Monday, November 25, 2013

Why grind it if you won't spend it?

One of the interesting things about 5.4 is that the brakes were sort of hit when it came to just making truckloads of gold on a daily basis off the staple markets.  That is if it's me and my overpopulated server where everyone is doing the basic markets.  I know lots of you are still getting great numbers on gems and enchants, which are staple products for most AH farms.  I have characters on other servers, and yes, 200g for a gem makes my mouth water.  Amusingly, my staple products (non-gems, non-enchants, non-glyphs) are still selling quite well.  But reality is, the more populated your server the more downward pressure there is on pricing of most everything. 

This is not an unusual phenomenon, since in the real world, whenever there is a free market that is also free of price fixing (cartels conspiring to keep prices at an artificial level), you will always see a race to the bottom as people try to make their products as cheap as possible.  Eventually, the raw material suppliers determine the price of goods as VARs (Value Added Resellers) take a smaller and smaller cut off the top.  This is where certain traders I know take over the entire AH's supply, making the AH their personal guild bank because the money is better in volume than in one time sales.

Are you unfamiliar with who you are in this situation?  If you're buying ores/herbs/cloths/reagents, the seller of those products is the material supplier.  You are nothing more than a VAR.  Ultimately the only value you are adding is your time converting those products into end goods.  The more you control the channel in this situation, the better your profits will look.  You are merely trading your time to do it, so it's not free. 

I tend to command a minimum of 50% ROI on a finished product before I'll make it, and 20% for products that are a bit exceptional.  The reason is I'm a Power-VAR, I buy so much in raw materials on a daily basis that my time is best spent only working with those products that will net me the highest possible return (on the day), rather than just take the shotgun approach and make every flipping thing TSM says to make.  Again, I still use my spreadsheet over anything TSM or Auctionator says, I utilize fixed costs so I can keep from selling myself broke and running out of materials and hitting a dry streak and it enables me to do some very interesting calculations you won't find in your local addons.  For example, I hit a dry spell here on well priced cloth.  It took me a week to get back into the market because demand was higher than my supply.  I sold everything at standard margins but costs rose while mat supply was down, so I found myself not making anything in one market until I could rebuild an inventory.  Right now I'm overstocked in that same market, but you have to make hay while the sun shines so to speak.

So for all of you people who are playing on soon to be fused realms, this is the economic phenomenon you need to become familiar with.  Right now on the low/med population realms, you have people running sheer monopolies, or competing with only 1-2 people daily.  People on these realms talk about "friending" competitors.  That doesn't happen over here, I'd run out of slots in just one category.  If they fuse them right, you'll see prices drop because there's more supply, more people will be interested in farming when there's not just one guy buying all the ores, and you'll need to track the other stuff just like me.

And as they fuse servers, guess what probably will start cropping up on your otherwise dead server?  A better way to spend those millions and not at the BMAH.

I know you have millions laying around, but...

This drives me nuts, but much like the pandapeople ask "Why do we fight?" every person who grinds gold needs to ask "Why do we grind?"

It comes down to:
1) To be Scrooge McDuck/Walter White and count it up so you can leave it to your heirs who will be ungrateful and spend it for you, or to let it rot.
2) To play the meta game and play Gordon Gecko, spending it on lavish things that you want and others can only dream of having
3) Security, having enough to do what you want in the game
4) To fund the efforts of everyone else because you are the only one in the guild who has an IQ above 'talking monkey' and can push Craft Next and Post Auctions in rapid succession better than them (also making you the white knight and everyone in the guild beholden to you!)
5) Nefarious reasons
6) To buy the services of others, giving you purchasing power.

I like #2 and #6, and it's really the reason I grind.  Let's go with that.

If you're me, the idea of not spending your in-game gold is ridiculous.  I'm always on the lookout for new gold dumps.  I hit the 1 million mark at the conclusion of Wrath, and since that time have made and spent millions on both worthy and frivolous things.  I have to say that spending gold is far more fun to me (I get a bigger thrill out of spending 300k than seeing a 50k auction sell).  You see the fruits of your labor pay off.  It brings a smile to my face when I'm rolling around in something new.  Just like real life, it's nice to save money, but even more fun to have the excess to do something fun.  I could wax about how you can't take it with you, but I won't.

I have spent several weeks waiting my turn to go into a GDKP run hosted by my server's top guilds.  I know I'm normally critical of high end raiders for not hiring me as their financial adviser but I got my vindication.  I got to go in and have my way with the loot and the competition, and it was yummy.

GDKP runs, for those who have been under a rock since about Wrath, are simple:

* Top players want your gold and invite you to spend it on gear, mounts, and achievements in current or recent content while raiding with them.  The money spent goes into a pot and the pot is split at the end.  Everyone wins. *

The GDKP runs use gold as your currency.  Not loot rolls, no MS>OS bullshit, not attendance, nothing more than the coin in your pocket determines if you are entitled to that gear.  That's the fairest and most capitalistic system in the history of MMO gaming, and the Koreans were the ones who started it way back when and it took a long time to really catch on in the US servers.

They are mostly meant for gearing up alts, or retaining certain items you can't normally get like Heroic pieces or mounts.  Conversely, if you don't regularly raid or are having problems getting into an adequate guild because of gear (and don't feel like wiping on Immerseus with the (Raid With Friends) guild), this is your golden ticket.  There's nothing wrong with raiding the AH weekly and then getting the stuff you want in one night.

For someone like me, the feeling I get in runs like this is sort of akin to hitting the lottery and heading to the nearby Ferrari dealership - "Hell, I can't decide!  I'll take one of each!"  And you get all the red carpet treatment, especially from the otherwise pompous salesman who will gladly arrange to carry your wallet to the management office.

I can live out my lootwhoring fantasy because I'm richer than 99.999% of other players and gold to me is at a point of being pointless because I have so much sitting idle - and I am WILLING to spend it.  I'm a GDKP RL's dream customer.  And yes, I said it, I'm part of the 0.001%.  Now get those protesters off my lawn.  You too, cute Night Elf, I know you're really a dude.

In the past few months I've dropped a million (easy) on battle pets.  I bought some stupid mounts I didn't feel like grinding out off the BMAH (I don't even use the things... I like the Ashes that dropped for me on kill #3).  I have every TCG mount.  I now have 17x 90s all with their 310 flying and some nice gear, and I still have a warchest that will never spend itself in 10 more years of playing WoW.   I also have the capacity to replenish whatever I spend in a reset or two (maybe three, depending how bad I get).

It's mindblowing to me (see a previous post on Gold Cap and why it's full of shit) that people still think 250k or even a million is a lot of gold right now.  At this point, acquiring 100k is not too hard.  Getting to 1 million can take a little while and a friendly market, and getting to 10 million or more is merely a matter of time, patience, and being able to punch yourself in the head.  Note: I do not have the 10 million mark liquid, yes I suck, I know, I keep spending it.  But I'm saying, they throw the stuff at you.  If you do 25 dailies per day at 90, after 100 days you will have 100,000 gold.  Not even joking, there are people that do this.

I got to go last night, spend several hundred thousand, and walk out a better man for it.  It's been a while since I got to go hogwild in a GDKP run, but dammit I got up this morning feeling much better.  Sadly, not everything I wanted dropped.  Doesn't it suck?  Rich enough to buy all of Azeroth, but still not richer than the RNG gods.

GDKP Etiquette (From My Perspective)

I had a brief chat with the raid leader last night, and honestly, it appears people need a good talking to about how to act in these things.  If you're invited to attend a GDKP raid, to make it fun for the people running the show and to encourage them to continue the runs, you should always follow some basic rules.

* The run is not a free carry.  Unless you're in a top guild on your server or there to put up top 5 DPS and take a cut of the pie, your role here is to buy gear.  Not bidding or taking gear is an insult.  You won't be handed any gear that nobody wants, those become shards.

* The bankroll you state and show is on the table.  If you tell the raid leader you are bringing 250k/500k/1 million, you are expected to use it.  Further, you are expected to bid it.  Don't say "I am looking to spend 500k" and then bid 5k and stop.  That's just being a jerk. When you want something, man up and put up a bid.  Knock the others in the teeth with big, fat increments.  Own that gear.  Show off when it comes to bidding, the raid leaders will appreciate that and want you to come back again because they aren't here for their health, they're here for their wealth and they are watching you.

Example of how to bid (sorry, screenshots would be awesome here but meh):

Raid Leader:  [Piece of the Awesome Awesomeness], 10k minimum, this is BIS!
Raider 1:  10k
Raider 2: 11k
Raider 3: 13k!
Raider 4: 16k
Me:  50k
Raider 4:  Fuck, not getting that one I guess.
Raider 5: 51k
Me: 65k
Raider 5: Pass

Bam, just landed a BIS for 65k.  Did I overpay?  Hardly.  It's worth every copper to me because I don't care about gold.  A night's worth of AH sales gets me something that could take weeks of raiding and a possible spot in a regular run with a guild.  For sure, they may be getting you to bid more, but who cares?  If you have the problem where you might run out of money because someone bids you up, you don't really belong at that table in the first place, right?  Further, you could always stick them with it. 

* Realize that gold is just pixelated money.  It's not REAL.  To paraphrase Warren Beatty from Bugsy, "Who cares?  It's only dirty pixels, I'll make more".  Like professional gamblers, have a healthy disrespect for the value of gold.  If you're someone who says "that's too much gold", you're not doing this right and GDKP may not be up your alley.  Be known as the guy with too much gold and a psycho bidding style, you'll get invited back to get everything you want.  Remember, it's just a game, not like you have to go home with these people.

* If you can't afford to blow your gold like a champion, then you're in trouble.  Sure, you can make it like a champion, but can you spend it like one, too?  I take a percentage of my wealth to these things, and if you're bringing your entire net worth, you're playing scared.  It's very much like poker, and you have every right to buy the pot and bully the weak.  Trash bids are for wimps.  Who do you think the raid leaders cheer more?  Some coward that pulls back after 20k or the guy who opens everything they want at 50k?

* Play your class optimally or as optimally as you can.  Don't play like you just picked up the game and haven't read anything.  See "Not a Carry" above.  Don't make them kick you or cut your share for being a hindrance.  Being at least competitive with DPS is good, being consistently at the bottom with 80k is bad.

* If you are unfamiliar with a strat they are using or need to know your duties, ask.  Don't cause unnecessary wipes because repair bills for the leaders are not why they are there.  Have a good idea of the fight mechanics before going.

* Have Ventrillo or Mumble installed and join the server and channel you are asked to join.  Don't be that shy asshole who "wasn't in vent".  Along those lines, keep communication clear and concise.  Don't troll or spam vent.  Be respectful of the raid, these are people trying to provide a service, not babysit.

* Tears for losing gear are not appreciated by anyone.  Proclaiming that others are taking your gear is something best left for a PUG Master Looter MS>OS run.  Spamming winning bidders is also not a good idea unless it's a simple "grats".  I know if you piss me off in a run, you will never get another piece we both want.  You know the consolation prize waiting for these people?  "Sorry you aren't rich, bid more".

* Make certain that if you are on a wait list, that you follow up with the raid leaders.  Ask why you are sat.  Is it gold?  Experience level?  Class?  Role?  Are they gearing their alts so they can do more runs?  Update them with how much you are bringing and when you get your shot, hit the gas and leave a trail of fire in your wake.

* Do your best to get invited back or to better runs.  How do you do this?  Play well, bid well, take home gear.

Tip for the week-
"Gear is temporary, gold is forever if you know what you're doing, and pride is not just for Shas."

I hope to see you again sooner rather than later, things are rather busy around these parts between work and new content.  Hopefully we can discuss Blizzcon and what it means sometime, I have lots of things I saw there that I hated and liked, and we need to hammer them out before they patch this thing and release Warlords.

Thanks for stopping in!

- Zerohour


  1. Good article. I would love to know the amount of gold abandoned in accounts that are closed. I played SWTOR for a while and I amassed close to 1 million in the first 3 months selling ship parts. I subsequently closed that account a month later and never went back. Why did I do it? Because I could. Playing the AH in any MMO for me is typically more fun than playing the MMO itself, especially with the remote AH. I can make thousands a day from my smart phone by simply buying up items and reselling them without ever logging into the game. It's better than Bejeweled.
    When my friends played I used a lot of my gold to help my friends, My gold helped to buy 3-4 sets of heirlooms for my buddies who stopped playing..grrrrr! BUT, it felt good handing them 10,000 gold to watch their reactions. Why do I grind? So I can give it away.

  2. Yeah, grinding gold is pretty much what burned me out and made me quit playing. I made it to a million over the summer, but there's nothing to buy. My server is pretty much dead, the only thing that kept me going was the potential for merged realms, but mine is being avoided for now due to the vastly higher horde population. I tried to use my gold to help my guild, but they wanted to stay small and "casual". I gave them 50k to use for repairs but the rest of my over a million gold is just sitting there gathering dust until I decide to come back

  3. I have some very fond memories of gearing my Warrior tank in a series of Icecrown Citadel GDKP runs, back when I was first getting into actively playing the AH. I remember walking in there as a fresh 80, and when people started calling me out for being ridiculously undergeared, flashing the raid leader the forty-something thousand I had on my person to keep from being kicked.

    1. Yep, others in the raid are unfamiliar with the concept. I had a person screaming I was doing less dps than them (although I was doing 20k over Simcraft's numbers for the trash I had on) so I didn't deserve gear. The "deserve" part in GDKP, like I said, is who bids last. Raid leaders know this, that's why they'll blacklist the people bitching and be happy to help carry your bag of money throughout, provided you bid well/win.

  4. As a followup, I was invited back to the Heroic version of the run this evening. Well, half heroic. I scored a few nice pieces although nothing I wanted would drop. It's fun having the big bankroll to play with such nice people who get 10 stars for doing it right. People in the greater community would recognize many by name, too. Sort of like going to a pro-golfer camp, where you get to play a foursome with Jack Nicklaus and he drives the cart. While I'm a duffer and not at their level, I can hold my own most of the time, it's still tons of fun to have the experience. I hope many of you can eventually see the game from this perspective, it's just a ton of fun.

  5. Last week in my Survey of Economics class, I learned about the artificial prices. That's the only reason why I knew what you were really talking about in the first 4 paragraphs lol. It's like I'm just starting to understand what you're really writing about!

    Discussion Board: Week 2 - Chapter 3 Extending the Debate

    Should sugar be supported?

    The text discusses the sugar price floor. A loan program for sugar farmers creates the price floor. The program allows farmers to borrow money for production expenses from the Department of Agriculture. When a loan falls due, a farmer must repay it, plus interest—unless the price of sugar falls under 18 cents per pound. If that happens, the farmer can repay the loan, at the rate of 18 cents per pound, by turning sugar over to the Department of Agriculture.

    Use the following sources to research the loan program. List three arguments in favor of maintaining the program and three in favor of eliminating it, or reducing its scope. Finally, write your own conclusion regarding what should be done with the program, including references to the sources you used.


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