Item Quality

The quality of the gear/equipment you use makes a notable difference to how well you’re able to perform in a great many tasks and MMOs are no exception to this rule.

In WoW you have “Item Level” (iLevel/ilvl) and “Item Quality”.

Item Level is pretty simple to understand; it’s a number which every bit of gear in the game has on it. While there are a number of complex calculations that explain exactly how iLevels work, it’s generally safe to assume that a higher iLevel equates to a better item.

Item Quality is a little less obvious to new players (though you can pick it up pretty fast) as it is indicated by the colour of the text used to display the item’s name:

  • Grey – Has no use and is purely there to give you something to sell to vendors for gold (I’ve always wondered what they do with all those greys players sell them!)
  • White – Items of some value, includes craft materials and quest items
  • Green -“Common: Dropped by anything and everything. Often used while levelling up or as a source of enchanting materials
  • Blue – Uncommon: Mainly dropped by dungeon bosses. Give a reasonable bonus over a green item of the same iLevel
  • Purple – Epic: Mainly dropped in heroic dungeons and raids. Gives a significant bonus over both green and blue items.
  • Orange – Legendary: Very rare items that usually require the user to have completed some quest chain to earn. Usually the most powerful item available in a given tier of content (possibly lasting several tiers due to the bonuses they give) they also carry a certain amount of prestige given the effort involved in obtaining them.

 

EVE has a similar model with Meta Levels and a “Quality” of sorts (Tech Level).

Meta Levels begin at zero and apply to basic items produced by players, for example Expanded Cargohold I. From there you have Meta 1 to Meta 4 which give progressive improvements to the bonuses afforded and/or reduced fitting requirements. All items up to Meta 4 can be considered “Tech I”. Critically, Tech I items have very forgiving skill requirements, meaning that a character with low skill points still has an upgrade path when funds allow but skills do not. Using a Tech I items with a higher meta level also has the benefit of increasing the chances of success when performing invention.

When the meta level reaches “Meta 5” the item is classed as “Tech II”. These items (usually) give a bigger bonus than Tech I items of the same family, but have higher fitting and skill requirements.

Meta 6 to 9 items are classed as either “Storyline” or “Faction”. They give similar (sometimes better) bonuses as Tech II items but with fitting & skill requirements closer to Tech I items. This, combined with the increased rarity of these items, means that they have a significantly higher price tag.

Meta 10 (and higher) items are either dropped by NPC officer spawns (found in low-sec space) or in Deadspace complexes (the closest WoW analogue for a complex would be an outdoor raid boss). Both offer even bigger bonuses than Tech II & Faction items with fitting requirements usually somewhere in the middle. They are very powerful and are amongst some of the most expensive items in the game costing hundreds of millions of ISK and beyond.

Progress Report: May 2012

I’m still playing Internet Spaceships (EVE) so I figured that I’d post a little updated on how I’m progressing.

EVE is one of those games where setting yourself goals is pretty much essential. You can certainly play from one day to the next, but you’ll never be anything close to competitive/optimal.

I have a loose master plan that I’m working towards for both my toons. This is constantly being tweaked and, while I do occasionally deviate from it, for the most part I’m sticking to it. Both Jez & Jhiqui are still in their default attribute maps with +4 implants. I’ve decided to train Core Competency – Standard (plus a few extra skills I require/desire) before both get remaps to Preception/Willpower and start training those skills in earnest.

JezebelleJezebelle
Role: Combat Pilot
Ships: Battlecruisers/Battleships

Jez is currently piloting a Megathron Navy Issue running level 4 security missions with a Myrmidon on standby for level 3s (when I have less time available.) She also has a Thorax, Atron and an Iteron III in her hangar. For the most part, I’ve not deviated significantly from my original plan, however I spent the last week working on my Social skills (to get the most from mission rewards and to improve my standings) and will be spending the next week sorting out my mediocre drone skills.

Originally I’d only planned to train my core skills bare the minimums needed to progress with the intention of remapping to Memory/Intellect once I’d trained my ship piloting skills. The downside of this was, while I’d be able to use Tech 2 guns, I’d still be sporting a Tech 1 tank. Having started running level 4s I can see that the added resistances of Tech 2 hardeners will really help, so I’ve reorganised my plan to spend a little longer now with the result that I shouldn’t need the Mem/Int remap at all. This does mean it will take longer to get in to a Marauder with the benefit that when I do, I’ll be less likely to loose it!

Long term, once I’m flying my Kronos, I’m intending to diversify my ship portfolio a little; first I’ll train in to a Heavy Assault Cruiser (probably an Ishtar) followed by a Command Ship (Astarte) and eventually get in to Strategic Cruisers (Tengu seems to be the boat of choice here so I’ll need to train missile skills somewhere along the way.)

 

JhiquiJhiqui
Role: Support Pilot/Industrialist
Ships: Industrials/To Be Decided

Jhiqui mostly she flies a Noctis, following Jez through missions clearing up the wrecks. She also has a Bestower to transport the loot/salvage to market and an Executioner that I use for hopping between my current mission hub and Jita (to update my buy/sell orders). Additionally, she has a Crucifier (fitted with a remote sensor boosters for missions with heavy jamming), a cargo-fit Magnate (for running low level distribution missions) and lastly an Omen.

The Omen was a bit of an experiment and required a minor deviation from my plan to pilot. One of the blogs I read posted about exploration recently so I figured I’d give it a try. Jhiqui’s drone skills suck (Amarr ships don’t generally favour drones) so I went with a slightly different setup. Unfortunately, having trained and fitted the ship, I’ve so far only taken it out once. I headed to a 0.4 system and immediately started getting harassed by someone in a Vexor Navy Issue. Having no experience with PVP (and a largely inappropriate fit), I have to confess I bailed and returned to High Sec.

Jhiqui has so far trained all the trade skills (except Tycoon, Wholesale & Corporation Contracting) to level 4. Wholesale 4 is on the cards but not currently planned until I’ve completed Core Competency – Standard, however this may change… I usually make a hauling run to Jita on a Sunday/Monday with all my booty from the previous week. Last week, I found I ran out of market (sell) orders before I’d listed half my stuff! I prefer not to sell to buy orders for most items (weapons especially) as the gap between buy & sell can be huge. I should probably start station trading on some of these items as, for instance, I can sell certain Meta 3/4 guns for easily 3-4 times the highest buy order. Not big bucks (~1 mil each) on single units, but volume sales would certainly make up for that.

I’m less certain about taking Jhiqui down the route of full-blown Logistics than I was. I don’t really have that many situations, currently, that Jez can’t handle solo. For multi “room” missions I generally have Jez clearing one room and Jhiqui hoovering the previous one. My current thinking is that I’ll still train Logistics to 4 (possibly 5) but then side-step in to a Damnation, rather than a Guardian. This should give me the flexibility that I can pilot a Guardian if I really need to, but more often can provide the massive buffs that the Damnation brings to the table (not to mention fire-support with it’s heavy assault missile batteries)

After this, I want to get Jhiqui in to R&D. I’ve started acquiring BPOs through stupidly low buy orders (paying ~5k ISK for a BPO that NPCs sell for ~1m ISK is full of win) and I’m watching a number of Contracts for multiple researched BPOs that are currently cheap (I realise I’m probably not the only person watching them).

 

Corporate Goal

My primary goal for my little corporation is to bring up one of my empire factions to 5.01 and drop a POS in high-sec to start researching my BPOs. I have a ways to go, but I think this is a reasonable goal to aim for. By the time I have the required standing I should have the financial base to afford it (I can easily afford the setup cost for a tower plus labs, I just need to stabilise my income stream to ensure I can cover fuel costs.) I also need to work up Jhiqui’s research related skills (depending on how things go, I may level Jez’s as well)

 

That’s all for now. Fly safe!

EVE Training For Beginners

So often in MMOs you see people complaining that they have no money to buy anything. Usually it’s the new players who just haven’t figured everything out yet, but often it’s the experienced players that struggle. EVE, it seems, is no different. However, with a little research I was able to figure out how to get myself set up with a reasonable buffer of cash in a fairly short space of time.

To date, I’ve identified five ways of making ISK, each with varying levels of complexity, time requirement, return and repeatability…

Career Agent Missions:
After you’ve completed Aura’s introduction quests (go pick up your rookie ship, shoot a couple of bad guys etc) you are directed to the rookie system where you will have five agents available to you. These are the Career Agents offering a series of around 10 missions each. There’s no commitment for doing these mini-arcs, you won’t be tied to a given career path so there’s basically no reason not to do them. Each agent will introduce you to an aspect of EVE; Mining, Industry, Exploration, Trading and Combat. You can work through the agents in any order you like but do them all. (Top tip; for the Exploration agent, when you are tasked with collecting a “Proof of Discovery” item, grab three. You’ll see why in a minute.) As you progress through the mission arcs you will be rewarded with ships, equipment and skill books in addition to essential experience on how the game works. Don’t sell anything just yet, we’ll come back to this in a minute.

Once you’ve completed all five arcs have a look here and you’ll see that there are three rookie systems for each race. Open your Neocom and set your destination to one of these. For exampe; If you’re an Amarr and started out in Conoban, head to Pasha. Load up your best ship (this should be a destroyer) with those extra Proof of Discovery items you collected earlier (and anything else that might be useful) and off you go. Once you arrive do the career agent missions there and then a third time for the final rookie system (eg; Deepari).

If you’re completely new to EVE, doing all three rookie systems will probably take you a while as you learn the basics, though the last system will naturally be the fastest. By the time you’re done you should have (as a minimum) 2-3million ISK , 3 destroyers, 6 industrials, around 15 frigates, a load of spare/duplicate skill books and a pile of equipment scattered across your three rookie systems. What to do with these?

Basic Trading:
Assuming that you’ve trained your <Racial> Industrial skill to at least level 1 assemble one of your industrial ships and do a quick tour of your rookie systems to gather everything up. The ships won’t all fit in the industrial so we’ll sell these where they are. Undercutting is as simple as WoW and you’ll have plenty of people undercutting by 0.01ISK, I tend to ignore those and round down to the nearest ISK for most things. Take the time to check both buy and sell orders; in a lot of cases you can get several times the price by setting up a sell order as you can by simply selling to someone else’s buy order. From all three rookie systems, I would expect to gain in the region of 6-8million ISK from selling the ships you were given. The only catch is that in EVE you can only have a limited number of orders active at any time. You can increase the number of active orders you can have by training Trade & Retail (and eventually Wholesale & Tycoon.)

Once you’re done you should be left with one destroyer and the industrial you’re flying loaded with all the crap you’ve gathered from the rookie systems. Next, head for your nearest trade hub: Dodixie for Gallente, Amarr for Amarr, Jita for Caldari and Rens for Minmatar. (You can head to Jita regardless if you want as this is the main trading hub for the galaxy, but you’re looking at over 20 jumps for some races so you’re better to stay local. Work your way through all the crap in your hold and you should be able to net yourself another 5-10million ISK.

Advanced Trading:
By now you should, realistically, be sitting on a good 20million ISK (more if you’ve been savvy). You’ve got a few choices as to what you do next. One option is to continue trading. While you were selling off your rookie crap, you hopefully noticed how valuable skill books are. This can be a good market to get in to as a new player; set up buy orders in the rookie systems and then transport the books you receive to a trade hub. You’d be surprised at the number of people who will blindly sell you a 1,000,000ISK book for 25,000 ISK. Set up your buy orders for 10 books at a time and tour the systems once a day, collect your books and then sell them to other people to lazy to go and collect them.

Once you have a comfortable buffer you can start looking in to other opportunities. For example, I found that I could make good money by buying Tech 2 ammo in Jita, hauling it to Rens and reselling it. Doing this I very quickly built my 20 million up to 100million. When doing this be aware of two key things: 1) Don’t haul more than you can afford to loose. If you do and you get attacked by pirates you stand to loose everything. 2) Prices can be very volatile so make sure that what you’re hauling doesn’t crash in price between when you purchased it and when you sell it (eg; don’t buy a pile of stuff and log out for the night planning to sell it tomorrow as 12 hours from now it might not be profitable any more.) EVE-Central is a really useful site for working out what sells where and it’s worth taking some time to figure this out before getting too heavily in to hauling for profit.

Missions:
If you decide that hauling stuff across the galaxy isn’t for you then you could choose to run missions for agents. Level 2 missions pay out 250-500k ISK, including the time bonus, plus Loyalty Points which can be traded to NPCs for high value items. On top of this, combat missions will reward you bounties for killing pirates which can easily add another 500k ISK. Lastly, if it’s a combat mission, there’s loot to be had. This can add obscene amounts of ISK if you get lucky with drops (for example, one level 2 mission I ran recently dropped two Amarr navy tags worth ~1.5 million ISK each).

Salvage:
The last method I’ve tried is Salvage. I already salvage my own missions, though if there are less than 4-5 wrecks I just loot and then abandon them.

You’re introduced to salvage during the career agent tutorials and given the skill book as part of that mission. Before starting salvaging you’ll need to go out and pick yourself up some Salvager I modules, how many depends on the ship you’ll be flying. Currently, I have a destroyer (Catalyst) set up with the following:

  • 4x Salvager I
  • 3x Beta Reactor Control I
  • 1x Cap Recharger I
  • 1x 1MN MicroWarpdrive I

With this setup, I can run all 4 salvagers and the MWD indefinitely. If I add 2x Small Capacitor Control Circuit I, I could also run 4x Small Tractor Beam I.

So yes, I can salvage my own missions, but why stop there? In addition to the Catalyst, I also have am Imicus loaded with Combat Scanner Probes. I park both ships in a system with a few level 4 mission agents, use the Imicus to scan down other players running missions then switch to the Catalyst and salvage their wrecks. This is not without risk, but can net you significant piles of cash for minimal effort. There’s a great guide on how to do this here (thought I’m using different ships). It’s important to note a couple of things before you start doing this:

Icons:

  • Empty inverted pyramid: Wreck does not contain any loot
  • Filled inverted pyramid: Wreck contains loot. Salvaging a wreck that contains loot transfers all the loot in to a cargo container in the same location
  • Diamond: Cargo container. Contains loot and (usually) implode when emptied.

Colours:

  • White: Your wrecks. You can loot, salvage and tractor these without any risk
  • Blue: Someone else’s wrecks that they have intentionally abandoned. For all intents and purposes, you can consider these the same as white wrecks.
  • Yellow: Someone else’s wrecks that they have not abandoned. You can not tractor yellow wrecks, however you can still salvage them without risk. If a yellow wreck (or container) contains loot you may open it and view the contents, however be warned; removing anything (other than salvage) will be flag you with a 15 minute aggression timer during which the owner, and their entire corporation, may attack you without Concord responding.

With practice and patience you can make this an exceptionally profitable venture. I like to scan down several people at once, bookmark their positions and then come back a little later. This gives them a chance to finish up and reduces the odds of them still being there when you take your salvage boat out to clean up their wrecks (it also means that any structures and leftover NPCs will have despawned) leaving you free to scoop up everything they’ve left behind. How profitable are we talking? Salvage items can sell for anything up to 200k ISK each (there’s only a couple that go for this much in fairness) and you can chuck extra zeros on the end of that if they’ve left loot on the ships, especially when you start looting battleship wrecks.

Goals, Plans & Alts

One aspect of EVE that I’m not really that enthused by is the way alts are handled. You can create up to three characters per account, however you can only have one of the three training at any given time.

Say you want to have an alt sat in a trade hub (eg Jita) to do your buying and selling. You’ll want to train this character to have, as a minimum, Trade & Retail. You’ll probably also want them to have some of the supporting skills; Accounting, Marketing, Daytrading, Margin Trading, Visibility and Procurement to name a few. To get all these to a reasonable level (~level 4) will take a good three weeks, during which time your main isn’t able to be training anything. On top of this, you’ll want to increase your standings with whichever corporation runs your chosen trading station (Caldari Navy for Jita 4-4) to reduce the sales tax you pay, so you’ll need to run some missions for them again eating in to time away from your main.

As a result of this, you really only have two choices:

  1. Train those skills on your main and diversify your skill portfolio at the expense of reaching your other goals that bit slower.
  2. Activate a second account enabling you to have two characters training at once and then gang up for missions.

The most obvious downside to option two is that you have to pay for a second account. However, if you can earn enough ISK, you can cover this by purchasing PLEX from the in-game market. This is what I’m planning. (Actually, my goal is to pay for both accounts with PLEX.)

My alt is going to be a “support” character. Here’s what I’m planning in a nut shell:

  • Jezbelle – Primarily combat orientated. My current goal is to be able to fly the following; Megathron, Megathron Navy Issue, Vindicator and eventually a Kronos. Included in my plan are all the required supporting skills (eg; the prerequisites for Tech 2 Blasters/Railguns etc). Based on the plan I’ve assembled in EVEMon I will be able to step in to a properly (Tech 2) fitted Kronos inside of six months, which I actually think is reasonable. I’ve then got another three months of sundry skills planned to further enhance the performance gains from the hull. (Mostly this consists of maxing out a lot of skills to level five that only require three/four to pass the minimum requirements.)
  • Jhiqui – Initially, I’ve planned to train in to pilot a Noctis, so I can salvage the wrecks Jez creates, and then a Providence, so I can haul that crap to market in bulk, this will take about two months. Once this is done, I’ll turn my attention to the main goal for Jhiqui; providing Logistics support to Jez. Given that Jez is going to mostly be flying buffer-tanked Gallente hulls I’ve chosen to make Jhiqui Amarr with the goal to be able to pilot a Guardian. Later on I intend cross-train Caldari Cruisers to be able to fly a Basilisk as well, since from what I’ve read, a lot of fleets seem to fly with shield tanks.

Despite having started Jhiqui later than Jezebelle, both plans complete around the same time so everything should work out rather well. Where I go from there is really anyone’s guess. If I ever get in to low/null sec stuff I guess I’d ultimately aim to fly a Nyx though that’s clearly some significant way off (probably a year to be able to pilot & fit the hull properly, not to mention the cost!)

While I’m not raking in ISK at the speed Gevlon is, I should have little to no trouble make money if/when I need to. I’ve made some minor ventures in to hauling Tech 2 modules between Jita & Rens which has proven very positive (they’ve paid for fully fitted a Thorax & Myrmidon so far with a very comfortable pile of ISK left over). I’ll continue this as time goes on, though I will wait until I can pilot something with a better tank than an Iteron Mk III before hauling anything too valuable!

Back In The Blogosphere!

Well, maybe…

So I’ve quit WoW. Maybe for good this time, my account’s been inactive since we moved house back in October. I did get 7 days of free time a couple of months back, which was kinda fun, but since most of my guild has quit as well (for ToR or life) it just wasn’t the same.

Following the house move, we were without internet until late January (long story, suffice to say that the cable TV company in this area sucks) so I didn’t have much opportunity for online gaming. We did have some internet for a while which, rather neatly, coincided with one of the ToR beta weekends so I got to give that a go, it was above average, but clearly not superb or I’d have bought it. Mostly, I entertained myself by playing X3:TC and Crysis 2 between doing work on the house.

Once we got out internet up and running, I played a bit of City of Heroes (which is F2P now) running two accounts with a Blaster & Tanker. Entertaining, but that’s about it. Mostly I’ve been looking for something new to play.

New Worlds (literally)

Seems like I’m not the only person to be giving up WoW. One of the blogs I read (Greedy Goblin) has alsodecided to quit WoW and has started playing EVE Online. I’ve mentioned EVE before, but only briefly and never in glowing terms, I’ve always got turned off by the persistent PVP aspect of the game. This time I decided to do some homework before getting stuck in and read a bunch of stuff. Here’s a couple of things I’ve learned:

  • Someone is waiting to blow you up every time you undock from a station.
    Not really. From my reading, the odds of getting ganked are fairly low as long as you observe certain unwritten rules.
    Very few players in EVE are willing to attack another player in “high-sec” (high security) space. The reason for this is simple; if you attack someone unprovoked, the NPC police (CONCORD) will blow you up in return, loosing your ship, and reduce your security status. Low enough security status means that (eventually) the local law enforcement will attack you on sight. For another player to attack you they need to make a decent profit from the encounter.
    As an example; Assume I’m flying a ship worth 1 million ISK with a cargo worth 20 million ISK. If I get blown up, there’s only around a 50/50 chance that the wreck I leave behind will contain that cargo so you can assume that blowing me up is worth 10 million ISK to my attacker. If their ship (and the time taken to rebuild their security status) is worth less than that, then I might find myself floating in space, otherwise I should be fairly safe. Generally speaking, it’s unlikely (though not impossible) that you’ll get attacked for less than 50 million profit (experiences may vary).
  • EVE is hard!
    I’ll admit EVE looks complicated and indeed it can be. But the beginner tutorials are informative and pay out a nice chunk of starting capital to boot (~7 million ISK). Each faction (of which there are four you can play) have three starter systems and you can do the quests in all three giving you a solid 20 million ISK within a few hours (enough to buy and fit a Cruiser). From there, you can really do whatever takes your fancy. Trading, Mining, Mission running, Pirating etc. If you’re unsure, apply to join a Corporation (Guild) like EVE Uni who will help you learn the ropes and even supply you with basic ships.
    One of the hardest aspects of EVE is the skill system. Unlike WoW, where you can grind levels as fast as you like picking up new abilities along the way, EVE is limited to learning skills in real-time. If you want to fly a bigger ship, you need to learn the appropriate piloting skills. Want to shoot a bigger gun, same thing. There’s a number of free tools available that let you input what you want to do and output a list of skills and the order you need to train them.
    In may ways, this aspect of the game is a real positive. With WoW you can grind out 85 in a week and have no clue how to play your class. The slower learning pace in EVE means that you gain experience by doing more mundane things while learning the next skill. Over time you can do more and more as you acquire the necessary experience.

For now, I’ve paid for 60 days game time and will see if I’m still enjoying it when that runs out. At the moment, I’m enjoying it. The theory-crafting of which skills are going to help me the most is the sort of thing I like to obsess over and I’ve already got a few plans in my head for business ventures I’d like to explore, but I’ll talk about these more in a future post (assuming I keep bloging). I know Crystal likes when I blog so I’ll have at least one reader, not that that really matters!

Leveling Your Bank Balance

Lone StarListen! We’re not just doing this for the money! We’re doing this for a SHIT LOAD of money!”
 – Lone Star (Spaceballs)

This is one of the articles I originally planned to write when I started this here little blog of mine.

One of the things I’ve come to despise over my years playing WoW is people that constantly complain they have no money to train their abilities or to learn the riding skills. Let’s take a look at riding specifically as this is a skill that everyone will need to learn sooner or later (preferable sooner).

  • Apprentice Riding – Requires level 20, costs 4g, grants 60% increased movement speed, mounts cost 1g each
  • Journeyman Riding – Requires level 40, costs 50g, grants 100% increased movement speed, mounts cost 10g each
  • Expert Riding – Requires level 60, costs 250g, grants 150% increased movement speed, mounts cost 50g each, allows you to fly in Outland
  • Flight Master’s License – Requires level 60, costs 250g, allows you to fly in Eastern Kingdoms, Kalimdor etc
  • Cold Weather Flying – Requires level 68, costs 500g, allows you to fly in Northrend
  • Artisan Riding – Requires level 70, costs 5000g, grants 280% increased movement speed, mounts cost 100g each
  • Master Riding – Requires level 80, costs 5000g, grants 310% increased movement speed

Excluding Master Riding, which you don’t really need, by the time you get to level 80 you will have spent 6215g on riding and four mounts; two land mounts (one slow, one fast) and two flying mounts (one slow, one fast).

In reality this is not an exact figure, there are various factors that will mostly help to decrease this cost, though buying yourself additional mounts will naturally nudge it back up.

By the time you hit 58, you should be *at least* Revered (more likely Exalted if you bought a tabard) with your home-city faction (eg Stormwind) so make sure you train your riding in whichever city you have the highest standing. This can give you up to 20% discount on training costs. If you’re in a level 24+ guild you will also have Bartering which gives you a further 10% discount. Combined, you can reduce your costs by up to 30% bringing that initial 6215g figure down to a rather more manageable 4350g.

For arguments sake, let’s pick somewhere in the middle and say your guild isn’t level 24 yet and that you’re highest city reputation is Revered. This gives you 15% discount meaning that you’re looking at 5283g. Add to that your costs to train your class abilities, which for a Paladin is about 240g, and you’re looking at somewhere around a 5500g investment to level your character. To some folks this will seem like a huge amount but it’s really not. So, how do you achieve this? It’s simple and here’s how:

Bags

The first tip is get your bags sorted out. If you’re starting out on a new server, this might come later in the process, but it’s important to think about this. More bag space means fewer trips to the vendor, mail box or auction house. It’s worth investing in a set of bags as soon as you have the gold to spare, the bigger the better. While in the short term this may reduce your gold balance, this investment will be repaid many times over in the long run.

Your Junk Is Someone Else’s Treasure

Grey items should be sold to your nearest vendor. White items have some sort of use by a profession so you should try selling these on the auction house. Green, Blue & (eventually) Purple items carry the highest value and so should, again, go on the Auction House.

Many gold bloggers advocate the creation of a bank character and so do I. Spend 5-10 minutes to create a level 1 character and run them to the nearest capital city. Once there, send anything that you’re going to sell at auction to this character. Doing this means that you only have to leave the area you’re questing in when you want to go and train. At other times, just find a mail box and a vendor and clear your bags.

Generally speaking I stick to the following pattern for selling stuff based on the item quality:

  • White (Common) – List one or two times. If it doesn’t sell, vendor it
  • Green (Uncommon) – List one or two times. If it doesn’t sell, vendor it. Alternatively if you know an enchanter have them disenchant it and sell the mats instead
  • Blue (Rare) – List it three or four times. If it doesn’t sell, treat as above
  • Purple (Epic) – Keep re-listing until it sells, because it most likely will eventually

I generally list common items for 12 hours and everything else for 24 hours. The shorter duration on common items is because you’re more likely to get undercut in these markets.

Professions

Personally, I see little point in picking up a crafting profession much before you get to level 80. If you level at a reasonable pace you will out grow anything you make very quickly so there’s little point making it to begin with. What I do suggest however is to pick up two of the three gathering professions. Which two is up to you but consider this; Mining feeds three professions (Blacksmithing, Engineering & Jewelcrafting),  Herbalism feeds two professions (Alchemy & Inscription) while Skinning only feeds one (Leatherworking). With this in mind, Mining & Herbalism are the obvious choices as they have the largest potential market. However look at your own Auction House, see which has the least representation and go for that.

Mining:
Copper Ore sells for, on average, 48g per stack. Mithril & Thorium ores also sell very well and when you hit Outland you’ll find Fel Iron sell for even more (over 90g per stack) so you should have a steady income stream as you move through progressively higher zones. Also, it’s important to always check the going price of both ore and bars before selling to ensure that you’re getting the most money you can.
Herbalism:
Goldthorn sells for ridiculous prices (185g per stack) while Outland herbs sell for even more (Felweed is currently selling for ~240g per stack!!).
Skinning:
As expected, Skinning shows the lowest prices as it has the smallest audience. Rugged Leather averages 63g per stack with Knothide leather selling for much the same.

I don’t know what it is about Outland, but there generally seems to be more demand than supply for raw materials from those zones. Maybe people just don’t like them, but they’re a gold mine if you do!

Conclusion

Assuming you play on a server with prices close to the US average, that you pick up Mining & Herbalism and that you don’t spend your gold on flashy blue & purple items that other people are selling. – By the time you hit level 80 you should be able to alt over to your banker and mail yourself the gold you need to go and buy epic flight. If not then I’m sorry, there’s little hope of you ever making gold.

In a future post, I’ll discuss what to do about your professions post level 80.

 

*All sale prices quoted are based on the “US Alliance Mean” value as calculated by The Undermine Journal on the day of posting. Prices do vary significantly between servers so may not be wholly accurate for your own server.

Elitist Jerk

Madness…? This is SPARTA!
 – King Leonidas (300) 

Time to put on my Gevlon hat again and lament my encounters with the Dungeon Finder.

Last night I took Jez to run a random regular with Varian & Yalena to help Varian finally get to 85. We got Vortex Pinnacle, which is a beautiful instance by the way, and were joined by two PuGs; a Priest and a DK.

The Priest: Bittersweetz @ Bronzebeard

I’m going to prefix this by pointing out that Yalena had queued as heals and performed this role throughout the instance. This said, within a couple of pulls I noticed a Penance spell effect whiz past me. Having never noticed this in VP before I panned my camera around to see what was casting it; it was the Priest, she had queued and was DPSing as Discipline!
For the run, she averaged just under 3000 dps.

The Deathknigth: Darthfang @ Drakar

I thought it was a little odd when the DK popped Army on the first pull, though I attributed this to maybe having clicked the wrong button. He was Frost but had taken things a bit literally and was only using Frost spells; no Plague Strike, Pestilence or Blood Boil even though we AoE’d most of the instance. But it was his spec that astounded me the most; he had 3/3 Nerves of Cold Steel AND 2/3 Might of the Frozen Wastes two talents that are mutually exclusive in use.
For the run, he averaged around 3500 dps.

This is Madness!

Right before the final boss I decided to call them both out, maybe I was wrong to have done so in the way I did, but I can’t very well go back now and have a do-over can I? I spelt out very clearly that Discipline is a healing spec and not DPS and that the DK’s spec was, quite simply, screwed up.

The Priest I could kinda forgive as, despite the fact that she was using a healing spec to DPS, the spec it’s self was fairly solid. Though I really don’t get why she didn’t just queue as a healer since that’s what Discipline with Atonement is all about. Having looked her up on Armory today though I see that a big reason her DPS was so shocking is that she has 0.00% hit and does not have the Glyph of Divine Accuracy. Simply glyphing correctly would probably increase her damage by 1-2k. I’m actually thinking I’ll create a toon on her server later and send her an in-game mail to 1) say sorry for being a jerk and 2) suggest this to her. One thing she said that did annoy me though was, after dying on the last boss, “It’s my first time here” while her Armory profile shows that it was her third Asaad kill. After three times through an instance, one would hope to have a fairly good idea of which boss ability will one shot you.

The DK however really annoyed me and I honestly don’t know why. He explained his reason for having 2h & 1h specialisation in the same build was that when he’s solo he uses a 2-hander and when he’s in instances he dual-wields. To which I responded “Dude, that’s what dual spec is for!” His response to me saying this was to further explain that his off-spec is Blood, but that he doesn’t like tanking. You have to ask yourself, if you don’t like tanking why have you got a tank spec?! Make your offspec Unholy or, even simpler, MS Dual-Wield Frost, OS 2 Hand Frost. The evidence available would suggest that he’s one of these people who mindlessly dumps all his points in to one tree without any though. On top of this, his gear was all over the place. He’s wearing a mixture of plate-tank and plate-dps items, which is forgiveable since he’s still levelling, however he’s also wearing agility items in several slots and a trinket from a level 65 instance. This is all topped off with empty gem sockets, no enchants though again, this is forgiveable due to levelling perhaps.

The Morning After

I admit that this encounter annoyed me far more than it probably should have and I apologise again to Yalena for allowing my frustration to spill over into our conversation afterwards. She did ask if I think the same about her (as she’s often concerned about her own damage) but the difference is this; She asks people for help and she reads everything she can get her hands on to help her improve. The only way I can suggest for her to up her damage is to try and get in to using keyboard shortcuts. She’s a mouser and I understand that, for some people, it’s simply not natural or intuitive to use keyboard shortcuts so I help her as much as I can with the tools she’s comfortable using.

I had some really good PUGs on my own Priest & DK yesterday gaining two levels and one level respectively. Sure, there were a couple of “bads” along the way but never really more than one in a group. To carry two people through an instance just really riled me up and Yalena was probably right to suggest it was time to call it a night.

A Quick Update

Following on from my recent posts about market competition, here’s the latest:

My original plan was to suffocate my competitor by cutting off his supply of raw materials and forcing him to post below his cost price. This worked for a couple of days but, as is often the case, circumstances have changed. The volume of ore available on the auction house this week has increased quite significantly on recent times making it virtually impossible to close this avenue.

However, my competitor has also changed their posting schedule. Earlier this week we were posting at the same time resulting in constant back and forth undercuts, however the last two days it seems s/he is now posting a few hours after me. I’m happy with this because I generally post first, giving me a couple of hours of sales at higher prices. I’m not sure if this is going to last or not, time will tell.

Somewhat interestingly, Foo has been posting a couple of articles the last few days discussing Auction House campers that reflect my recent experiences very closely. Needless to say I’ve been reading his thoughts on this subject and seeing if any of his ideas will work in the gem market. There are a few that I have adopted, mostly in regards to walling at a price that nets me a reasonable return while forcing my competition to post lower than me.

To The Mattresses!

it’s all-out war — we go to the mattresses!
 – Sonny (The Godfather)

This is a quick update to yesterday’s post.

I have a fairly simple game-plan for dealing with my new competitor which, so far, is working.

  • Firstly, I’m buying up all the ore I can get my hands on below a certain price threshold leaving only the most expensive stacks left.
  • Secondly, I’m buying out any uncut gems that are cheap.
  • Thirdly, I’m buying up Heartblossom.
  • Finally, I’m posting with deep undercuts.

The first two actions serve a dual purpose; they increase my stock while pushing up my competitor’s costs. The third action reduces his capacity to transmute Carnelians in to more profitable Inferno Rubies. Lastly, since I have a lower cost, I have no qualms about driving prices down in the short term. What I loose in single-transaction profit I’ll recoup in volume.

Yesterday I dropped a chunk of gold to set my plan in motion and there was an immediate reaction from my competitor. Here’s an example that played out last night; My established floor price for Inferno Rubies yesterday was 125g, my competitor was listing around 175g. My first round of postings went up at 160g and were immediately undercut with 159g 99s 99c. I pulled most of my first round and relisted at 150g and again got undercut by 1c (I’m only listing a few gems at a time so relisting doesn’t cost me the earth). Third round I went deep and listed at 130g, another 1c undercut ensued. So I went for broke and listed at my floor price of 125g each… Nothing, no reaction, he didn’t relist his again.

I sat in the AH for about an hour last night before I decided to call it a day. A couple of times I noticed that my competitor was buying out of my auctions and relisting them himself. Poor guy, this is the worst thing you can do, especially when the person you’re buying from is online and clearly has stock available. When he did this, I immediately undercut him again meaning he either had to sell the gems he’d just bought from me at a loss or give me more of his gold to try and run my stock out (which is unlikely to happen for a while). Before I logged I threw up a couple of small walls of Inferno Rubies and when I checked this morning they’d all sold.

All in all I’m actually rather pleased with the results so far. My gross sales were up on recent days and I actually made a net profit despite having invested in a lot of stock which I wouldn’t have bought on a normal day. I may even continue with this sort of strategy in the longer term if it continues to be profitable.

Friendly Competition

I’m very active in the gem market on my server, it’s my main source of income. Recently however I’ve noticed a fairly significant drop on my profit and it seems I’m not the only one.

Last night I was messaged by one of my competitors asking if I’d noticed another, newer entrant, to the gem market. Through the course of our conversation we established that this new person has seemingly managed to be online 24 hours a day for almost two weeks solid. Not only this but they have been aggressively undercutting anyone else posting auctions within seconds of them listing.

Now I’m all for a little friendly competition with my fellow jewelcrafters. It’s part of the game and one expects this when you’re as active in a given market as I am. However this new competitor is acting very differently to other sellers. To me and my fellow seller the new comer fells too automated not to be suspicious. Sure, it could be someone camping the AH to make a pile of gold but the circumstances would seem to indicate otherwise. Here is a character who has suddenly appeared on the scene with a seemingly large resource pool to set up their operation. They are bullying the smaller players out of the market using extremely argessive tactics meaning anyone without a significant investment can’t compete.

Fortunately, this isn’t me. I have a good stockpile and can still turn a profit while undercutting the new arrival. I also have enough liquid capital that I can cut off their supply at the source by buying up all the raw ore so it’s a good bet that I can ultimately hurt them at both ends of the market, however in the short term it makes brings an interesting challenge.

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