Wednesday, October 27, 2010

10 Things You Forgot Are Awesome

(I saw the Lich King! He hurt my face :( )

With the recent patch we got new system and quality of life changes like improved raid frames, overhauled character, profession, and guild panes, and fancy new water textures. This made me think about other past updates that have now become so common place that I have almost forgotten what it was like not to have them. So while you are struggling with bugs or class imbalance as a result of the latest patch just remember what it used to be like.

The Dungeon Finder - perhaps the single greatest addition to WoW ever. Do you remember having to spam trade everyday, fly there, summon, only to have to go back to town when your healer drops group? Good times...

Mounts and pets are spells - Collectors rejoice! In the pre-Wrath patch we no longer had to use up precious bag space storing our mounts and pets. Now where is that tabard ring?

Built in quest helper - This is a godsend to noobs. I remember thinking how strange it was that my boyfriend insisted on install this addon called Quest Helper. Why wouldn't the game just tell me where to go? Well now it does.

30 min hearthstone - If you are Alliance and not a mage I'm sure you've been stuck on godforsaken Kalimdor waiting for your heartstone cooldown to be up.

Achievements - Love them or hate them, achievements are here to stay. Achievements not only give neat vanity rewards but they provide motivation and rewards for all of us completionists.

Barber Shop - Character customization in WoW still is unbelievably sucky, but this makes it suck slightly less.

Enchanting Vellums - Whether you are an enchanter or not you have to love vellums. Enchanters get to put their wares on the AH and make actual profits instead of relying on tips and our customers don't have to shout in trade and hope they don't get ripped off when they need an enchant.

The Calendar - What did guilds do before you could schedule events on the calendar. No, seriously, that's not a rhetorical question. What did they do?

Linkable Tradeskills - So, simple and yet so awesome.

Dual Specs - Hybrids rejoice! Dual specs make for personal variety and raid composition flexibility.

Now when all the newbies show up with Cataclysm you can tell them how tough you had it, "back in the day."

Monday, October 25, 2010

Millionare To Be: Go Forth and Conquer!

This is the last in my short series about how to prepare to become an Auction House master for Cataclysm. We have covered bank alts, proffessions, identifying markets, and buying and selling. My last bit of advice is two-fold. First I want to address addons. In my opinion the only addon you need is a good inventory management addon. Arkinventory is my preferance. However most auctioneers will disagree with me and make use of things like Quick Auctions, Postal, Auctioneer, Auctionator, and many more. These are great addons that can automate your buying and selling process and provide you with great information, however you can easily be fooled. It is actually a gold making strategy to post items for ridicously high prices in order to distort other people's Auctioneer values then lower the price which some sucker will snap up thinking its a great deal because Auctioneer told them so. The only other thing that I will say is that it doesn't matter what the price is historically, it matters what the price is now and if you don't understand this addons can sometimes lead you astray. With all that said, if you are a person who likes addons by all means go ahead and experiment. Just be sure that you understand what the addon is telling you and avoid potential pitfalls by being overly reliant upon them. If you want to know what addons to use or how to configure them go visist Marcko at Just My Two Copper, and take a look at his posts. This leads me to my second point...Read! While at JMTC read the posts, read old posts, read the forums, visit the sites on his gold blog roll. Read constently. While you can pick up great practical tips to try yourself (although with the expansion on the horizon many may be out of date) the most important part isn't the specific tips, but to learn how an Auction House master thinks. Once you understand the mentality you'll be sending in your own gold making tips in no time. Good luck and good profits!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Its The Little Things

(Also... Ulduar is awesome.)

So patch 4.0.1 hit me like a ton of bricks last night. My addons are broken, I have to relearn my key bindings, being near the fancy new water causes me to literally see double, and I have to fight the loading screen boss every time I log. But instead of bitching I want to talk about the tiny little changes that made me smile.

  • The character selection screen now has animations. Scared the crap out of the first time I saw it it, but a very nice addition.
  • Druid herb picking appears fixed. It used to be that often even if you were right next to the ground when you tried to pick an herb it would say you can't do that while flying. After about 10 laps around Sholazar I haven't had that problem once.
  • Earthquakes! Earthquakes are everywhere. It makes me giggle with excitement every time.
  • My minions now have a special fly-out menu. Its fancy.
  • You can now track more than one thing on your minimap at a time. It is awesome sauce.
  • When you talk to a flight master the map that comes up is now bigger. I don't have to go grab my bifocals when trying to pick a flight point anymore.
  • The guild interface is sexy. Seriously, its so sexy its almost inappropriate.
  • Reforging. Technically this isn't a little thing but I originally wasn't very interested in it. Turns out that it was very useful for reaching the new hit cap. It is a much better idea than I thought.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Millionaire To Be: Assignment 2.... Also, /Squee!

Cataclysm release date is officially set for December 7th /happy dance. And now on to preparing to take over the Auction House when December 7th finally comes. Now that you have a stylish bank alt named something clever like MoneyPenny and a guild bank to store your wares we are going to move on to professions and how to evaluate and utilize them. There is no more sure fire way to make gold than to have max level professions, but you need to know what and how to sell your goods in order to cash in. This exercise is designed to help you evaluate, understand, and maximize the professions you do have. I will use tailoring as an example as it is a profession I know well.

First take your professions and make two lists for each. The first list is those items that max level characters will want or need. These are typically items that have high demand as well as high supply. Generally these items will give a medium to low margin. For tailoring my list looks like this:
  • Starter Epics - these are the item level 200 chest and back pieces that all tailors can make
  • Raid Epics - by raid epics I mean those epics with item levels higher than 200 which are learned either by a recipe drop in a raid, like Merlin's Robe, or from having Ashen Verdict reputation, like Deathfrost Boots
  • Spellthread - spellthreads include both the expensive ones made with eternals as well as the less expensive ones made with crystallized fire or life. Both levels will sell to max level characters.
  • Frostweave Bags - while these can technically be used by a character of any level most alts typically get netherweave bags to begin with and frostweave bags also use top end crafting materials so I've placed them under max level sellers.
  • Glacial Bags/Specialty Bags - some people will pay a premium for the 4 extra slots offered by glacial bags and many people use things like herb bags, enchanting bags, etc.
  • Moonshroud/Ebonweave/Spellweave - these specialty cloths are typically boughten by non-tailors in order to make the epics above.
  • Starter PvP Gear - In Wrath all armor crafting professions can make a set of item level 187 blue quality pvp gear. This was very profitable at the beginning of the expansion. In Cataclysm we will be able to make a new level of pvp gear each arena season, prolonging the profitability of selling crafted pvp gear.
Next make a list of items you think there may be a market for that are for low level characters or are part of niche markets. These are items that typically use BC or vanilla materials. Generally there is low to moderate demand and low supply, with margins ranging from medium to astronomical. Using tailoring as an example:
  • Shirts - playing to vanity can be a huge money maker. I sell every kind of shirt you can think of. An average shirt costs me about 1 gold worth of materials and I sell for between 25 and 55 gold depending upon the desirability of the shirt.
  • Tuxedo Pieces/Wedding Dresses etc - just like shirts these vanity items are nice sellers, particularly to other bank alts. I like to inspect bank alts to keep up with the latest bank alt fashion and sell accordingly.
  • Netherweave Bags - practically ever new toon out there will buy four of these.
  • Select Crafted Blues - Blue armor can be a very tricky market, but with a bit of experimentation you can find those pieces that do sell to characters seeking to upgrade a piece of gear that is lagging behind the rest of their gear.
  • Robes of Arcana - This is used for a warlock quest chain which results in a blue quality quest reward. Knowing little tricks like this can provide steady income.
Now that you have done this for all of your max level professions its time to apply some critical thinking.

Time – Obviously as Cataclysm becomes imminent this affects the value of certain items. Starter epics for example are not likely to sell when people can pick up much better gear through badge farming. However once the new expansion drops people will spend thousands on the new starter epics. Always be aware of how the lifecycle of expansions and patches will affect what you should be selling.

Server – Consider your server. Are you on a high, low, or medium population server? Is your server an RP or PvP server? These things will affect what and how much you sell. On an RP server there will be a bigger market for vanity items. On a quality raiding server raiding consumables, item enhancements, and gear will be more popular.

Profit Margin – How much are the materials for an item on your server and are these materials readily available? What can you sell the item for and how much compettion will you have versus demand. Also consider the deposit price. Things with low or no deposits you can afford to relist if you are undercut or you are selling rarer items that might expire a few times before they sell. For example, on many servers the flask market, once a powerhouse, is close to zero profit with increased supply, the rise of the price of materials, and vicious undercutting combined with a relatively high deposit cost. You would be better off selling herbs than making flasks on many servers.

The first step in using professions to make gold is understanding your professions. I hope that this exercise has helped you to think about what items you can sell and what items you should sell. Identify a few markets you wish to try, start off with two or three, and experiment. Be sure to track your costs and profit. Next week I'm going to talk about addons and resources.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Shopping Spree

I have a dirty secret. My bank is full of items for all the new Cataclysm characters which I plan to sell at absolutely outrageous prices to meet the enormous demand of new levelers. But don't worry, I'll take everyone else's gold and tell you how to avoid getting gouged by people like me. The answer is simple; buy now. For the most part its a buyers market out there and most things that alts need for leveling and professions will skyrocket along with demand come Cataclysm. Depending on how committed you are to a good bargain you can do this several ways. You can just buy out any reasonably priced item you will need for your planned alts, items that you think will rise in price once the expansion releases or you can do what I do and make use of bidding. I will never understand people who list a stack of gems for 30g buyout but 50 silver starting bid, but people do it and you can take advantage. If you are not using an Auction House addon that finds bargains for you just follow this two step process. First search for the items you want and sort by lowest bid. Bid on anything which would be a steal should you win the auction. Second sort by time left on auction. I go through all auctions labeled short and medium because it is likely that you will win these auctions. I bid everyday but the best times to do this is on Monday night because many auctions will expire over maintenance day, allowing you to win the auction without competition, or Sunday night. Sunday night is good because the high volume of weekend players will mean more auctions, which will be expiring as the weekend comes to a close. Here are some things to pick up for your new alts.
  • Bags - every character needs bags and these will undoubtedly rise in price once the expansion comes out.
  • Profession Bags - if you want a Mammoth Mining Bag or the like keep an eye out and you can usually find someone dumping some of these profession bags for cheap.
  • Enchants - Pick up scrolls for any heirlooms that your new characters will have, alternatively you can keep an eye out for cheap mats and have a friend create them for free.
  • Profession Leveling Mats - this is the biggest one. If you already know what professions your toon will have, look up a profession leveling guide and look for bargains on the mats you will need to level from at least 1-300. It may be that the exact details of the leveling guide will be out of date with the changes to professions, but it will still be well worth it. Even if you are planning on taking a complementary gathering and crafting profession its still worth it to look for materials because nodes will likely have fierce competition with all the levelers (not to mention high level characters farming for their alts with 310% flying) and the worst thing that happens is you have extra materials which you can resell, in all likelihood for more than you paid for them.