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Monday, December 30, 2013

The State of Wowuction Data

I wasn't always a fan of Wowuction.  There have been a handful of folks who have come to The Consortium Forums after sorting out how to pull down AH data from the WoW Armory API and claim to have a better way to detect when an auction is sold than The Undermine Journal.  That used to rile me up into a good lather.  Because I corresponded pretty regularly with Erorus (the creator of The Undermine Journal) via email on the subject of sold auctions while TUJ was still in beta.

Erorus and I are smart guys.  I have a background in applied statistics, and one of the things I do regularly is consider the nature of data before analyzing it - because data analysis is very much a garbage in, garbage out proposition.  After some extended mulling over with myself and the greater community, Erorus acknowledged the shortcomings of the algorithm he used to predict whether an auction had sold, and tucked the feature behind a default option that turned it off.  Even now, you have to sign in and turn it back on to view sold auctions.

So when Sasa showed up introducing Wowuction as being able to detect sold auctions, Kathroman and I made no bones about being skeptical.  And it would turn out that we were right to be skeptical.  But Sasa did something that nobody else making such claims has managed to do - Sasa listened to our objections, and worked with us and the community to find ways to work around them or solve them.  In time, I would come to embrace the utility of sold auction data (more on this is an upcoming post).  Sold Auction data would become the cornerstone of Wowuction - it would give Demand and Estimated Posted - two other numbers that are included in Wowuction data - more actionable meaning.

The final flourish to all this was that Sasa included all these statistics - Estimated Sold, Estimated Posted, and Demand - in the Wowuction csv and tab delimited text files, so that adventuring goblins could leverage those numbers within their own analytics and spreadsheets.  And that would give rise to new analytical methods, including things like demand-based rebalancing, which I made liberal use of in my MoP Ore Shuffling Spreadsheet that I worked on with Mithrildar (in the tools section of the site).

That's a lot of background to say that Wowuction has been very useful.  Until recently, its developer, Sasa, has also been very responsive to inquiries and requests.  As I'm told, roughly a year ago, Sasa stopped being active  on the project.  Recently, I received an email from Wowuction explaining that the creators had made an RTS game for mobile devices that was now available to play.  I haven't tried it, but it's always kinda cool to see the guys who brought us neat goldmaking tools move on to bigger, more commercial opportunities.

All that brings us to the current state of Wowuction data.  The csv and tab delimited extracts which were once the very best that you could find are now outdated.  None of the new items from patch 5.4 have been incorporated.  That includes all Crafted Malevolent gear, all ilvl 553 crafted gear, all new engineering pets & Sky Golems, and all new glyphs and their recipes that were added.  That's a substantial amount of the current goldmaking opportunities that cannot be evaluated.

A couple weeks ago, I posted a spreadsheeting sandbox for folks to play around with that would easily import Wowuction data for you to play with.  It wasn't until afterwards, while I was working on building an Inscription-specific spreadsheet that I was planning to release, that I realized all the items missing from Wowuction data.  I'm going to leave that spreadsheeting sandbox up, because I still think that Wowuction data is useful for now - and I plan to write another post explaining in further detail why I feel that way and how it can be used.  But, in the meantime, I plan to create a spreadsheeting sandbox that will make use of TUJ data for you guys - so be on the lookout for that.

As for the ultimate fate of Wowuction?  I don't know.  The game that demanded so much of Sasa's attention is now released, and hopefully bug fixes will taper off and give Sasa more time to work on Wowuction.  But I also wouldn't be surprised if Sasa's next move involved another game or DLC of some sort - we've all got bills to pay.  What I do know, though, is that if no further work is done on Wowuction to add new items to the data extracts, then Warlords of Draenor will render it mostly useless.

That's a dour note to end on, but hopefully it helps us all appreciate the effort that add-on and other content creators put into their tools, ideas, and content.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Doldrums

Well now that I've had some time to unwind from the holiday and the nonstop pace of work that lead up to it, I'm hoping to spend some time writing more posts for the blog part of the show.  A lot of goldmakers have cut back on their posts and maybe even their podcasts.  Everyone needs some time off; it often offers some much needed perspective.

The end of an expansion can be boring, with the current content becoming too familiar and stale.  Many goldmakers see steady trends develop as interest and demand wane in tandem.  And they too become entranced by their daily routine, looping through it, steadily making their way to their gold goals.  But a lot of us also revisit old content - we go back to grab all those Naxxramas achievements or Icecrown Citadel titles that we missed long ago or joined too late to get while current.

But few apply this type of rehashing to goldmaking.  The end of an expansion allows us time to think about how we've developed as goldmakers.  It allows room to consider the reasons and forcing factors behind market swings and conditions.  And most of all, it allows an opportunity to reconsider some of the more long-established advanced strategies that we've been using, as well as some of the newer ones.

Before I went to bed last night, I read a forum post about everything being stale, and no one having anything new or interesting to say.  As I fell asleep, I felt like there was a lot that I'd like to talk about.  Waking up, I snagged my notebook and starting listing each topic.  I was able to write down ten topics each worthy of a blog post before finishing my first cup of coffee.  All that to say that I feel I have a lot to say about goldmaking, and as we move in to the new year, I hope you'll come back and give some of it a read.

I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas and Holiday Season, and my Best Wishes to you and yours in the New Year!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Late Nite With Stede Goldmaking Podcast - Episode 012

Kathroman returns for the final show of 2013 as we talk about the latest developer news and thoughts on crafting in Warlords of Draenor, the current state of goldmaking analytics tools, and the possible fates of the Black Market Auction House.  We wrap up with a sweet pet giveaway and a look back at 2013 and forward at 2014 - Enjoy!

To listen in, just use the Stitcher App in the sidebar!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Presenting: Stede's Goldmaking Spreadsheet Sandbox

Well, it took me a bit longer than I would have liked, but I was able to finish the Spreadsheet Sandbox over the weekend.  This is a tool that I'm excited to release and to let folks play around with.  The Sandbox is a great tool to let you build your own amazing spreadsheets.  It has a 1-button import of WoWuction data as well as couple handfuls of really cool functions that you're sure to find very useful.  So give it a download here.

If you have any questions, you can tweet me or email me, but try having a look at the tutorial video first :)

Enjoy!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Late Nite With Stede WoW Goldmaking Podcast - Episode 011

Kathroman takes a sick day and Sushi steps in his place as we talk about the new 5.4.2 patch, the slow trickle of Warlords of Draenor news, making gold by upgrading battle pets, connected realms, and breaking the shuffle in WoD & how it's already breaking down in MoP.  Stay tuned over the weekend on Twitter for details on our Alterac Brewpup giveaway, which we'll do on our next show!

To listen in, just use the Stitcher App in the sidebar!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Late Nite With Stede Podcast - Episode 010

Coming off two weeks of no show due to the Thanksgiving Holiday, co-host Kathroman and I lay down over 100 minutes of goldmaking goodness while theorycrafting and freestyling our way through blue posts and tweets with a focus on Professions and Garrisons and some Q&A sprinkled with lots of other great stuff - Enjoy!

To listen in, just use the Stitcher App in the sidebar!