Monday, April 21, 2008

My life as a Warcraft Daytrader

I’ve added a new blog (WoW Economist) to my RSS feed and so far I have enjoyed the site immensely. The articles themselves are OK, but as with all the blogs I enjoy – the best stuff is in the comments.

I think what is great about the site is that it attracts like minded folks to the same place. These are the day traders of the WoW economy. The people rubbing two silver together to generate 2 gold.

Over the past six or seven weeks I have really become one of the enlightened ones. I’ve leveled and geared up quite a few 70s, but I have always struggled financially. In large part because I bought into the idea that the best way to make money is through gathering or farming some rare resource. The problem is that this is always so time intensive and just one or two people farming something at the same time can really ruin your success. In order to really make money at a nice rate, I found myself needing to farm things at really weird and inconvient hours.

Dailys changed things a bit. There is competition, but it’s not so stiff that you can’t get things done and many of the quests will actually happen quicker if you group with someone. Even so, they are pretty repetitive and just another grind disguised as a quest. The exception is the Daily BG and the Daily Heroic which I genuinely enjoy doing on a regular basis. Of course, you are not likely to make much more than your repair bill on those two dailys alone.

On my most recent and (I vow!) permanent main, I felt a strong desire to earn up enough gold to buy that epic flyer. It was something I had never completed on other characters because I felt it was an almost unattainable task unless I completely devoted myself to it or stopped using quality enchants and gems.

When patch 2.4 went up on the test server, I read the patch notes and took notice of the changes. I wrote about how I took advantage of the foreknowledge of those changes in my article “How to Roll a Merchant” and managed to easily finance my Epic flyer.

I expected to slow down or even stop working the trade channel and auction house after getting the flyer. Only I found that I still kept an eye on the markets I had been watching and continued to find investment opportunities. At first, I spent maybe 20-30 minutes a day and just did my dailys like everyone else. The funny thing was that two hours of dailys was netting me 200g and 30 min of AH trading was netting me 300-400g. I reached Exalted with the SSO about two weeks ago and have skipped all but the simplest of the dailys ever since.

My intent here is not to boast about my profits, but to share in my enlightenment of this meta-game I discovered to ease the boredom of waiting for the next expansion. It really is a game within a game and while I always understood that people played this game, my small time dabbling never really netted me any worthwhile profits. In part, I blame failed attempts at using Auctioneer on my lack of success in this profiteering game. The real key is not using an addon but to really focus in on just a handful of markets and keep yourself invested.

If you have 3500g sitting on your character then that gold does NOTHING for you except lose value as inflation from the daily quests devalues your money in relation to the rest of the economy. If that same 3500g is invested in good buys that you are using as inventory, then you will be able to resell that inventory at the inflated price. Inventory sitting on the AH for a profit is better than inventory sitting in your bank – but either of those is better than the 3500g just sitting on your character sheet losing value. That’s like burying hundred dollar bills in your backyard. You’re better off burying diamonds that will increase in value over time.

I’m at a point now where gold really has very little value to me and yet I am completely hooked on this profiteering meta game. My goal now is to aquire an absolutely ridculous amount of gold between now and the next expansion.

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