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Monday, July 29, 2013

Holiday

Hey folks - I'm taking this week off from the blog and the podcast to catch up on some other things, but I'll be back next week with posts and a new episode of the podcast, so don't forget about us!  Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Late Nite With Stede Podcast - Episode 003

Tonight I got to sit down and talk with my fellow Wind Trader on Emerald Dream and the Consortium Forums, Kathroman.  The last half of the show was spent discussing Kathroman's WoW GPS project - where he hosts an online web app for the Saronite and Ironpaw shuffles.  With more modules in the works, Kath and I talk about the nearly limitless potential of the AH data that's available and talk about what the future might hold for the WoW GPS site.

Enjoy!



Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Bonus Post: The Transcendental Goblin

Earlier this week, I talked about the unprecedent granularity of the gearing path for L90 toons in the coming patch 5.4.  In reality, I actually drew up that post a couple weeks ago and scheduled it to post this week.  There's been some recent noise that I felt may have been sending mixed signals about the gold-making-worthiness of item enhancement markets.

Why sell the enhancement when you can sell the gear, right?  Well, I suppose the main line of thinking is that the game can make gear alongside players - boss drops, world drops, etc.  The game can't make enchanting scrolls, cut gems, spellthreads, etc.  Only players can make those.  And let's face it - the persistent profitability of things like short shuffles or lazy jewelcrafting businesses reinforces a fundamental theory of the playerbase - on the whole, they're lazy.  Back in Cataclysm, scroll markets were a grab-bag.  My spreadsheets of what scrolls were profitable lit up and twinkled like a mushroom-induced vision of Christmas in suburbia.  In Mists, it's mostly static, and mostly green.  You can check out your server's Enchanting page on The Undermine Journal and see for yourself.

All that to say that the enhancement markets offer stable margins - however deep you decide to dive in.  The demand for such things is, naturally, as it is across all markets for the time being - low.  As Zerohour mentioned, summer sucks.  Content gets stale, people go outside, etc.  The shuffle is not dead.  Like all things, it waxes and wanes.  Your job is to anticipate and prepare for those cycles and get rich.

But enough rambling prologue.  The short of it is that, at the end of last week, we saw BoA items that will create an ilvl 504 piece of gear appropriate to your current loot/spec.  Mithrildar did a fine job of explaining what these are and how they might work.  What we're all going to be watching, but ultimately won't be certain of until the patch actally goes live - are the drop rates / ease of acquisition of these items. 

But - why would we worry about these?  Well, they basically skip the gearing path from ilvl ~430 all the way to 504.  And that's a lot of gear that folks would otherwise have had to enchant and gem as they clawed their way to current content.  But remember too, that this is primarily a way for folks to help gear their alts by grinding on their mains.  People bringing their first L90s up through the gear progression path will have to bribe guildies into grouping with them on the timeless isle and carrying them. 

On the one hand, this will affect crafted gear even more severely than enhancements.  It threatens to make all 496 gear more or less irrelevant in a single stroke.  To be sure though, T15N, T16LFR, T16Flex, T16N, & T16H will still offer an unprecedented amount of gear that will be relevant to the current content.  Enhancement markets will not fall by the whim of the interns assigned to punch in the demeanor of the RNG.  In fact, it could be that Blizzard's "design intent", which validates the theory of quantum mechanics, was to offer a mechanism to catch up in gear - in spite of the absence of catch-up dungeons.  heck - for all we know, this clipping of the gearing path may be offset by the number of alts that are geared up because it's easier to do so.  Combined with the promise of Flex raiding and its possibilities for PUG raiding, it's worth considering.

But, we'll never know precisely which way this breaks - your job is simply to be prepared for the risks.  Though I assured you only days ago that the coming patch would be a boon to enhancement markets, I have to temper those statements now, even though I still techically stand by some of them.  As Emerson wrote, "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds."  So it is with goldmaking, business, and life.

When things change, you've to re-evaluate them, and sometimes you've to go back on your previous intentions.  Some will mock you, some will huff & puff, but we're here to get rich, not impress the folks who just don't get it.

Some will, some won't.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Reminder: Podcast Back on Schedule

Hey Folks - just a reminder that our next podcast is back in our original timeslot of 11:59pm Eastern US time on Thursday.  This week, I'll get a chance to sit down and interview one of the growing titans of big data, Kathroman of WoWGPS and the Consortium Forums.  Don't miss it!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Unprecedented


It's a word we all know - but it's not one we hear much in relation to WoW. With 5.4 lurking in the bowels of the PTR just waiting for the Tuesday when Ghostcrawler has one too many bad tacos before bed, there's a common theme that gets regurgitated ad nauseam - Stockpiling.

Today I want to make the argument for stockpiling stuff. It's pretty simple - because it will sell. Fast. Happens every content patch and this one is no exception. So why even bring it up? Well, because the knee has jerked and fallen on this topic, and though I'm a bit late in arriving to the gold blogging party this year, I haven't seen anyone talk about just how big of a deal stockpiling is going to be for 5.4.

And believe me - it will be unprece-waitforit-dented. Particularly for enhancement markets. Why? Well, for one, there are no catch up dungeons. And that's not a straightforward thing to gauge - because catch up dungeons are not gated, and allow toons to gear quickly at their own pace - in stark contrast to LFR bosses on a weekly lockout and a grab bag of folks on day-leave from the looney bin who queue up with you. However, the absence of catch up dungeons means that the entire first two tiers of raiding gear of this expansion will NOT be made obsolete.

In Dragon Soul, we saw the HoT (sorry I forgot what that even stood for) dungeons make running everything except maybe T12H (which was arguably more difficult than much of T13N) pretty pointless - in terms of gear progression. Now, in the standard progression path of a L90 toon, previous tiers will remain relevant.

So, let's count the plethora of sources of gear, sweet gear that the RNG gods might bestow upon us, which good stewardship demands we will gem and enchant in 5.4:

Heroic Dungeon Gear / T14LFR / T14N / T15LFR / T15N / T16LFR / T16Flex / T16N / T16H

Now, obviously RNG takes a vacation when it comes to crafted gear, so I didn't mention it - but rest assured, all you master crafters, that the long gearing path resulting froma lack of catch up dungeons will bring you good gold making fortune. Also excluded is Oondasta and valor gear.

Now on top of this, PvP now has crafted gear, honor gear, conquest gear, and look-at-me gear - all of which need to be gemmed and enchanced in order for you not to get laughed at. Indeed, in comparing the gearing paths to other periods in the history of the game, the sheer amount of steps available to players for gearing is unprecedented. And even in spite of the gating imposed by the lockout system, we're going to see a lot of gear flowing through the playerbase.

This is especially good to see in the final patch of an expansion - when folks tend to come back to the game in massive droves. The addition of Flex raiding will be a huge boon, as well. It's not a huge secret that raiding participation has experience a substantial decline, and I'm expecting Flex raiding to breathe a lot of new life into folks who gave up on raiding earlier in the expansion - and that means more gear dropping from dead bosses.

So get your stockpiles kicking into overdrive because the coming tidal wave of demand is going to make those who have the supply very, very wealthy.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Late Nite With Stede Podcast - Episode 002

Without any extra fluff, our second episode was successfully recorded only minutes ago.  Special Guest Zerohour, of  Zerohour's Nameless Blog, and I put on a double-feature of a show (nearly 60 minutes) and talked about everything from the golden days of vanilla, to the thrill of MoP Pet Battles, to tips and strategies Zerohour uses on super-high population realms like US-Illidan (H) that he's planning to use when realms fuse.  Enjoy - and be sure to catch Zerohour on his blog, Zerohour's Nameless Blog.


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Reminder About Our Next Podcast

Hey folks - this is just a friendly reminder that the next episode of the podcast - the one we're recording on Thursday - will be recorded live one hour earlier than our usual time.  We'll be starting at 10:59pm Eastern US Time.  So if you can tune in on youtube (via the link up top) and join us on quakenet irc (webchat link up top), make sure to mark your appointment book with the special time for this week only as I host special guest, Zerohour.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Bridging the Gap


I like to talk about demand because it's an interesting topic. Demand is what we, as goblins, feed on. If Blizzard creates the demand, we'll show up to the party with the supply and everyone has a great time. It's also one of the few things that, outside of a few special markets, we really can't influence too much. That's because demand is baked into the game design. Raiders wants gems so they can, ultimately kill more bosses, and PvP'ers want crafted gear when they start so they can land more KBs. Collectors want cool mounts and / or pets because they're fun to play with and show off. You get the idea.

The list goes on. Each of these wants / needs form, at their most basic level, as a desire in a discrete individual. We often say "Raiders" or "PvPers" rather than listing off the thousands of Joes and Sallys those groups are made of. Most of us know a thing or two about demand, too - you sell lots of gems and enchants and stuff right after a patch hits, and again as new wings of LFR open. We understand that gear enhancements sell in greater quantities when there's more gear being acquired.

But there are less mundane markets than our usual end-user commodities that behave, well - differently. What about inks? Dusts? Essences? Uncut Rare Gems? On their own, these items are all equally useless to the player (an exception for uncut rares would be research cooldowns). They must be brought to a toon with the appropriate profession to create something useful.
The fundamental question that drove me to talk about this was more straightforward: "Why would I undercut the lowest auction if it's only a stack of 3 dust that some random dude DE'd from a failgreen dungeon drop, if most of my buyers are stocking up on 100 dust at a time?" Indeed - why would you? I mean - why not undercut the auction representing the 50th dust and snag some extra copper, silver, or heck, maybe even gold?

If you've ever messed around in the bottlenecks created by profession levelling paths in older content, you know that prices can vary pretty widely at the bottom. You also have an idea of how many Vision Dust it might take to push through Enchanting. In those markets, it's easy enough to buy out the low-priced stuff and reset the prices, a lot of times. But how about current tier enchanting mats or inks or uncut gems? There are frequently a lot of folks selling in those markets, particularly in enchanting mats, who just want to get rid of the stuff for whatever they can get.

The are the folks who undercut shards at 48.975g down to 40g - because, hey - it'll sell faster. Does that mean you should post your 20 shards at 39.99g? Or what about dust in a similar scenario? One of the interesting phenomena of the current expasion is that most MoP scrolls are universally profitable over the cost of mats on vitrually every server. Go check out your server's Enchanting page on theunderminejournal.com - you'll see what I mean. This makes the scroll market pretty accessible for the casual Enchanter - someone who probably buys a solid stock of dust and essence - and maybe even shards - in a single go.

As my buddy used to love telling me in high school though - "You can't prove that!" No, I can't - and that's actually half the point of this post / exercise. It sounds great to yak about, but we've virtually zero analytical power / evidence to back this up. Websites like TUJ and WoWuction amalgamate sales data, but there's no way for them to know who bought an auction, much less identify any clustering - which would give us the ability to know how many were bought at a time. Even our Addons fall short - BeanCounter, MySales, and TSM_Accounting will all try to record the name of the person buying your materials, with inconsistent results. But none of them are able to record the time when the auction was actually purchased - only the time when you looted the gold from your mailbox - which for some folks is 4x a day, but for others might be 2x a week.

Now this may strike you as an overly cerebral exercise, and maybe that's not far from the truth. But in the above example I gave for shards, there was an 18%+ drop in the amount of profit because of a random, transient player on the AH. I don't think that's something that an established shuffler would really want to ignore.

But, hey - what the heck can we do about it? There's not an addon out that will find and undercut the auction representing the 50th lowest-priced dust on the AH right now, that I know of - and I certainly don't expect you guys to dig out your calculators every time you post this stuff. Maybe if you post with less automated addons, like Auctionator, you already handle this somehow - if even in some rough manner. In fact - that's probably one of the better ways to keep a close eye n those bottleneck markets I talked about earlier. But, until a developer incorporates this functionality into an add-on, I think we're stuck - yakking about it. Maybe if we yak enough, though, one of them will give it a shot.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Late Nite With Stede Podcast - Episode 001

So the first episode was successfully broadcast and recorded a few hours ago!  Hope you guys enjoy - I'll be working on making the podcast better as time goes on, so keeping listening in!




As my first guest, my own brother, Medvayne came on the show to talk about his beginnings in Inscription and how that lead to higher value markets of TCG Mounts and pets.  After talking for awhile about his cross-realm pet business, we take a random parting swing at the BMAH - did we strike out as much as it did?  Hit play and find out!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Making Good (Carnival Bonus Post)

Ah, I remember the days of blogging carnivals from a few years ago, and they were always fun to see a variety of viewpoints from around the World of Goldmaking on a single topic.  Selltacular of Copper to Gold has taken over for running Cold's Blogging Carnival - something I've only just now noticed as I am late to this event.  To read the other views of fellow gold makers and bloggers, be sure to head over to Copper to Gold on or after the 11th for easy links to all of the other carnival posts.

Now that I've dropped more names than my last job interview, it's time to tackle the questions at hand - foremostly, "What is your definition of a good goldmaker?"  I get a lot of opportunity to refine this definition as a Wind Trader at the consortium forums.  Any time someone applies to become a WT, the rest of us are able to openly interview the applicant, and ultimately, give a yes or no vote as to whether that person should become a Wind Trader.  But, the two are not one in the same - not all good goldmakers are Wind Traders and not all... yeah.

It helps, in doing this kind of show, to be able to use clever dodges like that.  But in all seriousness, I suppose a good goldmaker is someone who displays a modicum of ingenuity, an indominable spirit of tenacity, and an analytical mind - all while balancing having fun.  I'm not certain I can separate these aspects from one another to tease out their individual facets.  Perhaps that's because the synergy of all of them is far more noteworthy. 

A goldmaker can try dozens of novel ideas, but if they don't stop hopping around at some point and just stick with one, they're not a good goldmaker - to me, at least.  That spirit of tenacity is necessary - because so much of being successful is being able to endure dull patches with profitable patches as well as spells of intense competition.  A goldmaker can even find a novel niche, and pursue it as a bulldog for weeks - but if there is not analysis of the risks, opportunity costs, and profitability during that time then, again - they're not a good goldmaker - to me.

And woe to the goldmaker, who can accomplish all three of these but finds themselves not having fun.  In fact, I've a higher regard for the goldmaker who only accomplishes two, one, or sometimes even none of these, but still manages to have fun.  This is entertainment, at the end of the day.  And while I am a self-avowed cerebral, theorycrafting, mad scientist nerd about this stuff - I realize that it's fun for me, and that other people have fun approaching the game in their own way.

Which brings us back around to the second part of this question: "How do you measure gold making success?"  Certainly not by traditional means.  I tend to evaluate gold makers on the novelty and originality of their thought processes and methods.  But that's not exactly the same thing as measuring their success. 

Liquid gold would seem to be a fair metric - one we could all use and relate to without any need for subjectivity.  But the skill that's required to cap your toon on gold differs from server to server - a subjective lens in itself.  I would measure success by the scars of righteous battle waged on the Auction House and the size of the pile of foes laid low or converted to accomplices.  I would measure it as the ratio of your true economic influence to the influence your rivals perceive you to have.  I would measure it by the sweetness of victories that were preceded by bitter defeats.

It's ironic when I think about it - in my view, you can be a successful goldmaker, without even being a good one.  You don't have to have fun to measure up as successful.  But more often than anything, I just find folks interesting - regardless of whether they're playing at a pop-warner  level or a godmode level, I'm consistently surprised by the folks I can learn something from - or even just enjoy talking to.  And I guess that's why the idea that spurred this carnival - an add-on that calculates your total gold earned - doesn't mean too much to me.  Numbers may be impressive, but people - they're actually interesting.

Monday, July 8, 2013

A New Home

Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to my new home!  For  the last few months, I've been really thinking about doing my own thing with a blog and a podcast.  I've really enjoyed doing the Call to Auction podcast with Euripides and Namssob.  But it's a long show, and the recording schedule presents a lot of conflicts for me.

What I plan to do here is make a post once a week, and do a short 20-30 podcast, live, at the same time every week, and record it.  That would let folks who want to listen to the live show and give feedback / questions while we record the opportunity to participate.  The podcast wouldn't just be something you listen to, but actually something you could be involved in.

As far as the show goes, I'm planning to keep it short and informal and conscript some buddies to have on the show to talk about some of the stuff they do.  I really want to emulate the style of a late nite show, but I have to admit, I don't think I'm very good at telling jokes - so I'll be skipping that part.

On the Consortium Forums, a lot of the help I give is done through Private Messages.  I usually get 1 or 2 a week from folks asking some more detailed questions about their particular markets.  I'm on several servers myself now, so the exercise of looking at a new server and teasing out the goldmaking environs therein is always fun for me.  I'd like to bring more of that here - either via comments on the blog, via tweets, or via questions on the show.

I'm also looking into making some video guides on Youtube.  I've been meaning to do an ArkInventory guide for awhile, but I wanted to practice a bit with it.  I finally got the time to do that last week, and that's something I'm looking forward to doing.


I hope you'll bookmark the site and join in the discussion her on the blog, during the podcast, on twitter or even on irc.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Do You Have Room for One More?

Occasionally I'll make posts outside of my normal schedule like this.  They might not talk much about goldmaking, though.

When I first started actually putting pen to paper on this project, I had a lot to think about.  I've tried blogging before - twice.  Neither lasted a year.  The first time, I wanted to do something that showed folks goldmaking in a different light.  The second time, I wanted to give weekly mashup reviews of other blogs.

That first one ended when I ran out of cool things to talk about over a slow summer - kind of like this one (in terms of WoW, at least).  It also seemed like folks still liked reading and trying things that - at the time - I felt were very stale.  One-off tips that worked, in theory, and then promptly collapsed under their own weight once everyone started using them.  Now, I realize those tips are like fashion - they cycle in & out of style / viability with the changing seasons.  But back then, their popularity was annoying.

The second one ended when I realized that folks will sometimes make puff-posts one week, and quality posts another week.  It's tough to be critical of folks that you've grown to enjoy.

This time, it's just an outlet that I can explore on my own terms.  Most nights I spend on Skype chatting into the wee hours with fellow goldmakers over everything from the golden days of vanilla to international politics to, of course, goldmaking.  I already spend a great deal of my free time just chatting about this stuff.  I already enjoy podcasting.

What I've come realize is that most viewers want to be entertained while being enlightened - or maybe even vice versa (which is A-OK with me).  The WoW goldmaking blogosphere has changed since I last was involved in it.  There are a lot more new bloggers, new guides, and even new podcasts.  I really started noticing them all when I started thinking of starting this project a few months ago.

I wasn't sure if there'd be much room for me to start up Yet Another Blog / Podcast.  At the end of the day though, I decided to go for it because even if nothing comes of it, I know I'm going to enjoy having my own space.