troll admits that he was disappointed in the lack of a new raid being released, but I now think that this is a good thing for Blizzard to do.  I am not too surprised that Blizzard has decided to go in this direction of more patches with smaller content updates.  Cataclysm has seen Blizzard shift its philosophy on Heroic and raid design to make them more challenging with Cata's release.  It seems to me that Blizzard has been taking Cataclysm as an opportunity to clean the World of Warcraft and begin anew.  The change in patching philosophy is another step towards changing how Blizzard approaches WoW.

It is up to Blizzard to decide how it will handle its products, but I think they are well aware of what direction they need to take this game.  I picture a huge white board full of ideas on what Blizzard developers want to accomplish with the game.  I am sure on that board was something about changing patch content to allow them to release varying content, not just raids.  The community is torn on what this change in patching philosophy means, but I think this is a good change for WoW.  Once the community gets over the association of patches with raid content, it will come to grips with a more evolving MMO experience that is delivered on a more consistent basis.  In the end, it is up to Blizzard to fulfill its promise of more regular content updates.  We shall see what will happen thoughout this year.

Thank you for following this long 4.1 patch opinion.

Time to enjoy another live show of Group Quest at Dawnforge Productions...

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Raiding and your team...

I got to thinking about my current raiding team and the teams that I have had in the past.  I do have to say that I have had my share of good luck because I have always been a part of a very good raid team.  Most of my raiding experience has been within the 10 man raiding environment.  Generally the guilds I joined were small and stuck to progressing in 10 man raid teams.  Even the larger guilds I joined eventually decided to run several 10 man teams instead of coordinating 25 man raids.

I agree with some others in the community that putting together a 25 man raid team can be more difficult logistically, thus leading to a more epic feel when harder content is overcome.  I enjoyed that feeling of accomplishment as well through late BC and into early Wrath.  As the 10 man raiding environment grew in Wrath content, I too gained a great affinity towards this style of raiding.  One of the aspects of WoW that I enjoy the most is doing things with your friends.  I have made many friends and the smaller 10 man setting allows for a more intimate adventure with those friends.

There are pros and cons for both raiding environments in WoW; 10 man versus 25 man.  I am not going to enter the debate here, but rather mention something about the 10 man that I also enjoy.  In a 25 man raid, I feel like a small part of the team that can succeed with or without my efforts.  If I die early on a fight for some reason, it is still possible for the raid to successfully defeat the boss.  On a 10 man raid, I feel like a teammate that is going to be relied upon to perform well in order for us to defeat a boss.  I enjoy the challenge of being put to the test and feeling that I need to perform at my best for the team to win.

What do you like about your raiding team?  Do you prefer the 10 man or 25 man raiding environment?  Why?

Thanks for stopping by tonight.

Time to finish my chili that's been chilling at my desk, yum.....

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Professions making you gold...

As I mentioned last week, I started learning to earn gold in World of Warcraft from a word mentioned by a friend who had lots of gold: Professions.  Over the past few years, I have crafted thousands of items, but it is only the past year have I discovered the value of the items.  Every item you craft has a certain value in the marketplace, even the one that you cannot sell on the Auction House.  There are several factors for determining the relative value of an item that is crafted (using Ebonsteel Belt Buckle as an example has an average AH value of 249 g on my server):

1.  The first factor includes the materials utilized in the cost of the item...  Ebonsteel Belt Buckles require 4 Volatile Earth (17 gold each), 4 Elementium Bars (7 gold each), and 4 Pyrium Bars (28 gold each) in order to craft.  The total cost of buying the materials directly from the auction house would total 208 gold.  This leaves you with an average of 41 gold profit.  The cost of the materials on the auction house may set the price for the Ebonsteel Belt Buckle, but you may find ways to increase the profit margin on your crafted material.

2.  Second factor is the demand and supply of the item you are trying to sell.  This can change daily for the item and can even drastically change with the introduction of new patches.  The Ebonsteel Belt Buckle is used to enhance belt statistics for every class by adding an additional free socket to the belt for a gem.  The materials are in good supply and the current demand for the buckle is relatively good on raid nights and the weekend when people gain new belts through raiding and pvp.  The supply may be greater on the weekends with more crafters on, which will drive the price of the buckle down and eat into your profits from crafting them.  The Ebonsteel Belt Buckle is in high demand mainly because its predecessor, the Eternal Belt Buckle, will not work on the item level 300 or greater, ie raid and pvp gear for end game content.

3.  The final concept that alot of people seem to not grasp is the price versus the value of the item for sale.  Just because the average price of an item is what YOU think it is, that price is not necessarily what people are willing to pay for it.  Lets say that you had to pay more to craft the Ebonsteel Belt Buckle, whether it cost you 250 gold for materials on the auction house or your time to gather materials for crafting it.  As a result, you decide that you want to price it at 300 gold to make similar profit for the cost of the material.  People may look at that price and decide it is too much to buy it for 300 gold.  When people go shopping for items, it is not the price of the item, but rather the value of the item they seek.  One person who does not value the buckle at 300 gold, might value getting the materials to craft one because they have the time to shop/gather the materials themselves.  Another person may have value their time more and see the price of the buckle at 300 gold a value to them simply because they need it now and can save time from having to go shopping for it.

Next time you go to craft an item for sale, take a few moments to study the prices of the item and its materials.  Then take a quick evaluation of the time it might save someone.  Doing this might give you some insight on why the item is selling alot or not at all.

What items do you like to sell for great profit to you and good value to others?

Thank you for checking in today.

Time to go check on animal pictures for a science project....