Fiannor, Inc.

gold   Shortly after I leveled my hunter in WOTLK, it dawned on me that I was spending a lot of gold to buy things I needed from other people. People who made these things. People like me.  I could make these things too if only I weren’t so cruelly limited to two major professions! But if I had a few alts, they could make stuff for my main, and I would not only save gold but would likely also get filthy rich!

Well, it turns out that was not such a unique idea. And sadly, I did not get filthy rich. But I’ve been thinking about this lately as I struggle to profession level my 10th and 11th professions — after which I will lack only Blacksmithing in my Grand Conglomeration Scheme. But what are the effects of becoming more or less economically self-sufficient in this game? I am not an economist, so no great insights, but here are some of my random observations:

  • Just blindly throwing crafted stuff on the AH and hitting some preset undercut pricing is not a winning strategy. There are tons of excellent forums, blogs, and tools out there to help you make gold by selling stuff on the AH. I read a lot of them, and there are some excellent tips in them, but I discovered that I am just not that interested in spending the time and gold necessary to be wildly successful. What I finally settled on as a compromise is to concentrate on making a bit of gold once a month or so by concentrating on making and selling hot items while they are hot, then backing off until the next month. The rest of the time I make items for myself or my guild, and do a little gathering and shuffling to make a small profit on a few items. Oh, and by the way, I also had to learn, with few exceptions, that most items you make while leveling are not usually worth selling on the AH. Better to just not waste the time and gold trying, and go ahead and vendor or DE
  • I would be lost without the Profession Leveling Guides 1-600 at Awesome site. I don’t always follow the guides completely, but I did power level my Jewelcrafter from 1 to 525 in Cata in about a week using this guide. And it only took that long because after leveling to 500 in a day and a half, I was at the mercy of cooldowns for the remaining 25 skill points.
  • In spite of the fact that I am not willing to spend the time to get really wealthy, I find I do have a lot more gold than I did before I started leveling professions. Some of it is because of selling stuff, but a lot of it is also just savings because I don’t have to pay AH prices for most consumables and some gear/mounts/etc. I cannot remember the last time I had to buy a raid flask or a water walking potion, for example.
  • Early on, I discovered I absolutely had to have a bank alt. It’s just not efficient to have your profession alts running back and forth to get to someplace with an AH and bank. Similarly, my bank alt pretty much has to own a one-person guild and spend the gold necessary to max out guild bank tabs to the guild level. This setup made a huge difference in my leveling and crafting operations — most all mats are in one place, and my banker can run to the AH to buy up a few items if necessary to complete some craft projects, vendor off a few items, monitor items for sale in the AH, mail gold to a needy alt, etc.
  • Another essential tool is Trade Skill Master — an extremely powerful add-on with several plugins. It takes awhile to set it up for your particular style of economic play, but it is well worth it. There are tons of forums, tutorials, and how-to’s out there to help you. Just get it. It will take your profession leveling and goldmaking to an entirely new level.
  • I can’t help but wonder what macro effect it has on a server’s economy to have some percentage of players largely self-sufficient. Does it make consumables cheaper or more expensive? Does it create niche markets for mats that fill a tough leveling spot for profession levelers (items like Cobalt Ore, Hypnotic Dust, Volatile Air)? Does it change the overall character of the economy on a server that has a very high percentage of self-sufficient players?  How about a server with a very low percentage of such players? I’m telling you, there’s a Master’s Thesis there for someone, if not en entire PhD Dissertation!

Anyway, as I mentioned, no great insights here. I am intrigued by the possible link between my approach to making and spending money in WoW and in RL — any observations from anyone else on this?

“Step away from the hunter . . .”

learning-literacymemory-abilities-improvement-success-schooling-studiesmemory-mapping-academic-abilities-learn-remember-alan-mcmahon-learning1I’ve been leveling and lightly gearing some alts lately that are not hunters. I started doing it mainly to have fully realized professions and a robust Tillers farming base. But along the way I found myself actually enjoying the play style of my arcane mage and balance druid. And it was nice that they let me stay in my comfort zone — ranged dps. But having dabbled in the dark side like that, a small creepy voice in my head started to nag me, “You KNOW . . . you could actually heal on the druid. And since you are living on the edge, how about trying a melee class?” Well, I have never been strong in the face of small creepy voices, so I leaped off that comfort zone cliff (mixing a few metaphors on the way) and rolled a Mistweaver monk and a pally. Neither of them is leveled yet, so I am not yet sure how the experiment will ultimately turn out.

Some differences are cosmetic. I personally think there are no cooler spell animations in the game than those for a mage. And I am having a good time playing my unglyphed moonkin while accompanied by my moonkin hatchling. (Come on, it’s cute! Like Take Your Child to Work Day.)

But I also find I am reaping benefits I never expected from my melee alts. For example, I get an entirely different view of dungeon mechanics glued to the boss’s butt instead of standing aloofly distant. I don’t claim it’s a better view, just that it gives a different perspective, one that is helpful and will ultimately make me a better hunter. Melee play has given me insight into some of the complex dances tanks must perform, improving my hunter awareness of when to pull back on dps so as not to steal aggro.

The real payoff for me, though, comes as a result of learning to heal. Intellectually, as a hunter I always understood that standing in crap is bad, but as a healer I get a whole different view of the cascading problems players like that cause. Incidentally, I call such a player a DPS Irritatingly Playing Without Any Discipline (DIPWAD). If I choose to heal a DIPWAD, I lose mana at an alarming rate, I am forced to take my attention away from the tank or DPS suffering legitimate damage, and if I am not very careful I will by sheer habit blow a cooldown on an idiot whose death is almost inevitable anyway. Translation: DIPWAD causes wipe. If I choose not to heal a DIPWAD, knowing heals are wasted on him, the group has lost what in a 5-man dungeon is 1/3 of its dps. Translation: DIPWAD causes wipe. So yeah, my hunter is now much more careful about not standing in crap. Oh, and for tanks that believe dungeons are footraces, my hunter now waits with the healer while he/she recharges mana, then acts as an escort to wherever the tank has run off to.

I am not ever going to abandon my hunter as my main, but I am learning a lot by walking in other classes’ boots/sandals/footwraps/sabatons.


Raid cancelled!!

I am in a social guild that takes its raiding pretty seriously, even though our raid team’s RL schedules only let us devote four hours a week to it. A few nights ago one of our twice-weekly raid nights was cancelled at the last minute. My gut response — which astonished me when I thought about it for half a second — was WOOHOO!

What’s up with that? I love raiding. I look forward to raid nights.

So why was I happy when it was cancelled?

Thinking about it, I have a similar reaction when other things I love to do are cancelled — my fiddle teacher can’t make the lesson, the pottery studio is closed, it’s pouring rain and I can’t spend the day in the garden. When these things happen, it’s like all of a sudden the fabric of the universe has ripped a little and some extra time has leaked in from another dimension. Time that I had no way of planning, structuring, committing, or otherwise filling up. It’s that feeling I had as a kid on the first day of summer vacation, or waking up in the winter to a snow day. WOOHOO!

It’s pretty clear what all this says about my over structured life. Don’t get me wrong — I wouldn’t trade it. I love how full and rich it is, and I appreciate how incredibly lucky I am to have so many options. But the sheer number of those options is what drives me to cram as much as I can into every minute of every day. I mean, what if I squandered 30 minutes a day and then missed something awesome because of it?!? Even though I love it when Fate bestows “extra” time on me, I seem incapable of bestowing it on myself.

You see where I’m going with this. WoW bloggers have written millions of words about the Mists expansion and the direction it has taken the game and the gaming experience. Some like it, some don’t, some think it’s time for even more new stuff, some panic at the thought of a new expansion because they haven’t done everything in the current one yet. I come down on the side of liking it — if I didn’t, I wouldn’t play. But I seem incapable of letting myself have as much pure fun with it as I used to. The game seems structured more and more towards personal progression, not towards “kick back and have a blast”.  The push to get leveled, get rep, get geared, unlock zones, then do the same for your alts is starting to sound very like RL imperatives to get a degree, get a job, get promoted, buy a house, buy a car, then do the same for your kids . . . . Obviously the parallels are not even in the same universe in terms of life importance, but there is a common thread that in order to “succeed” you have to “improve”.

Anyway, when the raid was cancelled, I got on my biggest baddest mount and flew around and just enjoyed some of the game’s most beautiful and peaceful aspects. I cranked up my music. I visited Uldum and flew my old herbing route that took me from beautifully swept dunes to lush river oases. I went back to Zouchin Village in KunLai Summit and admired the scenery and once again was immersed in what has always seemed to be a perfect spring day. I followed the long stretches of postcard perfect beaches in Krasarang Wilds. I swooped. I soared. I had fun.

I should do that more.