Reward of the Week: Hit the Blizzard Store

I’ve been on lots of weight loss diets.  There are some things they all have in common.  One thing they all advise is that when you reach a goal you should reward yourself, but not with a chocolate cake.  In other words, don’t undo all the good work you’ve just done, and more important, don’t reinforce bad habits by equating food with all things good.

The next time you reach a gold goal, big or small, consider treating yourself with a trip to the Blizzard Store.

Blizzard Store

If you are anything like me you avoid overspending real life money on WoW.  It feels a little like cheating to buy all those mounts and pets with real money instead of farming them in-game.  But the advantage of buying something in the store as opposed to splurging on the auction house is that you don’t deplete your hard earned gold doing it.  And linking the purchase to reaching a gold goal does tie the purchase to the hard work you’ve put in inside the game.

If you’ve never used the Blizzard Store, don’t be afraid, it’s really well implemented and easy to use.  You can buy mounts for around $25 US and pets for $10 US.  There are plenty of other items and accessories as well as Diablo and Starcraft items if you are interested in those.  Have a budget going in, stick to it, and then enjoy your success having fun with your new item.  You’ve earned it!


“To Measure is to Know”

Lord Kelvin
Meet Lord Kelvin — all around cool guy. See what I did there?  Lord Kelvin is known for discovering the lower temperture limit, absolute zero, and units of of absolute temperature are named “kelvin” in his honor.

More on topic, Lord Kelvin is credited with two of my favorite quotes.  “To measure is to know,” and “If you can not measure it, you can not improve it.”

Serious gold earners need tools for measuring their progress.  There are many things to track, but the most basic ability you need to start is a way to track your gold balance over time.

I like to be able to get a quick overview of my gold balance all the time.  Trade skill master’s accounting module and auctioneer’s beancounter are big, all-in-one solutions that allow you to pretty much get any data you want about your sales and gold balance.  I use TSM:accounting for deep analysis, but for everyday, every minute use, I like Auditor.  In the author’s own words:

“Auditor is a nifty addon that tracks your incoming and outgoing money from a variety of sources, and provides an easy to use Data Broker interface to choose whose data you would like to look at, and for what time period.”

Auditor Display

Once you install Auditor, activate it and log into each of your characters, it starts tracking all gold related activity in real time.  At any time you can mouse over the auditor tag on your toolbar and you’ll get a tool tip like this one with an overall gold activity summary for a given timeframe.  You can select different timeframes and either view a single character or all character totals.

Lib Data Broker

There is one complication I believe keeps auditor from becoming a much more popular addon.  It uses the Lib Data Broker interface to display this tool tip and therefore to use Auditor you must have a Lib Data Broker display addon installed as well.  These addons provide you with toolbars you can customize and use to organize the data displayed on your UI.  For example, these bars provide an alternative to the overcrowded mini-map icon mess.  I currently use docking station as my LDB display, however it is getting a little outdated and it’s not on curse.  TitanPanel and ChocolateBar are other alternatives, however I’ve not tried them (yet).  You can find more information about Lib Data Broker and LDB display addons here.

It’s worth taking the plunge.  Once you have a LDB display you’ll find that many of your addons can use it to display information.  And just having auditor makes it worth the effort for the serious gold earner.


Reward of the Week: Valor Point BoE Items

Valor Point Vendor

Many serious gold earners are also serious altoholics.  Hello, my name is Frinka…  If you have level 85 alts, when you reach gold goal you could reward yourself by buying them valor point BoE items.  Item level 397 bracers are available for 1,250 VP and item level 397 boots are available for 1,650 VP from the valor quartermasters in Stormwind and Orgimar.  Here’s the Wowhead list of what exactly you can get.

VP BoE list from Wowhead

Selling valor BoEs is an easy way for a lot of players who aren’t necessarily serious gold earners to earn gold.  There was a good Gold Capped post on WoW Insider about all the ins and outs of selling BoEs back in December.  If your main has enough valor points to buy some you could reward yourself by simply sending them to your alts instead of selling them to someone else.  If not, you can help out another player and reward yourself at the same time by purchasing a few items in trade or on the auction house.


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


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.

Reward of the Week: Pimp Your Guild

“It’s better to give than to receive.”  Do you find this to be true?  Sometimes it’s hard to truly feel rewarded by giving something away, but in this case I think most people would.  Consider rewarding yourself for achieving that hard earned gold goal by giving some of that gold to your guild.

By “your guild” I don’t really mean your bank alt, storage, or vanity guild.  I’m thinking more of a guild that your main or other active character plays, raids, PvPs and/or socializes in.  In most cases your “main guild” has helped you achieve your goals via guild perks, etc, so giving back some just makes sense.  But more importantly, you can buy things for the guild that will make it more fun for all members, including yourself.

One option is to just donate some gold to the guild bank straight out.  This money could be used in anyway the GM sees fit — funding repairs, buying supplies, etc.  If you give the gold without specifying how it should be used, you should be prepared to accept the GMs decision even if it’s not how you would spend it.  Think through how you’ll feel and consider what you know about your GM before you proceed.

Another way you could go is to buy items to donate to the guild — raid consumables, enchanting supplies, materials required for an achievement, or even BoE gear that you know people need.  This way you control exactly how the gold is spent.  You could also offer the money for a specific purpose, like buying an additional bank tab.

When you decide to give a gift like this consider how it will be perceived and your relationships with the people involved.  You may want to give anonymously to the degree possible.  And just like in real life, don’t give if you really don’t want to.  Don’t expect anything in return and don’t be resentful when people don’t seem grateful enough.  Give the gift, enjoy the benefits it brings, and feel pride in knowing that your persistence enabled you and the people you play with to have a little more fun.


Reward of the Week: Take a Vacation

Mounts and pets — those are the obvious things that come to mind when you think about how to reward yourself for reaching a gold earning goal.  There are plenty of blogs and websites out there where you can learn all about them, so I want to make an effort in this weekly column to spotlight different reward options.  (At least every other week. I’m just getting started so we’ll see how it goes.)


This week’s reward idea is to simply take a break from the gold earning grind.  Warcraft Street strives to be about having fun.  I’ve written before about the fact that no matter how you approach gold earning, persistence is the key to success.  Letting yourself take a break after you reach a goal is a perfect non-gold reward for all that persistence you just displayed.

During your time off you have the chance to reflect on what is still working, what is broken, and how to adjust.  You can solidify your next objective (write it down).  You can try new things in game like holidays, PvP, etc.  You can visit the darkmoon faire.  Think about getting that old achievement you’ve always wanted.  (For me that’s “Salty”, I’m so close yet so far!)  If you need to you can use the time to look for a new guild/server/faction.  You can play the Mists of Pandaria beta.  You can do an addon refresh — delete them all, start over, and reconfigure your entire UI.  Or you can stop playing WoW altogether for a while.  There are lots of other games out there, and a whole big real world to explore too.  Maybe you want to start blogging….

Most serious gold earning routines require you to log in and do some posting or buying or manufacturing about once per day.  Some more, a few less.  To get an effective vacation, one that is truly rewarding, try to make your break last at least a week, preferably two.   It’s really hard not to just pop onto that alt quickly and check the price of whiptail, but resist the urge!  And at least for me, leveling professions is not really that much of a break — focus on activities that get you out of the auction houses and capital cities.

Now, during the summer/pre-expansion lull, is the perfect time to take a gold earning vacation.  Consider timing your reward break during an in game event like a seasonal holiday or the darkmoon faire if you want to spend some time on those.  The midsummer fire festival runs from Thursday, June 21 to Wednesday, July 4 this year, and the darkmoon faire comes back for a week starting Sunday, July 1.

Me?  I’m taking my own advice.  Next week I’m on a vacation in real life so my gold earning activities will be on hold.  Have you taken or are you planning a gold earning vacation?


Blog Azeroth Shared Topic: Desire

The Blog Azeroth shared topic for June 18 – June 24 is:

What is in game that you want, but you can’t have? Is there an animal you want to tame, a critter you want to collect, a tabard that has the perfect design for a transmog set etc etc.

I thought of three things, all seeming unobtainable for different reasons.

  1. The Salty title — “Salty Frinka” would be the title awarded if I could ever get the accomplished angler achievement.  I’m embarrassed to say I have 8 alts with maxed fishing but I simply can’t win a fishing tournament to save my bacon.  The master angler of azeroth requirement is the only one I’m missing.  I’ll keep trying, but it feels hopeless.
  2. The Fox KitThe fox kit is described by some as the toughest farm item in the game, and I just have had no luck.  For the time being I’ve taken a break from trying.  I did the same thing (taking a break) when I was going for the sea turtle mount, but I eventually buckled down and got it.
  3. The forty person raiding experience — This is probably the only item on my list that I can truly never have.  Although I had three 60s I didn’t raid in vanilla.  My social guild did clear Karazahn in BC but we only dabbled into Gruul’s Lair with barely 25 mostly under-geared characters.  My experience with 25s in WotLK was unpleasant, it felt like herding rats, but that was when we were trying to do both 10s and 25s in the same week.  My guess is I’d hate even semi-serious 40-person raiding over the long term, but I’d really like to try it once with a good group at the level and gear that it was designed for.



The Black Market Auction House

Black Market Auction HouseIt was all the way back on May 12 that MMO-Champion first mentioned the black market auction house from the Mists of Pandaria beta.  Many blog posts, podcast discussions and forum comments followed — the topic has been well covered.

Anne Stickney at WoW Insider made great points in her article on 3 things the Black Market Auction House needs to succeed.  Her three keys for success are:

  • Accessibility — items available on the BMAH should be available by other means elsewhere, so if you don’t have mega-gold for that sweet mount you can invest mega-time to get it.
  • Availability — the number of each item available on the BMAH should be limited correctly to keep competition for items high and keep their rarity in line with the same item obtained in other ways.  In other words, if it’s nearly impossible to farm an item because the drop rate is ultra-low, it should only be available on the BMAH in ultra-low quantities.
  • Accountability — items from the BMAH should not be able to be resold, therefore they should either be bind on account or bind on pickup.

I like this line of reasoning.  The idea seems to be that the BMAH should take gold out of the game to fight inflation without changing the rarity or prestige of the items it sells.

What I’m not so sure about is that the BMAH should not sell items unavailable by other means.  There are items in the game now that are only obtainable by reaching high levels of a particular type of game play, PvP gear for example.  Why is it unfair to offer high-level gold earners exclusive rewards just like high-level PvPers get?

Traveler's Tundra MammothArguably the traveler’s tundra mammoth is a reward available only to accomplished gold earners.  When it was introduced the price tag was far out of reach for most players.  Was that unfair?  Offering exclusive, high cost items on the BMAH is actually better and more fair than offering them at a fixed price on a vendor.  It means there will be competition to get the item, and the price will keep up with inflation.

Since we first heard about the BMAH there have been adjustments made to the items offered there, and I believe the cap on bids was raised to match the gold cap of 999,999g. I take these changes as a sign that everything is still on the table, as is always the case with functions implemented in a beta.  We may never see the BMAH on live servers — there has been a big outcry by some vocal players that they hate the idea of it.

The black market auction house would kill two birds with one stone for me — it would be a better gold sink than those of the past and it would offer gold earners some recognition of their accomplishments.  So if it is drastically changed, or not introduced, I hope both of these objectives are still achieved somehow.

Reward of the Week: Turbo-charged Flying Machine

To have fun and keep motivated it’s critical to set goals and reward ourselves.  It’s easy to forget the reward part.  I want Warcraft Street to be different from other gold earning blogs by putting more emphasis on how to spend gold and have fun.  Think of this as my version of Phat Loot Friday.

Some friends of mine took a trip to India one summer during college.  They were traveling on a budget but luckily one of the guys was from India so he guided them to interesting, inexpensive activities that most tourists don’t know about.  One day they spent 15 or 20 minutes arguing over whether to buy first-class or coach train tickets until someone stepped back and realized the difference was around 10 cents in US currency.

I’ve wanted a Turbo-charged Flying Machine forever, but my engineer is an alt and I just don’t often spend a ton of money on mounts or pets for alts.  The other day I saw one on the auction house and it just dawned on me that for me, the 4,800g was sorta similar to the 10 cents.  And just to be sure I quickly checked what the materials would cost for me to craft my own and on my server at present they were more expensive.  So heck, I rewarded myself, and I’m so glad I did.

Turbo-charged Flying Machine
It’s worth noting that the profession mounts like Turbo-charged Flying Machine and Magnificent Flying Carpet aren’t on the current list floating around of non-account-wide mounts in MoP.   It seems like they should be still profession restricted, but who knows?  I’ll try to find out, and post an update, or please post in the comments below if you’ve heard.