Monday, November 30, 2009

Trade Skill Evolution - Removing the Band-Aid

Trade Skill Evolution

It's amazing how fast life can interfere with plans, this article is being published a bit late due to random normal everyday things getting in the way. At any rate, I said I would write something about the ideas I have for balancing new players (or alts) with established players.

In the workplace one of the most common complaints is wages. Most employees say that if they were to get more pay for the job they do they would be happier in their position. Studies show however, that increased wages do not positively affect employee retention. Instead, things such as health benefits, retirement plans, profit sharing, and “fun” employee activities at and outside of work have a strong impact on employee retention and happiness. So why do these things work while increased wages don't? Well, it's simple really, if you don't like your job it doesn't really matter how much you get paid. However, if you get benefits and are involved in activities the job is no longer as much of a droning thing as it was before. Think of this in WoW terms and we can draw a parallel between giving things to players for free versus involving them in content to improve player satisfaction and retention.

Let's look at some ideas then.

  1. Mini-Games for trade skills

  2. Trade skill specialization

  3. Skill specific related quest chains and dailies

  4. Larger reagent involvement in crafting skills to improve profitability

  5. Raid and Dungeon specific events


I personally love this idea. Imagine being able to play a mini-game while fishing, now instead of looking at a bobber and waiting for it to plunge downward you can actively participate in jigging or moving a lure to entice a fish. Swirl a skillet while frying some eggs. Sprinkle spices on the roast on the spit. Each one of these things adds a bit of flavor to the event (pun intended). Players could add spices to recipes for altered effects, mild spices for a soothing healing drought, cajun spices for high powered fire damage boost.... who knows, the possibilities are endless. The point is, they add variety and involve doing something more than queuing up a specific number of items and walking away for a cup of coffee.

Trade Skill Specialization

(storyline for dramatization)

The tank is taking a lot of damage over time due to bleed effects and the healers are having one heck of a time keeping up with him and the rest of the raid members what with all the raid damage that is flying around as well. You just happen to be a tourniquet specialist, your whole goal in life is to staunch the bleeding. You've spent the time to learn this skill and now is your chance to shine and save the raid. You jump into action bandaging the tank while he tries to maintain his position against the groups mighty foes, suddenly the healers spells start winning the battle, the bleeding has slowed. The group is victorious thanks to you and your knowledge of wound dressings. There are lots of specialized skills that could be implemented that would provide a reason for people to level trade skills. It would add a whole new depth and dimension to the game that it lacks. First-Aid Tourniquet Specialist, just kinda has a flair to it.. don't you agree!?

Quests and Dailies

We already have these, I'm just thinking that we could do so much more with them in concert with any of the other ideas provided here.


Trade skills items could be used as reagents for more and more things. If blizzard wants to have trade skills available to the masses and they also want reagents to be gathered by the masses why not involve them even more so in the crafting professions? I'll grant that alchemy and herbalism kind of take away a lot of the possibilities but you can add to something like First Aid with herbalism, now there are medicinal wraps instead of simple cloth wraps. You could cook broths to be used in concert with healing positions or strength potions or whatever.. The point is, involve the trade skills.

Involvement in Raids and Dungeons

What if they added special mini bosses to a few dungeons that required the use of some sort of cooking/fishing/first-aid skill to access? The idea has been thought of and somewhat implemented before. I say “run with it”. Take the idea and make it a larger part of the game.

All of these ideas have one thing in common. They involve the player in something that causes the player to want to succeed and thus increases the enjoyment of the game. Giving the players things for free doesn't serve any purpose. I will forever subscribe to the idea that something you did not earn will never mean as much as the same thing if you had to earn it. Take a car for example, the kid that is given the car doesn't appreciate the value of the car, the kid that had to earn his/her first car on their own appreciates exactly what it took to get that car and is more likely to take very good care of it and take pride in it. It's the same thing with games, give players things and they don't appreciate it, they may never even use it.... but give them a reason to earn it and then suddenly it is a true achievement unlike the achievement for logging in on an anniversary.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Power Level Cooking, Blizzards Ever Growing Band-aid

Sometimes I think Blizzard/Activision gets a little too helpful. This latest incarnation of the overly helpful drug dealer is the Pilgrims Bounty seasonal event. It seems they thought there weren't enough people leveling the cooking skill or that were so far behind on cooking that they would never bother to level it. To address this apparently glaring issue they made a super cheap in game power leveling service. Now for a few measly silver pieces you to can be a Grand Master Cook. Forget the people who actually leveled the skill, better yet, forget the people who had developed strategy to make in game gold from this problem.

You see, I have long had the idea to create a cooking kit. It's a really simple thing, fish up or farm the mass quantities of items required to power level cooking from 1 - 415ish or higher. When Grettir came to me and told me that the Pilgrims Bounty would require a cooking skill of 280 to complete, I immediately assumed (sadly) that the time had finally come to offer the kit. I explained to Grettir what I had been thinking of over the past few years and he readily agreed to help me test the venture out. Oh, I might add that this was Friday, two days before the event was to start.

The Plan:

Fish, for hours really, fish. Here's the deal, you can literally level fishing and cooking at the same time, which is seriously beneficial seeing as the best food in the game is fish based. I had worked out how many fish and what types of fish were needed to level cooking from 1-450 including recipes, where they could be bought, and spices if need be for leveling beyond around 415ish. Grettir and I agreed to run a test trial, we would only fish up enough for 5 kits. We began fishing and completed each kit to skill level 250 or so when we called it a day on Saturday. We were thoroughly bored by then and though we could have kept on going we decided that people were going to need to level cooking all week, the delay might improve our sales and profit. I should note here that this was our sanity's saving grace.

Sunday rolls around and I log on to find that the new event was our drug dealers little enticement baggie to keep us hooked. People were dancing in the streets. “All Hail Blizzard, provider of super cheap in-game power leveling services!” I was sick to my stomach, how could Blizzard keep making these crazy changes in their philosophy? Soon, they will make disenchanting into an automated process to be used by anybody wanting to use it in a dungeon or raid regardless of the skilled persons desire to comply or not. Now they are making a useful in game skill a freebie gift to anybody wishing to spend 30 minutes mindlessly traveling and cooking. They took away the players ability to play the game in lieu of accommodating laziness.

Think about it, what would you pay for a kit that would level your cooking skill from 1 to max before you knew it was a freebie from the drug dealer? If there were incentives like... oh say seasonal event achievements that required cooking, or in game vanity items, or any slew of random things, people would level cooking. Smart people would make money off of the lazy people that the drug dealer just catered to. I was betting that people would pay quite a bit for a new title and vanity pet. It seems I was wrong. Now the entire population of Warcraft is 350+ cooking. Why? Because, Blizzard saw that a significant amount of players had not leveled cooking and were not likely to invest the time to level the skill, likewise new players weren't leveling the skill because it took away from leveling time and getting to their ultimate goal of end-game content. So, apparently they deemed that in order to balance new players with old players or lazy people with industrious people they would give them this freebie... why not, it encourages more game-play, and subscriptions are number one.

Why is it that they think players need to be hand held? It's not like we live in New York City and have to wear diapers and batting helmets for our own safety while walking down the street. (New York City is famous for making laws for public safety that are a bit of a stretch of their governing power) I am honestly tired of hearing that these changes are for the better of everyone so that new players can immediately jump in and begin to play end game content. If that were the case then remove the entire leveling system I say. I don't subscribe to the idea that giving players achievements for picking their nose can replace game balance. Game balance in an MMO is greatly based on the players and their chosen paths of ascension in the game. Some players will move far beyond others simply due to skill, time, and effort. Is it fair then to re-balance the game by changing the rules to give the lazy or the new players significant advantages to close the gap? I say no. If it's worth having, then it's worth working for.

If you are too lazy to spend the time and effort to level a skill or upgrade a piece of equipment then giving it to you for little to no effort is wasted on you. You won't appreciate it and you will always ask for more thinking that it's owed to you, that you are entitled. You pay a subscription fee every month, why shouldn't Blizzard owe you the same gear that someone once had to work very hard for? Why shouldn't you get your skills leveled for free to be on par with the people who have paid their dues in time and effort? I am by no means even close to the best WoW player out there, I FAIL miserably at PVP and am only mildly successful when it comes to raiding and other PVE endeavors. I am however someone who appreciates the effort in becoming skilled, in attaining some high plateau, of obtaining rare and hard to get items, it speaks to your dedication, effort, and even luck. Now, if everything is there for the taking in a welfare line, I don't really see the achievement in it. It's not hard to stand there with your hand out, nor is it something to be proud of when you are given something that you did not earn.

Todays gold making tip, guess as to which Skill, Item, etc Blizzard will offer for free to even the playing field for lazy or new people and beat them to the punch.


Solutions offered? I am open to suggestions and may post a few of the ideas I have in an upcoming article.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


It seems Technorati has their collectives heads up their asses. It is now November 24th, my submission to Technorati was October 23rd. During the first 2 weeks of the submittal process I had zero feedback. It was as if my submission never happened. I tried to complain but only found a minor link stating that they were experiencing delays and please be patient. Re-submitting only gave me an error. The last 2 weeks has given me a notice that states that the submittal process is still backlogged and to please be patient. Seriously? How patient am I supposed to be exactly? Hire a real live person to verify blogs if you have to, a month is a bit much. Now they have asked me to post this wonderful code, I did so and got a message stating that the verification process might take "Quite some time". What a joke. So for all of you wondering why I have jibberish posted on my blog... here ya go... UUFURFJA869B

Monday, November 23, 2009

Re: Pilgrim's Bounty Gold Opportunity

So after seeing the cooking quest line yesterday which is outlined in Tobold's post, it pretty much makes the last post useless for the holiday. Though, it can still be used after the holiday. I just wanted to give an update so you don’t end up wasting a bunch of time farming.


Friday, November 20, 2009

Pilgrim’s Bounty Gold Opportunity

Today while I was reading the daily articles over at, I saw they had posted their OverAchiever article for this year's Pilgrim's Bounty. Being a bit of a "cheevo whore" myself, I opened up and began reading through what was needed to pick up all the achievements for this holiday. One in particular nudged the gold bug in me… The Now We're Cookin' achievement requires your cooking skill to be at level 280. I know a lot people out there, myself included; tend to be lazy about their cooking until they ding 80. This can possibly create a bigger market for the cooking leveling mats which can result in more of them shiny gold coins in your bank.

So I did what any normal person would probably do when they decide to power-level a skill, I googled it. Well, truthfully my default search engine is Bing here at work. Whichever you choose, the first cooking guide that came up for me was the WoW-Professions guide. From this guide I made this list of mats to farm that a person would need to power-level their cooking to 330 to get the achievement for Pilgrim's Bounty.

  • Simple Flour and Mild Spices – These are vendor items, but I've read on other sites people are too lazy to go the vendor themselves and will buy them if they are listed on the Auction House. You can also just make and sell the Spice Bread yourself if you don't want to be that person selling vendor items. The bread is an ingredient for Spice Bread Stuffing, needed for the achievement.
  • Wild Turkey – Speaking of ingredients for the achievement… You can find these guys in Tirisfal Glades and Elwynn Forest once Pilgrims Bounty begins.
  • Bear Meat – The best location to farm this would be either Loch Modan or Darkshore as the drop rate is close to 50% from the bears in these locations.
  • Small Barnacled Clam – These contain the clam meat for the next recipe. By far the best place to farm these is in Westfall at 32, 23. The crawlers there respawn rate is insanely fast.
  • Raptor Egg - Wetlands is your best bet for these eggs. They drop about 70% of the time off of the razormaws located around and in the cave at 70, 30.
  • Raptor Flesh – Head to Un'Goro Crater and farm the Ravasaurs at the entrance. The flesh is a 50% drop rate and there are loads of the mobs in this location.
  • Giant Egg – These can be farmed from either the Ironbeak mobs in Felwood or the Owlbeasts in Winterspring. Both have close to a 50% drop rate. The Searing Roc mobs in Tanaris have a 40% drop rate, so it may be quicker to hit those when you go after the Raptor Flesh in Un'Goro.
  • Bear Flank – These can be obtained in Felwood from the grizzlies and bears. They have a 40% drop rate and can be done at the same time as the Giant Eggs from the Ironbeak mobs.
  • Ravager Flesh – The Thornfang, Quillfang and Razorfang ravagers in Hellfire Peninsula all have a 50% drop rate.
  • Buzzard Meat – While in Hellfire, you can EASILY AoE farm Bonestripper Buzzards and Bonestripper Vultures. They also have a 50% drop rate.
  • Talbuk Venison and Clefthoof Meat – You'll find these mobs all over Nagrand and like most of the other drop rates in this list, they sit around 50% as well.

I would think that on Sunday, the demand for these items would start going up as people figure out they're going to need to get their cooking leveled up. Again, I just chose the first link I searched for and I think I had used this guide before, but there are many other guides out there. It would be easy to expand off this list and cover all the guides if you wanted to cover all the angles on the market.

Enjoy the holidays, Pilgrims!


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Naked Google Searches

This post is dedicated to all of the poor souls who stumble upon Raid Naked from Google while surfin pr0n. In the interest of my regular readers I am keeping it topical as well. It seems I get nearly as many people looking for naked things as I do people looking for Warcraft discussion. I get a kick out of some of the searches that end up finding this page. Some nearly bring me to tears with laughter. I can imagine the disappointement as the unsuspecting surfer opens the page, finding nothing but a naked Tauren. (even his member is hidden by the "t") So, without further ado I give you the original Naughty Night Elf dance.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

JM2C's Deleted Response to Gevlon

It's my desire to provide the readers of this site something worth reading. Often times it's a simple story about my day. However, other times it's a genuine honest-to-goodness heartfelt opinion. My blog post might actually bring traffic to Markco which I find sad, but it will also serve as a lasting reminder of his character. In my opinion Markco lacks ethics as well as any moral fiber. It's fine to make money in your endeavors, it's not fine to do it with such a lack of integrity. Below you'll find some of Markco's reaction to his mis-step and Gevlon's subsequent article.

From Reader Subscription:

Awesome, a publicity nightmare has hit JMTC. That email you are looking at is an angered response by me after he childishly told me to get lost when I was honestly trying to help him out. I'm not peddling some shitty guide in backwater blogland, I'm actually selling the BEST guide online. That's right, it is by far the best one around, and I have had professional marketing gurus tell me that. I'm doing this to help people, and I tried helping the greedy blogger.

What does he do, he spins my words and turns it around on me. I told him if he said no I'd leave him alone, but he didn't say no, he instead wrote a childish response that flew in the face of what I was explaining to him. He also left out half the email which explained what I was talking about and 'softened' what I was saying.

Will I fight back against this low life twat? Nope. This blog is an amazing resource for players, I won't destroy it with posts discussing the blogger who makes personal attacks on me. I'm the bigger man. Moron of the week? I laugh my way to the bank and while he makes snide attacks to boost his ego, I give people gold guides worth far more than what I charge and provide the community with a free forum and blog. What has he done for the wow community besides brag in every post and boost his ego?

This is exactly why I know that my gut feelings along with the preponderance of evidence were spot on. Trying to fool people for profit is one of the sickest things you can do in my opinion. If you provide a solid service or product and you stand behind it with integrity you will succeed. Markco's actions and reactions have shown me and hopefully everyone else exactly where he stands. Integrity is something born within yourself. Doing the right thing when nobody is watching, when nobody will ever know, that's integrity. Shady underhanded deals speak volumes on his character.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Shady Warcraft Marketing

I honestly hope this becomes my most popular post to date. It seems that there are people out there that are trying to dupe their readers just to make a buck. This just sickens me.

I was recently reading a post from the Greedy Goblin that bothered me enough that I had to write this article. It seems that Marcko from Just My 2 Copper has been trying to market his gold guide in some pretty shady ways. He has a few other tidbits of filth, such is fake donation causes.

Quoted from Gevlon's article:
Here’s how you could sell the guide and not put up a single ad: Create a post about gold guides and how you hate them. Give examples of guides and then at the very end start talking about my gold guide and use my blog as credibility for the guide. Perhaps you can mention that this guide is the only one you will even consider tolerating. Leave a link to the site with your clickbank hoplink encrypted inside of it.

I can guarantee that if you did this you would make $500-$1000 the first day it was posted. You’d maintain your ‘street credibility’ and at the same time make some great money. What’s more that post will continue making you money for as long as it exists because it will always have traffic hitting it and users clicking on the link. Just think about it, if you need help setting up the clickbank id and the link let me know.


PS: If you don’t want to do I won’t bother you any more with my sales pitches. I don’t mean to disturb you, I honestly want to open your eyes to the power of affiliate marketing online and reward you for your work on

You shouldn't have to try and trick people to go to your website or buy your product. How can anyone even ask for an endorsement like that?

It continues with another message after Gevlon turned him down.
You completely misunderstood my email. I don’t want you to ‘risk being caught’, I want you to honestly and truthfully advertise the guide on your blog. Let’s say you put a 100x100 ad next to your subscription box. That alone would make you money, and you wouldn’t have to lift a finger as the money rolled in every single day. You wouldn’t even have to write a post! What’s more it wouldn’t upset the page balance of your site in the least (there is just white space to the right of the subscription box currently).

I have a salary that most 24 year olds won’t see till they hit 30, there’s no reason to be snide with me and brag about your day job. Not to mention the internet marketing campaigns I run that go well and beyond world of warcraft. We both write blogs for the fun of it, why not make some FREE money on the side?

You think your readers will really care about a small 100x100 ad next to your subscription box? Are you that scared? When are you going to wake up and say “Hey, I could of made another $30,000 this year if I’d put that 100x100 ad up.” If you’re so wealthy that you look at a FREE $30,000 and think it’s not worth putting up an ad in white space at the bottom of your page then I’m stunned.

Tobold was just as stubborn as you, and he made the same argument with his ‘day job being amazing.’ You both act as if your readers are going to hang you for putting up an ad. NEWS FLASH: They might complain, but they are on your site for your unique information which they can’t get anywhere else… they aren’t leaving over a small 100x100 ad!!!

Now please, don’t respond with an e-thug one liner. I’m not a child and I expect you to act like an adult. Or you could just put an ad up and make that every week for the rest of your life with no cost to your time.

Honestly and Truthfully? Didn't he just get done asking for a shady/tricky endorsement? This just bothers me. This is a person who completely disrespects the readers of any of these blogs, much less his own. I understand affiliate marketing, but doing it in such a shady way is just wrong. If you honestly want to make money from your website and from your ideas, at least be honest about it. "We both write blogs for the fun of it" MY @$$!
The story continues:

Posted at Blog Azeroth
Hello there I'm new to these boards but I have run a successful blog for 8 months called

(removed by Triv)

Recently I've gotten into online marketing and have been tremendously successful thus far.

I'd like to share with you a quick list of ways you can make money with your blog and it

can even benefit your readers as well.

1. Use the built in adsense features for blogspot and wordpress. You can place links

between your posts on blogspot if you click the edit feature inside of your post body while

in the layout tab.

2. Create articles which list your blog as a resource at the bottom of each

article. You'll get more traffic for your site and hopefully get some money on the side

from EHow advertising.

3. Sell wow related ebooks. I highly recommend my gold guide (sorry shameless plug here but it is a way to make money on your blog!). The guide is called (removed by Triv)

4. Create a forum for your users. I took this one step further and created a premium

membership as well as placed ads on the forum area for non premium members.

5. Write your own wow related ebook on and sell it on your blog.

6. Sell wow related books from with their affiliate program.

7. Become a member of (commission junction) and sell their products if they are related to your blog. These products are much bigger name companies than the single owner startup companies you'll find at clickbank.

8. Place a donation button on your blog in a prominent location and make sure you give a reason why your readers should donate. Just leaving the button there naked is a waste of space. If you're going to beg do it in style!

9. Sell t-shirts and other paraphenalia with sites like

10. Get advertises for your blog or even individual posts. It takes some time fishing for these sources but once you get big enough they will sometimes just come to you. Charge them either once for a inside post advertisement or monthly for a permanent ad on the site.

My next blog will be about making money online, and you can view it here:
(removed by Triv)

I hope you found this information useful! Goodluck with your blogs

At first glance, his recommendations seem fairly sound. Read a little bit further and you'll find that he is tricking his readers into making a donation. If I take everything that I've seen him write in context, it only leads me to believe that he is completely disrespecting anybody who happens upon his page. Now I don't begrudge anybody trying to make money, but this is ridiculous and shameful. This is lacking ethics. How can he, in one post ask someone to join him on shaky ethical ground and the next deny it and try to then guilt them into doing it anyway?

How could I, or anyone else, plug a website like that? Just for the money? I may put advertising on this website in the future. However, at no time will I post anything as blatantly wrong as this. I will never ask for donations for fake causes. And, I will never endorse anything I don't believe in. I write this blog for the pleasure of writing it. I appreciate the readers and the feedback they give me. I cannot imagine ever disrespecting myself that much.

You'll notice that I haven't provided very many links in this blog and have removed several. I do this because I feel that the links to the sites are unneeded as his own words speak loudly enough. I'm sure if any of you want to visit them, you can find them via Google or from the link to Gevlons article. While I may not always agree with Gevlon, I say Kudos to you. Kudos as well to Tobold.

NOTE: Sassafrass from WowStability has retracted their endorsement article and has posted this article in it's stead. Sassafrass has assured me that the article was posted of their own volition and NOT in league with Markco in any sort of deal. I am taking Sassafrass' word on this and ask that you do as well.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Decades of Digital Decadence

Before I started writing this article, I sat in my office getting paid pondering my life as a gamer. It has been over 25 years since I had first felt the cold, hard plastic of a controller resting in my hands. I had also started thinking of how many hours of my precious life had been leached away by the multiple "idiot-boxes" owned throughout the years. Then it occurred to me that I was starting to think like those I hate… adults. I honestly do not care that I am considered an adult by society, though that is debatable depending on whom you speak with. I have and shall always consider myself that little, ginger brat picking up his first controller, eyes wide and bugged out with my mouth slightly agape. Maybe a little drool was starting to gather at the corner of my mouth. Who knows? I was gaming!

My first experience with role-playing games goes back to that first gold cartridge that a lot of us knew so well. I am of course speaking of The Legend of Zelda. I became so familiar with this game because my parents refused to buy it for me at first. Their reasoning was I had four other games that I could play, and would not waste money on others. They absolutely would not accept my argument that Super Mario Bros. and Duck Hunt only counted as one game seeing how it was only one cartridge. Blasphemers to this day in my eyes.


So I was stuck renting the game every weekend with my allowance. I prayed and hoped every Friday on the way to and from the rental store that no one had deleted my save. Some weekends the gods of gaming rained their blessings upon me and others laughed from the heights as I had to grudgingly start over on a new game. I persevered however and was able to eventually defeat the game within the rental period. My parents ended up getting me the game for Christmas, but it was a moot point by that time even though I did wear the gold off the cartridge playing it repeatedly.

There were other RPGs I played and enjoyed on the NES such as Destiny of the Emperor, the Dragon Warrior series and Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar. There are others of course, but I'm writing an article not a novella so I will move on to the next generation of consoles.

When the Super Nintendo came out in late 1991, I was instantly pining after getting one. It was released near the holiday season, so my parents never heard the end of how much fun I would have if I could get one. The problem was that my father's best friend had bought his son a Sega Genesis. This was a big problem as good ol' dad and his buddy always did things together. So I can honestly say that I wasn't shocked when I found that "Santa" had left me a Sega Genesis on Christmas morning.

The Phantasy Star series was the first major RPG I picked up on the Genesis and I became a fanboy immediately. These games led to the war against my friend and the Final Fantasy series on SNES that would not abate until I was able to save up enough money a couple summers later to buy my own SNES. To say I didn't love Final Fantasy is like saying death knights are cool guys with a bad rap. I played every SquareSoft game that came out on the SNES.

At first, I was leery to buy the Playstation because of the whole SegaCD fiasco, but was glad I did. While it didn't have really any RPGs at launch or soon thereafter, it did have a solid line up of other genres. Upon picking up Resident Evil, I soon found I was enthralled by the Survival Horror genre. I will say with no certain amount of pride that I was indeed a master at that game. Being a noob, I didn't pick up a memory card when I bought the game and console with my paycheck. I didn't have enough left over after putting gas in my Jeep and buying beer, so again I was forced to play the game from the beginning each time. I ended up being able to finish the Jill story in one hour and 17 minutes with no saves. Oh, the power… it felt good!

How YOU doin'!?

It was also around this time that I started picking up more and more on playing MUDs. I pretty much followed Triv's lead on which ones to play as I didn't care much, I just wanted to play. The first, RavensMUD, was a disappointing PVP MUD that ended with me almost punching my monitor after getting ganked repeatedly. Don't get me wrong I like me some PVP, but this MUD allowed looting of the players corpses that you had killed. This will lead to anger no matter how levelheaded you think yourself. Note: I am not levelheaded.

There were a few others that we tried but never got into and none of which were memorable enough that I remember a name, but then we found Land of Ruins. Man, let me tell you that I had a sordid love affair with that MUD. On and off again over eight years, whether it was me leaving the game or the server being shut down, we always ended up finding each other. Eventually though, it was terminated and now only exists in the dusty shelves in my head. I still wouldn't mind going back if it was still out there…

One of the above mentioned departures from Ruins was when Final Fantasy 7 released to North America. This game… I don't know what it was about it, but I played it non-stop when it came out. Non. Stop. I left no stone unturned in that game. There was no secret safe from me!

I dropped out of the gaming scene for a bit as I got myself moved out of the parent's domicile and out in the "real" world. I had six roommates, a job with a metric shit ton of OT and a lot of drinking to do. It wasn't until I made the switch from busting my back loading Pepsi delivery trucks to supporting Hewlett Packard consumer products that I got back into gaming. This time it was full on PC gaming.

A few of my work friends religiously played Counter Strike and I fell into that like a crack addict finding a pound of crack. It consumed me to the point that my friends started actively trying to force me away from the computer to hang out. To them, I was wasting my time and like my parents before them, they could understand the subtleties of being a gamer. I had some damned terrorists to kill!

Soon after though, they had more of a reason to hate me. My evil, vile cousin (Triv) introduced me to the online world of Diablo II. I had played Warcraft I and II previously as well both Diablo games, but none of which I played online. I ended up rolling a few different characters in Diablo II, and how I do reminisce about my bowazon and MF barbarian some days.

As for MMOs, I had never tried any until I decided to give Ultima Online a shot. I started playing this in 2003, so it was pretty late in the games life that I go into it. A friend of mine had recommended it, so I went ahead and got rolling with it. I don't really remember much aside from being seriously disappointed with game, and was further turned off by the fact I didn't realize I was still paying the subscription fee for a few months afte I quit. It was then I decided to swear off all subscription based online games.

I faded out from the gaming scene for a bit after this time due to real life deciding that I should pay more attention to it, the selfish thing it is. That and the girl I was living with hated it when I would sit and MUD for hours on end. It wasn't until I moved to Seattle that I got back into gaming full force, albeit console gaming. So for the last few years I have been drilling away on my Xbox 360 (on my 5th one... shoddy hardware) and didn't even own a desktop PC for that period.

It was because of another Xbox failing that I entered the WoW world. Being seriously bored on a Sunday with no means of entertainment, I had installed Civilization 2 on my laptop. Upon hearing this, Triv managed to convince me that it would be a good idea to download WoW and roll a character. Did I mention he was once a used car salesman? Well it is true, and I'm sure that at the time he made me think it was my own idea to install WoW. Six months later I am glad he did in a way. Sure I have burned away a lot of time playing the game, but it is only time that I would have spent gaming elsewhere.


Thursday, November 12, 2009

AFK Raiding

This is one of my biggest pet peeves. Seriously, you join a raid group and then find that someone is on auto-follow or they join the group and then say they have some sort of IRL issue and ask “Is it alright if I just follow so and so? We've got plenty of DPS.” GRRRRRRRRRRRRRR It sets my brain on tweak, my eyes starts twitching and my head kinda jerks to the side almost as if things are cramping up and going into spasms. I don't know why it bothers me so much but it does. I am positive that it's partly due to a feeling of disrespect. It also has a lot to do with my feelings towards gaming and life in general. I could easily be called elitist by certain groups of people because I subscribe to an older way of thinking. If you don't have to work for it, it's not worth having.

The title was inspired by events from last night. Grettir and I decided to run The Nexus since we had gathered all four quests, and we enjoy hitting an instance now and again while we level. We knew it would be hard to get a group together so we weren't going to be picky. Grettir called out an ad for dps and we immediately picked up two people: a huntard (sorry to the decent hunters out there but I still remember the idiot-boys playing hunters in vanilla wow that have since moved on to DK's) and a warlock. I was instantly happy that we weren't dragging a crew of Death Knights around and said as much to Grettir on Mumble. It took another ten minutes or so to get a fifth person and wouldn't ya know it, an 80 ret pali. I like to play for the challenge so having an 80 kind of put a bit of a downer on things in both of our minds. Seriously, it makes it too easy. (another reference to my way of thinking)

*You can find more Druid and Pali Leveling info in our archives. Don't forget to subscribe.

We summoned the DPS, and once everyone was there the group walked into the instance. The Warlock immediately informed us that the huntard needed to take care of their little sister or something, and was going to auto-follow. They asked if it was ok and I told Grettir in our personal Mumble conversation that I didn't care and to ask the 80 paladin because truthfully if he didn't go along with it, it wouldn't matter. Grettir knew I was sitting there at my laptop, virtually cockeyed with irritation. Finally the ret pali, Grettir, and I threw our hands up in the air and just said in essence, “to hell with it, let's just go.” The run went fine, rest assured, but watching that little punk get free exp torqued my shorts and put an even more serious twist in the short and curlies.

I am from a different gaming culture. My time has come and gone, socially things are different. A lot of people don't see the issue with grouping and going afk, if the group can handle the run without the afk person the there's not an issue. I was reading in a blog and sadly I forget where, that the general consensus is that the game doesn't start until 80. Well, it's true in two ways, for the social younger generation it's almost entirely the main fact, for the older crew like myself it's only true in that there is a whole new part of the game that opens up at 80. (or 60/70 back in the day) To me that means that the social crowd has spawned the advent of the heirloom exp gear and the K-mart epic lay-away program. For a lot of the older guys and gals like myself we find it a bit demeaning to the original achievement of earning something. I think everyone can agree that before the implementation of these things by Activision/Blizzard it was harder, it was changed to allow more people to get farther into the game. I don't think I'll ever get around that issue in my own mind. So, say to me if you will that I am an elitist because I preferred to be abused and forced to work hard to get things; I never got many of them but it was a goal and a challenge that I understood and appreciated.

The AFK raider will never be a part of my guild or my runs in the future. I will skip the run rather than willingly make things even easier on some slacking lazy moron. (someone shoot me, I sounded like Gevlon for a second there)I just think people should earn what they have rather than have it given to them because for me I don't appreciate it nearly as much if I didn't earn it. Hard work, sweat, tears, pain, they all lead to positive results given the right attitude in applying them.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Gaming Nostalgia

This is a shared topic with authors who are members of Blog Azeroth. The forum topic can be found here along with links to other authors articles. Please take some time to read their articles as well.

In an earlier article I interviewed Grettir, in that article we ended up talking about some of our favorite rpg games of the past. I still get nostalgic for the old days and I still find myself playing some of those original games.

I was introduced to role playing very early on, I think I must have been seven years old when I was first introduced to Dungeons & Dragons by a neighbor kid down the road. His family and mine were close friends. He was a lot like an older brother, he was twelve. He had the original basic set in the box. I can still remember the awe I had with imagining fantastic worlds and encounters as he led me through adventures. Of course this was when we weren't busy running around with BB guns popping off soda cans at 15 paces. Those were the years that really got me involved in role playing. I'm not afraid to say that I am a former D&D addict and would probably still play if I knew of people that were interested and not lost in the 80's. Sadly most of the people I meet that would be interested in playing are also very socially inept and quite reclusive not unlike the “Unabomber”.

In my younger years there was no such thing as Nintendo so I was not exposed to video games outside of the arcade parlor. A few friends had ataris but I never got to play them much. I remember being in awe of Dragon's Lair. My mother and step-father used to take me to Chuck E Cheeses and let me run wild. My step-dad was a kid at heart so he loved going there as much as I did. I always loved watching the puppets sing, I especially loved the lion Elvis. I was a bit young to really be any good at video games but I watched my step-dad play that game with wide eyes. It was like my D&D games brought to life.

Later, as I got older, Nintendo released the NES. I was already exposed to home gaming systems but never owned one. My grandparents had Pong and though that was fun it never really held my attention. I would inevitably end up outside running around with a stick slaying imagined orcs with my younger cousins. When I saw the NES though... well, that changed everything. We played Super Mario Brothers and Duck Hunt religiously. Oh how happy it made me to shoot that dog when it laughed at me. Then, there was Zelda. I now had a hero that had a goal, I could travel to places whenever I wanted to. Looking at the game now, it was pretty simplistic. I would still sit for hours playing it given the opportunity. This is the beginning for me, the very start of my love for video rpg's.

The console games held me only until I found BBS's. Bulletin Board Systems were where I found text based gaming. Text based games brought back the imagination. No longer was I fed an environment with graphics. Now, I had to imagine everything using the designers words to tell myself a story about what was going on. Games like Tele-Arena and Legend of the Red Dragon were my daily regulars. I used to play on 10 different BBS's just to get my fix in for the games since they were turn based and only allowed so many turns per day. This is also when I realized the fun of forming alliances with other players to get things done. Trade Wars soon became our favorite. There were nights I would stay up till dawn writing scripts to run in Telemate just so that I could try to dominate that game. During that time in my life I was also exposed to Nethack. This was a mix between the graphical world of console games and the text based world I had fallen in love with. It was a dungeon crawler. I loved that game but soon got discouraged with the fact that it was a single player game. Soon though, everything changed again..... I found MUDS!!!

Multi User Dungeons are my personal Crack. Finally I had found a game that combined my imagination with a computer. The first MUD I ever played was a PVP MUD called RavenMUD. What a hole of a game that was... in retrospect of course. At the time I loved it but something was still missing. I didn't like the bland nature of that MUD, there really wasn't a well developed world with zones and creatures tied together in any semblance of order. Eventually I found RuinsMUD. Grettir and I played that game for 7 years. The only reason we stopped playing was that the IMM's (immortals -people who acted like the dungeon master in D&D – they were also usually the main coders for the MUD) got in a fight and closed the MUD. I've spent years searching for the source code to that game.

After Ruins closed I found Diablo and Diablo II. Grettir still hates me for getting him addicted to Diablo II. While it had great graphics and gameplay for it's time, it was still hackable and cheaters were everywhere. We chose to play on our honor and tried to play the game the way it was designed. I think that's really where the game eventually failed. At any rate I played that game for quite awhile before eventually dropping it and dropping out of gaming entirely for a few years. It wasn't until 2005 when my roommate came home one day with World of Warcraft that I came back.

Yes, I still get nostalgic for all of the old games. I think it would be fun to get a guild or group of friends together and have nostalgia nights. We could play all of our old favorites and share the stories of our first true loves in the gaming world. You already know that I still love WoW and I still hate it at times as well but it's a true passion. The gaming industry is ever changing, there is always something new coming out. In this article alone we can see that over the course of 25 years things changed drastically, from simple games like Pong to the more advanced console games, from the earliest BBS multi player games to MUD's. Now we have games like WoW and LotRO. Things will always change but we will always have our first loves. So, what are some of your fond memories?

Friday, November 6, 2009

Blog Articles you NEED to read

This is a collection of articles that I have found recently. Many of them are from bloggers that I regularly follow though some are from outside bloggers. I think I may end up increasing my blog roll as I have found myself reading so many different blogs lately. There are some wonderful authors out there.

Lissanna from Restokin recently posted this article detailing the new Random PUG process. Restokin was the first blog I ever actually subscribed to. The article has some great screenshots and solid details about the entire process. There is even a nice bit about the new D/E option.

O-Digga (who sadly doesn't have an about me page) from World of Warcraft Philosophized recently posted this nice How To article regarding fishing in Wintergrasp. O-Digga was the first commenter on this blog and I honestly enjoyed discussing the topic with them. I have since followed his blog regularly.

Matticus from World of Matticus and No Stock UI reviewed Deus Vox Encounters. I have personally elected to use this new addon.

I'm not absolutely certain of the author on this one but I believe it is Sassafrasa from WoWStability. In a nice article posted Oct 22, they discuss QA2 and how to use it. I personally subscribe to this method over Gevlons. BTW I will be posting more about why Gevlon is NOT the god of gold making in my opinion.

And lastly Green Guts has posted a few articles regarding Goblin personality types. Oddly enough I found the first article right after I posted The Auction House Goblin.

I will be out of town until Sunday evening. I get to go to Jackpot, NV. And watch Diamond Rio!! I'm so not taking the computer with me.


Thursday, November 5, 2009

Paladin and Druid Tips and Tricks

Warcraft has been designed to promote solo leveling. It is faster and easier to level as a solo player but not nearly as much fun in my opinion. Todays article is short but hopefully it's useful.

When leveling as a team like Grettir and I have done, you have to optimize your efforts to keep your leveling speed up. The first issue that all team levelers encounter is the experience penalty for MOb kills while grouped. This is a significant portion of your experience. We used the BoA chest and shoulders to help counteract the penalty, but it still slowed us.

Secondly there is the matter of grinding vs questing. I'm forever on the side of combining them both. We quest and kill MOb's at the same time. Grettir disagrees with me in that I feel it's better to kill everything along the way while he would rather skip MOb's and just get the quest done. There's probably a happy middle ground somewhere, and I am sure it varies depending on the time it takes to kill the MOb's vs the experience earned.

While questing you will find that certain quests will slow you down greatly. Most of the time it's a collection quest. Gathering quests where you pick items up off the ground aren't too bad, it's the ones that require you to kill a MOb and hope an item drops. Remember, you are collecting for two or more and collection quests suck even without adding the team aspect to them. I recommend skipping those quests, they just aren't worth the time investment. Certain collection type quests work very well, there are some that drop unique items. Once these items drop they can be collected from the same corpse by all members of the party, do these. My personal favorite quests are the “kill this many” of something quests, in a team such as a druid and paladin these are extremely fast and easy.

You'll find that as a team you will out-perform most areas. For example, Grettir and I had completed nearly every quest we could obtain in Stranglethorn Vale by level 34/35. This was probably our most challenging issue, finding proper places to level for our ability that provided enough experience to keep us leveling at a decent rate. Do not be afraid to move to new areas and abandon old quests. You will slow your leveling speed way down if you try to level this way.

Looking back on some of these issues, we could have avoided a lot of them by running instances. It's hard to know though, grouping for instances can slow you down as much as speed you up depending on how you do it. If we had planned out a few instance runs and gathered quests for them, I think it would have paid off. Scarlet Monastery and Mara would have been useful. They would have provided instance experience as well as new quests during the 30's and early 40's. To be honest, 30-55 were the slowest levels we encountered. They weren't slow but they could have been faster with proper planning and instance running.

Quick Tips:

Do not be afraid to spend money on your tanks gear. It pays dividends. The easier the tank is to heal the easier it is for you to DPS after slapping a HoT on them.

Make one of your characters an enchanter. The ability to D/E all unused greens and blues as well as the ability to enchant your items while leveling will improve your speed greatly.

It's very hard to level Herbalism and Mining simply because you are a team and only one of you will see the nodes causes lots of downtime and often causing confusion. That said Tailoring is another useful easy to level skill along with Skinning and Leatherworking (LW IMO is not worth the effort but you might as well fill the empty profession slot)

Spell Power Spell Power Spell Power... put spell power gear on the druid. Enough said.

Break up the monotony with battlegrounds and instances. If you enjoy pvp, AV still provides decent exp though you must be level 51 or higher. Instance runs as a mentioned earlier can actually improve your leveling speed, even if they don't they keep things fun.

Burn Innervate every chance you get. Either give it to the paladin or use it for yourself, just use it. It will save you more time than you can imagine.

Healbot and Pallypower help make sure you keep buffed at all times. At lower levels, the druid buffs on the paladin are extremely important.

Good luck to you in your endeavors.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Auction House Goblin Part 2

Todays article is going to be a more in depth view of the formulas mentioned in part 1. I'll show you how I come up with the numbers I use and how you can find those numbers yourself.

Inscription Ink Cost

Yesterday I showed you how to find the cost of your ink. I gave you the formula but I left out a few key details such as how I came up with those numbers. First, let's bring back the formula and I will show you why and how it works. The formula is designed to find the average number of pigments you can expect to get from a single milling. In yesterdays article we focused on Tiger Lily, today we will do the same. Wowhead provides the numbers we will use for every formula I will discuss here today. Each herb has a milling tab. The milling tab is found on the herbs main page, for Tiger Lily the milling page is here.

Click the image to see a clearer version. As we can see, Tiger Lily has a 100% chance to proc (MUD speak for procedure or chance for the procedure to run thus giving us the item) 2-4 Azure Pigment and a 25% chance to proc 1-3 Icy Pigment per milling. Since we are dealing with a range of numbers, 2-4 and 1-3, we must find the average of those numbers. I use a spreadsheet for this so that I can reference it later and modify my numbers easily. Google docs works well if you don't have Excel or Open Office. To find the average you add the numbers together and divide by the numbers used. For Azure Pigment the numbers are 2, 3, and 4. 9 is the sum of those numbers, we then divide 9 by 3 since we used three numbers to come up with that sum giving us an average of 3 ((2+3+4)/3=3). With Tiger Lily, we have a 100% chance to get 2-4 Azure Pigment, that average is 3, so 3*100%=3. We can then assume that over the course of many millings we will average 3 Azure Pigments per milling. Icy Pigment is a bit different, 1+2+3=6, 6/3=2, so we know that our average is 2 when the milling procs. The milling only has a 25% chance to proc and give us our Icy Pigment. We must then multiply 2 by 25%, 2*25%=.5, now we know that for every milling attempt we can expect to average .5 Icy Pigment.

A stack of herbs works out to 4 millings, 5 herbs used per milling, and 20 herbs in a stack. 20/5=4. Since we know that for each milling of Tiger Lily we can expect 3 Azure Pigment and .5 Icy Pigment, we can multiply those numbers by 4 to give us our average per stack. 4*3=12, and 4*.5=2. On average we can expect to get 12 Azure Pigment and 2 Icy Pigment.

It takes 2 pigments to make an ink, 12/2=6, and 2/2=1. 1 stack of Tiger Lily is = 6 Ink of the Sea, and 1 Snowfall Ink. We can buy Snowfall Ink from Jessica Sellers for 10 Ink of the Sea, therefore we must assume that 1 Snowfall Ink = 10 Ink of the Sea when we mill. Our total Ink of the Sea for 1 stack of Tiger Lily is then 16. (6 Ink of the Sea, and 1 Snowfall Ink which is the equivalent of 10 Ink of the Sea) To find your Ink of the Sea cost you must divide the purchase price (or AH price if you gathered the herbs yourself) by the Ink of the Sea value. If Tiger Lily cost 19 gold per stack on the AH I would then divide 19 by 16 to give me the Cost Per Ink. 19/16=1.1875

If Snowfall Ink is selling for 11.875 or more(1.1875*10=11.875) then sell your Snowfall Ink and make a profit. However, if for some reason the market for Snowfall Ink is in the tank on your server you must add the loss to your initial cost. For example, with Tiger Lily we average 1 Snowfall Ink per stack, that Snowfall Ink only sells for 10 gold. We experience a loss on our expected value of Ink of the Sea. We calculated that our Ink of the Sea cost us 1.1875 each, 10 of those would be 11.875. (11.875-10=1.875) That 1.875 is now part of our cost, to cover our costs we must then calculate that loss into the cost of our ink. Since we have sold 10 ink already at 10 gold we subtract that ink and gold from our calculation. 19-10=9 and 16-10=6 We must then divide 9/6, 9 gold left to break even and 6 ink left to sell. Our new ink cost for IotS is 9/6=1.5.

I already touched on mark-up and AH cut in yesterdays article so I won't reiterate. So you might be asking why I am re-doing much of yesterdays article. The answer is that a lot of people didn't understand where the numbers came from and why they were important. I also want people to know how to use them because they are useful for all sorts of things when it comes to WoW professions. As an example, let's look at a common practice, Enchanting/Jewelcrafting.


Ever wonder what to do with all of those green Northrend gems? Well, you can make items to help you make gold with enchanting. There are 4 items that produce very well and are extremely inexpensive to make. Bloodstone Band, Crystal Chalcedony Amulet, Crystal Citrine Necklace, and Sun Rock Ring. Each one of these is identical in our eyes except for the green gem used to craft them, they each take 2 Crystallized Earth and one green Northrend gem. In this article we will focus on the Sun Rock Ring.

Cost to manufacture is simple to figure out. First, find the cost of Eternal Earth on your server. We'll go with 7 gold. Break the Eternal Earth into 10 Crystallized Earth. (7/10=.7) Find the cost of green Northrend gems, we'll use 20 gold. (20/20=1) It take 2 Crystallized Earth and 1 gem ((.7*2)+1=2.4) to find the cost to manufacture 1 ring, 2.4 gold. The money is not in selling these, the money is made disenchanting these.

Each time we D/E one of these 4 items we have a chance to get Infinite Dust, Lesser Cosmic Essence, and Small Dream Shard.

1-3 Infinite Dust, (1+2+3)/3=2, (2*75%=1.5), each D/E should average 1.5 Infinite Dust. ( NOTE: Infinite Dust proc rates have been increased, rumor has it that the numbers are just slightly different, 75% chance to get 2-3 Infinite Dust Instead of 1-3, changing the average to (2+3)/2=2.5)

1-2 Lesser Cosmic Essence, (1+2)/3=1.5, (1.5*22%=.33), each D/E should average .33 LCE.

1 Small Dream Shard, (1*3%=.03), each D/E should average .3 SDS.

The overall D/E value of one of these 4 items is then 1.5 Infinite Dust, .33 LCE, and .03SDS. To find out what the value in gold is, find the AH price for Infinite Dust and multiply it by 1.5 (or 2.5 if that's the new correct average). Do the same for LCE and SDS then add the value of each of those together. (1.5ID+.33LCE+.03SDS=D/EValue) If for some reason the market for Infinite Dust is poor on your server you can always buy Armor Vellum III and craft Scroll of Enchant Chest – Super Stats or some other scroll that uses Infinite Dust and Lesser Cosmic Essence and sell those for profit.

I hope this helps you make better business decisions and in turn increases your profits. Good Luck.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Auction House Goblin

A true Goblin in my mind is a person that utilizes conventional and unconventional means to acquire power through wealth. Some goblins work specific markets while others dabble in several. The most common goblin markets are Inscription, Jewel-crafting, Enchanting, and Tailoring. Some goblins say that market domination via their chosen method is the only true way to be a goblin. I say that's hogwash. One goblin in particular is a bit of a hypocrite. Here's my take on building a business plan to succeed.

Inscription is probably the most common goblin market, and for good reason. The cost of manufacture and listing is low while potential profits are high. Currently there are two common methods utilized by most people to try to earn money in the Glyph and Ink market. The first is heavy undercutting using Auctioneer, the second is Mild AH Camping using Quick Auctions 2. Both methods have their merits and both produce profit. I'm going to show you why.

You can figure out the base cost of your main crafting item, Ink of the Sea with a formula before you ever begin to craft a glyph. As an example I will use Tiger Lily. One milling of Tiger Lily has a 100% chance to produce 2-4 Azure Pigment and a 25% chance to produce 1-3 Icy Pigment. First, you must find the mean. (2+3+4)/3 Each possible number is added together, the sum is then divided by the total numbers. In this example we find that 3 is the mean for Azure Pigment and 2 is the mean for Icy Pigment (1+2+3)/3=2. We then take the percent chance multiplied by the mean to find out average per mill. 3*100%=3, and 2*25%=.5 We now know that for each milling we can expect to average 3 Azure Pigment and .5 Icy Pigment. There are 4 millings per stack, simple logic dictates that we multiply those results by 4, we get 12 and 2 respectively. To create an ink we must use 2 pigments thus we divide our pigments in half to give us our final ink numbers. On average a stack of Tiger Lily will produce 6 Ink of the Sea and 1 Snowfall Ink. A Snowfall Ink is equal to 10 Ink of the Sea as per Jessica Sellars. Ink of the Sea is what we will base our market price on so we must then multiply the Snowfall Ink by 10 to get our final ink number which happens to be 16. If you are no longer using Snowfall Ink for Northrend Research you can substitute the AH value of Snowfall Ink for the 10 Ink of the Sea value. Personally I prefer to use the 10 Ink of the Sea calculation, I find it to be a more accurate cost evaluation that errs on the side of profit more than loss.

So, now we know how many inks we will get from 1 stack of Tiger Lily, it's now just a simple matter of finding the cost per ink by dividing the purchase price (or the AH price if you farmed the herbs yourself) by the number of inks. In this example I'll use 19 gold. 19/16=1.1875. We aren't finished yet, we now must find the cost per glyph. I use the cost of Resilient Parchment for this as it is the most expensive at 50 silver. Most Glyphs use one ink and one parchment. This gives us a final cost of 1.6875 per glyph to craft. You need to add 5% to that cost for the AH cut if the glyph sells just to break even. The listing and mailing cost is minimal, I cover that cost by adding another 5% to my cost of crafting giving me a total of a 10% hike in cost of production. 1.6875/1.1=1.85625 I now know that to break even I must sell my glyphs for roughly 1.85, I say roughly because I do not know if I will be charged multiple listing fees and I prefer to err on the side of profit rather than taking a loss.

Below is a chart showing the Northrend Herbs and their milling averages using the formula above.

This is the basic starting point for a business, we know exactly how much our raw materials cost (AH Value) and what our manufacturing and marketing costs are(Milling stacks, mailing, listing, and AH cut). With sufficient start-up capital we have the makings of a business plan. Here is where we decide what that business plan is, what methods are we going to use to provide product to the market and how much time and or effort are we willing to invest. A Gevlon Goblin stands firmly with minimal time investment and using market trending data along with aggressive pricing to maintain a majority market share, while QA Goblins choose a more hands on approach that requires more time and involves more risk but in return can yield larger profits.

Gevlons Strategy

This is a very simple minimalistic business plan. In essence the business owner uses market trend data (AH scans using Auctioneer) to establish a base market value for his product. The Gevlon Goblin then finds the cheapest form of manufacturing available and uses those raw materials to craft items at the lowest cost of manufacture possible. If the Gevlon Goblin is successful in this they can aggressively price their product until the competition either cannot compete or chooses not to compete due to low market share and return. Once the Gevlon Goblin has established a market presence and has few competitors, they maintain a steady market price based on the market average data they have developed using Auctioneer. This strategy does not allow for a volatile market, product is relatively cheap at all times and profits are steady and trend-able. If multiple Gevlon Goblins are trying for the same market they will split the market share between them. This normally continues until one can establish dominance through capital or cost of manufacture, however during this time very little if any profit is realized and there is a possibility of loss due to undercutting manufacturing costs to drive out competition. *QA Goblins are also quite able to go into a price war of this sort as long as they follow the price war.

Quick Auction 2 Strategy

This business plan is also simple but it requires more personal investment. QA Goblins work within a volatile market much like a stock exchange. Values trend up and down based on product availability and demand. Business owners build a solid stock (not as large as a Gevlon Goblin generally), they then market product based on market availability and demand. If the market for the glyph is below the QA Goblins listing threshold the QA Goblin will not list the item, items above the threshold will be listed with a small/minimal undercut to improve their odds of a sale. QA Goblins monitor the market regularly and list/re-list their product based on the current state of the market. Long-term trends do not affect market pricing. If an item is in high demand (in other words, not currently available on the market) the QA Goblin will list the item at a very high profit margin in hopes of a “need” sell. (A consumer that must have the product and will make a purchase regardless of price) QA Goblins that are in direct competition with other QA Goblins split the market based on time investment and timing. A QA Goblin in competition with a Gevlon Goblin will either make their profits during the downtime of the Gevlon Goblin or will compete directly with the Gevlon Goblin until one or the other can no longer compete in much the same style as a Gevlon v Gevlon.

Both of the business plans will work regardless of what some people's opinions are. The honest truth is that these plans can be mutually beneficial to each other. In general Gevlon Goblins list product for long periods, if the product is in high demand it will sell out and the QA Goblin will list their product at their chosen price. Sometimes the Gevlon Goblin will be priced low enough and list enough product that the QA Goblin must either act more like a Gevlon Goblin and compete at those prices or leave the market. Both goblins can win a pricing war against one or the other, it mostly comes down to effort, material cost, and capital.

I'll admit that there are other methods/business plans but, these are the basic starting points that most people work from. Each one of them is dependent on certain types of addons, I am not going to delve into that. If you would like to know you can leave a comment or send me an e-mail via the link at the right.

The baseline strategy I laid out works in all forms of business. You must first find out what your cost is to buy the raw materials or harvest them. You must then determine the cost of manufacturing the finished product. Combine that with the cost to take your product to market and any other overhead such as an auction house cut and you have found your baseline cost to be in business. As long as that number is lower than the market value of your product you will be profitable, assuming of course that you do not price yourself out of the market or worse yet, a competitor has found a cheaper source for raw goods. As a business owner/operator it's your goal to always make sure you are profitable by working to reduce overhead and raw material cost while maintaining or improving market share and pricing.

Expect to put in a lot more work and time than what most people on the web are saying. Competition and server population will have a large impact on your success. However, if you build a business plan and you work at it, you can succeed.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Paladin Druid Team Leveling

Running as a team can make the game a whole new experience. Grettir and I have leveled entirely as a team, we have not run solo with these characters at any point. This was difficult early on as he was a human paladin and I was of course a night elf druid we had to choose where we would level and figure out how we would train. We decided to run the Darnassus route rather than Stormwind. There is not a paladin trainer in Darnassus however, Grettir was able to hop the ship in Auberdeen to Stormwind to train.

We had decided early on, before we ever created any characters that we wanted the ability to tank and heal. This immediately limited our choices to druid, priest, paladin, warrior, and shaman. We also wanted to be viable in multiple roles. Grettir already had an 80 shaman and was not interested in healing. I didn't want to level a shaman since we already had one. Grettir absolutely wanted to be a tank. This left him with the choice of a paladin, warrior, or druid. I suggested that he choose paladin for their great group tanking and self preservation ability. I chose druid, I wanted the buffs to assist him with tanking and the HoT's. Mostly though, I wanted the AoE damage. A druid is the perfect compliment to a paladin tank (IMHO) while leveling.

We found at low levels that it was easier to act as solos when killing. By this I mean that we both grabbed and killed MOb's on our own while doing quests. Neither one of us had any sort of group damage ability except for thorns and in the beginning it just wasn't really doable to run as a tank-dps/healer combo. We didn't really start pulling large groups until we were around level 20. By then I had the ability to heal and I had cat form to pop into when I burnt my mana. This was very important to our leveling. The low levels are tough on the druid side of this combo for many reasons, mana being the biggest factor. I easily burnt my full pool within a fight or two. When I went OOM I would pop into cat form, run up and act like a rogue. Every level made it easier and easier to heal and dps without running OOM and eventually around level 30 I abandoned using cat form completely.

Once I got my AoE spell ( Hurricane) we began to tear through everything rather fast. We could pull a large number of MOb's and knock them down within seconds. We now had mana issues with the paladin as well. He likened it to Mana Burn. Whenever I used Hurricane, he'd be left without his mana recharge from the MOb's attacking him. He was constantly running OOM, even more often than myself. This wasn't really an issue as we were killing massive groups, drinking, and repeating. As we've leveled since then, the issue has grown less and less to the point now that I rarely if ever run OOM, he still does but that's because I'm his personal Mana Burn.

Now that we are in our 60's and have been running Outland content we are rarely if ever taxed. I am sure we could two man Ramps now. Grettir has the highest dps numbers I have seen from anybody so far in any of our instance runs. By a very very long shot. He is roughly double the next person. At 59 or 60 he was averaging 550 dps as the tank, the next nearest person was 220 and a warrior. He confided in me that he finally understood the general dislike of DK's after we picked up a couple when advertising for DPS for Ramps. They immediately replied and we invited. It was instantly evident that these guys had no idea what they were doing. One decided to become a tank, the next one decided to Death Grip and become a tank, and Grettir was in a battle for aggro because they were both in frost and just spamming their frost abilities. I was madly healing everyone (they didn't step out of the fire). I popped off after the 3 rd pull that I would no longer heal anyone else acting like a tank when they were not a tank. As I'm sure you've guessed, one of them died right there on the spot and demanded to know why he wasn't healed. I explained that they were not the tanks, Grettir was. If they wanted to be healed and buffed they would stop pulling. This thoroughly confused them because they had no idea how to play anything but they way they had programmed themselves to run. They pulled aggro several times more. I never healed them again when they did this and never res'd them. I tried to educated them, tried to beg them, tried to berate them, nothing worked. During that run Grettir still out DPS'sall of them..... combined. Grettir had 587, the nearest DK had 189 then 120 and 118 respectively.

The paladin/druid combo is very strong and extremely fun to play. I'm loving every second of it. We will continue to post articles on this along with a broken down guide for others to follow if they want to follow in our footsteps. For now though, I'll stick with the simple overview of our main story and begin writing some more in-depth articles for future release. If you would like to read a bit more from Grettir and myself on this topic we have a few articles already published. Resto/Prot Leveling and Instance Fun and The Birth of a Tank.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Birth of a Tank

Over the weekend I was able to try out tanking on my paladin for the first time, and it was quite the experience. I should probably provide a little history and background information before jumping into the meat of this post.

My main is a space goat enhancement shaman whom I raid with and love dearly. I enjoy playing melee DPS, but the issue is that shamans are often overlooked for raiding if you are not spec'd resto. For whatever reason, it seems everyone hates DPS shamans unless they need heroism/bloodlust for their raid. When not running with my guild, I seem to have the roughest time PUG'ing raids or heroics on my server. Since I have no interest in healing, it didn't leave me much choice but to roll another class, so I created Grettir.

Triv and I have been leveling as a team since we rolled these alts. He's been taking care of the support role as a resto/balance druid and I'm keeping the baddies from smacking him around too much as a protection paladin. Because we have been sticking together throughout our leveling, it can seem a little slower seeing as we only play when we both have free time. Trust me: it raises his ire when I start to pull ahead in experience gained. Though, I don't think it should really be considered my fault that Blizzard has made all those lovely buckets of candy available for us players.

I'm starting to ramble… So, we finally made it to the Outlands last week and after running around grinding quests for a bit we decided to break up the monotony by putting together a PUG for Hellfire Ramparts. We picked up a warlock and a death knight right away after sending out a request for DPS, followed by another death knight shortly after. The first death knight that had joined instantly dropped out of the group once the second came in. I guess some people are afraid of competition… kids these days.

After a few minutes of waiting for other responses we decided to four-man the instance and went in to get ready. I thought it amusing to find that I was actually getting nervous at the prospect of screwing up and wiping the party. For me this was all new and exciting as I really had no idea what to expect. I had only been through this instance once or twice before when I was bored and out farming achievements on the shaman, so I didn't really remember much of it since I had sped through. Also, I started playing after Wrath had been released, so I missed out on a lot of The Burning Crusade content.

Once everyone had the appropriate buffs, it was time for me to bite the bullet and pull. I am sure the others were sitting there thinking, "WTF is this guy waiting for!?! L2Play noob!" Of course when I did muster the cojones to pull, everything went fine making my worries seemingly unfounded. As a result, this made the ol' ego inflate just a bit, and I thought to myself: Shit, this stuff is easy-peasy. You probably know where this is heading…

A few pulls later I ended up not realizing a patrol had walked in between two groups, which in turned had me pulling all the mobs, and we wiped. I felt like a total douche as I threw the obligatory "my bad" out in party chat. The warlock dropped from the party and the DK just laughed it off. We ended up pulling in a warrior the DK knew and were able to complete the instance without any more problems. Afterwards we ended up going through the instance again for gear. This time it was quick and painless with no wipes, so I started feeling pretty good about it again.

From there we headed into Blood Furnace and that turned out to be a bit tougher as I hadn't ever run the instance before. I only screwed the pooch once in there. After we downed The Maker, I ended up accidently pulling a patrol in the hall behind his room which cascaded into three or four more other mobs rushing us.

It was pretty late after we completed BF, so we called the group. They both said if we were going to be running more instances to ping them if they were on and they'd be more than happy to tag along. I thanked the two for putting up with my noobish tanking ways and was waiting for some harsh criticism, but the warrior just laughed and gave me a couple of pointers. The main suggestion was that I should learn that Righteous Defense is my friend, and the other was to watch my bubbles. The latter was completely my fault as I had just switched a key binding around for a new macro. My brain was sure that Hammer of Wrath was at that location, so I had bubbled a couple of times on accident.

Overall it was a great experience and I had loads of fun learning a new role in the game. Tanking has also taught me a few things about playing a better melee DPS as well. Every DPS should know to stay out of the fire, but seeing it from the tank's view elaborates on the why. Controlling your threat is another skill that I don't think enough people pay attention to either. When I was tanking Nazan in Ramparts the DK with us ended up pulling aggro away from me at the wrong time and was summarily roasted quite thoroughly with dragon breath. This also made me realize that I need to be aware of my threat levels to make sure I am keeping aggro well enough that DPS isn't ripping it away from me.

The instances were also a great source of experience, especially with only the four of us. I have the heirloom +exp items equipped and was almost 150% rested before we started the runs. I was getting around 1200 exp from each regular mob killed, but don't remember how much more the bosses gave, if any. We also completed Weaken the Ramparts and Heart of Rage which rewarded 25k experience each.

From those three runs, I went from level 60 with 75% to next level to level 63. Not too shabby for two to three hours of played time.


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.