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!

 

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.

 

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

 

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.)

Vacation

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.

Hedging and Stockpiling and Flipping, Oh My!

I just listened to episode #27 of the Auction House Junkies podcast where they discuss at length the concept of inflation and how to deal with it in WoW.  It made me think and question some of my assumptions, and while I’m not sure I’ve come to any new, firm conclusions, I feel compelled to share my thoughts.

Different schools of economic thought actually define and measure inflation differently, but they are all trying to determine the buying power of money over time.  Some economists view and measure inflation mainly by looking at the price of goods — if the prices go up, your money buys less.  Others take a monetary view, defining inflation purely as an increase in the supply of money.  I tend to think the most accurate model, especially in WoW, is a mixture of these.  There are some things about WoW that make it very different than real life.

Hedging for inflation is the process of trying to protect your total buying power by converting money (that you expect to lose buying power) into some other asset.  In real life, inflation hedges are often real assets with intrinsic value like gold or land.  These items are expected to rise in price at a rate equal to or greater than the rate of inflation, and in some cases can generate income without being sold.  Some commodities are also considered to have intrinsic value, like oil and other fuels, but they are generally subject to more price fluctuation due to supply and demand.

So what item is like land inside WoW?  One example I thought might be bank space.  The problem is things like bag slots or guild bank tabs in WoW seem to either stay the same price or sometimes even decrease in price.  Same with vendor mounts and abilities like duel spec or epic flying.  These things all cost less gold than they used to despite overall monetary inflation in the game.  So there is no reason to rush out now and buy up all the bank slots for all your alts — you’ll be able to do so for the same amount of gold later.  Also, in WoW these assets and a lot of other items cannot be turned back into currency.

Bags are a bit different.  It probably makes really good sense to upgrade all the bags on all your alts and in all your banks to the extent you can now.  The price of bags does fluctuate and most people think it will go up especially at the beginning of MoP.  And if you plan to roll a monk or other new character, tuck some bags for them away now.

In general I don’t think there are many good, traditional monetary inflation hedges in WoW.   That said you can proceed to take a more price oriented view (as do the hosts of Auction House Junkies) and identify items that you anticipate will rise in price and stockpile them.  Doing this now, before the expansion, is really no different than using these techniques at anytime to earn gold.  It’s just that the expansion brings with it an influx of demand on some goods that effects your choices of what to target.   If you identify items correctly and stockpile them, you will earn gold.  It’s sort of like “extreme couponing”, but there aren’t really coupons in WoW unfortunately.

From CNN Entertainment’s “Cover story: Extreme TV pushes the limits”

As I’ve stated in “Ugh, a Mission Statement. Really?“, I haven’t and don’t stockpile, so I wouldn’t pretend to give advice about what to target.  I may do some experimenting with stockpiling though now after thinking about it.  If you want some advise about what to stockpile, perhaps start by reading these posts from April’s Blogging Carnival at Cold’s Gold Factory.  (Cold is one of the hosts of the Auction House Junkies podcast.)

Monetary inflation does exist in WoW.  New items, mounts and alike, introduced in MoP, will be priced based on what blizzard knows about the overall size of the WoW economy.  Repairs will cost more on higher item level items.  And on the new black market auction house you’ll be competing with other top gold earners for rare rewards.  So do keep all this in mind when setting your goals, and be prepared to reward yourself — that’s why we do this!