Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Children's Week = Profit.

Children's Week starts on Saturday and a few of the achievements require some items that the lazy or unprepared will be after, bringing a lot of options for obtaining gold.

The "Bad Example" achievement requires eating a copious amount of sweets in front of your orphan.

Delicious Chocolate Cake can only be made by a chef lucky enough to have had the recipe drop in their satchel of goodies after completing the cooking daily. If you haven't gotten the recipe yourself, now is the time to make friends with someone who has. The materials will also be good sellers, especially with the Darkmoon Faire falling in the same week; Mageroyal is commonly used for Rogues Decks for the Insane! achievement so now is the time to farm or scour the AH. Small Eggs can be farmed relatively easily by making a loop around the quarry in SE Loch Modan, but the lazy are, well, lazy.

Slice of Lovely Cake can only be created by purchasing a Lovely Cake, which provides 5 slices. At 18g for the whole cake, those who only want a slice will be willing to pay for only that slice.

Tasty Cupcake are also created by chefs. The recipe is a BoP world drop with a relatively high drop rate, thus is more readily available than the Delicious Chocolate Cake. However, these will likely sell as will the Northern Eggs needed to make them.

There are other vendor-sold items that you may be able to convince a lazy person to buy from the AH, but in general I tend to shy away from them. Options include Tigule and Foror's Strawberry Ice Cream, Flask of Port, and Northern Spices. When the ice cream was only available in Shimmering Flats, I'd say profit could have been readily made because getting there is a pita, but now that vendors appear in the two main cities, I wouldn't bother.

Mages, those needing portals to get around will possibly increase so be prepared for an influx of whispers. Always charge a fee, don't work for tips.

Those who have multi-person mounts can offer to chauffeur folks to the locations needed for a fee. This would likely work best for lower-level individuals doing the Vanilla quest, especially if you are a mage and can combine with portals to Theramore/SW/IF.

Best of luck!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

How I went from 200g to 125,000g in 8 weeks--the graphical version.

I started with only 200g to my name on February 27th, 2010. As of April 26th, 2010, I had over 125,000g total liquid, not counting all of the materials I had remaining in my mailbox. I combed the interweb, doing my research, and eventually stumbled upon the Just My Two Coppers blog and started participating in the forums. With their assistance in putting me on the right track and in giving me a place to keep track of what I was doing and how things were going, I managed to reach not only my initial goal of 15,000g but to obtain my ultimate goal of 100,000g before Cataclysm.

I didn't allow myself to splurge on anything until I hit 125,000g so I'd stay above 100,000g when I did so. I've since purchased a basic Kirin'Tor ring, a Gigantique bag for the Achievement (it replaced a Frostweave in my bank), and four Portable Holes for Laurewen. And boy do I need it with all of that gear! This is in addition to the Traveler's Tundra Mammoth I purchased when I was at just under 50,000g.

I'm liquidating all of my materials now, so there's no harm in telling the world how I did it. The majority of my gold was made doing something called the Saronite Shuffle. This is a tactic that was used quite successfully for a long while by many AH goblins, however some recent patches caused many long-time practitioners to turn away from it due to the tanking of Infinite Dust on many servers.

I assure you that I am proof the Saronite Shuffle is a valuable means of in-game income on Nesingwary.

I prefer OmniGraffle for this sort of thing but seeing as I do not own a Mac, MSPaint had to do.

I'd like to condense this just a little bit more if I can, but that can come later.

Friday, April 23, 2010

The World of Warcraft Collector's Basket.

Glorf mentioned this in /g last night and it's pretty damn awesome, so I thought I'd share.

An anonymous Blizzard employee is auctioning off his batch of goodies to support the Peninsula Education Foundation.

Contents include all three Collector's Editions of WoW signed by the development team, one of each of the totally kyoot plushies, a year's subscription to WoW, and three loot cards: Spectral Kitten, Spectral Tiger, and Ethereal Plunderer.

As of this post, bidding is up to $4,200. Based on current eBay values:

WoW Collector's: Only one currently listed is $2000; I've seen them for $1000 in the past few weeks.
BC Collector's: $80
WotLK Collector's: $80
Spectral Tiger card: $800
Spectral Kitten card: $130
Ethereal Plunderer card: $400

The Gryphon and Wind Rider Cub are available from the Blizzard Store for $50 total and a year's subscription to WoW is $180 if you were to pay monthly, making the grand total without valuing the signatures on the boxes at $2720. From a 'stuff' point of view, the bid is way over value. However! You get, well, shiny signatures complete with bragging rights and the knowledge that your money is going to a great cause. So, if you're a philanthropist who likes to get something in return for tossing your money around, this could be your chance.

As for me, our combined tax return was only $1400 and I've got loans to pay so I'll be shying away from clicking any bidding buttons anytime soon.

Blizzard's New Sparkle-Pony.

I bought one. Well, first I told Anakha I thought they were cute and I was going to think about it. Then I just flat-out bought one. They were available from an early time on release day and by the time I jumped into queue at 5:00p PST, I was told it would be a 6-hour wait and I was 160,000-ish in line. Well, it only took about an hour and a half to get to the checkout and after logging out and in again, I had a new sparkle-pony. So did everyone else.

The design is actually quite pretty and the main reason I wanted one. It has, however, prompted some interesting claims by a few who believe Blizzard made the wrong move.

"Next Blizzard will start selling gear!"
Really? What makes you say that? I'll be the first to say that if they do begin selling gear, like actual stat-increasing epics not dresses and silly costumes, I'll be gone. I quit playing Dungeons and Dragons Online because of their switch to micro-transactions; why earn gear when you could just pay for it? I'm not the only one who feels that way, and I doubt the money Blizz would make in one-shot gear would balance out the amount of monthly subscription money they lose. The items that they have placed for sale are cosmetic only and don't change your game experience in any way (well, maybe not; see further below).

"By selling a mount, something commonly purchased with gold, for real-world cash, Blizzard is now no better than a gold-seller, giving people with money to burn an advantage over other players."
Really? I didn't see so many complaints with the release of the non-combat pets in the Blizzard Store. Now, the sparkle-pony does grant a nice boon: never having to remember to buy a mount for an alt again. But let's look at the gold break-down for this mount.
50 characters per account. We're assuming all 50 are level 70 for epic flying and are not Warlocks, Paladins, Druids, or anyone else who trains for their forms/mounts instead of buying them. For each character you'll have a standard ground mount (1g), an epic ground mount (10g), a standard flying mount (50g), and an epic flying mount (100g). That's 161g per character. 161g*50 = 8050g (this figure does *not* include faction discounts).

Just a quick Google search tells me that $4 per 1000g seems to be normal right now for the gold-buying crowd, so that's 8.05kg*$4 = $32.20 equivalent cash-to-gold value, but that's with *50* 70s on one account. Who the heck has that many on one account?

A friend I know does have 17 70+ characters on one account, (though I'm not sure how many of those toons have epic flying, I'll assume all of them) making the gold-to-cash value 17*161*4/1000=$10.95. Sounds to me like Blizz is over-charging for this 'benefit' if you look at it from that aspect. As for me, I have one character with epic flying, three with regular flying, one with epic ground, and one with regular ground riding training. Pretending they all used it at every level of training, my equivalent gold-to-cash value from this mount is (100+(50*4)+(10*5)+(1*6))*4/1000=$1.42. How am I getting a significant gain from this?

And looking at it from a gold standpoint, yesterday alone I made 3.5k profit from the AH and that was a slow day.

The only real gain I get from this mount is having to use only one bar slot for my mount rather than one for flying and one for ground. Though I really wish Blizzard would make the ground-to-flight transition in Dalaran without having to dismount and remount.

"Blizzard's selling a 310% mount!? Fsck them!"
All I have to say is... lrn2readnub.

The mount scales with your actual riding level, it doesn't grant 310% off-the-bat, but if you already have a 310% mount, it will move at 310% itself. This is great for those who don't like their current speedy ride and want something a bit more starry.

"This was supposed to be a limited item, but every player has one! I'm no longer a unique snowflake, QQ"
I never saw anything that said it was limited. Now, I *assumed* it was limited because there was a 'number in stock' listing when sitting in the checkout queue. However, a blue posted stating that the sparkle-pony was never intended to be a limited item and that if they ran out of stock, they simply needed to generate a new set of codes to add to the cart system. No big deal to me because I wanted it for looks, but a lot of folks seemed to be pissed because they thought it was going to be rare. Guess who assuming makes an ass out of?

Now, the first day, everyone with a sparkle-pony was out riding it. Today, I've seen a few but not as many, at least not on level 80s. I have seen a ton of alts with it, though, since it saves a bit of gold and, well, it's there!

And no, you are not a unique snowflake. You're gonna have to do more than sit in queue and give Blizz $25 to garner that sort of reputation. Try farming for the Time-Lost Proto Drake... heh.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Boosting for Dummies: Getting Started.

No, not cars.

Boosting is a form of multi-boxing. Sorta. It probably can not be considered true multi-boxing, but many multi-boxers use it to get their teams leveled quickly if their aim is to work on heroic/raid multi-boxing. Boosting is also a great way to level an army of alts. Or maybe it's more like a small contingent of alts.

I'm currently working with three accounts and am writing this from that perspective. However, this can be easily tweaked for two, four, or five accounts with probably no real changes aside from how you set up Recruit-A-Friend and whether or not to use Jamba if you're only dual-boxing.

What You Will Need

*A Booster
Look through your myriad of 80s and decide which toon will be the one to do the boosting. The best options for this are tanking classes however anything could potentially work, just not necessarily as quickly. I respecced Laurewen from Balance to Feral and threw her into her tanking gear (a mixture of heroic and emblem gear with some TOC and ICC cast-offs). I've heard that Protection Paladins and Blood Death Knights are really good, however Warriors have more trouble due to having significantly less self-healing. Be prepared for downtime.

Another possibility is a warlock; simply throw one or two DoTs on each mob, tabbing as you run. This will require a different strategy for pulling than a tank would utilize.

A freshly-pardoned Death Knight (~58) is a great booster for the 10-25 stuff, possibly even SM level. The more narrow level range will provide your boostees with more XP.

You're going to need an account for each toon you want to boost at a time. If you're boosting a pair, like I am, you'll need two more accounts. These accounts *must* be yours; don't borrow your friends' or significant other's as that constitutes account sharing and is against the Terms of Service. All accounts that you're multi-boxing with must be in your name. I haven't been reported for multi-boxing, but I know many who are and while multi-boxing your own accounts is fine, if they catch you sharing accounts you're in big trouble.

I'm assuming these accounts are going to be brand-new, which means you need...

I purchased two Battle Chests from a local GameStop who happened to be selling them for $20 each. This gave me access to space-cows and shamans. If you want to go on and get WotLK for each account as well, go for it, but it isn't necessary.

Keep your accounts secure! If you aren't already using one, now's as good a time to get one as any.

*Multiplexor Software
This is what allows multi-boxers to, well, multi-box. The multiplexor allows a key press to be passed to multiple windows, so pressing 1 in you first WoW instance will send 1 to all of your WoW instances. For boosting, you don't need anything quite as sophisticated as a true multi-boxer does. I'm using Octopus which is a bit old but does the job.

Jamba is a WoW add-on that allows organization of your teams. With all of its sub-add-ons, it handles quests among your team members as well as allowing you to keep an eye on their XP/Rep/Health or whatever it is you want to watch. It can also pass whispers from your 'slaves' or boostees to your 'master' or booster so you know when someone has whispered one of your alts.

Setting it All Up
Same or different accounts?
This is really a pick-your-poison sort of situation. By leaving all of your accounts in one account, you can share any account-bound perks, such as that new WoW pet they've announced for purchasing the Starcraft 2 Collector's Edition. However, by leaving them on three accounts, if one is compromised the other two are likely not to be (assuming different passwords, of course). Also, if you use them all on the same account, you'll have to wait one minute between logging in each of them due to the Authenticator's wait time. If you use the same Authenticator on three different accounts, you can simply copy and paste the Authentication Code into each window. I chose to go with the latter option, but ymmv.

Recruit-a-Friend (RaF)
You *really* want to do this. Triple XP and a once-an-hour summons makes boosting a breeze. Add in level-granting and it cuts the time you'll be boosting significantly. Making sure you have it set up properly is crucial or your alts can miss out on their bonuses.

The plan here is to maximize the benefits that you'll be able to gain through RaF by chain-linking your accounts. First, start with your current WoW account, the one with your 80 that will be doing the boosting. Then send yourself a RaF Trial invite! If you're going to use separate accounts for each account, be sure to log out of before clicking on the link in your e-mail. Once you've got that set up, verify that the RaF link is active and upgrade the trial account to a standard account with the WoW code that you purchased. Now that the second account is active, do the same thing as the first, sending yourself a RaF Trial invite. However be absolutely positive that you're doing this with your second account or the triple XP while boosting will not work!

To sum it up in short,
A recruits B who recruits C.

Next time: Setting up Jamaba, Octopus, and the Boosting method

Friday, April 9, 2010

Happy Birthday in-Style: Realm First Lich King and Algolon.

I haven't posted in awhile... I'm sorry! I can explain! I've picked up a few new 'projects' in WoW that I've been working on that have been stealing a lot of my attention. This, however, is enough to warrant a new post (and, hopefully, a rebirth of the blog; but there's more to follow).

First off, Happy Birthday to Me! 25 years old as of yesterday (4/8) and nothing has changed except that I can finally tell people my age without having to think as hard. Anakha took me to dinner (Romano's) and a movie (How to Train Your Dragon) and we had a most awesome evening. But as much as I love my husband, I think the present from my guild was so much better (disclaimer: I have not yet been to see Cirque du Soliel, which is the gift from my husband, so this statement is up for contention come Sunday).
Earlier this week, we killed the Lich King.

I died, twice, during P3, a result of tunnel-vision and bad depth perception (really need to figure out a better way to handle my camera angles). What's great is that this was a realm first and, of course, a guild first so we're all really excited. Now, Nesingwary is like the 10th worst server progression-wise or something, so our realm first is kind of like winning the Special Olympics (no offense intended; I have known some amazing people who have participated in those!). But it still makes us swell with pride.

Well, since we extended our ID from last week to work on the kill, what were we supposed to do for the next two raid nights with no more ICC available for the week? Ironbound Proto-Drakes, of course! I was benched for the first portion of Ulduar but managed to clear a number of achievements last night from my list of remaining. We called raid while working on Firefighter with the plan of working on it tonight. Logged in late from my dinner and movie with Anakha to see 'Firefighter!' achievement spam, talk about awesome timing, haha. They downed the next boss (Vezzax or something) and then I was asked to come in on Algalon. Alga-who?

I've never done Ulduar until yesterday. Alright, the first couple bosses for weekly quests, sure, but nothing beyond that. Some of the fights are hella-awesome, but Algalon takes the cake. For one, it's beautiful. For two, the fight is rather simple but specific in its need for execution. For three, it's deadly. Even though we out-geared the fight, you could certainly see the lack of practice on the encounter with our numbers dead on each attempt. This boss, however, has only a 1 hour lifespan each week; once he despawns after that one hour, he's gone until reset. We vastly outgear the instance however and, even with a large number of casualties, at roughly 15 minutes remaining and our 6th or 7th pull, we downed him. And got a realm first achievement for it.

I was not aware that Realm-First Achievements spammed, well, the entire realm. It makes sense, I suppose, but it certainly garnered us some unwanted attention. Word is that /2 exploded immediately. Amherst said that he started receiving a number of congratulating whispers and even a Hordie hopped over to tell us congrats from their side of the realm. It was nuts! Pathoran won the roll on the quest item drop and we proceeded to the north bank to watch the in-game 'cut-scene'. Very, *very* cool. Oh, and the Celestial Defender title? Epic. Completely and totally epic.

The story of Ulduar itself was awesome, at least the pieces I was able to gather of it while in-raid this week. I'm excited to go back again soon; I have 6 more achievements needed to obtain my first 310% flying mount.

So what's next? Hard modes! And what appears to be some... friendly... competition.

There's a new guild on the block. They call themselves 'the <Solution> to Nessingwary's horrible progression', also known as <S>. The original members of this guild are transfers from another realm who came to Nessingwary and soon posted up a 'LFM' on the realm forum. Now, Nessingwary is rather small and it's really a more social server. Team Pro had been looking for more folks for their 25-man runs and now Solution was here looking for more for their own. I'm honestly not surprised the two merged; combining forces is in both their interests rather than fighting each other for raiding applicants. Team Pro was at 9 or 10/12 and Solution's transfer members were at 11/12 so they are certainly a force to be reckoned with.

Sadly, they drew some ill attention from the get-go, bashing the local guilds and their (lack-of) progression as well as making some rather large boasts, such as the fact that they were going to kill the Lich King their first week. When Satellite beat them to the punch, I think the world exploded (and I know the forum exploded; we weren't able to access it for awhile due to server issues on Blizzard's part). I received a hand-full of whispers congratulating us on obtaining the Lich King kill before Solution. Ouch. Then tonight I think we inadvertently stole Solution's thunder of their own Lich King kill when we downed Algalon. Maybe 'hate' is too strong a word, but I'm pretty sure they don't like us much right now. They've mentioned in their kill thread that the 'race for hardmodes is on', but I'm afraid that they're only going to be racing themselves.

Satellite is what I like to call a 'softcore' guild. We raid three nights a week, three hours each night, and are very flexible about AFKs, real life, etc. For all intents and purposes, we could be considered a 'social raiding guild'. What sets us apart, however, is a more 'hardcore' mindset. Our members are constantly re-gemming, re-speccing, working on rotations, researching and developing new strategies. We're raiders with lives. And thus I label us 'softcore'.

Now, we're excited about hardmodes, don't get me wrong. But I certainly see us working on a hard mode boss for awhile, trying some strategies, and then switching to normal mode if we start getting frustrated so that we can move on. Hardcore guilds, which Solution claims to be (I have no first-hand knowledge as I have never been a member, so 'claiming' it is not a bad thing, I only know what I hear them say), will likely focus most, if not all, of their time on getting as many of those bosses down as possible. Neither method is right or wrong, but I am quite certain that they will quickly pass us by when it comes to hard mode progression.

This, honestly, I think is a good thing. During my time here, Satellite has been a fairly quiet guild. We goof off and are noisy at each other, but we tend to stay out of /2 and off of the forums and have kept to ourselves. Now we've suddenly been thrust into the limelight and, to be honest, it makes me a little uncomfortable. However, the amount of support that we've received from the realm has been amazing; it's really given me the warm-fuzzies seeing folks stick up for us in /2 and on the forums. I see Nessingwary as a community. Maybe a dysfunctional one, but a community nonetheless.

Grats to all of Satellite for progression that I think surprised even us, to all of Solution for their Lich King kill, and to Nessingwary for being a great little realm.


In other news, I've added a few things to my plate in-game.

The first is gaining gold. Raiding can be pretty expensive and I never really had the mind to do daily quests for gold. Finally sick and tired of having only a couple hundred gold to my name, I decided to do something about it.

I've turned my 'Halp!' post on a WoW economy forum into something of a blog of my activities for awhile; it's time to put it here where it belongs. Expect to see more posts regarding what I'm doing, what is working and what isn't, and the general state of Nesingwary's economy. And no, I'm not telling you my bank-toons names. :)

The second thing I've been working on is multi-boxing. So far I've been struggling with true multi-boxing and have just been using Laurewen to boost lowbies on the other accounts to 60 with the Recruit-a-Friend XP bonus. However, once I've gotten my army of level 60s, I'll be trying my hand at true multi-boxing to see how well I can get it to work. Expect future blog posts regarding what I'm doing and how things are going.