Blog Azeroth Shared Topic Links: Nice Things

The Blog Azeroth shared topic for July 2 – July 8 is:

What is the nicest thing another player has ever done for you in-game

I posted my response Monday.  Here are links to the other responses — they will make you smile.

 

 

Sunday Blog Post Roundup Vol. 4

Lots of interesting stuff this week.

WoW Insider featured two interesting posts about gold sinks.  In a WoW Archivist post, Scott Andrews wrote about the history of gold sinks in WoW, and Olivia Grace followed with a post on gold sinks and entitlement.  I like to call them rewards for gold earning, but that’s just me.

Hunter Mastery is not “just a hunter blog”.  Focushot is a serious gold earner and his post this week sharing his TSM shopping list for 77-80 green items got me to try my had at that market on my own server.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

Hunter Mastery was in my google reader list but it didn’t hit my radar until I heard Focushot on the latest episode of the Power Word: Gold Podcast.  Jim Younkin turned a live stream conversation with Focushot and Farli from The Overcut into a very informative podcast.  Best of all, Jim is not afraid to tell you when markets or gold earning tactics he tried didn’t work for him.  It’s a great listen.

Vile over at Vile’s Golden Auctions writes a great post about protecting your WoW account.  You can never be too careful about Frinka’s Rule #0.  One thing I’d add that he didn’t mention (I don’t think…..) is you should avoid logging into WoW or battle.net from a public or shared computer.

A newer blog for me is Portal Market.  This week DerBanker posts part 5 of 5 of a great series on pricing and your realm’s population.  Go back and read them all it’s great fundamental information.

Croda at marketsforgold had two posts that caught my eye.  First one on how they determine a minimum amount of gold they want to make per hour.  This fits nicely into a process oriented view of gold earning — you can evaluate the value of each activity by a method like this.  They also write about the real life value of in game gold.

Tastes Like Battle Chicken July Blogging Challenge

I admit it.  I copped out.  I had planned to write for Ambermist’s June Challenge but I just could not think of a story that was worthy to tell.  It completely stumped me.  You may know Ambermist and not realize it — she’s the blogger who wrote about her astonishingly poor customer service experience when she was unjustly banned from SWTOR.

Her proposed topic for July is one I simply can’t cop out on:

It’s nice to sometimes get a glimpse into the writer behind the blog, the person behind the character. So here’s your challenge: give me a detail about  yourself. Obviously, not everyone’s comfortable being super personal online or on a gaming-related blog, so the way you go with this is completely at your discretion.

A few possible things of interest come to mind.  The first is that I’m a bit older than most “gamers”.  I’m nearly 48.  And I’m a woman.  The name Frinka comes from my college days — I lived in an on campus house that had a mythical founding family with the surname Frink.  The ‘a’ on the end was added by me in an attempt to make the name feminine.

I’m not a real gamer in the sense most people mean the word, even though I’ve played games for a long time.  The first video games I remember playing a lot were on the Atari 2600.  I loved playing Breakout.  Eventually I got a Nintendo and I recall playing The Legend of Zelda a fair bit, but oddly I don’t remember much else about the NES.

What was a huge development in my gaming history was when the house I lived in at college got an IBM PC, one of the very very first ones.  There was only one and it was in our house’s “library” (ie, the room full of book shelves).  This was in 1983 I think.  There was a game on that computer called Rogue.  We were all so enthralled with that game that people would sit for hours just watching other people play it.  It was an adventure dungeon type game with a map created from ASCII text that you slowly uncovered as you roamed around killing monsters.  It had an exploit where if you wielded food you were invincible.  Does anyone else remember that?

Since then there is a short list of games I’ve actually had relationships with.  They include: Myst, Riven, the SimCity series, The Sims, Civ III, Civ IV, Rollercoaster Tycoon, EverQuest and WoW.  I have a soft spot for simulation games — can’t wait for the new SimCity!

There were attempts at trying other huge PC games like Elder Scrolls, Doom and Unreal.  But I just don’t get them — I never seem to get past the opening sequence basically.  They don’t click.  When I stepped into EverQuest something did click.

And that brings me here.  Thanks again Ambermist for your wonderful blog for this great blogging challenge.  Keep them coming and next time if I get stumped I’ll write about why I’m stumped.

Auction House Changes Comment Summary

A good while back Robin Torres at WoW Insider posted a breakfast topic that linked to a post of mine and posed the question to their readers “how would you change the auction house?“  I’ve been intending to summarize the comments for awhile, sorry it took so long.

Buy Orders

Simply stated everyone wants them.  Buy orders are the ability to post an offer to buy something at a certain price.  Pretty much the only detail hinted at in the comments is whether or not the system should allow orders to be partially filled.  This point is related to other comments below about how commodities are handled.  I’d say when I set up the buy order I should be able to specify if I want partial fulfillment allowed, but however it would be done it should be consistent with how commodity sell orders are handled.

Options for sorting and filtering auctions

Here’s a list of just some of the numerous sorting and filtering options people would like to see added to the standard UI.

  • Sort by unit price
  • Sort by buy out
  • Search multiple categories at a time like all ranged weapons
  • Exact match check box (ie “Lava Coral” would not return “Reckless Lava Coral”)
  • Filter by expansions (ie Cataclysm herbs… )
  • Cut and uncut gems in separate categories
  • Darkmoon faire artifacts in a category
  • View by stats (gems and gear)
  • View by socket color for gems (ie orange, red and purple for a red socket)
  • Trasmog features, eligible or not, models, colors
  • See more on one screen and summarize multiple listings (“auctionator style”)
  • Search within the filtered list

Make it like the Diablo III auction house, or not

A lot of people love the Diablo III auction house and suggest that WoW should either work exactly the same way or adopt many of its features.  On the other hand a fewer number of people specifically didn’t like aspects of D3.

The main plus seems to be that commodity items in Diablo III are treated more as “fungible” items — in other words if you have 1000 herbs to list you just list them, you don’t package or price them in stacks.  Further when you buy 1000 herbs you are simply presented with the lowest priced 1000 to buy.  I’m neutral about this idea, it would often be convenient but would also take away my ability to package and price items with discounts for volume buys.

Sales information

Most people agree that information is power and we need more!  Pluses sited for getting sales information include that it would help sellers price items, help buyers decide if prices are fair, and hurt those who attempt to take advantage by pricing things in manipulative or deceptive ways.  People suggested that average sales or posting prices should be easily viewable in the posting and buying UI.

Some commenters suggested people just use the undermine journal — I love the undermine journal, but it doesn’t have and can’t get actual sales information, it only know about posted prices.

Other feature and function ideas

  • Buy multiple stacks with one click
  • Buy or sell partial stacks
  • Listing commodities “stackless” like Diablo III
  • Check box to select lines and do something to them all
  • Make the neutral auction house cross server, or add a cross realm/battle group auction house
  • Combine alliance and horde auction houses on the same realm, go all neutral
  • Make it easier to post multiple items by just putting them in a special bag
  • Adjusting auction fees based on reputation or other factors
  • Functions to blacklist or whitelist sellers/buyers
  • Making the mail interface to the auction house better or removing it so that items you buy simply appear in your inventory if you have space, and sales proceeds appear in your gold total without opening mail.
  • Finally I had one new idea while writing this summary — make common vendor items (poisons, reagents, etc) available in the auction house, just as a convenience.

Pricing and selling restrictions

Well all that is already a lot of comments and ideas,  but by far and away the most discussion was had around people’s desire to regulate “bad” behavior via posting or buying restrictions.  These suggestions included:

  • Price caps based on level or numerous other criteria to prevent gouging
  • Limits on the number of auctions you can post at one time
  • Price minimums or restrictions on undercutting existing auctions
  • Limits on buying that would disallow you from buying all of an item in an effort to “corner the market”

I think it’s important to acknowledge the real concerns people have that give rise to these suggestions.  It’s valid to want the market to be useful to players of all experience levels.  It’s valid to want truly new players to be able to level their professions naturally as they level their characters.  And people feel frustrated competing with other players who seem to have vast resources — both gold and time.

That said, numerous commenters pointed out the flaws with these type of restrictions.  While low level characters suffer when low level materials sell for high prices, they also benefit from selling these materials at high prices as they naturally collect them playing in lower level zones.  Concerns about access to materials needed to level professions could be addressed by providing alternative methods to level professions or obtain materials (ie quests or special vendors).  Players who try to “corner the market” quickly discover that if you don’t control the supply, you can’t control the market — while you may not be challenged immediately, anyone can mine ore or make glyphs and disrupt your market at anytime.  More (sales) information and better ways to filter and sort auction listings would help eliminate a lot of the deceptive practices people employ.

Finally regarding undercutting, I’ll quote one of the best comments from rolua89.  (Sorry it’s long but it’s all good stuff — it could be it’s own blog post!)

Here’s the thing about undercutting by a copper: When someone undercuts by a copper, his competitors don’t lose hardly anything by undercutting him back, again by a copper. This means that the most sales will go to the person who has the most time to camp the AH.

Contrast this with undercutting by a large margin: Now, in order to undercut, that player’s competitors must make a non-trivial sacrifice of profit if they want to get ahead in sales. This means that the most sales will go to the player who is most willing to slash his profit margins. It also means that, out of two people equally aggressive with their undercutting, the most profit will go to the one who can produce the item at the lowest cost, since he can make that market unprofitable for his competitors.

If I would rather do something other than camp the AH for hours at a time, I am then motivated to undercut heavily. This immediately gives my competitors a choice: they can undercut me again, and cut their own profits, or they can wait it out and let my auctions get bought out, with theirs next in line. They have a choice between cutting profits or cutting sales volume. Either way they don’t make as much money. Which is exactly what’s supposed to happen when two suppliers compete in a market.

With all this in mind, remember that every sale that is made comes from a player wanting the item and being willing to pay the lowest price listed. If a market has tons of demand, then it doesn’t matter whether your competitors undercut heavily. They’ll get bought out extremely quickly, and then yours will be the lowest auctions up. But if there’s not enough demand to consume the volume being brought in by the suppliers, the price WILL drop, and you will make less money.

But what happens if no one undercuts by much, and the demand drops off? Then you still don’t make much money, because even with all that effort posting and reposting, no one is buying your auctions.

Either way, you still make less money with less demand. But if people undercut heavily, at least you’ll know the market is flooded, instead of posting again and again with no sales.

Heavy undercutting doesn’t ruin a market; low demand ruins a market.

Thanks again to Robin Torres, WoW Insider and all the wonderful commenters!

Is Gold Earning Resume Worthy?

As a new blogger I’m learning that coming up with things to write about that haven’t already been well covered in the extensive WoW fan universe is really difficult.  It’s a “Simpon’s Already Did It” situation.  Whether or not to put WoW experience on your resume is no exception — most recently I heard it discussed on The Instance Podcast in response to a listener question.  But usually the discussions focus on guild leadership skills.  The podcast made me wonder if gold earning skills deserve at least the same level of consideration in this regard.

Forget the resume for a moment.

Do we gain skills or experience gold earning that could make us more effective in an actual job?  In some very niche cases we do for sure — if you modify or write addons for gold earning and want a job as a lua programmer for example.  I’m a bit more skeptical about specific marketing or sales skills however.  The way most gold earners sell in WoW, using the auction house, does not require the same sensibilities that real life sales jobs require.  We do perform market/product evaluations and set prices, but we don’t have to deal with distribution issues or promotion in the same way you do outside the game.

One exception to this might be if you sell items using the trade channel.  If you are persistent and participate in many conversations with “random people” over a long period you will likely learn how to steer a nibble PST conversation into a sale.  It’s hard to learn — my guess is that most people that aren’t born sales people don’t sell this way in WoW.  I generally don’t.

Outside of these specifics, I do think by undertaking serious, goal oriented gold earning you quickly internalize some general market principles that, if recognized, considered and applied, could aid decision making in a real world situation.  For example, you learn the factors to consider in make/buy decisions.  These general principles would likely be best utilized in a real entrepreneurial endeavor as opposed to the more typical situation of working “for the man.”  Play WoW — start a business!

So back to the resume.

Suppose you have learned something while gold earning that would make you better at a job you are applying for.  Should you mention WoW, and if so, how?  The general consensus seems to be that this is difficult and you should proceed carefully.  The biggest barrier is that many or most of the people you need to communicate with will not have a clue about WoW or MMOs in general.  Also gaming and gamers can have a negative reputation with some as violent (at worst), addictive, and worthless (at best).

But don’t forget that putting something on your resume is not the only way to “take credit” for knowledge or experience during the job evaluation process.  Cover letters (which I believe should be one page only please) offer more flexibility.  Usually interviews contain some question about how you spend your leisure time, you can craft a verbal answer to fit there.  You can also talk about your professional values, decision making process, market philosophy and other general knowledge without mentioning WoW.  If they ask you how you developed your philosophy, then you have an opening to discuss it more specifically.

Try this — imagine how you would tell your mother, or her mother, about this skill and why it would make you better at the job in question. Assuming your mother isn’t a gamer, If you can effectively convey the skill and its connection to the job to her, then that method of communication is probably safe to use in a job evaluation process.

One final thought — It’s hard to find a job, believe me, I know.  Sometimes we just need one and we can’t afford to be too terribly picky about it.  But in an ideal world, would you want to work for someone or someplace where you couldn’t discuss your WoW experience?  Even though you apply for jobs and they make offers, don’t forget that you should evaluate the opportunity as carefully as they evaluate you.  Maybe mentioning your gold earning experience in WoW is a good way to test if this is the right job for you.

Reward of the Week: You Can Totally Afford All Those Recipes

I’m not much of a pure recipe collector.  I tend to buy what I need to level and then buy just recipes I’ll definitely make either for myself or to sell.  But after I reached my first gold goal I realized that I could afford to splurge on recipes, and it was fun to have them.  And the more recipes you have, the better the chance you can respond quickly to a money making opportunity on some obscure item should that opportunity arise.

If you decide to treat yourself to some shiny new recipes, be aware that many if not most of the recipes listed on the auction house are available from vendors and are being “flipped” by your gold earning counterparts.  You can decide to either run around and get them all from the vendors or pay a premium price to avoid all that work.  After all, this is a reward, so you’d be justified to take the easy way out.

A few addons will help your recipe collecting a great deal.  The most important one is Ackis Recipe List (ARL), which I wrote a brief guide about here.  This will show you a list of all the recipes you don’t have and let you filter it by a whole bunch of different criteria.  In this case, where you are buying recipes as a gold earning reward, you probably will want to only list those recipes that you can purchase from a vendor or from another player, therefore excluding the BoP ones.  And if you decide to be a bit frugal and go to the vendors instead of the auction house, ARL tells you the exact location for each vendor.

Ackis Recipe List

Another useful addon for recipe buying is Altoholic.  After you install it and open your tradeskill windows on each character, it remembers what recipes you know and displays “could be learned by” and “already known by” information in the tool tip when you mouse over a recipe.

Tool Tip

Even the standard auction house UI has one very nice feature for recipe collecting — the “usable items” filter.  By selecting it you’ll only see recipes listed that you can learn. (on the character you are on — it doesn’t know about your alts like the Altoholic tool tip does.)   So if you want to go nuts you can just select “Recipe” on the left, click “Usable Items” near the middle top, and start buying!

Standard Auction House UI

 

Blog Azeroth Shared Topic: The Nicest Thing Another Player Has Done For Me

The Blog Azeroth shared topic for July 2 – July 8 is:

What is the nicest thing another player has ever done for you in-game?

This was another of my topic ideas and unlike last week’s topic I had something in mind before I suggested it.

I played WoW for a long time as a solo player.  I had three characters capped at 60 when Burning Crusade came out, but I’d never even ran an instance, much less done a raid.  Famously, I had no idea my first character, a human paladin, had a “bubble” — the spell seemed useless to me because it only lasted a few seconds.  It was a real life friend that I’d introduced to the game who actually told me what I needed to do if I wanted to experience more.

I re-rolled and prepared a new character (the shadow priest who remains my main today) for raiding.  During that process, I just luckily joined a very large social guild and actually made friends.  I met people I would have never ran across in real life from all over the globe.  And we raided Karazhan — I thought I was a real player then.

One of the people we raided with was a prot warrior with a gruff exterior.  Turns out he had a heart of gold.  As the expansion progressed I went back to my older characters to level them to 70, and decided to try tanking on my warrior.  My prot warrior guild friend crafted me gear, got into vent to help me set my UI and rotation, quite literally held my clueless hand through the process of what to do.

Turns out I’m not cut out to tank, not by a mile.  And honestly, I can’t explain why the kindness of this guild-mate struck me so, but it did.  After playing solo for so long he opened my eyes to the fact that we can do more together than alone.  And that insight has far outlasted anytime I spent tanking.

 

Sunday Blog Post Roundup: Vol. 3

Back after a short vacation and way behind on my blog reading.  Here are a few of last weeks posts that caught my eye as interesting.

Twitchie over at Twitchie Enterprises reviews their June sales data — it’s a great example of how we should all analyze our sales and be data-driven.

Mommar at Just My Two Copper writes an interesting post about their MoP prep checklist.  Good thoughts on token and point prep — you should make your own list like this based on your goals.  They also link other posts on MoP prep at the end of the article, all are worth a read.

Kuja at Kuja’s Gold Mine writes a detailed post on how to make gold soloing Naxxramas.  This is an interesting way to make gold and change things up if you are tired of standing in the auction house.

The Gold Queen writes an extensive guide to undercutting strategies.  This summary gives all the pros and cons so you can decide what works for you.

Love The Godmother’s post on ALT:ernative about manipulating marketsa.  Very thought provoking read.

Learn During the Lull

July’s topic for Cold’s Gold Blogging Carnival is:

“What Do You Recommend Players Do During The Current WoW Lull To Benefit Gold Making In The Future?”

Back in May I wrote about this very topic in the post “Everyone’s Gone! What Should I Do?“  Looking back on my suggestions and considering how things have gone for me since then, I’d emphasize even more strongly what a great time this is to learn and experiment.  Learn how to do new things now so you can profit from them should an opportunity present itself in the future.  For example:

  • Max out professions and hunt for new recipes
  • Learn how to use a new addon, or learn all the advanced features of your existing addons
  • Search the internet for new gold making ideas and experiment — actually try them
  • Adjust your goals, write them down, and optimize your business processes accordingly.
  • Play the MoP Beta and read about upcoming gold making changes in some of the great guides being written.  (Check back, I try to link the good/new ones as they are posted)

There is one caution here — this is not a good time to gather data about market behavior and make final decisions about what markets to play in the future.  Everything will change around the expansion, not the least being that market volumes will fluctuate widely.  Be ready to be as flexible as possible by increasing your gold earning skills now, while you have the time.