As I’m sure you are all aware, dear reader, Blizzcon was last weekend which means we MMO types were inundated with news about World of Warcraft’s latest expansion, Warlords of Draenor. Tomorrow’s podcast is talking about everything that was announced, from MOBAs to new character designs, so let me now focus on a tiny part of all the news.
(If you prefer watching an unedited podcast, it’s up now here!)
(Oh, and if you are looking for non-Liore Blizzcon commentary, I really liked Green Armadillo’s thoughts on the whole thing.)
As I wrote in various pre-Blizzcon comments around the internet I was seriously hoping for a profession revamp announcement but instead what we got was.. profession nerfs, I guess.
There were two pieces of news that affect professions and I suspect the economy in general:
1) The need for enchants and gems on gear will be reduced considerably, with more recipes for enchanters and jewelcrafters but fewer opportunities to use them.
2) Garrisons, aka The Big Farm, will let players craft items “even in professions they haven’t trained”.
Enchanting and Jewelcrafting are the big moneymakers for crafters at the moment for obvious reasons. And while I dig that Blizzard wants to simplify getting new gear without having to go through the “I can wear this as soon as I gem, enchant, and reforce” dance, the changes to enchants in particular were delivered with what I I felt was a slightly smug, hand-wavey “we’ll figure out some way to make it up to enchanters later” aside.
(And don’t forget that these changes will trickle down to other professions and gold-makers too. Transmute mastery will be less profitable for alchemists who make raw gems, and even auction house flippers will see a slower market for gems and enchants and therefore less opportunity for profit.)
So okay, this sucks a bit for crafters and gold-makers, but changes happen. Then we get the announcement that Garrisons will let players eventually obtain items outside of their actual chosen professions. To be specific, Garrison NPCs can run missions that return both Garrison-specific crafting items and existing materials. Blizzard’s official page on Garrisons gives an example: “[i]f you assign a follower to a mining mission, you could receive ore…”.
Bah, humbug! Obviously much is up in the air as to exactly what Garrison minions will gather and in what quantity, but in general I dislike this idea a lot. Not only does it deal yet another blow to gold-making, but it also further dismantles one of the last remaining useful aspects of professions, which is inter-dependency.
(This exists in some form now through the ore, cloth, etc. seeds at the farm, but the Garrison expands on the idea and makes it even easier.)
In short, I feel like I got the opposite of what I was hoping for — instead of a profession overhaul or at least buff, they’ve been weakened further, making crafting less useful and less economically viable. I’m sure things will change over the coming months, but for now it seems like the crafting economy will be taking a few big hits in Warlords of Draenor.
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I wrote a while back about WoW mods and how they haven’t changed a whole lot in the last two years. It turns out I was slightly wrong in my conclusion because man, Auction House mods seem light years ahead of where they were back in my day.
Right now if you want to do any kind of bulk buying and selling the mod of choice seems to be TradeSkillMaster. TSM was just starting to catch on a couple of years ago, and since then it has gone through a complete operational overhaul. While it’s incredibly powerful and flexible, it is also almost totally inscrutable at first.
Also, since I last seriously played WoW it seems that AH data feeds, both official and otherwise, have vastly improved. In the old days to update my price data I would have to log on, hit the “Full Scan” button, and then go get a cup of tea or something for the next 10 minutes.
Nowadays there’s a TSM desktop app that just sits in your system tray and downloads Blizzard data and Wowuction regional data every 30 minutes or something, so every time you log in you know your price histories are up to date. Snazzy!
Anyway, all this is just a really long intro to saying that I spent literally several hours this past weekend trying to get TSM set up for crafting and flipping. (I love flipping. Bottom-feeders of the WoW economy, unite!) I figured I would help other people save time, so I made a video guide on getting TSM set up for basic flipping in under 5 minutes:
It’s a lot easier to explain in video format, but here’s a brief overview:
- After installing TSM, log on to every character who has tradeskills and open the skill windows.
- Open TSM and look at the Operations tab. Click on “Auctioning”. Here you can set your auction settings, in particular the price. TSM has some pretty serious price calculations. Type “/tsm sources” in chat to see some of your options.
- Click on the “Shopping” label in the Operations tab. Use the same kind of price calculations to set requirements for auctions you’d like to buy.
- Click on the “Groups” tab. In the menu on the left, set the “Auction” and “Shopping” operations to the ones you just created. Close TSM.
- Open the Auction House. Use the “Shopping” and “Auctions” tab to do a Post Scan (posting your stuff) or a Buy Scan (um, buying your stuff).
- Rejoice that it did not take you 3 hours to figure that out.
One of my absolute favorite things to do in MMOs is play the economy, whether it’s becoming a crafting baron or “daytrading” my way up the ladder. After switching servers in WoW recently I found myself with a dwindling gold reserve and less than profitable professions, so I decided to make cash from doing my dailies every da– ha ha ha. Just kidding. Clearly it was time to get back in the AH scene, but how to get started again with awkward professions and limited liquidity?
In my experience each MMO has its own quirky economy with its own profitable niches, and World of Warcraft near the end of an expansion is a great time to try flipping goods. Everyone is flush and impatient, ready to drop serious gold to save time leveling a new profession or gearing up an alt. This spendthrift attitude often reaches new heights shortly after a patch when gear appears on badge and honor vendors as well as in a new raid instance, heroic, and Arena season. This time around, Patch 4.3 also includes the Looking for Raid finder and Transmogrification.
A bunch of new gear for players, of course, means a sudden demand for scrolls, leg enchants, gems, belt buckles, and possibly even glyphs. If you are a jewelcrafter or enchanter, you should be stockpiling your goods right now in a big way. If you don’t have those particular professions, think about what little things you can make and save for future armor buffs, like raw Inferno Rubies or Dreamcloth or scopes.
This is also a great time to buy and save ingredients for enhancements that you yourself cannot make. Personally, I have been focusing on elementals — they’re relatively inexpensive and they stack well. Figure out what the average price is, either through tracking it yourself or using an auction mod (I like TradeSkillMaster) or checking an AH monitoring site, and buy everything that shows up below it. Don’t forget to check for completed enhancements too: I managed to snag a stack of cheap belt buckles which I plan to flip for twice the price in a few weeks. If nothing else, run lots of non-troll heroics and disenchant everything for a shard and dust stash.
As with many aspects of MMOs, the biggest indicator of success in playing the economny is time. How much can you put into it? You can make a lot of money by having an iron grip on a certain product, for example, but it requires a lot of time camping the AH watching over your domain. Every minute of research you put into your craft or market will pay off in an increased ability to spot deals and make quick, profitable decisions. I’m not saying you need to spend all your free time shuffling glyphs around, but understand that if you only put 10 minutes each week into crafting and listing, you will probably receive 10 minutes worth of gold. (And that could be enough for you!)
It’s sort of ironic that I enjoy the economic side of MMOs so much, because in real life I am somewhat known for being a filthy socialist who loves to hate the free market. In a game, though, I am more than happy to capitalize on the stupidity of others for my own profit. I’ve negotiated direct buying partnerships before with shady herb farmers and miners who never log off, because it is a cheap and easy source of raw material. I’ve identified weak markets and set up price walls to slowly push out the small crafter.
In MMOs… I am the the 1%. And I’ll be seeing you all in the Auction House in 4.3. :)
I don’t know if y’all have had a chance to look at flasks on the auction house yet, but raiding is EXPENSIVE now. Repairs are pricey for all armor classes, flasks are still 200g each, and don’t even get me started on the price of enchants. I think that like us most semi-serious guilds are covering a lot of the cost, but raiding is still an expensive proposition at the moment.
Fortunately the Cataclysm profession markets are still full of quick ways to make gold! The prices of matierials are dropping and it’s a great time to take advantage of the high prices for most crafted goods. I have a whole assembly line of alts and an army of addons to help me find the best deals, but that’s not entirely necessary. In fact, it’s relatively easy to craft and cover your raiding costs each week with minimal time and effort.
There is one thing in common with all professions: for the most profit, buy inexpensive mats. (Or farm, but I hate farming.) You can use a mod like Auctioneer’s snatch list to do this, but it’s not necessary. Just identify the handful of ingredients you need for your recipe of choice and check the auction house before logging off each day. If you see any of your materials up for lower than the usual price, buy them. Personally I tend to buy and store materials all week and then worry about crafting when I have more time on the weekend.
So, let’s make some money!
Alchemy: Alchemy has been a bit of a dog in the past for making money, but it’s become extremely profitable in Cataclysm. The absolutely easiest way to make some cash is the Living Elements transmute: buy 15 Volatile Life for ~6g each, go to Uldum and transmute them to Volatile Air, sell the Airs for ~40g each. (This is an even better proposition with Transmute Mastery!) Bam, 350+ gold a day.
Blacksmithing: Two words: belt buckles. Well, okay, five words: belt buckles and shield spikes. Farm the mats or buy them for cheap, sell both items for ~450g each. Dance.
Enchanting: Enchanting is always the last professions to see a price drop in materials. Heck, Maelstrom Crystals are still going for 2000g on my server! If you happen to have any pre-Cataclysm rare enchants you should clearly be selling those. Otherwise, enchanters have to get a little clever! Try doing a search on the AH for Uncommon items level 80-85. Buy anything under 20g, disenchant, sell results. At the moment you’ll gross 30-50g per item, which means that you’re probably not going to get rich but you’ll be able to cover your raid costs.
Engineering: If your other profession is a gathering one, the easiest way for engineers to make gold is of course through their electrostatic condenser. (And it’s being buffed in the next patch!) Free Volatile Airs? Okay! Without that option, your best bet is to make pets. Pick two of the new Cataclysm recipes, buy the mats when they are cheap, and list the pets for a couple thousand each.
Inscription: Unlike other professions that can focus on one of their new Cataclysm recipes, Inscriptionists should look to the past. Glyphs made with Lion’s Ink and Jadefire Ink sell at a steady pace and are very inexpensive to make. Keep an eye on Fadeleaf, Khadgar’s Whisper, and Kingsblood on the Auction House. If you are feeling particularly aggressive you can use a mod (I use Auction Profit Master) or a site like WowPopular to figure out which glyphs to make, or just start at the top of the list and make one of everything. I recommend listing glyphs for 12-hour periods so your prices are always relatively fresh.
Jewelcrafting: I almost don’t have to write this bit, as Jewelcrafting is already a gold grab. Do dailies, prospect Elementium, buy recipes, cut gems. Profit! I’ll give you a good tip though: save your uncommon gems for days when they are the JC daily ingredient, and then post ‘em up at 50-100g each. This trick works best if you’re one of those people who log on before leaving the house in the morning.
Leatherworking: Leg armor! Take a look at your server’s auction house and see which of the new epic leg armors have the best prices. These epic pattern are taught by the profession vendors in Twilight Highlands after you open your faction’s major city. The leg enchants are expensive to make, but they currently sell for about a thousand gold on my server. Sell two of these each week and you’ve covered your raiding costs!
Tailoring: Much like Leatherworking, leg enchants are the way to go here. Get the recipe for the Powerful Enchanted Spellthread if nothing else. Again, these sell for about a thousand gold each on my server, so even with the expensive mats you’ll still double your investment.
One caveat: check your auction house before investing in any of these ideas. Something that makes money on my server might be oversaturated on yours!
So I’ve found myself somewhat adrift in-game until December 7th. I made a pretty concerted effort to tie up any loose ends before last week, as I wasn’t sure exactly what would disappear and what would remain in Azeroth Version 4.03a. My alts are leveled to 80, I’ve finished up most of the Northrend and old Azeroth achievements I wanted, and I am trying to resist playing my future new bear druid until her efforts will count towards guild leveling.
Instead I have gone back to my old friend the Auction House. I am kind of a nut for systems and charts and numbers (before WoW I was a shark on the Hollywood Stock Exchange), plus it’s pretty much the only way to make gold that I find palatable. Dailies are tedious, farming is even worse, and while I would like to become one of those players with an efficient crafting assembly line across characters now is not the time. Instead I am trying to stick with what I enjoy, which is buying low and selling high.
In that spirit I decided to buy a month of the Remote Auction House services. It’s $3 for 30 days, and you can use it though the Armory web interface or as an app on your phone (iPhone or Android).
I was quite surprised by the array of functionality available to remote players. I expected to be able to check my sales, of course, but there are also very clear and easy ways to relist items, check your mail, bid again when outbid, and conduct price checks. You can even relist items directly from your mailbox, which isn’t even possible in-game. In conjunction with a basic understanding of the markets and some research tools I can make sure some of my enchants are the lowest priced or respond quickly to a weird afternoon pricing bubble on Illusion Dust.
Plus, I’m not going to lie: I feel like a bit of a big shot, sitting at my desk in the middle of the day looking at supply graphs and pounding the “SELL” button on my phone. I just need a stogy in the corner of my mouth and a secretary to demean and I would be set. I mean sure, all this AH stuff is going to get me fired eventually, but I can always pay my rent in gold and Enchanted Brooms right? Right?!
Thank goodness for level 85 next week, is all I’m sayin’.
Note: There has been a change since I wrote this this morning. See it here.
This weekend I tried to wrap up all my old Azeroth and Northrend tasks. I finished grinding Wintersaber Trainer rep, ran ZG one last time, and made Netherweave Bags to sell to the new class/race combo rerollers. I also looked at my achievements and noticed all the incomplete gold-based ones. I had a pretty good stockpile of gold on my AH alt from flipping things earlier this year, but I was loathe to spend it. It was the last weekend before The Shattering, though, and I’m awfully close to 9000 achievement points, and what’s the point of having gold if you don’t spend it…
And so I did. I got a Dalaran ring and both passenger mammoths and a Harris Pilton bag. It was a pretty crazy spending spree, and a lot of fun. I bankrolled it with my AH alt on the same account, who just mailed a pile of gold off at the start.
This morning, I’m a suspended player.
I’m kind of going back and forth on this one in my head.
On the one hand, and almost ironic at this point, I hate gold sellers and buyers. In my opinion it’s not only against the Terms and Conditions of WoW to buy gold, it’s also tacky and kind of cheating. And gold sellers — they spam us in-game, steal people’s accounts, liquidate guild banks that they don’t own. They’re basically huge jerks. I am very supportive of Blizz bringing down the hammer on these guys in a big way, and sometimes you gotta break a few eggs to make an omlette.
On the other hand, I mailed 15,000g from the guild vault of one character to another character on the same account. Now sure, 15k gold is a pretty solid amount (although not huge in this era of AH moguls) but why is this unacceptable behavior? Between accounts, sure, but gold transfer on the SAME account? Where is the limit? Can I send myself 10k gold for purchases? 5k? At what point does spending my account’s gold become the target of security measures? My bank character is level 10 and even a cursory glance at her history would show that I collected my gold over the period of months of auctions.
So now it looks like I’m going to miss the last night of Old Azeroth as well as The Shattering tomorrow. I won’t finish my Dire Maul achievement. I won’t be able to put those Netherweave Bags on the AH nice and early. I’m pretty bummed out.
White collar crime doesn’t pay, kids, apparently whether you did it or not.
Well this was unexpected! I spoke on the phone with Blizzard, and apparently early this morning my account was hacked and someone changed my password. Blizz locked down the account within 10 minutes of the password being changed. I very much commend them for being quick.
I feel a little violated now in a weird digital way, and confused. Security is important to me, which is why I have:
- An authenticator (physical one on my keychain)
- Up-to-date and active antivirus software
- An alphanumeric password that I don’t use anywhere else
- Chrome with the NoScript extension
How did someone get past all that to change my password? :( So yay, I am not a gold buyer, but boo some ass tried to get his greasy paws on Liore and all my Azerothian possessions. WITH an authenticator active. I’m not sure this is any better, although I’m sorry for yelling at Blizz for being stupid earlier.