31 March 2011

The Wrong End of the Auction House Game

One of the more subtle, yet powerful, aspects of the World of Warcraft is that the game means something different to each player.  Moreover, the game changes for the same player depending on their focus at that time. Whether I'm logging in to fart around or tackle some additional progression raid encounters, the game is still fun and it still engages. My game has been divided into three areas lately: end-game progression, alts, and the Auction House.  Let's chat about the AH for a moment, ok?

This is not a gold-making blog, nor am I even remotely claiming that I know what I'm doing in the Auction House. But somehow, I've managed to accumulate over 25,000 gold over the past four weeks. That income is mainly from disenchants and white drops from older instances, but there have been a few crafted blues from my leatherworking skill ups that sold, too. The trick to making gold that I'm using is buying materials for less than what the final product costs and capturing a profit on the 'manufacture' of the final product.

So I've been doing okay.  However,  I've also managed to lose about 13,000 gold in speculation and just general get rich quick scheming. Ugh!

How did I go bad? I bet on Heavy Savage Leather.

Before patch 4.0.6 hit, Heavy Savage Leather was selling for around 60g each on my server.  That's 1,200g a stack.  In the course of some Auctioneer scanning, I encountered what I thought was the mother-lode of deals:  Heavy Savage Leather selling for 48g each.  I bought all that I could and dropped 8k on the bet.

Also, I saw that Savage Leather was selling for 10g each. Since 5 Savage Leather becomes 1 Heavy Savage Leather, that meant I could buy the materials for a Heavy Savage Leather that sold for 60g and only spend 50g, thus allowing for a 10g profit. Again, bells went off and I invested 4k on Savage Leather with plans to convert to Heavy Savage Leather and resell.

And, you guessed it, Savage Leather Scraps were selling for around 1g 20s each.  As any Leatherworker can tell you, 5 Savage Leather Scraps makes one Savage Leather.  At that price, 6g in Savage Leather Scraps would yield a Savage Leather that sells for 10g -- a 4 gold profit.

I thought I was so frigging clever.

I started listing the weekend before path 4.0.6 hit.  I sold a few stacks, and I was getting happy. Then, come Tuesday, Bam!

Skins are everywhere.

Where leather used to be scarce, now it's plentiful.  The biggest change for me?  Tol Barad spiders! I can sit there for 30 minutes and grab 10 stacks of Savage Leather just from collecting other people's kills as they run their dailies. Leather farming is easy, but that also means there is more of it.  Prices started to drop.  Now Heavy Savage Leather sells for 20g each or 400g a stack on my server.  I had been holding out in hopes of a rebound, but finally cut my losses at a hit of of 800g per stack.  Ouch!

The plus side?

In avoiding selling at a loss, I finally had enough leather to buy all my patterns and max out my skill!

It's not all bad.  I've been farming Molten Core and Karazhan for reputation lately.  MC yields about 600 gold per run (or more depending on the low-end elementals markets) and Kara about 1,500 (mostly in disenchants).

Despite taking a huge hit, I'm doing ok and I learned a lesson; get rich quick fails in WoW as much as it does in RL.

22 March 2011

Glory of the Outdated Material

Last week I shared how I'm struggling to get into the content of the Cataclysm expansion. Part of my conflict with the new stuff is I'm still really -- and I mean really -- enjoying the older stuff.  Some guildmates and I have been plugging our way through collecting guild raid and personal achievements from the older instances on Friday and Saturday nights.  These runs have been the highlight of my week.

Fixated on the Old
My recent armory achievement feed tells the story; we're clearing Ulduar, Naxxramas, Obsidian Sanctum, Onyxia and even Outland raids. I've always had a bit of OCC on completing achievements, and these off-night raids are awesome from my view to help knock out the outstanding missing raid achievements.  It's pure bonus that some of the achievements reward titles and drake mounts, too.

I've been the one coordinating the raids, and I've been basing that around a few meta achievements like Glory of the Raider, Glory of the Ulduar Raider and Glory of the Icecrown Raider.

What strikes me, though, is the fact that even though we're running older content that we out-level and ou-gear, coordination and communication are still required.  Achievements like Shocking require you all to actually move in the right location.  And They Would All Go Down Together forces you to manage DPS and not just blindly go nucking futs on your damage.  We have been successful with the majority of our attempts (as expected).  What was not expected: we've struggled on some of these achievements.

14 March 2011

Just not that into Cataclysm

I've been struggling with this nagging thought...  What if I'm just not really into the Cataclysm expansion?

That's not to say that I'm leaving WoW or doing any kind of departure here. Far from it!  I still really enjoy playing the game.  However, I am finding that the new content in Cataclysm just isn't sparking it for me.  This is evident in two main areas: running instances and the overall lore.

07 March 2011

Real ID vs the Avatar

Image by Katayun
When Blizzard announced their Real ID system last July, the WoW community kinda went ballistic. Most of that uproar was based upon Blizz's stated intent that player's real identities would be posted on the forums instead of a character profile. Blizzard relented, and implemented Real ID as an option, but backed off on the forum requirement of showing honest-to-goodness real names.

My local paper had an article on a similar effort where online forums for newspapers are struggling with whether to allow anonymous posting or not.

That article got me thinking about my web activity in general, including WoW, and I have to say that I'm firmly in the anonymous camp on this issue.

My Online ID
When I play the game, I'm my character. I'm referred to both in game chat and in Ventrillo chat as "Peashooter" or even a nickname of "Pea". Yes, my avatar even has a nickname.  See how developed his personality has become! I've shared on this site how I actually become the character in how I interact with players and approach the game.

That approach spans both my in-game and blogging experience. This blog is really Pea's blog. The posts are heavily influenced by his experiences (or the experiences I have had while playing him). I'm kind of like the puppet master: I'm seeing the stuff that happens, yet it's not actually happening to me. I'm even toying with the idea of following Ratshag's approach and having guest posts from Alts (Galertruby's intro is still the best guest post ever!).

Safety in Anonymity
Blogging, as other bloggers may or may not attest, feels risky. You're offering up an opinion or a thought or an observation to the Internet. I feel safer knowing that despite the fact that I'm writing the content and publishing, it's got Pea's name on it. I can hide behind Pea from any backlash. I imagine this is why some authors publish under a pseudonym; if your work sucks, you can blame some other guy for being a fail writer.

Anonymous protection extends to comments or forums, as well. See, when folks disagree, that same level of anonymous protection exists for the trolls to rip you to shreds in the comments for all to see. There is no repercussion and the anonymity protects the poster from real consequence.  And sometimes, trolls can be vicious. I encourage disagreements. Much of the allure in blogging is actual dialogue between the blogger and the readers.  But, personal attacks are pointless and messy. The lack of consequence may embolden the troll. When someone does decide to personally attack me, they are opening up on my avatar, not me personally. I'm in turn shielded by my avatar. Pretty convoluted, eh?

Taking the Step to Real ID
I'll continue to decline to share my real ID with my gaming friends. Part of it is the separation I've imposed on keeping WoW distinct from my family / friends and work. Part of it is security where I just don't want my personal details online. But mostly, it's the element of escapism. I enjoy WoW because I can slip out of my real life for a while and become a virile Hunter. I'm leery of mixing that fantasy with the reality and then somehow polluting one with the other.

How about you guys? Have you tried out RealID? Have you shared actual identifying information about yourself with your WoW pals?

04 March 2011

Character Personalities Are Unique

Whether I'm posting to the blog or playing in the game, Peashooter has developed a bit of his own personality. I actually become Peashooter. I don't go all the way into "RP-mode" with him, yet I do find my behavior is different while I'm playing Pea compared to my alts.

Do you find that your toon's personality changes by the character played?