Friday, April 19, 2013

Timing Market Entry and Knowing When to Walk Away

This was the post prepped for this last Tuesday.  I hope you have taken the time to look into another person's situation and learned some things.

Here's some strategy for those of you wondering how to keep from spending all of your evenings grinding out the wins like some Blackjack junkie convinced you'll eventually hit a run.

If you look at what I sell, it's basically a list of everything in the game.  Of course, I could tell anyone to make X, post X, and pray they make a decent return.  I'll leave that for the people dispensing bad advice and the crowds of people thrilled they've got 10k gold in their pockets for the first time ever.  I deal in millions, not thousands; my time is worth more than to sit around playing leap frog with people who haven't got the slightest clue what modeling a well run virtual business is about, and worse have no concept of efficiency and time management.  These are your competitors, and hopefully since you're reading this stuff - not you.

If you've ever sold anything a day in your life, the first thing you learn is "who is my market?" and "why would they buy?"  In WoW gold making, your life is merely a series of 7 day events that go from Tuesday through the following Monday, and in between you monitor your activity.  At least you should be.  Without telling you exactly what I post on certain days, I think it's MOST important that you have the frame of mind during the week.  You should know what is going on each day of the week, and make market entries and market retreats based on this information.  That's if you want to maximize your efficiency and go do other things besides hang out at the AH all day.

I like to think of it as "having my server clocked".  I know what's popular on each and every single day, and who I should be appealing to.  Each server is different, but they all tend to have similar life cycles.  So think critically...  What should I be selling?  Who is my market?

Tuesday - This is the reset day for US servers.  If you're playing EU, just add a day here.  On Tuesday, everyone's valor is reset, LFRs/Raid IDs reset, and people can begin collecting more Conquest points.  This is generally always my biggest profit day of the week since demand on this day skyrockets to what will be the all time high for the week.  You should be monitoring exactly what guilds are progressing on, what new items will be available with respect to their slots.  Macroeconomics day.  On this day, you want to focus on what will enhance the pieces people will be retaining.  PvPers especially go hogwild on Tuesdays, since they generally will hit their cap for the week and make a purchase decision on this day, especially those saving for weapons.

Wednesday - Or Tuesday Lite, as I sometimes refer to it.  You should still see heavy action like Tuesday, as most progression guilds begin hitting their progression fights.  Generally those doing LFR hit the last half of their grind tonight.  When it comes to gear collection, the first two days of the week are always going to be mains, and people spend the most gold on mains.

Thursday - Now the week starts to peter off.  Raiding guilds start hitting bosses they can't down yet, PvPers are still active but not so much in the buying side (they're usually going for rating before the weekend and not so much for points), and those not raiding begin playing their alts again.  Prices drastically start to return to earth on everything enchanting or gem related and it's probably time I retreat from this market.

Friday through Monday - Alts.  Thousands of alts awaken from their weekday slumber to start looking for minor upgrades.  They're looking to level easier, or they've just hit 90 and want to look into getting into LFR as fast as possible.  Or they want to begin grinding honor points in battlegrounds and aren't interested in being the typical baddie getting 2 shot by rogues.  Many casual guilds finish their progression raiding for the week.  Some are even looking to improve the pieces that they've retained, but I wouldn't go overboard and post for a measly 5% profit.  Close price analysis and setting your mods accordingly will prevent you from taking losses at this time.

Does any of this look foreign to you?  I hope it doesn't, it's common sense. But like I told a coworker of mine this last week - Common sense is actually uncommon.  Sometimes a person needs to have the obvious pointed out to them.

During the week, I have certain price points for all of my pieces of gear.  Some items I post every single day of the week, some I only post one or two days.  It really depends on profit opportunity.  BOEs tend to sell better on some days, so I don't have those set up in any group and post using Auctioneer.  Many items I specifically place on different banks that are weekend specific posters.  During the weekdays, they never get logged into.

Here's a good example:  Gems.  I hate the hell out of having to cut and post these things, some people do it every single day of the week and I wonder how they can stand it.  What generally happens is the demand for them is enormous on Tuesday and Wednesday, and you'll sell through your entire stock at heavy premiums.  Other days, you get back 90% of them.  Why?  Because the demand isn't there.  As demand is lower, prices start falling down as people fall over themselves to undercut each other.  Meanwhile, if you stay in this market, you 1) spend money on deposits and 2) sell them at reduced profits and 3) cost yourself more money if you play the undercutting game thus contributing to the problem.  Of course, I still post a few during the week, but I also renegotiate my floor prices.  If I'm not getting at least Wednesday prices on a cut, it's not going up and it stays in the bag for next week.

Quick Rant:  People do this because they're told the shuffle makes you gold no matter what and just by cutting gems.  The shuffle however is in a bastardized form today because most people doing it don't realize that the shuffle was created originally as a means to making enchanting highly profitable, provided your server has a demand for enchanting, and not to make all of the the profits in gems.  I wonder why people got this strange idea and bought into this bizarre fallacy.  Who could possibly have told them it was all gems?  Hmmm.  People do half the shuffle, overload the AH with cheap gems, and then sit on the green gems or something.  Maybe they're vendoring them.  Either way, bad form.  Moving on.

I demonstrated for you the idea and rationale behind why you should have a spreadsheet in place and further, why you should be in the habit of stockpiling in lieu of going Just In Time.  The people that roll JIT are buying on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and then trying to squeeze a profit out.  Meanwhile, they're doing nothing the other days of the week.  Conversely, there are people that sell no matter the prices.  There's no reason to sell your stockpile for the sake of selling your stockpile.

Retaining well priced materials is an art, and it's not always easy to get certain things for below market value and it's not always easy to replenish your stock.  Story time!  It reminds me of a time I wanted to sell something to a customer when I was just starting out in my sales career and a young buck know-nothing 24 year old.  We were making a whole 8% profit margin off the item (and my paycheck would look better), but we were coming into the busy time of the year and to replace the item in our inventory had a lead time of 3 months.  But, after a begging and pleading session with my boss, I had to turn the person away.  You know, having to do that and tell a buyer they're too freaking cheap is never fun.  The good news was, I located a buyer at 17% just 2 months later and scored twice the commission.  If I had sold the item initially, I would not have had the inventory to sell to the customer and would have had to wait a month, and the company would have lost out on future opportunity should my deal not arrived.  When a buyer is hot, you don't ask them to wait, you deliver immediately, unless you are not in a position to immediately sell off your inventory.  This was a lesson that I learned early on, think long term and don't sell just to sell.

Selling mats off at 10% margins when you could sell them at 100% makes very little sense, but people are happy beating their heads against the keyboard to do it.  If you understood what I was talking about in my earlier posts on this blog, then what I've explained here will be absolutely second nature. 

As prices ebb and flow during the week, your buying and posting patterns should directly mimic them.  I'm fairly certain that if you were to look at the prices on your server, and then weighed them against the events of the week, you would see that supply and demand essentially flip upside down during the week at some point.  This is a simple market phenomenon, and makes the difference between someone who posts everything during the week and hopes it sells (a sale is a sale, right?) and someone that calculates their moves and makes more profits with less effort.  Think of it like having spring sales and winter sales.  As the seasons change, you always rotate your stock around and sell certain things at higher pricing during the year.  Except our "years" are merely 7 days long.

So my keys for successful profitability and less camping:

1) Know your server's week with respect to demand
2) Sell high on proper days
3) Buy low during the week
4) Don't sell just to sell, think.

Margin Call, Week of April 7, 2013

It was quite the struggle this week, I honestly am finding myself hitting that most horrible of horrible walls.  Ever wonder why prices sometimes go off the charts or strange things happen in your AH?  It's probably because one of the leaders dropped out of the market.  For me this week I was far more motivated to play D3 than to even bother logging in to Warcraft (although I did, habits are hard to break).  Most people on my friend list, or more specifically my Battletag list, are not even bothering right now.  I didn't grab a screenshot of it, but this last week snagged a measly 343,000g in revenues.

A tip for your week - Consider your actions before posting, you directly affect pricing.

Thanks for stopping in!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

I interrupt the normal goldmaking philosophy post...

I have 2 solid philosophy posts ready in the hopper, but you know what?  Let's put goldmaking philosophy on the back burner for the time being, I'll post something later in the week.  For me this is the 800lb gorilla in the room, and if I was to post something besides this to raise some awareness, I would definitely not feel like I was doing my part as a community member. 

This story is extremely moving, and if I can potentially help this young man with my forum of over 1500 readers a week and bring some awareness to the cause, I'm going to do what I can.

Richard Harlow
Warcraft player
Going completely blind

His background is simple, he was diagnosed with a very rare eye condition.  He's losing his sight completely because his optic nerves are degenerating.  He has a chance to see the world again, but it requires expensive medication, and frankly I've seen these things before where the person just accepts their fate and goes forth with the hand they were dealt.  Thanks to those around Richard, the cause was taken up and people have put forth lots of funds to assist, and he's extremely close to the goal.

Blindness is not something I would wish on anyone.  Two of my grandmothers suffered from complete loss of vision later in life.  I remember my paternal grandmother attended my graduation from college (the first in over 40 grandchildren, yes, a huge family) and the one thing that stuck with me was she could not see me walk across the stage.  Directing her to her chair, she felt her way, and then sat there vacantly not able to see even her hands in front of her.  Being able to see brings lots of joy in our life, think of your favorite memories, and most of them are attached to something you visually recall.  Having the ability to see is something we definitely take for granted.

Humans are different from any other being on earth.  We protect our own, we fight for life, and we accept challenges and hurdles and overcome them.  We don't accept defeat easily, and we rely on one another to thrive as a society.  While the world may seem screwed up everyday that you wake up, it's nice to know that one person can make a difference and change the outcome of another human being, if not an entire world.  Richard's situation is no different than what I'm talking about here, he's in a bad spot.

He's very close to reaching his goal of the funds to provide a sight-saving medication that could help to restore his eyesight.  I would hope that there are some people here that could possibly help him put that number over the top, or at least get him closer to the goal.

Please set aside about 36 minutes to listen to the interview and discussion on Eviscerated Podcast if you are unfamiliar with the situation.  He sounds like any other person in your guild.  Except he has lost the gift of sight.  You can also see all contact and donation information there as well.  I would encourage those of you with a spare 5, 10, 20 or more laying around to click the links.  You may know I'm big on the kitties and doggies, but realistically, this is so close we should feel badly if the goal isn't raised.

Out of respect for the topic, I'm going to heavily moderate comments made.  Please be respectful when making comments.  Thank you in advance.

Margin Call is going to be delayed this week until the next post, out of respect for this exceptional topic.  I hope your week is going well!

Also, giving everyone involved in the Boston incident on Monday my thoughts!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Bart, Sapu, You Win This Round

Ok, back on track.  If I'm not roasting the gold bleggars I'm roasting Blizz.  I'm pretty sure most of the readers believe I do nothing but complain about things I don't like.  Well you would be right.  I'm not writing this to gain a huge audience, a large readership was never what I wanted.  See my Bio - dedicated to everyone that cares.  Not those bored enough and looking for something to read.  Like people keep telling me about the donation sites - if you don't like them, don't read them.  Well, I don't.  Except to find material.  Do stuff with a purpose, I say.

Also, yes, I am that grumpy old dude.  Oh, hi there, Clint.

So what should we talk about today?  How about a history lesson/opinion?  I'm thinking I should first explain the poll that was up the past week - what was the best Auction House addon of all time?  With nearly 2000 visitors during that week, all 25 or so of you voted.  I'll take that as a good sample.

Of course TSM was going to win.  I'd wager most people working the Auction House today never even used Auctioneer, and I'm betting many have never even heard of it.

The backstory:  I was in IRC, as I usually am in the evenings and Bart39 popped in again.  For those of you that don't know him, he's Sapu's counterpart on the TSM development project.  Lots of things have been implemented purely because of him, so everyone owes him a big hug and kiss.  He's always there but usually AFK sleeping.  Not sure if he ever eats or anything.  I digress here, but one thing led to another, and I only remember saying something like "We'll see about that".

My personal favorite Auction House addon is actually Auctioneer by Norganna.  TSM is great, but this was the first real addon for the AH which replaced the stock UI entirely, which Blizzard spent an alcohol fueled weekend making and about 20 minutes updating since Vanilla Beta.  It also allowed mass posting, undercutting, snatching, and some other toys that TSM still doesn't offer (although Sapu assures me 2.0 will have them).  The worst part of the addon - it is far too cumbersome for the layman to set up.  You needed to know what you were doing in order to squeeze the power out of the addon.  This happens to also be the best part of the addon.  Essentially, talking monkeys need not apply.  If you implemented the full suite, you could make an unstoppable gold making machine.  For years this addon served me really well.  I was even an early donor on the project, since good coding is definitely worth rewarding.

The problem came for me during Wrath when they implemented those stupid glyphs.  I still call them stupid, I dislike this market with a passion.  The only way you could cancel your auctions that were undercut was to run through with a macro one-by-one, or cancel them all in one shot and repost.  Talk about cumbersome.  That's when I started looking around, and Shadowed put together the first real tool for mass posting and mass cancels - Quick Auctions.  Those of you around at the time in early Wrath who adopted this early on quickly saw the power of this with glyphs and gems.  Not only that, but gold making from Vanilla through early Wrath was a relative odd-hobby, only a very small playerbase really engaged in it except a few tycoons and they were getting almost all of their information off sites like JMTC.  Today it's a pretty common thing to do, since people are looking to buy things from guilds, the BMAH, or generally improve their character.  But back then, it was practically carte blanche.

I never really abandoned Auctioneer, it's always been in my list of addons to use.  Whenever TSM requires a new group, or I have to make an exception to some floor price (BOE epics come to mind), I hit the Appraiser button and manually undercut by 1 copper.  Further, nothing beats it's ability for buying in mass quantities.  Hey, didn't think you'd read anything useful in this post?  Well there it is.  Fogies like me and Z-Man still use the thing.  (In fact, Sapu asked me to check something in it a few weeks back, call me honored to help out)

Up until Boub at MMOC really made the utility of QA mainstream by actually talking about how auctioneers everywhere were cashing in on the general public, it was pretty much a hidden addon except within the gold community.  Further, the addon was so easy to setup that anyone could do it.  It wasn't like Auctioneer, which required weeks of scans before you could get appropriate pricing data.  You just followed the herd and posted at whatever someone's addon was setup at, poorly or otherwise.

Unfortunately Shadowed abandoned the project before Cataclysm, and fortunate for the general public Sapu and Co. picked it up and improved on it to what you have today.  Today you have automatic price scans from API downloads, automatic queuing, and so many toys that are really QOL improvements.  The downside here is that it doesn't necessarily make a person adept at philosophy, economics, or techniques, but it definitely makes it faster to get business done.

I think it's worth mentioning, but it's amusing that TSM has become nearly as complex as Auctioneer in terms of what you can modify within it.  I say nearly, because you guys still have a little ways to go to make it as complex.  Just to let you know, Sapu has said to me several times that he's not interested in making money off the addon, and he derives extreme pleasure in making it the best possible addon.   Let's call it his legacy, I would call it a line on a resume.  Give him some props here for being a super guy for donating so much of his time to make the Auction House something anyone can make a fortune at.

Also, you two may have won this round...  where's 2.0?  Hrm?

Why write something like this?  Wait for it, I've got an article in the works.

Margin Call - Week of March 31, 2013

Here's a lesson for you for later, it's a bit late to have learned it now, but goes in line with my logic for keeping Sha's in stock.  The vast majority of players in WoW today are not raiding with an organized guild, they are opting to do LFR.  LFR has the big benefit of not having to deal with scheduled times, performing to the requirements of the guild, being awake during encounters, and rewards practically free loot.  LFR's downside, at least here on the US servers, is having the fun of pantomiming instructions in game to those that cannot speak the language.  "Don't dps the boss, kill adds".  "No speak engish".  Regardless, it's not really raiding, but offers free gear and rep for the unwashed masses that you'll never see again, hopefully.  Amirite?

The other big benefit is knowing what drops in the various wings - specifically weapon upgrades.  Because I was bored, I decided to break out my Boy Scout uniform and go on a camping trip on Tuesday just to push the envelope.  First time since patch release 4.2 that I've actually done that.  I threw down just over 400k in sales, with margins in the 50% range.  If I only had more stock, I would have made more.  Yes, I blew through a week's stockpile of high end enchants in one night, and ran out before the end of the night.  I figured the demand would be high (per my MC last week), but every last crystal high?  I learned something important - I still hate camping.

The rest of my week was spent playing Diablo 3.  So how did I compare?

It's also nice at this point to have virtually every crafted pvp item in the game... except Blacksmithing.  I've got every epic craft now, and duplicates of most other recipes.  So I got really lucky with tailoring, but Blacksmith paid me back.  Hmph.

Thanks for stopping in!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

More on Diablo 3's Auction House

Today's "bonus" opinion article is all about Diablo 3, just fair warning in case you're looking for anything WoW related, it's not in here.

Per my Tuesday post, I poked a little fun at Jay Wilson's comments at the GDC last week.  I found them amusing because to be totally and brutally honest, I'm not a fan of his and the comments seemed sort of like thumbing the nose at a feature many players today enjoy and even asked for during D2.  Why was he allowed to say anything remotely close to what he said?  I felt like Bizarro Blizzard was in attendance, given they've long had a good solid track record of believing their own press and propitiating the kool-aid drinking masses that believe everything they say.

Just as a commentary on this situation, I want to give you some backstory about myself:

* Installed Diablo 2 in July 2000
* Installed Diablo 2: Lord of Destruction July 2001
* Played this game almost exclusively until 2006
* Expert in all facets of trading in that game, including RMT, lobby trade, game trade, and forum trading.

I was one of the biggest fans of that franchise, anxiously awaiting D3's release last May.  I proudly saved my Beta invite email from November 2011 and showed it off to all my guildies.  What I was not a fan of was the inclusion of the RMAH the way they were implementing it.  Having lots of non-WoW AH experience, the rule is simple:  When everybody plays, nobody wins.  And if Blizzard is going to handle it, you're playing with fire because they'll flat out not put much into it.

Wilson says that prior to release, Blizzard had expected only rare and valuable items would be listed, but in reality many players put "nearly everything" up for real-money sale because "there's no reason not to."

Exactly.  During the time Ebay allowed virtual item sales, they had a clear and present cost system that was once entertained by Blizzard, and then completely abandoned.  If you were looking to buy some pixels for cold hard cash, you found nothing but the best quality items (dupes, but go with me here) and lots and lots of legit items being sold that were definitely the best items you would ever see.  And they sold for lots of money.  If you wanted to sell an item, you were going to pay a fee to even list the item, and pay a final commission to Ebay when it sold.

Even from the very beginning of D2's launch, back in the great cash rush of 2000-2001 when people were calling in sick days for several weeks and even quitting their jobs, they were posting only the best possible items on Ebay and selling them for several hundred dollars a piece, even in the thousand dollar range.

So why didn't this happen in D3's RMAH?  Why was it littered with crap, even today, and the average person has to wade through a sewer of $100-$250 items that we used to send to Charsi?  Easy.  They changed the deposit requirement that they initially talked about implementing, and instead they only charge you if the item sells.  So it's a no-lose proposition, and with only 10 slots available at any given time, it makes no sense to keep them not full with postings at all times, because someone may buy the item.  And if they don't?  You lose nothing but the time during which the item was listed.  So your end result is an AH with thousands and thousands of items that require detailed and knowledgeable searches to get through.

It doesn't take a genius to figure out that this model was flawed from the start.  I have a pet theory that Blizzard researched this Auction House model like most large corporations would do it.  They bring in experts in the field, maybe even pay some Ebay personnel to come consult for a few days (after all, they were the ones who were making bank on their virtual items for almost a decade).  The consultants put together a list of things that Blizzard needs to do to make it successful, and just like Lumberg from Office Space, totally shit-can the ideas of the consultants because they have a deluded god complex from selling millions of copies of games.  Having been around corporate America most of my life now, these are exactly how decisions are made - spend a ton of cash asking consultants, and then write that expense off because it just won't work, in management's opinion.  Then when the project doesn't work out as intended, blame the overall idea, and not blame the implementation.  And heaven forfend if you point any fingers of blame, someone's bonus may not come through and you can't have them running off to upper management telling them about your stealing of office supplies and inappropriate use of company internet resources when they fire them.

The answer should have been:  Listing fees to be applied on all items that were in the RMAH

People who engaged in RMT were completely used to them before, and anyone new to it would get used to them.  This prevents a lot of clutter, makes the system easier to use, and a person can locate what they're looking for instead of seeing listing capped results and not finding exactly what they want.  People listing items would think twice before posting something for an unreasonable amount, and you wouldn't see a million people a month posting every flipping rare and bad legendary that they find.  The biggest thing - if your goal was to only see the best possible pieces on the RMAH, people will definitely post it for money with the listing fee just being a minor annoyance.  It's like they never learned a freaking thing from the Warcraft Auction House, something else they happen to not pay any attention to.  You either run a good business model, or you don't.

Wilson now freely admits it was "the wrong solution" to the problems Blizzard was trying to solve. "It's not good for a game like Diablo. It doesn't feel good to get items for money, it feels good to get items by killing monsters," he said, echoing the complaints of a vocal group of fans.

In most well run corporations, everyone knows you don't make even the slightest resemblance of an apology, that's for press releases and the PR department to decide.  You don't "freely admit" anything unless you're waiting on your severance agreement ink to dry.  In one company I worked for, unless you were the Chairman of the Board or in the PR department, making any comment to the public was grounds for immediately packing your desk.  I saw one Divisional Vice President get stripped of his security access within 30 minutes of reporting to work one morning because someone identified him on a talk radio show and he was merely commenting on an incident that was in the news.

Was Wilson's comment merely a talking point he went armed with to the GDC?  The guy isn't even on the project anymore, but he's making comments like this?  Someone's either playing apologist or rebel, and given he probably wants his 10 year ring, I'm going to guess it was planned.  Blizzard has a pretty good track record of firing employees for slight infractions, coming out and talking down about a major revenue source of a title that was possibly going to have a subscription (Blizzcon 2010) would probably rank up there with a punishment between burning at the stake or the pear.

This comment is also very subject to interpretation - was he saying it's better to invest thousands of hours to get that one item that's a top tier item rather than trade maybe an hour or two of your real life paycheck?  What would feel better?  Waiting for Christmas or slapping down the plastic, getting the instant gratification, and being able to go to MP10 faster?  For me, I like finding items, but I'm also familiar with the game's mechanics, and have been for over a decade. 

I know that trading is one of the only ways you're going to improve your character in the Diablo universe, and the AH (gold or money) was the next evolution.  During Diablo 2, gold was absolutely useless.  You were then left with farming up chips or Pgems, or items to trade for Pgems, or trading for SOJs (Stones of Jordan, heavily duped), and then later high runes.  If you wanted to trade, you were then stuck for hours spamming chat channels hoping for a buyer to appear, or waiting in a trade game, or reaching out to the community via forums.  The AH makes it very convenient to put buyer and seller together, without demanding hundreds of unproductive hours on the part of the players.

Now, if you're talking about an MMO, where loot properties are usually fixed, and retaining them only requires a group that is capable of killing a boss, and who has a guaranteed loot table and very predictive odds of dropping an item - then this comment is very apt.  Having spent weeks trying to get certain drops off bosses (and get the kill) it feels really good to acquire the piece, rather than just toss some coin to a bleeding edge guild who can walk you through the entire fight.  But Diablo is NOT an MMO.  It's an Action RPG.  Specific loot is not guaranteed. 

Alternatively, maybe he was actually talking about the business of RMT in general being handled by them?  Blizzard's entry into it was definitely precedent setting.  They were merely trying to protect the playerbase by preventing third party sites from possibly hacking accounts.  Of course, this was a strawman argument, most sites retained no entry to your account, they merely delivered items to you in-game or by a mule account.  Sure they could send a trojan in emails, but those were very rare cases.  If anything, most people familiar with account hacking that occurred during D2 got their viruses almost entirely by the number of hacks that were available on the internet.  That's right, people would install them along with the hacks that Blizzard aggressively cracked down on during the first 5 years of the game.  /snicker  Now, credit card fraud, that's another matter entirely.  That was very, very rampant and it's good they chose to protect the banks.

Another interpretation - for a newer player, getting the best possible gear at this stage of the game means you're fighting an uphill battle, or you're going to have to dip into your personal bank account.  It's very, very difficult to collect millions of gold in the game on your own.  And by millions, I mean hundreds of millions, lest you be stuck with an MP0-2 budget character for a very long time.  I know this would not feel good - having to buy your way purely because you're not very good at the economic aspect of the game. 

The answer to this problem was to control inflation, which the wizards of Blizzard did a fine job.  What are we at now?  50 million for an item that was 1 million 8 months ago?  I heard through someone running bots that he hasn't seen a ban in months, and he's running multiple accounts almost 24 hours a day, every day.  Why?  Like the RMAH, there's no reason not to.  This simply fuels the exponential inflation, and definitely hurts the legit new players.  Who's fault is this?  Someone wake up the crack team of anti-hack security professionals that bust their butt everyday, make sure their eyes aren't painted on.  Ironically, this article came about 2-3 weeks prior to the last massive bot ban they had.  Maybe the team had their future freed up for them after the job was done.

And finally, maybe he meant they should guarantee loot in the future?  If they went the MMO route, they'd destroy the game's legacy of RNG and enraging players for hundreds of hours of frustrating play.  Guess what?  Diablo was always this way.  Did you even play the franchise?  Maybe the complete randomization of loot (class specific legendary gear having not-that-class mods on it, what in the hell were you thinking) is more of an annoyance and issue and what he meant. 

If you're a D2 player and I tell you I have an Occy, TGods, and Eaglehorn, you pretty well know what I have as the mods hardly vary on those.  190 Eth Titans, 8/8 Gaze, 148 UNID Stormshield and 141 Shako, or even a 390 Eth BOTD, you know that I'm carrying some highly desirable items.  Now take a look at any one of the new legendaries and set items in D3 - every single mod on them is usually within a range of variance.  So if I tell you I have an Echoing Fury, the odds of it meeting expectations or your needs, or coming even near them are very, very remote.  Only specific mods are desired or else the item is trash.  Further, it requires the average player to have to completely understand the mechanics that are best for them, rather than build around cookie cutter pieces to enjoy the game.  While this isn't too bad a thing, it is frustrating for your average player.  And average players are the market for trading or buying items via the RMAH/GAH.

But why would you feel the need to remove the feature, much less make that comment?  If you removed the Auction House, there's an army of third party sites waiting to start selling the best possible items and lots and lots of in-game gold.  Mark my words, the second the lights go out in the RMAH, it will take less than 24 hours before you start seeing game spam for items, dupe techniques will be heavily sought after and exploited by them, and Blizzard will be highly successful at accomplishing almost nothing (yet again) to counter it.  Further, this is the world you would be in today had you never implemented the AH to begin with.  The players that decried the AH before will then proceed to scream about the additional spam, account thefts, and other shenanigans the sites develop all in the name of chasing the almighty pixelated dollar. 

Count on it.  It's a no win situation.  At least Blizz has some control, right?


For me, I like Diablo 3.  I invested several hundred hours of play time before I left last summer sadly.  I knew it wasn't going to be Diablo 2 with better graphics since I played the beta, but I still wanted to see it succeed.  Lately I've returned to the game and am working my Paragon levels, and to be honest, the game is way more fun than when I left it last year.  Something they definitely did do correctly was make the game more interesting, add a little more depth, and match the end game to your equipment and allow you to potentially locate good pieces rather than require specific gear to proceed.  For example, I'm no longer being one shot by certain mobs just because I'm melee and didn't have 50,000 hit points or the armor requirements.  If I want to improve my character, it will take a while, or I can visit my friendly neighborhood auction house and improve the performance of my character that way.  Of course I don't mind twinking, I'm not that hardcore a purist.

Thanks for stopping in!

Monday, April 1, 2013

It's Their Community, Not The Community

This last week Twitter users got to see a battle royale, and frankly I stayed out of it even though it was right up my alley.  Instead I chose to take it to my blog, where I can have my say in more than 140 characters, because god knows I need more than 14000.

Cold and Rez took off on it on their podcast, and they nailed it.  The discussion is at exactly 1 hour in.

So without further ado, and more fuel for people to find a reason to hate me...

What Irks Me

Consider me irked.

The following question makes me wince whenever it gets asked:  What difference does it make to you what some other person is doing?  Frankly, it makes a lot of difference.  People mind too much of their own business today while allowing bad public behavior to surround them and passively allow themselves to be influenced by that group.  Doing nothing, or saying nothing, is tantamount to agreeing with the behavior.  Sure people will disagree with you for saying something, but I'm not writing this blog to attract anyone, in fact I started it on a dare.  Point being, stand up for what you believe in and to hell with the consequences.  You won't please everyone with your opinions.

Imagine if you're a new player, or an existing player wanting to know more.  You go to Google or Bing, and query "How to make gold in warcraft".  You're hit immediately with paid for guides, some websites, and other SEO positioned sites out there.  Worse, you end up getting pitched ads for gold buying.  So the people go visit these sites, and after about 30 minutes of trying to get a straight answer they end up buying some lame guide or being talked into buying something, or they just flat out buy the gold.  Now, someone like me has an ad-free blog dedicated to the finer and higher points of making gold, and I have nothing to sell, except for the occasional "why the following people are all D-Bags" rants where I attempt to convince you to STOP paying attention to these people. Before long, this new guy/gal is going to be completely turned off because they start seeing "insert credit card here" signs everywhere, and realize that this entire "community" is loaded with hustling assholes.  As a member of the upper echelon in the gold grind, I want to be known as an asshole for other reasons, not that I'm just another jerk out to hock a book or sell gold.

Meanwhile, they attempt to mask themselves as a fine and upstanding member of "the community".  Even more amusing, they reference "the community" all the time, mostly when they're trying to curry some favor.  These people aren't community members, they're on par with cult leaders, dirty politicians, and snake oil salesmen who will come to you as your friend, and then ask for money.  Or to sign up for something.  Or to sell some soap for them so they don't have to work for a living and can sit at the house watching shows.  Or convince you to send them to Blizzcon, sign up for their sites to get more information, buy a guide, or tell all your friends to watch their streams via social media contact managers.  It's "Their" community, not ours.

Here we go with my list - Why these sites are so wrong
* It gives all of us a bad reputation that attempt to help those trying to find their way
* People who run these sites are in it purely for the money, and not the love of the passtime.  Money isn't bad, but it is very corrupting.
* It's an online demonstration of a waste of valuable resources (cash, time)
* They copy from the larger sites, and then they present the information as their own, even in reworded format
* The people who follow them are enablers of bad behavior because they give them money and feed the problem
* They are cult like and creepy, almost like a televangelist putting on a TV show where you phone in your pledge to send them and their mistress on his new yacht to the Bahamas
* They are generally dedicated to the financial efforts of one individual and not the collective
* They tend to engage in shunning or censorship, placing themselves on a pedestal as the better person and disparaging the community that doesn't subscribe or agree with them
* Eventually they will abuse their community, soliciting them for more "donations" or purchases for personal gain, or organized fund raisers for personal gain

My desire is to protect the vulnerable, weak and uninformed from these predators, and ultimately to see them run straight out of the legitimate gold making community on a rail.  These people are NOT a part of the community, they are Gold Bleggars owning and operating their community.

Everytime I open random blogs anymore, or hear about streams, I feel like I'm seeing a guy on the corner with a sign.  A sign not unlike....

You can laugh at my handwriting now.

What's a Bleggar?  Well it's not a term I came up with, although I did Google it before proclaiming superman status.  Basically, it's any blog formed to beg for money through "donations", and the term has been around for years.  Gold Bleggars... I'm gonna see if this passes muster so let's coin it now.  Of all the different types of blogs out there, it's far more prevalent in the WoW "community" than any other.

If you're running a blog, you do it for fun or a hobby.  You get the opportunity to add in AdSense, which will pay you a few coins a week to display ads.  Now, Daily Puppy, that's all me, and to date I think I'm the only gold related blog with pictures of cute puppies on a daily basis, but that's me, I'm a big fan of animals.  But that's not an ad and I make nothing for it.  Further, Blogger is free, so I donate my time to the actual community, as it should be.  Much like Warcraft, it's a diversion.

Paypal links, Amazon links, Cafepress, Pay-for Gold Guides, Raffles, etc, wouldn't you say that goes a bit further than donating your time?  Are you doing this for a hobby or an income?  At this point, I would bet you are doing the latter.  Never in the history of Gold Blegging have you ever seen a charitable act.  If you find one, please link it to me.

The next phase is quitting your job or dropping out of school to do it full time, and now we have a problem.  This means within no time you'll be sponging off people and coming up with bizarre schemes to bring in more money at your first opportunity.  Worse, you will exploit your cadre of numbskulls to pay for stupid shit you want.  "Send me to Blizzcon" comes to mind (Elvine and others, seriously).  Asking your readers to give you money to buy software or hardware.  Shameless promotion of your crap will soon invade Reddit, Twitter, Facebook, Blogger, RSS Feeds, Twitch, and even the other blogs.  All while proclaiming "I'm a longstanding upstanding crusader of the community and everyone else just wants to cause drama".

Nev had a wonderful first rant.  I wouldn't call her post a rant, I would call it a precise observation.  There's no reason for her to have any regrets, because I swear she's on my side.  I believe 110% that what I do in the "community" is provide my wit and insight and how to make extreme amounts of gold without spending large amounts of time.  For this, I ask you to maybe consider donating to my favorite charity which I actually contribute to myself in time and cold hard cash.  So I've got a double edged sword here, I promote positive income gold making philosophies for you, and I also want people to be aware that there are doggies and kitties that need loving homes and there are organizations EVERYWHERE that need funds.  I don't require it, and I'm not throwing it in your face, it's in my passion page which few really even open.  Nev promoted breast cancer awareness, and she's pointing out the needs of Richard Harlow, and her site is very much like mine - completely non-monetized because we love doing it for fun.  Even though some of you probably hate me because I call it like I see it and like to throw nukes across the blogosphere, I would expect that you would agree that cats and dogs, breast cancer, and possibly restoring another human being's sight is a far better endeavor to throw your hard earned money at than to throw dollar bills to the panhandlers of the internet.  Am I right?

Everything many of them do from Facebook, Twitter, Twitch, to Reddit and Blogger is dedicated to gathering a flock to follow them.

1) Establish a presence
2) Establish a big following
3) Establish a position of "authority"
4) Encourage others to share your site with friends
5) Link back everything to your site where they can give you cash

What's disgusting to me is that they are laser focused on profiting off the ignorance of others rather than be a part of the community as a whole, while dismissing their critics as trying to beat up on their friendly neighborhood Gold Blegging hobo.  I'm a long-time member of The Consortium, which was started with the mission of being ad-free and non-profit.  It is still non-profit, as the traffic on that site (and Sterling has shown us the bills) is insane.  Everything there is meant to be able to sustain the on-going efforts.  The site however is a real community.  I've never gotten 1 penny for my efforts on the site, nor do I want one.  The others like me don't ask for any compensation, either.  We're sharing our ideas with the community at large because it is fun for us, and we like to see others develop.  Those that assist in the funding of the site get more access to more things, which is a nice tradeoff - the site gets to stay up and they get additional assistance, because without them the site would disappear.  This is a community, and I assure you that after the breakup of JMTC, the people in charge of this site are nowhere near interested in your cash, only promoting the best possible habits and organizing the best possible talent in a family friendly environment that walks a person completely through all of the various processes.

Many of you probably think I'm beating the flux gong again.  Not the case, he's really not the only one I'm talking about, in fact I've seen him as less chaotic evil anymore in comparison to the opportunities that others have explored.  I do like Jim Younkin in one big respect, so a tip of the hat here.  He is far and away better than his competitors for one reason:  He OPENLY tells you he's in it for profit.  He has metatags on the site: Monetization.  This points you to his efforts, and he doesn't cover up the fact he's trying to make money.  He sort of reminds me of the guy of founded Craigslist - peace, love, and always for profit.  While I roasted his ass as the first order of business and STILL disagree with his tactics and that he's trying to profit off the largest playerbase in the world, at least he's not pulling a fast one and it's firmly understood that the tin can is out.  While he went off on some goofy rant against yours truly last month without naming me and while calling himself the better person, we all know that fell on deaf ears, except for his disciples, so don't think I've changed my mind.  I told one of his competitors who was all happy about my roast of him, don't hate the man, hate the tactics, never make it personal.

I know these guys won't clean up their act.  All of them are incorrigible, because once you've tasted the sweet nectar of money off the foolish, it's a really hard addiction to break.  The only answer to it is for people not to pay attention.  And Gold Bleggars, please get a job.  I hold down two, want one?

Jay Wilson's 15 Minutes Live On

I loved this IGN article regarding the hindsight of Diablo 3.  In a nutshell:  Something about the RMAH was not implemented properly, and Blizzard should remove it, but they won't.

I'm going to go more into this later in the week, I wrote something on it but I'm not happy with it.  For the time being, I just felt it was the laugh of the week.

Margin Call - Week of March 24th

I took the week off from actually playing Warcraft, and will probably continue to do so for the time being.  I didn't take the week off from printing gold however.  I spent my week playing around in Diablo 3 of all things.  Friends of mine helped me out, and brought me back up to speed as to what's going on in the game.  I know for a fact however I'll probably never locate an item I can actually use in the game, but I enjoy other facets of the game more.

Sometime here I'm going to review buying in bulk.  I think you guys and gals should know how I do it.  I was afk smashing demons yet still managed to part with 215k in mat purchases.  Honestly, I reinvested a ton into the Sha Crystal market, so don't get too impressed.  I'll probably have that gold back by tomorrow or Wednesday.

It's nice when you have a system in place that completely allows you to spend a few minutes at the AH per day, pull terrific numbers, and go do something else.  This also needs reviewed sometime, too.  Lots of post ideas as I wind it down.

Also, 1 day left on the poll here, if it's not closed already.  At the moment, I'm not surprised by the current results.  Little backstory on this poll - I was chatting with Bart39 (one of the TSM devs) and one thing led to another, and I guess I sort of said, "well we'll see about that".  I'm about to eat my words I think.  Help Bart along and vote in the poll, just to give him something to rib me about later.