Thursday, 30 October 2008

Gold statistics need to be made private

Finding it hard to post these days, as I have mid-term exams in a week, but I thought I'd make a quick one. I did my first full run of Kara last night (despite having been level 70 for the better part of this year) and it turned out pretty good even though I lost my internet connection for 15 minutes. I got a couple drops and had a fun time with the guild I recently joined. I did think the chess event was a bit of a mess, but turning into little red riding hood was the highlight of my night. I also finally got to Exalted with the Thorium Brotherhood, and I would recommend you all avoid this faction like the plague, it set me back thousands.

I mentioned before that I'm a big fan of the achievements system, and anytime I'm doing something mundane in a city, I'll right click the person nearest to me to compare our achievements. I was trying to fish in Ironforge when stumbled accross something in the Statistics section of achievements; there is a vast amount of information you can find out about another persons finances within the game. A quick browse showed the following details;
Total gold Acquired
Average gold earned per day
Gold looted
Gold from quest rewards
Gold earned from auctions
Most expensive bid on auction
Most expensive auction sold
Gold from vendors
Gold spent on travel
Gold spent on barber shops
Most gold ever owned
Gold spent on talent respecs
Auctions Posted & Purchased

Personally I have a number of problems with this information being shared. The most basic one is, once the beggers notice this, they'll certainly crawl around cities targeting people they feel have the money. A minor inconvenice sure, but still annoying.
Also I've come to think of the WoW Economy as something based on real life, and in real life the social norm is that your finances are you own private business. It's usually frowned upon to enquire about someone else's income, and usually a bit boastful to just mention how much you earn.
Also the paranoid side of me thinks in-game scammers or even hackers will make use of this information. It's a bit of a stretch to think someone could hack into your account once they see your gold totals, but I'd rather not share this data with every WoW player who walks past me.

On the other hand, for my own use these statistics are great. I'm sure it will help alot of users "balance" their books, and make sure their daily outgoings atleast match their income. Maybe you could challenge yourself to an average daily income level?
I did find it funny that my bank alt was out doing my main in a number of categories. I was also happy to see that I've sold 600g worth of items to the vendor already since the patch. Most of these items were bought at lower than vendor prices at the auction house (I'll share this little nugget if you email me).

Have you guys made any use of these statistics yet? I know I previously used add-ons for this, but the data was less reliable and varied. I'd also be interested if to know if you think I'm being overly sensitive on this data being made public.

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Where is the money in Inscription?

Since last week's patch, herbalists and inscribers have made a killing on the Auction House. In the long run, I find it it unlikely it will be an extremely lucrative market. Having had a week to look over inscription, I have to admit I've been very unsure about it. Initially I planned to teach my Death Knight Inscription and Herbalism, because I felt it would be as vital (or at least as profitable) as Jewelcrafting, but I find that to be optimistic at best. Most of the rogue glyphs have not really caught my imagination, although I did manage to pick up the the ones for Eviscerate and Sinister Strike (yes, I play my rogue just like I did at level 1) for a very reasonable 40g. At level 80, I have a chance to add one more major Glyph.

Most of you can probably already guess what the main problem is; once you've picked your 6 Glyphs, you have little motivation to switch over. Sure there will be upgrades as new patches are released, or factions introduced. However, the fact they are not directly linked to gear means players will not be seeking out a new Glyph every time they upgrade gear in an instance or raid. Currently, most regular players will see a steady stream of new gear from raiding, instancing, or playing in battlegrounds and arenas. For the vast majority of players, there is usually a better item around the corner which helps push the market for jewels, enchants and leatherworking armor. On the other hand, your glyphs simply scale with your character or gear, and there is no need for an upgrade until new ones are introduced into the game (which will be far more staggered than anything gear related).

So where does this leave players who have taken up the new profession? Of course there will always be some money to be made from any profession, and this one is no exception. So far I've heard from friends that many of the minor glyphs have a cooldown of 20 hours to learn, so even the most dedicated player will have to spend weeks if not months to learn all those available. Any sharp player will be very careful with the Glyphs he chooses to learn; common sense suggests picking the ones most likely to make money on the market.
This leads me to think that learning the glyphs for hybrid classes might be the way to go. A druid with healing glyphs will surely be forced into changing them if he decides to respec. So I would suggest learning Druid, Paladin and Shaman glyphs first, and in that order. My anecdotal evidence suggests that my druid friends are often most likely to switch spec. With the changes to Retribution, I also think many Paladin's with be chopping and changing between the talent trees, especially in the early days.

I admit I don't have much hands on experience with Inscription and all of these are assumptions I have made from the sources available to me. If the profession really is lackluster and fails to capture the player bases' attention (worst case scenario), Blizzard will be fast to make some positive changes; I don't see them giving up on a new profession as much as they have on engineering. Most likely it will be moderate success, with some profits to keep the inscribers happy, but not up to the levels of Jewelcrafting. Certainly the real winners here are herbalists, they've added another profession that depends on them, and have finally caught up with mining and skinning.

I'm not sure what professions I will give my Death Knight now. On the one hand, having inscription will make it easier to sell my enchants on the auction house, but my enchanter is on a different account I'm currently not paying for. Picking up herbalism will bring in some money and skinning could be a nice way to support my leatherworker (as well as make money). I think most people with only one level 70 will be facing a similar dilemma come November 13th; it's not everyday we get the luxury of being able to train two professions to a relatively high level.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

How was your Patch Day?

WoW! What a day. I though the Shattered Sun Offensive stuff was exciting, but I have to say I've never had more excitement in the game than I've had since Patch 3.0.2 came out. There has been so much to do, I've been playing almost 10 hours straight, and I'm not even close to doing half the things I've wanted to. Even Stormwind Harbour only got a brief view.

On the money front, I've had people telling me they've made 8000g from selling herbs today, and frankly I'm sure there are some who may have made double that. The economy has been irrational but it was to be expected. Personally I didn't bother with any of it, as I've only been back in the game a few days (although I'll probably regret it in a month or two). Hopefully some of you managed to make some money. I hope none of you have wasted your money on the ridiculously priced Glyphs so far, the new talents are overpowered enough making them largely unimportant for the time being. I'll be interested to see if you guys managed to make some money today, or if like me you decided to blow it all on vanity items!

I tried to collect the 50 vanity pets but got stuck at 46 (there's a bug that doesn't let you put pets on the AH, so my horde pets were stuck). I leisurely started collecting some mounts, and by the time I got to the mid 30's I realised I was in for a shot at having the 50 needed for the achievement. Several thousand G later, I had this sitting in my mailbox.

An Albino Drake! I didn't think I'd get it till Wrath, so I was overwhelmed. I've had some pretty rare mounts sitting in my bags since I started playing, but this was by far the best. I can't even describe how many tells I got, or even /cheers from the opposing faction. As someone who's never raided, it was a very surreal feeling to have something this rare and actually get attention for it. For me the achievement's system is a big win. If you want to get your hands on a similar mount, you'll get your chance soon enough, by completing all the Wrath heroic instances. Certainly quicker and cheaper than getting exalted with countless factions.

So how was patch day for you guys?

Thursday, 9 October 2008

I'm Back!

It's been a crazy few months for me in the real world, but one of the readers here 70TW emailed me 2 weeks ago, and it reminded me to come back here. Since about June, I've barely had time to step foot into WoW. I spent most of the time working and going out with friends. The last year I literally bummed around & spent the entire year in Azeroth. I decided to make a fresh start on an economics masters, and do it in Scotland (a pretty big move for a life long Londoner). I'm definitely trying to get more disciplined, and do everything in moderation (studying, playing WoW, watching films, or whatever else I'm into). Finally moving out of home has been an interesting experience!

Being out of work does mean I can start playing WoW again, and I'm definitely coming back to some big, exciting changes. In that spirit, I'm gonna be changing up the blog a little. I will still be focusing on the economy, but I'll probably go off topic a lot more as well and talk about other in-game interests of mine. Just before I stopped playing, my guild (which I had founded and was GM for a year) fell apart because most of us were quitting the game. I've always been a solo player, but my game has focused around chatting to my friends. Most of my brief play sessions during the summer were pretty lonely, so it was really nice to see some of my friends back when I started playing again this week.

The new achievements system is something that really satisfies the otherwise forgotten player; the solo player. Blizzard has done a lot to accommodate PvP'ers and Raiders, but for people who don't have time or interest in that aspect of the game, achievements are really a nice way to play. Like most solo players, most of my playtime was taken up by reputation grinding, collecting random stuff or just exploring; the new system will be able to track all of these things. On WoWInsider they already interviewed a new Achievements based guild, which is a nice change to the PvP or PvE guilds we usually see in the game. As a social guild we really struggled to keep members who wanted to move on to raiding. Most mentioned that they'd never had more fun in the game than whilst in our guild, just there was a lack of organised activity. The fact that a social guild can now organise events around a cohesive system adds significantly to the game for players like me.

I've already started working towards some of the achievements. I've always been a bit of a pet collector, and there is a new pet promised for anyone who manages to collect 50. So far I've managed to snag about 45 or so (I'm not sure which of them will be considered pets or not). The last few might be a bit challenging to get, or just very expensive. Having said that, I was sad enough to pay $60 for the Bananas monkey pet from the trading card game. I have a bit of an obsession with monkeys and have always wanted this pet.
I'm also going to try getting the Collect 50 Mounts achievement, which will reward you with a new mount. My main has 15 factions exalted, so I have access to a large variety already. It will be pretty tough to get to 50 though, especially because of the costs involved. I doubted anything would cost as much as the 8,000g I paid for my Amani war bear, but I'm hearing the 3 passenger Mammoth mount will set me back 20,000g. Certainly my previous inflation estimates were way off the mark, and for anyone who wants everything in Wrath of the Lich King, I'm thinking 50,000g is the minimum you'll need; 20K for the most expensive mount, 1k for Winter flying, 8K for Dalaran teleportation ring. The figures will soon add up to a huge total, and that's before considering the cost of rep items (I'd rather buy rep than grind it). Luckily daily quests will offer as much as 30g. I don't think getting 1000g a day will be that big a deal once you hit level 80.

Looks like us traders have a lot of work to do! I'm off to get my October consortium gems!