Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Farming – Understanding the Value of your Time

Gathering professions are the backbone of Warcrafts economy. Farmed/Gathered items are the basic materials used in the crafting/manufacturing of consumables/wares/textiles. To this end it is a steady income for the gathering inclined player. It may not have the big money fast capability that some crafting professions have and it will never compete with the market players (AH Camper, Goblin, etc...). It is however a safe and steady stream of cash that can be counted on and has little to no risk to the player. A lot of people poo-poo the gathering professions for this fact alone, however without gatherers how would we ever craft consumables?

The fact that gathering is not a high cash flow profession should not dissuade you as a player from utilizing it to it's fullest potential. Gathering professions can be broken down into gold per hour (GPH) numbers that can be counted on and are steady. Gathering also allows the quester/leveler to supplement their income while traveling throughout Azeroth. That said, they are a very solid choice for many players and as thus they need to be addressed as a viable Job. I use the word job because in essence that's exactly what they boil down to. Imagine it this way, comparing it to real world terms you are in fact a Farmer. A farmer has fields they tend, they plants crops in these fields and when the crops mature they harvest them. The farmer then sells these crops to the Manufacturer for a fair market price. The farmer is paid for their time. The time invested to plant, care for, and harvest their crop. As a gatherer in Warcraft you need to assign a value to your time or at least define that value.

The value can be calculated by finding the market value (Auction House price) of the item you are gathering and then determining how many of those items you can gather in a specific amount of time. This will give you a basic idea of the GPH you can expect to realize. Demand contributes to this number rising or falling. If the product is in high demand, prices will rise. If the market is saturated, prices will fall. Thus, it is important to diversify your time between different types of materials and stay current with market trends. For instance you may find that Tuesdays are absolutely fantastic for selling Northrend Herbs (they are btw) because people are crafting elixirs for raid night. You may also find that Monday is a poor night for sales in general (not always true), and weekends fluctuate highly depending on how much stock is available on the market. Once you can define these patterns based on your server to can then invest your time as the market dictates thus keeping your GPH high.

People who are leveling are by far the best served farmers. They gather as they move through the game and sell their product on the market while retaining and growing their wealth at a slow and steady pace. They do no sink their funds into crafting professions that they may not realize any return on their investment until they reach much higher levels. They realize immediate returns on their time while gathering and often times are never left wanting for gold to fund their other endeavors. Their time is dedicated to the purpose of leveling and gathering is truly synergistic to that end. The synergy is time. Often times people look at gathering professions as simply a means to supplement their supposed crafting profession. They do not take into account that their time is worth gold. Often they think that simply because they farmed it, it was free. It is a common misconception then that these are synergistic professions. They are, only loosely. If you fail to account for your time being worth money you will under value your product and that's where the synergy is lost.

My advice is to value your time properly, pick professions that you will utilize well with the time you plan to invest. If you are not one for working the auction house and spending large amounts of your time camping and undercutting your competition, or you don't feel the urge to farm, take some time to think about your money earning strategy then choose what works best for you. Farming may be slow and steady but it has very little risk and is a solid choice for those whose time may be dedicated to being something other than an Auction House Camper or Goblinistic Market Dominator with high risk

While both of these have their merits and produce with the proper investment of time, each person must decide for themselves if that investment is to their liking and fits their personal playstyle.

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