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Friday, February 28, 2014

Late Nite With Stede Goldmaking Podcast - Episode 020

Kathroman and I catch up on all the Warlord of Draenor news from the past week and it's potential goldmaking implications.  We cover the removal of Realm First L100 and Profession Achievements, take one last crack at $60 paid boosts to L90, and get down with some in depth discussion about garrisons.  Topics also included a look at how the gearing path is shaping up in WoD given the announcement that Silver Proving Grounds achievement will be required to queue heroic dungeons as well as the Power of Post Frequency on the Auction House.

My Blossoming Ancient giveaway has been extended - you have until the start of the next show on March 6th to get your entries to me via email or Twitter DM - all it takes is a screenshot!  Full details here.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Late Nite With Stede Goldmaking Podcast - Episode 019

Zerohour joins Kathroman and I as we catch up on latest goldmaking news following Patch 5.4.7.  We talk about Zerohour's latest escapades, run through some interesting tweets from hwoome, yak about $60 paid character boosts to L90, the ultimate fate of 522 crafted gear with the new PvP season, and the potential for a meta-game with garrisons on alts.  You know with Zerohour, there's always a fun show!

I want to give a special thanks to Jim Younkin of the Power Word: Gold podcast for single-handedly creating an mp3 of the last show after I'd encountered some technical difficulties and didn't think I'd be able to post it all to the feed.  Jim's been a lot of help in a lot of technical aspects with the show and the website, so check out his site when you get a chance!

Also be sure to get in your entries for the Blossoming Ancient giveaway - all it takes is a screenshot!  Full details here.

Technical Difficulties

Well, folks, I ran into some bad news this weekend. It doesn't look like I'm going to be able to post Episode 19 of the podcast to iTunes or Stitcher anytime soon (the curse of Zerohour).  Usually, Youtube gives me the option to download an mp4 of the show and I can make any edits and turn it into an mp3.  But for whatever reason, it's not giving me the option to download it.

I know there are other ways to do all this, but that was easy enough and it worked without much effort.  For now, you can find Episode 19 on Youtube using the links at the top of the homepage (Live on Youtube link should get you to my channel).  I'll have to try to figure something out in time for this week's show, or we might just take the week off.  I had every intention of having a proper goldmaking post ready to go this week, but I spent so much time trying to sort out what the deal was with Youtube, that I didn't get a chance.

I'm still doing my Blossoming Ancient Blizzard Store Pet giveaway - all you have to do to enter is send me a screenshot of a speadsheet you use for goldmaking, or a screenshot of your favorite TUJ profession page.  Details can be found here.  I'm hoping for some more entries as we get closer to the giveaway date of March 6th.

I'll try to get back on track with proper goldmaking posts later in the week.  I've had my hands full with a lot lately, and just haven't had the time to make more content.  Most nights, I get home spent and just want to unwind.  Them's the breaks, though.  Give me a shout out on twitter, in-game, or in the comments with any words of wisdom / encouragement you might have - those always help!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Full Set of TSM Group Import Strings for All Glyphs

Last week, Selltacular had a post on his blog, Copper to Gold, that had a TSM Import String that could be used import most all glyphs into groups based on the class they were for (note that not all 444 were included, but they will be added later).  Selltacular has a great site with loads of good content and I recommend you visit often.  If you've followed me for awhile, you know that I make a big todo about which types of glyphs are the most profitable.  I've talked with Selltacular and I have to say the glyph market on his server is an exception - to say the least.

On most servers, the harder a glyph is to learn, the more expensive it tends to be.  Trainer-taught glyphs are less profitable than Northrend Research glyphs.  It happens that as Selltacular posted his own list of TSM Import Strings, I was working on my own.  Last week, I talked about the difficulties I encountered in validating the data in my Inscription tab of the Spreadsheet Sandbox.  My next step is here now - to make TSM Group Import Strings for all glyphs, by the method in which they are learned.  This way you can make a separate group for each.  This will allow you to easily turn on / off crafting operations in case you, like me, want to skip making trainer-taught glyphs because they're just not worth the hassle.

I've saved these lists as text files to my Google Drive - you can check em out here.  All you have to do is highlight all the text, and copy / paste into the TSM group Import box in the screenshot below:

If you're not really familiar with how to setup groups, you can check out Phat Lewts' video guide on groups for TSM. Hope you enjoy!

My plan is to make a video series that walks through setting up in the glyph market, similar to how I'm setup now, using all the tips and principles that I use myself.  I'll break it down as much as I can for new goldmakers, because I think glyphs are a great market for new goldmakers.

Editor's Note: Thanks to Anders and Phat Lewts in the comments section, I was able to correct a couple mistakes.  Also, PhatLewts provided a single import string that will create TSM Groups for all 8 groups - just import the string to a general "Glyphs" category and can do a one & done import.  I've added PhatLewts' single string import to the files I have available on my Google Drive - in case the pastebin copy comes down.  Thanks to both of you guys for trying these out and giving fixes / improvements!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Late Nite With Stede Goldmaking Podcast - Episode 018

Kathroman and I return from a week off to talk about all the new tradeskill and professions information coming out of the newest Blizzard Professions Developer to go active on Twitter, @hwoome.  We also dissect the most recent blue post on the Art of Garrisons, extracting some neat information on how Garrisons and Professions are shaping up to work together.  We finish off by discussing Inventory and what it means to master a profession.

Hope you enjoy the show!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Stede's Spreadsheet Screenshot Giveaway (SSSG) - Win a Blossoming Ancient Pet!

Hey everybody - I want to tell you all about a cool giveaway I want to do.  I'll be giving away a Blossoming Ancient pet from the store.  This lil guy changes color and features as the seasons change - much like how the goldmaking landscape of each server changes during an expansion - which is why we use analytics like spreadsheets, TUJ, wowuction, and TradeSkillMaster to track what's going on!  The winner will be announced at the end of our first show in March 2014 (currently scheduled for March 6, 2014).

Send me a screenshot of your favorite spreadsheet or websheet in action via either Twitter DM or via email (latenitewithstede at gmail dot com).  I know not everyone has access to Excel, so you can alternatively send a screenshot of your favorite TUJ Profession Page or your own OpenOffice or Google Sheets spreadsheet.  I love seeing what you guys are capable of and what folks have done with my spreadsheet.  If you send a shot of what you've added to my Spreadsheeting Sandbox (download link on the Stede's Signature Tools page), I'll count it as 2 entries.  Entries will be accepted up through the end of February.  Only one screenshot per person will be counted towards the drawing, but feel free to send as many as you'd like :)

I'd love to put together a gallery that showcases the power of analytics, so I hope you'll considering entering as much for that as for the Blossoming Ancient pet.  I'll be looking forward to your entries!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Spreadsheeting Sandbox and Wowuction Data Updates

I wanted to take a bit to talk about the updates that have been to both my Spreadsheeting Sandbox (download link available from the Stede's Signature Tools Page), as well as the Wowuction data extracts.  Back in December, I told you guys that most of the stuff added in Patch 5.4 had not been added to the Wowuction data extracts.  Today, while doing some heavy digging and coding to make a few updates to the spreadsheeting sandbox, I noticed that a lot of the new glyphs that were added in Patch 5.4 are now showing up on those extracts.

This got me curious.  I was writing code to allow you to lookup item ids from an item's name.  I made a function that would grab this from the Wowuction data as well as from The Undermine Journal data.  I did some comparisons for all the glyphs and noticed there were mismatches on 29 of these - mostly where the item could not be found by its name on the Wowuction extracts.

On further investigation, I found that the Wowuction extracts are using an outdated names list.  That means that while the other data is correct, including itemid, market value, etc - the item's name is not being correctly matched to the item id.  Both TUJ and Wowuction pull down the data from the Armory API and merge in the names, keyed on the itemids.  Blizzard tends to rename items when they are changed but not removed - think of a hotfix that changes what a glyph does and also changes the name.  So older naming files will match names that are no longer correct to itemids.

The issue is that if you're trying to look up data in your extracts based on the item name, then Wowuction is not going to be 100% accurate.  With the addition of the itemid lookup functions, though, you can get around that inaccuracy by looking up the id of an item with the TUJ data, and passing that itemid to a function for the Wowuction data (all TUJ and Wowuction lookup functions in the sandbox will work off item name or item id).  Which sounds convoluted, I know, but it works.  Sure I could write more functions to make it easier, but it'd take time & effort and the problem isn't really on my end.  Alternatively you could just TUJ data.

Now, in addition to the updates that were made to add more functions, I also made further updates to the default Inscription module.  It was the result of many hours of research.  Glyphs are messy.  Especially in regards to sourcing.  Here are some examples of how difficult it can be to list and catalog all 444 glyphs according to the easiest source for learning them:

  • Of the 4 glyph techniques that can be bought from a Vendor, three are now taught by a Trainer.  This has changed as new patches come in.
  • The technique "Glyph of Lightwell" makes the item "Glyph Of Deep Wells".
  • The technique "Glyph of Lightspring" makes the item "Glyph of Lightwell".
  • There are over a dozen glyphs whose technique name does not match the name of the item they make.
  • Wowhead's source information that tells how glyphs are learned is not 100% accurate.
  • Hundreds of glyphs can be learned from multiple sources.
  • Scroll of Wisdom will tech Northrend Research and Book of Glyph Mastery glyphs once you have finished learning all the glyphs specifically taught by Scroll of Wisdom.
  • There are two different glyphs named "Glyph of Stampede".
All of these have combined to make curating the list that I keep on the default Inscription module of the Sandbox rather difficult.  But they have inspired many new features, and I can finally say that the list is complete and is accurate.  If you've downloaded the sandbox in the past, I encourage you to download the new one and copy your work over to it.  I know it takes a few minutes, but it will make everything more accurate and increase your functionality.

Hope you enjoy the new update.  There's no show tonight - I've some major deadlines at work, and Kath said he could use a break, but we'll be back to record next Thursday at 11:59pm Eastern US time - hope you'll be able to join us!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Points of Power #1: Inventory

For years, I have maintained that the most powerful force in the World of Warcraft is Inventory.  Today, I'm going to talk about why that is, and how it works.  Inventory refers to the amount of end goods you keep in stock to sell.  It is not materials for those end goods; it is the end goods themselves.  I'll talk more about materials in future posts in this series.  In fact, most all of the posts in this series will be closely inter-related.

Inventory allows you to save time.  And time - is money.  At the most fundamental level, if you post an item for sale - let's say Moss Agate because I like to pick on that little gem - that gets undercut, your next move is generally to undercut the lowest auction yourself.  Now, if you have extra Moss Agates sitting in your bags, then this is straightforward - you hit the AH and post it.  But if most or all of your MAs are sitting on the AH, then you've to cancel those that have been undercut, loot them from the mail, and THEN you can post them on the AH.

That sounds straightforward enough - and it is.  Plenty of gold makers, rich and not-so-rich do it everyday.  But it takes time.  There are addons that help with this, but imagine you're dealing with a more large-scale business like glyphs - with 444 separate items to track, post, cancel, loot from mail, and repost.  That adds up to a lot of time.

I'm gonna pick on some goldmakers for a bit - don't worry I still love you all :)  But there are folks who post glyphs and think they're quite clever because they can make every glyph and post them all from a single toon.  You might ask - how can a single toon handle 444 different items in terms of inventory?  Well, they only make as many as they're going to post and then post them to clear bag space.  Which is fine, but what happens when they get undercut?

They'd have to run a full cancel scan, loot the mailbox in waves of ~144 (or however many glyphs their bags can hold), and then post each wave until they're finished with all their glyphs.  It's three waves (a little more, but I'm being generous) for those of you doing the math.  Their own logistics creates more work for them.  The sanitized, military term for this is "stepping on your meat".  It's not the best way to about things.

Now, I like to use glyphs because they're an eccentric, yet accessible example of a lot of the points of power, which extend quite nicely to other markets.  But let's imagine a goblin who keeps Five of each glyph he makes in Inventory competing against the person that keeps all his inventory posted (call it 1 of each glyph).  So 5-dude posts, then gets undercut by 1-dude.  5-dude comes back, runs another post scan later in the day, and undercuts 1-dude.  1-dude now has to take 10 minutes to undercut, compared to 5-dude's three.  And that's fantastic - because 5-dude can do this three more times before he even has to loot his mailbox.

Counting 3 minutes per post cycle and 10 minutes for that worst-case undercut of 1-dude, the 1-dude spends 43 minutes a day doing what 5-dude does in 15 minutes.  Now are those numbers precise?  I don't know.  I haven't taken a stopwatch to different types of glyphing ops.  But it sounds about right.  I can tell you one thing - 1-dude is gonna have a hard time reposting while the raid takes its 10-minute break.  You see, in glyphs, and in many markets, an edge of a single minute can accumulate hours saved in a week or month.  That doesn't mean you need to be all Speed Racer as you go through your routine - enjoy it and have fun, but stepping on your meat usually isn't part of that fun.

But we're not done here.  Inventory goes beyond just being able to skip cancelling to repost.  It also keeps you from having to loot your mail so often.  This is key in large, stackable markets - like glyphs.  Let's say you have a toon with a 5-stock of 140 glyphs that posts in singles 4x a day on 12-hour auctions.  That's 560 auctions / day.  I'd bet 500+ of those expire, too.

Looting mail can be a pain in the butt.  Especially when we're talking about that much of it.  You can only see 50 mails at a time, and the mailbox only refreshes itself once per minute.  Some folks will force a /reload of their ui to get around this 60-second refresh timer on the mail, but that requires you to be there at the keyboard babysitting your mail looting.  And unless your computer is fairly powerful, you may not be able to loot 50 mails and reload your ui in less than a minute, anyway.

Now, if you've a mailbox addon like Postal or TSM_Mailing, these will open all your mail, loot all 50, wait for the mailbox refresh and then resume looting the next 50, until your mailbox is done.  Our dude is still waiting ~10 minutes for his mail to full empty / loot.  But now he can walk away and have a sandwich or clean the kitchen or check the steaks on the grill outside while that happens.

One of the things that's important to keep track of as a goldmaker is your available afk / semi-afk cycles.  I'll talk more about that in a future post.  But Inventory's advantages don't stop at just skipping cancelling and consolidated, afk-able mail looting - there's more!  Inventory also keeps you from having to recraft so often.

This may not sound like much - after all, there are addons that help with that, right?  Well, of course, but even recrafting with addons takes time.  Why do we recraft at all?  So that we have inventory to post - because if you don't have anything to post, you won't have a chance to make a sale.  Recrafting is what restocks our inventory.  Let's use another glyph example: suppose we've a lady that keeps a 15-stock of all the glyphs she sells.

15-lady posts 3 times a day in singles.  At this level of inventory, she can post for 5 days straight without ever even having to loot her mail.  By the same math, she could sell out of an item every time she posted and not run out.  But that rarely happens.  Let's say that she does really well, though, with her bestselling glyph and sells 13 a week.  What this allows her to do is recraft her glyphs only once a week, since she doesn't really run a risk of running out of inventory.  Compare that to someone who has to manage inks and recrafting 2,3, even 5 times a week.  You can save lot of time by effectively consolidating the frequency at which you need to recraft, just by having more inventory.

What's more is that, if you use the add-on TradeSkillMaster (which is what i use for glyphs), then you can save yourself even more time.  TSM has a minimum restock quantity feature that helps me a lot.  By default this is set to 1, but I keep an 18 stock of glyphs (I do not recommend going over a full stack of inventory for glyphs because the logistics break down very quickly).  So if I sell 1 or 2 of a glyph over a week, I really don't need to make 1 or 2 more to get me through the next week.  If I set this minimum restock quantity to 5, then TSM will only queue up that glyph when I'm down to 13 in inventory - which means it takes ~3 weeks before it queues.  This saves me some time and energy while I'm crafting.  Because crafting goes faster the fewer clicks I have to make.  Extrapolate that across a potential 444 glyphs and I'm saving a solid handful of minutes every week like this.

What all of this boils down to is wielding a bigger stock than your competition.  By making your logistics efficient, and spending less time than your competition on your AH routine, you're better equipped to outlast them.  In many markets, dealing with competitors can be a matter of attrition - this is no more true in any other market than glyphs, but it also applies in gems, scrolls, and other markets.  Inventory frees up your time to do other things - level alts, expand into more professions, post more often, or just play other parts of the game.

Hope that sinks in.  I'm not trying to bash on anyone for being sub-optimal here - I just want to show you guys the goldmaking tips that the pros use.  Hope enjoyed the first entry of the series and stick around for the rest!