Monday, January 26, 2015

Who Doesn't Love a Good Alchemist Army?

Since I gave up on Alchemy being worth a damn, well, most every profession for that matter...

Just kidding, everything is worth having.  Some moreso than others.  My breakdown across my characters right now:

Engineer - 2
Blacksmith -4
Tailor - 4
Leatherworking - 5
Enchanting - 11
Jewelcrafter - 6
Inscription - 2
Double-Gatherer - 1, yes a Tauren Druid

and....

Alchemy - 8

3 of them have been powerleveled since the 6.1 announcement, because cooldowns.  The logic being that if they aren't busy making bloods, they'll be busy transmuting elements, and at the very least crafting catalysts every single day.

Let's do the math here.

Alchemy is by far the easiest profession in the whole damned game to level, regardless of racial.
Alchemy produces 10 catalysts from the daily cooldown.
Alchemy produces 6 catalysts from workorders per day, double that with the follower.
Alchemy's powerleveling produces items that are readily purchased for full market value plus profit every single day of the week (on my server, if not on yours then I'm sorry for your loss).
Since Draenor's removal of the stupid flask procs, the profession is again profitable.
It's the only profession where you could stockpile 3000 of each item and not be considered stupid for doing so.

QED - Alchemy is one of the top professions in the game, again.  Back in Classic, this was THE profession to level because you were stacking every single elixir in raids.  It is nice to see since it's been basically screwed up since Tier 6 of The Burning Crusade.  By screwed, I mean it was only good for one thing.  Now it's essentially coming back to where all 3 disciplines of the profession are actually worth crafting again, just like the good ol' days where you made potions and flasks for raiding, and transmuted items on cooldown.

For those keeping up with the news, we have new transmutes in the works, and I'm happy for it.  Finally, the game is released in it's entirely, and not like some group project that didn't get finished on time.  Sorry Blizzard, but the game's professions felt unfinished.  I know, interns.


We haven't seen the cooldown on this (if there is one), and what makes me a little nervous about plunging head-long into this glorious change is so deep seeded and involves years of getting fucked over by our host.  Reason?  Well two.

1)  Dupers have been screwing this item up for weeks now and Blizzard has done jack and shit about it.  How hard is it to answer a report, then track what the character was doing, or follow the chain of ownership of the items and review the logs and close the loophole?  It must require elite skills to review these logs, better than anything the dipshits managing the show will throw money at.  I would guess they're too busy having meetings about upcoming fart and poop jokes in the next expansion.

How hard is it to spot them?  It must be extremely hard, because they usually sit in Org on level 1's for days spamming SB's in batches of 100.  Sure, I did some business with them because I'm forced to if I don't want my SB's to get screwed in value and these dupe events will usually screw the price of bloods for a week or more.  Raid quality armor crafting has always suffered when these guys make an appearance.

People don't think about this - their costs are zero.  You cannot compete with them.  They can ride the value of an item all the way to zero if they wish.  Of course they won't, but they'll contribute heavily because this is how they eat in whatever backwater country they live in.

And as always, if you don't believe in dupes, then fuck you and the Easter Bunny you rode in on.  Hacked accounts, bots, and overzealous farmers are bullshit lies, these are outright hackers subverting the game's code on throwaway and invisible accounts.   Try /who on a mass seller if you see one and see if they even show up, pretty soon you'll get the drift.

2) Alchemy will allow you to collect a maximum of 154 Cats per week without any rush orders (which are nothing more than another daily CD at max skill).  So someone like me will be making 1,232 per week.  Half of which will go to flasks, the other half probably ending up as bloods.  The cost to make each catalyst will still be attached to the value of Frostweed and Blackrock Ore, both of which will probably get a small bump from all of this.

So let's say everyone dusts off their alchemists or rerolls them after taking Blizzard's name in vain for making them do something other than alchemy (perish the thought), and you'll get thousands of players making catalysts every single day.  Having a rather extensive knowledge of flask crafting this expansion, there's going to be a flood.  It wouldn't surprise me to see flasks either take a huge hit from the glut of catalysts available or rise in value tremendously because the cooldown to make the bloods never goes live.  I'm guessing the latter, because everyone is either going to grow the shit out of frostweed in their gardens putting extreme pressure on the price of other herbs.  If people do not grow it, then they'll have to buy it, which means others will see that selling frostweed will be more profitable than selling catalysts (or waiting around for 50 cats to stack).

The price of bloods versus the price of catalysts is a huge concern of mine.  Part of me hopes the price collapses in these so the hacking gold farming dupers all need to kill themselves, but I know that market pressure will push it to something reasonable.  Neglecting the value of Crescent Oils:

700/50 = 14g
600/50 = 12g
500/50 = 10g
400/50 = 8g
300/50 = 6g
200/50 = 4g

You get the idea I hope.  This is the cost you have to beat to craft one Alchemical Catalyst at a profit given pricing of Savage Blood.  Currently 20 Frostweeds and 10 Blackrock Ore will net you 10 cats, meaning that the cost of Frostweed and Blackrock Ore MUST be proportional, or else people will be operating at a loss.  I know the AH audience is not necessarily the sharpest knife in the drawer, but roll with me here.  If Frostweed today costs 2g per and BRO costs 75s per, then it's 47.5g per 10 Catalysts at 700 skill.  1 Catalyst would cost 4.75 gold to make, which means that there's a floor in this scenario of roughly 250g before AH fees.  Remember that there IS NO TRANSMUTE PROC, can't believe people still believe there are.

Now, how low can we go?  Well, I farmed it so it's free!  Farmers will not do this level of accounting, so as long as their crap is selling and they can make more free herbs and ore from level 3 gardens and mines that cost them over 5000g each to build, then it's all good, right!?  Everybody in the pool!  I'm putting on my stupid hat here to imagine what's going to happen, because this is what usually happens.  What I'm describing here is a total crash in the price of these, regardless of a cooldown.

If Scenario:Stupid comes to fruition, then I can almost guarantee that the next mass duped item will be Temporal Crystals, because those things are still competitive in price with Savage Bloods on my server and they require as many materials to craft weapon enchants which everyone needs.  Upgrading epics at this point is just a luxury, whereas enchanting your weapon with something besides a bleed is required reading if you're doing any sort of serious raiding.

Time will tell, I'm normally an optimist but with professions and the release of Attack of the Interns this expansion, I really have gotten good at playing it by ear.

This is Fun

I used to always post weekly results in my blog showing you my sales volume for the week.  This last week I did some massive spreadsheeting (not a word) and found that my profitability was actually an average of 48% on everything that I've been selling outside of armors, which still carry ROIs in the 1000+% range.  Additionally, I've discovered 2 new markets this last week, still not participating in inScrubption.  Below are my numbers from my primary posting account, my other account sells the armors so it doesn't show here, but they were only 80k.

As always, the top number is the total sales revenue for 7 days and the bottom is the daily from TSM.  If I had a goal to make a million gold per month, that would require 33,333g per day in profit.  If I'm sitting at 48%, just using ballpark numbers here, I'm at 38,196g per day profit.  Sure beats the shit out of dailies.


Having a blast, wish you were here!


Thanks for stopping in!


Thursday, January 15, 2015

The (Un)Fortunate Mechanics of Draenor Goldmaking

How to Make Gold in Draenor

The best part of being one of the best Warcraft goldmakers on the planet is you meet a lot of nice people who usually can call you out on your bullshit.  I hate "yes" people.  Ever been on a date (I know lots of you haven't but go with me here since you might learn something) where you spend the time talking with the person for an hour and you walk away not knowing a thing about them because they just agree with everything you tell them and they basically sit there and can't carry on a conversation?  Some of you would probably say this was the perfect person, I would say this was the last date.  One sided conversations in my world are horrible, when the other person isn't capable of talking on my level, or at least contributing to the conversation, I know they aren't either paying attention, aren't interested or can't comprehend what I'm talking about.

Lately, I've found this to be the case in the WoW gold arena.

The lead up to Draenor release was a thud in retrospect.  Lots of ideas being thrown around, but nobody I knew except for a handful who were in beta so noone could verify anything.  Professions also felt weird at release since they drastically changed them.  Then release happened and everyone was so in love with their garrisons and all the shiny news things to be discovered.  Today, people can't be asked to do more than their cooldowns and their work orders, if they can even keep up with those.  Nobody has the time, and that's reasonable since there's raiding to get done at a breakneck pace.

I heard advice like "Make sure you get Salvage on ALL the toons!" and other extremely time consuming activities.  Do the mine and garden everyday!  Barns are awesome, get one on everyone so you can get Savage Blood!  Ok, this works great if you have like 3 characters.  If you're me (approaching 15 100s) this works like absolute trash.

It looks like transmog of old pieces and flipping recipes is essentially dead in the water.  Of course you could always reprice everything on the auction house to ridiculous prices, but that really is a crappy business model and the last refuge of the non-critically thinking.  The answer is to produce a model for yourself that remains consistent, is immune to crashes and spikes, and is the foundation for successful and stressless revenues.  I run my Warcraft goldmaking like a business because that's my background, so let's get into what I'm doing today and if we might be able to hold a conversation.

Each Character is a Profit Center

You should pay very close attention to your server's overall economy.  Stede remodeled my spreadsheet that Windtraders knew as Godmode.  I called it Godmode because it tells you the health of each profession on your server at a glance.  You should check it out at LNWS.net.

Select those professions that are applicable to your server.  The character is going to maximize two professions, and those two professions should be profitable and independent of the rest of your stable.  You should select these professions based on empirical data and not on a whim or because some Twitter-honey tells you that they make a fortune in glyphs.  Each profession accepted on these characters has to keep up with demand, and the only way to analyze demand is through market activity.

So once a week you craft an armor or a weapon, post it, and it either sits there or it sells immediately.  If it doesn't sell for a week, you should scrap it entirely.  If it sells immediately, you should make MORE of that item, right?  Wrong.  Luck and silly purchases often screw with your numbers.  Further, making an item without checking pricing data ahead of time is foolish as well, this is where TUJ comes in.  Posting the item with TSM and just undercutting is also stupid, because TSM doesn't intuitively recognize variable mods on the equipment, so the vast majority of people are posting items just to be "lowest priced!".  This is where your own hard work and research comes in.

Know the Proficiency

I wouldn't post anything without knowing who it's for.  I took the time to actually research what classes would be looking for and into who it actually works for.  Most of the rolls you're going to get on items are absolute trash.  

Let's look at Blacksmithing for example.  For Ret Paladins you're looking for Feverflare, since it's pure Haste/Mastery and going to be best for them in most cases.  Savage is Critical/Multistrike and going to be regarded as crack for Arms/Fury Warriors.  Do you simply post these with no others like it up because TSM queues it as such?  If you do stop reading and go back to grinding old raids for your gold, you're in the wrong sandbox and I'm inviting you to leave.  Otherwise, absolutely, you do not.  Someone who is buying this item is further going to want to probably upgrade it so they can get BIS for their class in Heroic quality.

"But Zerohour, where would we go to get such information on these classes?!"  Ah yes, I'll spoonfeed the babes out there today.  www.icy-veins.com  Each article is written by game pros, not some scrub with a blog and a vendetta.  Write down what you find there, if I have to tell you where to look for the magic information I'm not talking to you further, consider this our last date.

Know the History

TUJ doesn't break it down.  Wowuction doesn't recognize it either.  Each mod is simply thrown into a big cluster of the same family.  Truesteel Armguards are treated the same across all variations.  You simply have to watch the Auction House personally to find the prices of items.  Is this a pain in the ass?  Absolutely.  Goldmaking just got a little harder.

Know the Needs

It's all great that people are able to make every slot of item nowadays, but which crafted items will people really want since they can only equip three?  And more than likely, they'll upgrade those three slots.  You need to know your customer.

This is where www.AskMrRobot.com comes in.  You should log in and learn how to use the site for classes other than your own raiding characters, unless you know your class dead to rights already and intend to only gear the same class.  What makes MrRobot so good is that a huge percentage of players are going to go here and use the tools to find where their upgrades are going to come from.  The worst thing you can do is preach to people that some helm is a better choice than a chest, they're going to use what's available to them quickly.

What I did was go through over 30 different specs and create generic characters.  Oh yeah, it allows you to do this, it's a good site!  So let's say I am running a Ret Paladin and I'm wanting to find out which slots of armor/BOEs people are generally going to want.  And let's say I'm a Heroic Raider but the gear dropping in these raids is itemized like absolute shit.  (Spoiler: It is for most classes)  I want to get 3 of the best possible pieces to get an upgraded 670 item, and not have to run around with Crit/Versatility or Crit/Something besides what I want.  Smart raiders are going to explore these options, and lo-and-behold within seconds I have my answer - I need to find a chest, gloves, belt, or helm (Not the actual answer, so hold off on making these) with Haste/Mastery on them.  I then buy the items and upgrade them and have my BIS.

If I'm a goldmaker, and I am, I create a generic character and gear it out with all Heroic items.  I then check to see which items that class/spec are going to want to replace with upgraded BOEs.  I can also do the same for Normal mode raiders hoping to be Heroic, since at this point Mythic raiders are equipping the gear they find rather than go with upgraded BOEs.  What 3 items should I craft and what mods would I want on them?  Make those slots and reroll if necessary.  There is no harm in attempting to double the value of a trash item, you may get something good for another class/spec.  One could also farm the AH looking for these particular items to flip, it's not like they're going to be extremely common.  Based on the crafting model we see right now, this is going to be the case for the remainder of the expansion. 

Know your Server

Something I preach is to know your market/server.  In my case, the server's push is entirely towards raiding.  And not that LFR shit, that's not raiding.  By raiding, I mean Heroic and Mythic raids.  Even Normal mode.  At this time, 214 guilds on my server have cleared at minimum 6/7 Heroic mode through 7/7 Mythic mode.  Quick math would tell you I have thousands of potential customers that are not able to craft on their own and have more gold than time.

Let me introduce you to www.Wowprogress.com, in case you've never been there.  Just how shitty is your server?  This site tells you your opportunity.  Next question, when do these people raid?  Your server's forums should tell you if have a mostly Tuesday or Wednesday raiding server.  But the off-nights are the most important.  Most 3 day guilds are going Tuesday through Thursday.  If they start on Wednesday, they go Wednesday, Thursday, and Monday normally.  Find out what times they start, this tells you when you should be posting everything from flasks to enchants/gems.  Prices on busy servers are going to ebb and flow minute by minute, on backwater servers you may only see good prices for an hour before they tank.  This is where you analyze prices hour by hour, or in 30 minute intervals.  TUJ can tell you this information or you can get the data on your own by looking.

There is No One Sized Fits All Solution

I don't have all the answers, that's why I consider myself an entrepreneur in these matters.  You always test things, fail, refine, redo.

If you're looking to get rich quick, I suggest buying gametime tokens and trading them to me in a future patch.  My process is slow and deliberate, methodical and requires patience.  If you want get rich quick, that's fine, I'll pick up your pieces after you give up.

As long as you have the basics down pat, you should be able to build on it.  Go back to the beginning here, every single character with professions you have should be treated as a profit center.  Refine them, research them, understand them, apply them and refine them again.  Greatness stands on the shoulders of giants.

Epilogue

Now that I have dropped a V8 into my 4 banging clunker of a gold machine this expansion, I've produced better results.  I stopped using TSM for the most part because my markets are flat out not TSM friendly and require severe analysis before I post anything.  In fact, I manually post almost everything anymore.  Yeah, Auctioneer for the win!  Here's Tuesday night's results:


I completely sold through everything, making a small fortune in the process.  The week prior I was at half that amount.  The key is to replicate the process and repeat it week in and week out.  Before long I'll be back in GDKP slapping nubs around with their low bids and feasting on tears.

Thanks for stopping in!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

6.1 Dailies and You, and Me, and Why?

One of my favorite features of Warlords of Draenor is that it has a ton of straight forward gameplay that appeals to longtime WoW players, but mostly veterans who haven't been back since TBC/Wrath.

* Quest your way to 100
* Enhance your Garrison and your Followers for high level missions
* No flying.  Unless you're an engineer jumping off a cliff.
* Profession materials and patterns are straight forward and available via CDs
* No required dailies

That last one is important to me. 

Dailies were introduced in The Burning Crusade as a means of adding a way for the broke population to somehow collect some extra gold by means of performing an activity.  Initially, they had a cap of 10 per day.  They offered reputation, vanity items, and a decision element that tasked you with picking only 10.  This cap was great because it governed how much gold input we saw into the game.  Mind you, at this time, raiding was also a 4-5 day per week affair, so doing them was interesting on your days off.

Somewhere along the way the lines got crossed and it went from a simple means of collecting extra gold and vanity items to unlimited dailies and the actual game itself.  Witness MoP if you will - several BIS items became available via dailies for the average raider and if you wanted access to your profession's patterns, you were performing them for several weeks.  In reality, if you were a casual player with no access to anything beyond LFR, this was your "content".  What a horrible design decision and it was one that I heavily disagreed with.  And before you cry "Zero, you just don't like content!" I will tell you to shut up, sit down, and understand that I was one of those that actually did the stupid grinds across all profession alts (in some cases several times) just so I could make your little 28 slot bags, leg enchants, and throw down Dancing Steel and Jade Spirit in the AH for exorbitant prices.  How you think I got rich?  Wishing?

Bashiok assures us dailies are not the devil incarnate, and essentially THIS time they'll get it right.  I've been hearing from Blizzard apologists saying that they are sorely missed.  Additionally, you can group with friends to do them!  /happyhappyjoyjoy  I have friends that quit the game in MoP over the daily situation, should I partner with them?  I bet they're just waiting on me to ask.

People absolutely miss repeating the same low-end, bottom of the barrel content that gives them a reason for waking up everyday.  Sounds like a job, right?  Go to it and do the same thing everyday.  I already have a job, this is Warcraft and I pay to be entertained.


No.




Here's how to get it right and leave the people busy with Garrison CDs, Missions, and maintaining raid schedules alone.

1) No gear item awarded from dailies should exceed the quality of item available in the Normal raids.  This means, everything offered from a daily should be the same quality as that you would receive raiding in Normal.  Additionally, the items offered should NEVER, EVER be a trinket with a proc that benefits some classes.  Mandatory casual play content is trash content.

2) No recipes or profession materials can be accessed with them.  I'm sick to death of performing dailies because I need something to sell to the people that should be doing these dailies to give me their gold in the first place.  I end up doing the dailies and the broke players don't do them anyhow.

3) If you include a reputation with the rewards, the reputation should be available via other methods besides completing quests.  Tabard time.  Give me a choice, too.  Either Daily Dungeon for all my rep or complete the dailies.  Forcing me to log in or miss out on my 1500 rep for the day is crap.

4) In fact, I don't want to see any gear rewards at all.  LFR is your gear reward, dailies should offer nothing beyond tabards, pets, mounts, and titles.

5) Dailies should be another blue ! on my screen that I get to ignore if I want.  I should never, ever feel compelled to have to do them.

Timeless Isle was the perfect example of how daily hubs should work.  Content that appeals to both raiders and casual players alike.  No recipes gated behind 3-4 week grinds.  Oh, let's play example time:

Isle of (QQ) Conquest - Missing a JC recipe that didn't drop in Mount Hyjal?  No problem, grind to exalted and you can have them all.

Molten (Farse) Front - Only 28 days and you can craft these scopes or bags.  Absolute trash that a BIS craftable was gated this far back.

MoP - Pick a faction here outside of Anglers.  Yeah, that one.


Hey, what's missing here?  Wrath of the Lich King!  They actually had it right with the Tournament Dailies.  Zero beneficial items and lots of flavor items.  The other factions were completed via tabards, which was absolutely fair. 

I would prefer they didn't even introduce the recipes rather than gate them behind dailies. Grinds for recipe items outside of dailies are welcomed.  Make me work for it via turn-ins.  Make me have to buy things to boost my way with the rep.  Make me mindlessly run around an island or zone competing for kills?  Screw that.

Now if you're a person that loves dailies, the quest hubs, and grinding the same quests over and over for weeks, I pity you.  But please, comment below and let me know the reason this is the best content 15 bucks a month can provide!  As always, defend your position articulately, especially if you're an apologist.

By the way, dungeon dailies are great, they focus on playing the actual progression game.  I also ignore these.


Thanks for stopping in!

Zerohour is currently rolling around in gold, having completed 11 100s and their garrisons/followers.  He can usually be seen on Tuesdays dancing around with glee.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Powerleveling in Draenor

My screenshot says it all:




This screenshot also shows the order in which they hit 100.  I kept shuffling them as I went, and my priest (my Vanilla/TBC main) ended up being dead last.  Amazing how that works.

I hit my 11th 100 on December 26th, so one month and 13 days while working, raiding, and a little lack of sleep.  These were 100% leveled by hand, no chicanery here.  No dual boxing.  No carries.  I'm presently working on my 2nd account of 100s and am at 97, 95, 94, and the rest being 90/91 and everyone has a garrison opened.

Why would I need 22 garrisons?  Well, why WOULDN'T I want 22?

I didn't buy a guide or anything, I wasn't in beta, and my friends were of almost no help with what to do.  One friend can testify that about the 3rd week I was having a nervous breakdown trying to figure out the best possible path.  It took me about 3 characters before it all started to click, and I mastered every zone's leveling path.

In past expansions, I found the best possible paths that made sense, and this one threw me a curve with all the different options.  I absolutely LOVE to do all the zones entirely my first go-around, and then afterwards, it's all business.  I recommend always seeing the story before doing this, because you're going to miss about half the zone when you're just focused on getting through it.

The Best and the Worst of Draenor

Shortest Zone:  Gorgrond.  This thing was sadly about an hour each time because I spent a ton of time finishing what I needed to do in Frostfire Ridge.

Longest Zone:  Frostfire Ridge.  This place feels like 5 hours but it's only 2.  Go figure.  Maybe it's the layout?

Trickiest Questline Zone:  Nagrand hands down.  There's 2 different paths in the zone that converge.  Best advice, head to Elements as soon as you get business done with the Talbuks/Clefthoofs.  This is my 98-100 path every single time now.  So many treasures and bonus objectives you hit 100 without thinking about it.

Worst Class:  Mage.  I tried frost and arcane.  They hit like wet noodles even WITH gear on!  I know, better in raids, but leveling them made me sad for those who HAD to do them first.  This was the first class I ever leveled in WoW, too, I know what I'm doing.  Unholy DK was a close second.

Best Class:  Outside of my Paladin main?  Frost Death Knight.  These little bastards are back with a vengeance.  2-3 shot everything all the way to 100?  Yes please, I'll take another.  As soon as I swapped from crappy Unholy it was hard for me to stop playing him.

Biggest Rare Bastard:  That shithead strider in Zangarra.  3 of my classes had real trouble on him at level, and for a crappy trinket.  A close followup is Gar'lua in Nagrand.  Nobody died to her but she's pretty strong for a nice trinket.

Best Follower:  Without going out of my way to get one?  I'll nominate Blook.  The quest text is sorta priceless.  Creeperbot 8000 is a good one, too.  Reminds me of some goldmaker personalities out there.

Saddest Quest:  The frostridge pup looking for his parents.  But sorta happy ending.  I don't bother with this one during leveling anymore because it's a side quest but first time through it was sad.

Best Cinematic:  I liked Blackhand, I know everyone else likes Thrall/Garrosh.

Best Zone Perk:  Hands down the corral.  I made the siege machine mistake ONCE. Runner up is the air assault in Talador.

Best Advice for Frostridge Elites:  Call to Arms.  FFS use it, tradechat noobs.  Noone needs help with elites.

Zerohour's Words of Wisdom for Powerleveling Draenor

1) Excess potions cost 100 garrison resources each, and they are best served at full rested.  You will get the resources to buy them every 1000 minutes, which is about 17 hours.  Make sure you empty your garrison cache every 3.5 days before it fills up entirely.  If you are resource starved at 100, see #3.

2) Let the characters get rested.  Being full rested at 90 will burn out entirely at level 96.  Full rested at 96 will burn out halfway between 99 and 100.  Early 97 is the best place to park to be rested for the rest of the journey.  I cycled all characters for maximum rested and efficiency - because 1000xp for a mob kill beats 500 any day of the week.  Rested also counts with treasures.

3) Get the following addons:

* Handynotes, with Draenor treasures
* RestPlus for Titan
* Ovale (yeah, because I really want to research 11 different classes, easier to just phone it in on the ones I never play)

4) Stay on the questline.  The questline is the MAIN story, not the side stories of "get my dog out of the tree" and "Little Jimmy wants his gun back".  You recognize these quests as the ones that have followups and send you to other quest hubs.  Those that are one and done are pretty much irrelevant, although there are some nice bonus onesies in Talador.

5) If there's a bonus objective in your way, complete it.  And always with Excess Potions.

6) Get rid of those stupid Barracks as soon as you can and replace it with War Mill Rank 1.  This gives you stronger quest rewards and in Nagrand you will probably hit close to 615 ilvl if you complete the whole zone.  You can build Barracks again at 100 when you will have a need for missions.

7) Avoid doing missions with the exception of bonus garrison resources (free).  XP missions are sometimes nice, but I tend to only be in my garrison at even levels (92/94/96/98) so not worth keeping track.

8) Try to get out of the zones at even levels.

* Frostfire Ridge - 92, or when you get Garrison Rank 2, whichever comes last.
* Gorgrond - 94,  or when you get Kaz after killing Inyu, whichever comes last.
* Talador - 96, or when you get the follower from the ogre quest, whichever comes last.
* Spires - 98, or when you get Kimzee, whichever comes last.

The reason is that the zone's experience and mob kill rewards are tuned for lesser levels, so you will have a slower climb once you are too high for the zone.  The next zone immediately starts the experience buff again.  Basically, there's nothing cool about questing Talador at 98, this is about speed and not completionist tendencies.

9) I found it took about 1.5 hours per zone to complete them once I figured out my route, therefore bring 2 hours of every buff.  Drums, foods, excess potions, elixirs.  If you have to leave the zone it just slows you down.  When you're ready to move on to the next zone always hearth, don't just run into it.  This gives time to reload mats and get the free flight.

10) Rares are great to kill, but only if they're in the way and not out of the way.  If you can't kill the rare and it wipes you and noone can help, move on.  Some classes really suck against some rares, come back and waste them at 100.

11)  Look for paths that make sense to you time wise.  Example:  Get a quest done while picking up 3-4 treasures and then working into the bonus objective.  Talador is loaded with these opportunities.  Maximize your opportunity in the area.


12) Gear is replaced almost entirely every 4 levels if you start Draenor in trash.  If you have BOAs from SoO use them.  I have every DPS version of BOA in the game (some duplicates for dual wielding) and at about 95 is when they are better than Mythic Warforged weapons.  Don't waste time or money enchanting gear unless they are BOAs.

13) Realize that everything you will be missing in the zones will be waiting for you at 100.  You can always go back and finish things and it will be a little faster than doing it at level.  That's half the fun for me.

14) VERY important, and thanks Stede for reminding me this was my big piece of advice to him - do zones in waves.  Boring sometimes, important yes.  Essentially you want to take the same level characters through zones over and over.  This means taking 92's from Gorgrond through Talador to 96/97 after each other.  This will make the zone fresh in your mind and you can find your way around faster.  Less shifting gears, more finding efficiencies.  Your first character will be difficult to get around with, but by character 4 or 5, you're becoming a pro at it.

I look forward to seeing others with 11 toons at 100, I'll let you know when I finish the back loop.  I deleted a 90 on that account and have to finish that one the hard way.  Stupid dreams of Herald of the Titans, when will I learn!?

Thanks for stopping by!

Zerohour looks like he has too much time on his hands, but the bags under his eyes tell a different story. He should write a guide.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Merry Christmas and Happy 2015 Gold Barons

I hope you're making gold hand over fist, I know I am.  What am I doing?  Well I'll tell you sometime later.

Reading today's notes for 2015 from Blizzard was boring, up until I got to the part about being able to trade those with soon to be implemented gametime tokens for gold.  Then I started reading official forums about this topic, and I found example after example of idiocy.

"Didn't you learn from RMAH!?"
"Pay to win!"
"Game's going free to play!"
"I'm a poor player, this is unfair!"

Outside of the people that are poor (and probably playing from their crappy run-down apartments, basements, or burned out double-wides) the others are morons.

In case you have NEVER heard of this system before, this is very much like Plex in Eve.  Never played Eve and WoW is your first video game?  Ok, it's simple.

Eve has a subscription system not unlike other MMOs, and hey you're playing one right now if you play WoW.  Long time players (Player A) are pretty well off in that game, and they have so much currency that they have nothing to really spend it on.  So they get to keep playing by trading their ISK (awarding Plex, thanks StupidGameTweet for factchecking) off to broke players (Player B) in exchange for gametime.  That gametime is paid from someone because CCP (Big Evil Corporate Capitalists) isn't about to take a loss, and all parties are happy.

Player A is happy because they get to keep playing.
Player B is happy because they get in-game currency.
Big Evil Corporate Capitalists are happy because they get cash from Player B

The business cycle works, Eve is one of the longest running MMOs in history and they cater to players just like Blizzard.  Except Blizzard's player base is generally filled with more entitled little assholes that can't tie their shoes without mommy's help, and elitist scumbags who cannot believe they are still playing.

Ok, so I fail to see any play to win here.  Or anything even remotely similar to the D3 RMAH.  Hell, it's hardly Free to Play for even the people trading the gold, because gold acquisition is hardly free - you invest your time in the chase of pixels.

If you're a broke player, I guess I could understand your plight.  You spend all your time at work, and then get home and want to raid and do other things in the game.  Rich or lucky assholes always price those items in the AH you want for far too much gold that you don't have.  Further, you have little to no understanding of how capitalism or free markets work because your head's been stuck in the classic works of Karl Marx.  Ok, so let's bridge the problem here.  You have a paying job, you want some quick game gold, then trade for something people with gold want - gametime.  Unless of course you're some stay at home loser who's still telling us you won't trade your pride in so you can't find a job anywhere, or you won't get a job because you play WoW all the time and you still haven't got any gold.  Fat, lazy, and broke is no way to go through WoW, son.  But if you have a job, welcome to the future of gaming.

Like Ebay is to Paypal, so is Goldselling to China

People have been doing this for ages in game.  They released RAF and Gametime cards, and guess what?  Gold sellers took advantage of the system.  For tens of thousands of gold, you could pickup gametime for almost any length of time.  People spam these services in game, and they spam them in the illegit forums everywhere.

Some of the sellers are incredibly reputable.  They hail from countries like China where they acquire things like Social Security Numbers, credit card numbers, government secrets, and even gametime cards for pennies on the dollar.  Their only mission in life is to eat, so they do it by selling to cheap ass Westerners who have lots of gold and can't fork out $15 for a monthly subscription.  At last check, it took about 4 hours of work to get the gold they ask for a 60 day game card, but 2 hours at a minimum wage job to pay the sub outright.  But I digress.

The issue is, the Chinese really are getting bargains on both RAF and gametime subscriptions, so when they sell you something they are getting an incredible deal.  This was the loophole in Blizzard's entire free gametime system.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, you have the people who are outright scamming players.  They spam trade looking for a buyer, and advertise too good to be true prices for 30 days of gametime.  The halfwits that buy from these people then find the code to be useless, and getting their gold back to be even more fruitless.  Or worse, they would buy "gifted" game time, getting screwed.  Blizzard won't help you here, and you're breaking the Terms of Service in all respects.  So both of you are bad people in need of a ban.

We've been down this road once before

Blizzard did once before implement an item in-game that could be traded, remember the guardian cub?  This was a fantastic idea, but unfortunately too many appeared and the item's value crashed.  Once a pet is learned, you don't need another, so it was an evaporating market from the outset.

Gametime doesn't have this issue.  Everyone playing right now needs it, and once a month everyone's time runs out.  In other words, the demand will never go away as long as the game remains Pay to Play.  So the argument that we're on our way to F2P is completely nullified.  If anything, they're exploring more ways to increase revenue streams, and I congratulate them on this.

There are only a few ways that this system will be tripped up, and I'll be brief.

1) Blizzard does not vigorously explore the potential loopholes, and they do not monitor the activities in game.

Gold sellers will always figure out how to convert gold into cash and vice versa.  Like I mentioned, the Chinese sellers exploited the hell out of the RAF loophole back in Cataclysm.  In this situation, they could easily buy cheap tokens and convert them into gold, and then sell that gold on the black market at a huge markup.  This would probably push down the value of these tokens, which Blizzard will need to watch.

Further, if they are tradeable, they should not be auctionable.  Resetting them sounds so tempting to me right now.


2) Duping the tokens becomes possible.  They have to absolutely make them unique and not stackable.  

You say duping does not exist?  Ok. Fine, put your head back in the sand.  Much like 99% of TCG Spectral Tiger mounts today, if they are able to make unlimited copies, then Blizzard will lose their asses on this one.  Because each token is backed with real cash, I don't think we'll have much to worry about.  

Unlike TCG items, which have zero cash value to Blizzard in-game or outside of licensing fees, you let the hackers come in and make 1000 copies of these things you just lost $15,000 bucks.  Do that across multiple servers and the stockholders will wonder why there was a dip in profits this last month.


How would Zerohour roll this out?

Simple.  

1) Make them unique items to the account.  One player cannot carry more than a certain number at a time.  They will have to use them or trade them off.  Be it one token at a crack or up to 3.  There's no reason for anyone to be able to carry 100 of these things on their person.

2) Make a clearinghouse to trade these.  Just like you saw with the RMAH, the pet store, etc.  It's available via the shop, and at a set price in gold.  If you let these go up on the AH, these same people who are terrible at making gold are also probably unfamiliar with how to use the AH UI.  How many customer service tickets will be filed saying they misposted at 1g?  If you do not fix the value, then the buyers will feel cheated when their tokens go for less gold than they expected.

This idea is brilliant because it reduces trade chat spam, errors at the AH, and utilizes a private system that's already in place.  A person opens the shop, clicks "Buy", validates the transaction, and a BOP item is sent to the account just like a mount or pet.  The person then uses the item.  Only tokens available for sale will appear, so if noone has bought gametime and gotten gold, then the token does not exist.  The seller does not receive their gold and the gametime is not charged until the transaction occurs, so a queue is in place for this commodity.  If the seller has cancelled payment or they hit insufficient funds at the time the transaction is made, the next person in line sells there item.  Neither party loses nor gains until a transaction is made.  Further, both parties are anonymous.  You won't have hacking goldsellers jumping in and selling a million gold worth of the things only to see them disappear in 24 hours.

This brings me to number 3, which is...

3) Do NOT let them be freely tradeable.  Tradeable items get exploited.  I've worked in big data before, and when you're talking millions of players and accounts, you cannot possibly monitor them all for illicit activity, especially short term exploiters using a throwaway account.  A person buying gametime with gold will either NEED the time at that point, or they're stockpiling them.  Stockpiling will be wrong and the WORST thing for this mechanic.

Example?  Let's say I have 5 million gold laying around.  I decide that all the tokens on the AH need to be raised in price, much like a TCG mount.  You probably see where this is going.  The tokens become atrociously priced and then the idea behind the concept is killed and then nobody wins.  I know people out there who love to boost and reset are waiting to get their jollies off on this, but hopefully they smarten up with it's release.

Thanks for stopping in!

Zerohour has leveled more alts this expansion than any other, and each with garrisons.  World domination will occur in the new year.










.



























Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Achievement Unlocked: Raiding with Credit Cards

There's an issue right now that I don't get with Blizzard's MMO, World of Warcraft.  It's sort of a big deal, maybe you've heard of the game.  It's been out 10 years and promotes Massively Multi-player Online game play, while separating people among servers.  The issue is, as the decade has progressed, people have moved on, they've transferred servers, and servers have even been merged over time because the MMO has gone more and more the Single Player Online (SPO) route while still trying to be MMO, even though some tools are in place to promote MMO, it's still mostly SPO.

They've initiated lots of changes trying to get more people to be able to play.  They went to cross realm battlegrounds first, then crossrealm dungeons, then cross realm raids in looking for raid, crossrealm Arena and RBG teams, then merges and Normal/Heroic raiding crossrealm.  Amazing stuff.  Where does it end?  Well, ask any Mythic level raider.  20 people enter, all must be from the same server.

Why would they not allow people from all servers to perform Mythic raids together?  I would guess it's one of several reasons, some even stated by them.  Like most things that are spewed forth from the maker, I believe there are underlying reasons that are politically challenging and are not wanting to be addressed.

1) We don't want Realm First achievements being stolen by non-realm raids.
2) Mythic raiding should be exciting and only with friends, who are such good friends they are on your exact server.  If not, too bad.
3) High end raiders have a severe problem with guild bouncing.  Because of this, they are a steady flow of cash for Blizzard.  They should transfer (pay) for their trial periods, and then transfer (pay) again when they get benched, cut or leave.
4) An arbitrary reason is in place, which will one day be walked back on and reasons will be given that make complete sense making everyone wonder why the reason was in place to begin with.
5) The highest quality PvE items could be potentially available for cold, hard cash from the most unscrupulous people in the world - item sellers.  Top players could simply group up with anyone in the region and collect good money selling drops.  Not like this has ever happened with other things that don't matter, like Gladiator/Rank 1 titles and high arena ratings, because we've long established eSports isn't important.

Let's tackle this one by one.

I Want My Realm First, Remember AQ Opening Events!?

Realm Firsts matter... to servers of course.  Nobody else cares if you are Realm First on Backwater US-Horde.  What if a guild like Blood Legion or Method felt like blowing your future legacy achievement chances just to help some friends?  Midwinter comes and helps your server second or tenth guild score the achievement and upends the 'balance of power'.  Or someone could bribe enough people and a guild appears to assist.

Easily solved here... can you think of a way around this?  I sure can.

Simply prevent realm firsts from being awarded to any guilds that have another member in the raid from another server.  After all, a cutting edge world guild would obviously require transfers in this situation, so no change to business as usual.  The same for server leading guilds.  They cannot port to another server with a guild just to score the achievement.  The balance of power is preserved, dogs still chase cats, everyone stays happy.

This reason goes down really easily.  Programming, how does it work?

Friends are Gone with the Wind

Over 10 years, people move away.  I don't think I have the same neighbors in my neighborhood as I did 10 years ago.  People I got along with great and who parked in their driveways and not the street, who always dragged their trash bins from the street after pickup, and who didn't mow their laws at 6am on Saturday mornings have all moved on to other things.  In fact, the dude that never cuts his lawn is still here, that creepy neighbor who never waves at you when you drive by, and the guy who's house has needed a paint job since 1989 are still there.  Basically, the good people moved to greener pastures while the baddies stuck around.

Just like WoW.  I was on a smaller server from Classic up until the close of Wrath, but I saw property values decreasing and decided to GTFO of the town and move to the big city.  I left behind friends who decided to stick it out, only to see their servers become ghost towns since.  Old friends today are scattered across servers, and if we want to play with them again, or they're short a DPS or healer or tank in Mythic, tough luck, Chuck.  Pickup someone from your own server, because friends of yours aren't allowed.  After all, those people on your own server are your new friends, play nice with others.  Yeah, right.  Not buying it.

RealID and Battletags have made the game more social.  Prior to these, my friend list was pretty much limited to a few people I ran dungeons with when we had to actually find people to run with rather than push a button.  Or I used it to track friends in other guilds.  My guild however was always my primary friend list.  Today, I have about 30 active people on my RealID list.  Hmm, 30.  That's 10 more than needed for Mythic.  Hell I have a raid group of friends with a bench spread all over.  But I shouldn't be allowed to do the hardest content with them, because that's not allowed.

If a social scientist looked at Warcraft and how the player population has developed, I'm fairly certain they would also say that this system is flawed.

Recruiting, Insert Credit Card Here

Let's be honest.  This isn't Cataclysm or Mists.  Mythic is not the "New Heroic".  Given the difference in gear drops and boss difficulty between normal and Mythic, the place looks like it's going to be a slaughter for the vast majority of guilds even hoping to get there.  I've been in raids with people who compete for world firsts, and they are flat out not on the same planet as you and I.  Simcraft doesn't even register these people on the charts because their characters are putting up the top 0.01% in DPS, heals, and tanks are timing CDs and taunts like they're on rails.  Mythic is tuned for these player types, especially early on.  You raided SoO Mythic, grats. This is going to be a little different story and require more preparation and decision making.

If you've ever raided hardcore, been in a server first guild, or even worse been in a world progression guild (done all three, you see where I am today) you know that the roster changes frequently.  The shit sinks and cream rises very quickly in these guilds.  You dismiss the people who aren't cutting the mustard, you are always trying out new applicants, and people are either quitting or better dealing you right about the time you're about to hit the boss you brought them in for in the first place or they just looted the item that never drops that 3 other classes need.  People are also porting alts to assist with gearing runs in heavy progression guilds.

Check Wowprogress and look at the major guilds.  They actually track who's coming and going, and I assure you many are ports from other servers.  During progression, these timestamps are damned near epidemic. 

These issues are a cash cow for Blizz.  They didn't go from their old rule of "You cannot transfer servers" to "Transfer whenever you want" in a few years because they were being gracious.  The public demanded it.  Your standard transfer will have about two characters to transfer when they migrate, and in the larger scheme of things, they're buying the equivalent of over 2 months of game time with each transfer.  If there's something I know about Actiblizz, it's that they're pretty good about standing their ground when it comes to these fees, they aren't going away and nobody gets in the way of these things.

If Mythic was allowed cross-server, then a hardcore raider no longer needs to transfer to perform a tryout, it would become the norm that they tryout via proxy, and then only transfer if there's a slot for them.

But these types of raiders comprise of less than 0.5% of the player population, and they aren't doing it weekly, so is this a valid reason?  In the grand scheme of things, maybe not.

I think that if world raiders need to increase the span of their net, then they should have that freedom within reason. If this was a reason to hold back the other 98% of potential Mythic raiders, then it's a crappy reason at best.

Insert Your Favorite Dictator (here) 

I hate arbitrary rules.  It's this way because we say so, and here's our flimsy reason to back it up, and then a very vocal minority of fans back them up and will spit on you through the internet if you decide to challenge it.  I'm an American, dammit.  I question authority and rules because I have that right.

Rules were made to be broken.  One rule that comes to mind is that we aren't allowed to openly talk to the opposing faction.  Even on PvE servers, where PvP is usually by mistake, you can't send tells to someone complimenting them on their choice of transmog.  Meanwhile, you can go to the server's official forums and start an outright carpetbombing flamewar with the opposing faction.  You can even log into your alt of the opposing faction and go nuts today.

Along those lines, the holy rule of "PvE players will never be allowed to port to PvP servers" was broken some time ago.  And then one-server/one faction.  I do suspect they found #3's reason to be very compelling for opening up the floodgates.

Can anyone tell me a good reason for any of this stuff without quoting talking points?  While I can buy the RPer's claims of immersion, I don't buy it otherwise for non-RP servers.  After all, if a person borders on the point of harassing in tells, they put their accounts at risk of closure.  Timeless Isle was an example of what happens when you CAN talk to the opposing faction when they are your OWN faction.  PvP on a PvP server happened.  Wrath's opening event even allowed you to freely talk to the opposing faction while in zombie form.  Gamers are bullies online, so what?  They can be downright insulting and disgusting.  This is part of the online experience.  We're at a point now where this crap doesn't even matter anymore because all the previous rules have been broken.

So, no raiding Mythic cross-server because we say so.  Ok, mom, I'm grown up, I'm eating that cookie before dinner (Seinfeld).  You're in charge, we get it, so when I grow up can I raid with my friends cross-server in Mythic?  I see this as a foolish reason to gate friends from playing with one another.  Sort of like a mother who won't let her child play with the opposite sex until they reach the age of 25.  Thanks for playing social dictator, Blizz.

There's no good reason for arbitrary rules against cross-server Mythic while allowing cross-server everything else.

Paypal, Ebay, and YouBuyWoWGoldHereNowExpress.tk.biz.org.com

Item sales are a fact of life in online games.  Whether it be for gold or real money trades (RMT), you're not going to close this down anytime soon.  RMT has been around since they invented credit card payments online.

At issue is that the most valuable items in the tier for PvE players are going to be Mythic level items.  If a casual player wanted, they could Mastercard their way into a guild looking strictly for a particular item level recruit.  Is this fair?  Not really and it really doesn't matter.

High end loot is really only needed to be able to tackle the current tier of progression.  You don't need it otherwise, unless you purely want to show off in LFR/LFD how awesome or pathetic you are at the class.  It's sort of like PvP, where you can get all the highest tier PvP items offered and still suck because you can't counter your counter class, or you need it to gank people in questing greens.  Item level, in the grand scheme of things, means jack and shit with regards to your ability.  I've geared out complete mouth-breathing, window-licking, chromosome-mutated players in hopes they would put the gear to use, when I should have just disenchanted the loot because it would have achieved the same result.  But these are people who also spend money on items in hopes they can balance out their trash DPS with harder hitting abilities.

This logic as a stopgap falls apart however, because a person willing to cough up $500 or $1000 for a set of gear is also the same person who would gladly transfer servers for $25 just to do it.  That's merely a minor inconvenience.  Therefore, RMT can still go on if you transfer servers in Mythic so preventing cross-realm for this reason is not a reason. Sure it's hard to prove and prevent, but in reality so is duping, which doesn't exist per the blues - except in TCG items, which won't be removed even though almost everyone dealing in them knows they're dupes because if they were real, they'd go for FAR more value than they do now.

The only argument I can buy is that people get ripped off when they do these transactions.  You know what?  Chicken butt and so what.  Anyone who buys anything online takes that risk, and since it's against the TOS and they barely enforce it against the people who do the buying, then the argument is flaccid.  Buck up and do some banning of gold buyers and maybe I'll sympathize with this argument and realize that the sheriff is back in town.

The opposite side is also true.  I myself love a solid GDKP run where I can run the tables.  But there is still a system in place to prevent me from using my gold to bid on gear on other servers - I cannot trade it to others from other servers.  Therefore, this mechanic as a reason for not allowing cross-realm Mythic groups also falls apart.

/Rant

Phew.  I've said my peace on this issue.  Right now it does affect me because I and another Illidan friend are raiding with a fellow Wind Trader's guild over on another server.  We're going to go through Heroic, but once they hit Mythic our ass is on the pine and we're going to have to take another direction.  It's a real shame because they can use the assistance of good people cross realm while they progress through the most challenging content.  My friend and I are both very experienced raiders who don't stand in fire, play our classes optimally, actually understand mechanics and contribute to top of the dps chart so we're an asset.  But my friend is more than that.

A little advertisement.  My friend could easily raid with world leading guilds, but he took a Cata/MoP break.  This is a guy who has a steam library that would put anyone to shame and is probably one of the best actual gamers I've ever met and have known for years.  When you look up gamer, he's the definition.  He's that needle in the haystack every guild wants, but has to be given the chance to demonstrate that he can kick everyone's ass in the first place.  We're hoping his Heroic time will make it easier to locate someone on Illy who is looking for a resident badass in Mythic.  He's the guy who takes the class that's regarded as underpowered and makes it look like it needs nerfed asap.  If you are a true Mythic guild leader/officer/raider over here and reading this, I have someone you should meet.  Track me down here, on Twitter, or in game.  Battletags and character names in comments will be passed along and not posted.

Doesn't it suck that we're only good enough to run through Heroic with friends?  Blizzard: encouraging fantastic cross-realm friendships and then tearing them apart by their own decisions.  Maybe someday I'll get interested again in posting gold making results.

Thanks for stopping in!

Zerohour has spent nearly the entire expansion playing Garrison-ville and has forgotten what the outside world looks like.  If you would like to water his herb garden, applications are being taken within.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Designing and Updating on a Whim

By now I'm positive everyone that's serious about Garrisoncraft has at least 6-8 level 100's and probably working on the last characters which are deep into the 90's.  The game's been out for nearly three weeks, so if you aren't, what have you been doing with your life?

Myself, that's not me, I have only one level 100, and 9 characters have opened their garrison with professions and work orders are queued daily.  I balance my real life with the game.  Thus far, this is a lot of work.  The only way to reduce the workload is to get those characters to Level 3 profession slots, and load them up.  This requires material buying on a near massive scale, and today's post is about forecasting and prognosticating.  Also the rantings and ravings of your neighborhood lunatic King of the World... of auction houses.

I bring your attention to this fine post by Rygarius, the patch notes compiler for Blizzard who usually does a decent job.  But this post annoyed the ever living piss out of me:

Original thread here

As a personal anecdote, my character's Enchanter's Study is experiencing a similar issue with a lack of work orders submitted when the other buildings are humming along with a constant stream of work orders. We feel that Enchanting Dust can be a bit too scarce to come by and are looking at ways to ease those supply concerns.

Later, a hotfix was made to cause rare items, which have historically ALWAYS produced shards, to produce dust instead.  It's been my experience that you have about an 80% chance of producing 8-12 dust, with a 20% chance to produce one shard.  Shards are used daily to produce Temporal Crystals, which are worth far more than stupid dust.  I could be wrong, I haven't been DEing many heroic items, but if the numbers skew differently for higher ilvl blues then I'm in the wrong.  But in the meantime...

I personally hate the crap out of this, mostly because it changed the rules to the game in a less than elegant way with a person who is closely aligned to the game's development agreeing with the masses without looking for a flipping alternative to player whims.

Look, the vast majority of people and players are clueless about how things get done.  As my childhood superhero Gordon Gekko said,

"We make the rules, pal. The news, war, peace, famine, upheaval, the price per paper clip. We pick that rabbit out of the hat while everybody sits out there wondering how the hell we did it." 

The 'everybody' in this statement are the people who are incapable of looking around them and innovating a better mousetrap.  These are the everyman, the guy who comes home, logs in, and has trouble putting together 5k so they can raid.  In this case, it's people like the game's developers and personalities making rules to fit them and a vocal minority, and that's awful scary.

What's next?  Ore!?  Yes, miners didn't appreciate that mines produced so much ore, so it's nerfed.  A hotfix removed the credit you receive for work orders to only a few sources, after allowing others to hit their 250 very quickly via all sources.  Those trailing behind because of queues, well sorry for your loss.  This had less impact than the changes to how things are produced, and maybe you aren't seeing where I'm going with this, and if you don't then please go back to your regularly scheduled lives.

One does not open a game of Monopoly, begin rolling the dice, and then decide to change the value of rents because their friend landed on Boardwalk with 4 houses and that might take them out of the running.  By doing so, you screw everyone else playing whether they are winning or losing.  Rules are made to the game to be followed.

In Blizzard's case, they had time to test this out in the beta, and months and months to develop it and think about scenarios.  We all knew dust was going to be a limited supply item, thankfully so, and we were going to have to be more creative.  Let me play the creative part since they had someone who received a paycheck for being dedicated to professions and garrison mechanics, and all of them are obviously not designing with a full deck.  (As an aside, I felt things were phoned in this release, I could tell it was going to go really well when we all saw Mumper at Blizzcon show up wearing no Blizzard apparel while the rest of his coworkers were in logo shirts; guess it was a late night of partying for him or he just turned in his last Give-A-Shit card and is headed out.)

Perfectly viable options to using a sledge hammer when you only needed a scalpel:

1) The Auction House.  Go part with some gold and buy the materials you need.  If you cannot afford them, then there is a solution to that that's been around forever - it's called grinding mobs and dailies.  If you are totally lost here, see my earlier post on casual gold making's future.  Obviously, others took the time to come up with an overage in supply and they are willing to sell it to you so you can do whatever you need to do with your professions.  Why not contribute to the economy rather than being a slack basement dweller on the internet?

2) Actually play your character.  Grind mobs, complete quests, open treasures that have greens.  Handynotes tells you where all of them are for crying out loud, get off your lazy ass and go do it.  Disenchant everything and go forward.  The days of sitting on your ass and making 1000's of dust with a keybinding were over, but we're bringing them back because there's a shortage don't ya know.  Yeah, a shortage of people with a brain and no fear of work.

3) Collect greens on an alt while questing, and here's a noble idea - MAKE A FRIEND WITH AN ENCHANTING PLOT.  Join their garrison and DE everything.  How hard was this to come up with?  I must be a damned genius, I can't believe this was never brought up in the discussion as an alternative, but then again they don't send me meeting requests down at Irvine.

4) Change the requirement of the work order to 1-2 fewer dusts.  Because of #2, you would have access to lots of them.  Not the most elegant idea, but still better to tune the mechanic than change it.

5) Defer the change to a later patch.  We've always had material abundance issues, and this was resolved in a patch.  Wrath required lots of mats to make things, but they reduced the requirement in a hotfix which was well announced.  Not the same thing though, because one is production of a resource and the other is production of an end product.

6) Trade for the item within your garrison - they made a Trading Post for a reason.  Just wait for the trader to open up 20 GR dusts, trade for 5 at a time.  The idea behind these RTS style systems is to trade off limited supply resources for other limited supply resources, rewarding good choices and punishing poor choices.  GR is actually very plentiful provided you take the right turns.

You made a system where greens are no longer manufactured, and then whine about it openly to the playing public.  Just awesome.  It's like not being able to score 1600 on your SAT, and then changing the test so you can get to it or at least closer to it.  Participation trophies for all, because it doesn't feel good to actually have to do something in a game.  I guess I don't get the current gamer generation and their mindset.

Further, they didn't give fair warning that this massive economic change was coming.  Just that it was under review and then magically dust is falling in price and those shards are now producing dust.  If it was me, I would have waited until the first content patch to fix it, but in the meantime, please deal with it.  Then everyone could see patch notes that spell out to those that stockpiled: You are about to lose your ass in the dust market, you should consider changing your modus operandi.

Moreover, there are people who will tell me to deal with it, they always make changes to make things more fun.  Sure, they've reduced mat requirements and things in the past, like I mentioned above, but there was an actual cost to doing it.  You had to break up crystals, and not shards.  You had to break up essence with a strict penalty.  Illusion Dust was ALWAYS rare to come by, and there were limited ways to come by it in the game.  But a deeper issue is that many of you are ambivalent about these changes.  I prefer they leave rules in place and let the market work them out.  Not everyone needs to have 7-26 work orders going at a time.  Maybe enchanting isn't for you?  Let the people who know what they're doing handle it, you can always buy from us.  As Stede calls it, you're a customer.

Sooner or later, they're going to get to something you do care about.

On the flip side, at least the value of Temporal Crystals may be preserved somewhat, time will tell.

Thanks for stopping by!


Zerohour is a confirmed nutcase, who is happier believing he's Warren Buffet than being his manservant.  No developers or peons were harmed in the making of this blog post.