Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Exit the economy

In the world of world of warcraft (WOWOW?) I am extremely wealthy.  The maximum amount of money a character can carry is 214,748 gold and over all of my characters I have over 440,000 gold.  Note that for most players 5,000 gold is a fairly large amount of money and takes quite a while to acquire, so I am filthy rich.  Not the richest out there by any stretch as there are WOW millionaires, but rich enough.  Many people make their money in WOW in a purely parasitic way, for example they buy items that are available for less than normal price and resell them, or they undercut other auctions by .0001 gold.  Neither of these things accomplishes anything except to shove money around and remove it from the economy via fees, so essentially this behaviour impoverishes the whole for the good of the one.  I made my fortune by making things.  More than anything I made gems and belts to create wealth, but of course in this case I play essentially a zero sum game - other people get stuff, I get their cash.  Note that making a fortune off other people's economic laziness or foolishness is a pretty mild crime, as these things go, but nonetheless some part of me is happy to be an artisan instead of a con artist.

Each time a WOW expansion arrives the economy of the game explodes as people rush to renew subscriptions, play like mad and work to collect all the new materials and gear suddenly made available.  This mad rush drives prices up to never before seen heights.  Correspondingly in the few weeks before that expansion arrives incredible deflation occurs as all the old items suddenly drop in value to nearly worthless.  Booms and busts of this level are rare events in real economies so it is a very interesting thing to look at to understand how crashes and bubbles occur.  In each case everyone knows that all the goods and items they are trading for 'normal' price are going to drop precipitously before the launch date of the expansion but nobody knows for sure exactly when the plunge will take place.  Interestingly it isn't limited to a particular sector of the economy at all, as when any one common good starts to plummet all of them immediately freefall and deflation of 50% or more will occur within a matter of 24 hours.  Everyone hears about the market crash and runs to sell their goods for whatever they can get before things drop even further just like in a real world market crash.  A great way to become incredibly wealthy is to take advantage of the crash and buy up items that have some use at rock bottom prices; even though they will be less useful afterwards the immense bubble effect will drag up every price with it.

The expansion is coming soon, most likely in the beginning of November.  Today I exited the economy, selling off everything I have that is likely to drop is price, preparing to step back from my constant construction for a few weeks until everything is fresh and new again.  I don't want to be caught unawares by the inevitable crash and I want to have as much money as possible for when the time comes.  You see, I want to get some server first *Feats of Strength* for my professions (Jewelcrafting and Alchemy) and the only way to assure those is to gather more materials than anyone else, or to have such an enormous pile of money that nobody can say no to selling to me.  I am fairly confident I am the richest person on my server, and I surely hope I am because otherwise the competition I intend to get in will squander my wealth most thoroughly.


  1. Good luck getting realm first Jewelcrafting!

  2. Well, it largely depends on if the limiting factor is simply who can buy the most ore or if something else is at play. I have not seen the levelling curve yet so I don't know.

  3. I'd be willing to bet you are the richest person on the server. Our server isn't especially populous and 440k qualifies as a *lot* of money. I think that plus not having a job means you'll have the realm firsts you want for sure.

    I'm personally still making a gem a day on each of my alchemists, though recently I've been selling them for less than 100g each. One day I put some up for 85g each. Epic gems from this expansion are literally going to be vendor trash from the moment cataclysm launches.

    What I'm really curious about is enchanting mats, though. They, of course, are going to tank brutally when the expansion hits, but they tend to rebound decently later on. I'm not sure that will be the case for Wrath mats, however. I can't see why anyone would want to use Wrath enchants for anything come Cataclysm.

    I think when the prices crash I'm going to buy up enough Wrath mats to get to around 470 enchanting off current recipes to avoid using cataclysm mats for that purpose.

  4. Indeed, I will buy a stockpile of wrath epic gems just before cataclysm hits so I can get the first 10-15 ticks of jewelcrafting without buying new materials. Probably will attempt to do the same with alchemy transmutes, but that is obviously very slow.

  5. I wouldn't be surprised if you were the richest on the server, but is that enough?

    How much is it actually going to cost to get realm first jewelcrafting? If it's more than 400k then you can't get it. It will go to a miner who chooses to spend their ore themselves instead of making a fortune selling it.

    If it's going to cost like 40k then you have a lot of competition. It will go to whoever spends more time at the AH buying ore as it gets listed, or whoever gets lucky enough to check after the big sellers list their ore. Or, maybe, it'll go to whoever has the best contacts and sets up CoD shipments.

    And are you even willing to spend all your money to get both realm firsts? I may have a fourth of your gold, for example, but I'd only be shooting for one realm first instead of two and I'm happy to spend it all to get it. Blacksmithing would be the one with least competition for getting to max but it'll cost the same or more since it uses all the same mats and jewelcrafting will make more money back than blacksmithing will I would think.

  6. It depends by how much he is the richest and who else is really gunning for a server first. There is no way that a person will get server first by mining it themselves, but there is definitely the possibility of someone getting server first because the dozen miners in their guild send all their ore over to them to ensure the guild has a high level JC to cut them gems as soon as they hit 85.

    Barring that, I think the economic muscle will do it. Part of it is that no one knows how much it will cost to level up. They'll have a pretty good idea of what mats they need, but the price of those mats will fluctuate very wildly. What will the next level of ore cost, 200g per stack? 500g per stack? Will it be going up or down in the second week after the release?

    A person with only 40k or 50k gold might look at the prices and be unsure as to whether they can afford to keep buying until they hit max. After all, buying it all at 200g a stack is going to just push it higher and they don't know how much influence they have over the market. Red is in the position that he has so much money that he knows that he can afford to keep buying. Other people are going to have risk aversion issues, Red will not.

    All that being said I think getting a realm first level 85 paladin *and* alchemist *and* JC seems pretty unlikely. If you take time off leveling to skill up then someone else will pass you. If you don't then someone else might hit max rank before you hit level 85.

  7. I notice you didn't mention level 85 dwarf there since Pounder's going to get it!

  8. Remember that I don't actually have to hit up the AH all the time to get ore/herbs. I plan to have a macro telling people I will buy any cataclysm ore/herbs for 250g/stack and spam that every 5 minutes in the starting zones. Those zones with be choked with the exact people I want to hit, and hopefully their eyes will light up with dollar signs and they will sell to me instead of just levelling their crafting. So goes the theory anyway. I might even hire people to spam the same macro in the other levelling zones at the same time, there is probably somebody trustworthy who wants to make a bunch of money really fast and doesn't mind helping me get achievements. :)

  9. I guess you can extend the same plan with posts on the official forums. Though then the question then becomes if other people start overcalling your spam where everyone ends up... Though the miners/herbalists will end up rich!

  10. I don't think there are a lot of people who both want to spam chat with advertisements and also have tens of thousands of gold available to throw at a problem. I am quite certain that I can afford to pay in excess of 1000 gold per stack if I have to and not run out of money and I can't see a lot of people really fighting me at that price point.

  11. The thing is there doesn't have to be a lot of them. One or two others is enough to really drive up the price. I did it when I was working on Insane in the Membrane (I spammed trade for librams, the boards for lockboxes among other things and drastically drove up the price of eternal life when I was making darkmoon cards) and that at least granted a title on top of being a feat of strength. Some of those were in direct opposition with other people trying at the same time, and then there wasn't really any conflict. We all wanted the same thing and could all get it. Here, only one will prevail...

    Which may keep a lot of people out because they'd be ok with trying and winning and ok with not trying at all but don't want to try and fail. But the people who do get in would be rather cutthroat I would think for the same reason.

    Makes me wonder what the stats were on people getting those achievements last expansion... Was fishing done really fast?


    Looks like skinning, fishing, herbalist, and mining were all hit on release day.

    First aid took a day. Blacksmithing took 2, and was obtained by the guy who got mining.

    Jewelcrafting, alchemy, and engineering all took 4 days.

    Cooking took 6. Tailoring took 7. Inscription took 9. Enchanting and leatherworking took 12.

  13. 1) Enchanting is a cruel mistress.

    2) Fishing, I believe, was done by someone who got the game at midnight, installed it, logged in and then fished in low level waters that he couldn't fail in until he had max. I seem to recall that I got the game at midnight, set it to install, went to bed and when I woke up someone had already done it.

    3) Something to keep in mind about Insane vs. Realm First is that Insane requires a *lot* of mats that no one would want other than to get that title. The whole server probably only produces a couple of flawless black diamonds a week, so if they are wanted they have to be worth a lot. The server is probably going to produce enough materials to max out alchemy and blacksmithing several times over in the first couple of days.

    If someone has some flawless black diamonds and someone offers them 100g each they might think, "These are really rare, is that the best price I can get?" If someone just mined a stack of ore or picked a stack of herbs while they was leveling up doing quests and someone offers them 250g for it, they know they can just get another stack, and another after that, etc. They are much less likely to shop for the best price and more likely to sell for any good enough price.

  14. Re: Net Wealth: I never determined who the face behind the character was, but I was heavily in the Scribe/Glyph market for the first half of this year and Fiftybmg was a relentless automated posted. Bugged the hell out of me 'cause they had their upper threshold around 15g per glyph, even if what they were undercutting was at 30 or 40. I imagine with the consistency that that player posted and sold, they could have a large bankroll.

    I agree, Sth, that the Insane title didn't have the overlap in material usage with any other crafting.

    If your committed to spending as much as you need to get those Realm Firsts!, Red, I think you can certainly do it.

  15. I was big in the glyph market earlier this year as well. It started when I was working on Insane as a way to generate Darkmoon Faire cards but I ended up making a killing on glyphs themselves. Even going down as low as 6G per it was doubling my money and I'd often get in the 20-40G range for a glyph. I honestly didn't pay any attention to what anyone else was doing, I had mods that did it all for me. I'm over 100k now and it's pretty much entirely from glyphs, and that's from broke and after buying all the stuff for Insane.