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ItsHappening.gif

From the latest 7.1.5 build:

  • TOKEN_CONSUMABLE_DESCRIPTION_30_DAYS_BALANCE (New) – Use: Adds 30 days of game time to your World of Warcraft account or %s to your Battle.net Balance.

Time will tell how much the WoW Tokens convert into. Many seem to think it will convert into a standard $15 amount, same as a normal subscription. That makes a sort of elegant sense. I was kinda hoping that it converts into enough to cover an entire Server Transfer (currently the outrageous $25), as that means moving two toons would require four Tokens with some remainder, or perhaps three and a $5 bill thrown in. Of course, that’s not going to happen given they went the Battle.net balance route, unless Server Transfer costs go down.

Anyway, when I got wind of the WoW Token update, I quickly bought up as many Tokens as I could:

WoW_Token1.jpg

Pictured: Blizzard cutting me off.

I have five WoW Tokens on the druid now, and presumably five more somewhere. Current prices?

wow_token2

Nearly a 6000g discount.

Of course, it’s always possible that Blizzard doesn’t make current WoW Tokens “backwards compatible” with their new functions. In which case… shit. I guess I have 10 months of free WoW time? That said, I’m pretty sure Blizzard isn’t going to confuse the issue by having very similar but different functioning Tokens. I imagine the Fiscal department over in Irvine would prefer getting WoW Tokens out of players’ bags via Account Services rather than needing to defer possible months’ worth of subscriptions anyway.

So, we’ll see how it shakes out.

PSA: Spirit of Harmony = $$$

This AH tip is from two expansions ago, but perhaps you also completely forgot it was a thing.

Do you know how in 7.1 there is a Blood of Sargeras trader? Well, there was one in Pandaria too. They are located in the Vale strongholds for your faction, out on the terrace. And, as it turns out, their exchange rates are very good:

WoW_SoH1.jpg

Oh my.

Yes, a single Spirit of Harmony trades for 20 Ghost Iron Ore. Which are currently selling for 38g apiece on Auchindoun-US.

So, basically, if Spirit of Harmony are going for anything less than 760g each, then…

WoW_SoH2.jpg

Whoa.

Now, what I will suggest is that you look at your own AH and not go too crazy with this sort of thing. Remember my Titansteel tip from Friday? I’ve sold two pieces, but the others have not yet sold. It’s entirely possible that they never sell at any price. Indeed, pretty much the sole purpose of any of these mats are to craft and sell mounts that have been out for 2+ expansions.

That said, I absolutely bought out all of the Spirits of Harmony below 250g and converted them to Trillium and White/Black Trillium Ore to post in the AH. Depending on sales, I might just toss in some Ghost Iron Ore as well. The profit margins are low considering that Starlight Rose is still ~75g a node, but I hate actively farming herbs and this breaks up the monotony.

I Miss My Profession Alts

Among the many mechanics Blizzard introduced to eliminate alts from WoW – after four expansions of encouraging them – one has been particularly annoying to me: locking Profession progress behind a lot of nonsense dungeon quests and random drops.

Don’t get me wrong, Blizzard has locked shit behind Exalted reputations and such before. But, Alchemy this expansion, for example, is a complete shit-show in terms of needing to run dungeons, and then proc Rank 2/3 potions/flasks by grinding through hundreds of still-pricey herbs. The other professions are a bit better, but barely. Gone are the days when you could port your alts to the latest capital city and basically start printing money.

For the most part, I have resigned myself to not have Profession alts. And things were fine. Well, at least until I checked the AH back on Auchindoun and seen the dollar signs. Or gold signs, whatever.

As I noted before, I had been more or less in the Sky Golem material business for the last month or two. Log on the alt, compare the price relationship between Ghost Iron Ore/Bars and Trillium and Living Steel and Spirits of Harmony, perform a bit of Alchemy, and then log off. Since that market tightened up, I happened to look at what else I could be using my Transmute cooldown for. That is when I remember Titansteel still being a thing.

Prices on things looked like this:

  • Saronite Ore = 14g
  • Saronite Bar = 34g
  • Titanium Bar = 296g
  • Eternal Fire/Shadow/Earth = 140g/37g/34g
  • Titansteel = 3899g

What do you see when you look at that? Do you see… pleasure? Satisfaction? I do.

I bought a stack of 200 Saronite Ore, mailed it to my Miner alt to be smelted into bars, then mailed back to my Alchemy bank alt. From there, I Transmuted 8 Saronite Bars into a Titanium Bar, snagging +5 extra bars from Transmute procs. I technically already had plenty of Eternals from forever ago, but let’s just assume I bought some at market prices. I then mailed those mats back to the Miner alt to smelt into Titansteel before returning them to the bank alt for sale.

At the end of things, I spent ~3855g for five Titansteel, or roughly 771g apiece. If everything sells at current market prices, that’s 15,640g profit. If those don’t sell, I could always try my hand on selling the Mekgineer’s Chopper.

In any case, having those alts allowed me to bake in profits at every stage of the process, while also increasing the health of the Auchindoun AH by converting unused resources into useful, needed ones. It doesn’t get any more brilliant or Invisible Hand-y than that, folks.

And then we got Legion. GG, Blizzard, GG.

I Still Got It

I bought the Sky Golem I was talking about a few weeks ago, but my background plan hadn’t changed, e.g. creating my own. And yesterday, I finished:

WoW_Skygolem.jpg

Success!

The current prices on Auch are in the 130k gold range, which would mean a significant recoupment on my original outlay of 85k.

There are, of course, some sunk costs in terms of materials: 300 bars of Ghost Iron on top of whatever 30 Living Steel cost to produce. However, 100% of my Living Steel came from shuffling Ghost Iron ore/bars by transmuting them into Trillium, then Trillium into Living Steel. Well, Trillium and a surprising secondary path: the no-cooldown Trillium + Spirit of Harmony transmute.

Throughout this side endeavor, I had been trying to liquidate some of my last-expansion mats and failing to do so. “This AH is dead.” Well… maybe not as much. After crafting and listing the Sky Golem, I threw the leftover Trillium I had for something like 550g a bar. The next day, I learned that they all sold. Huh. I checked the AH and now Trillium is sitting at 750g apiece. Someone is either trying to reset the market, or there is a spike in demand. Either way, it’s time for me to get in on this.

I check Ghost Iron Ore and note there are like 800+ on the AH for 15g apiece. That means 400 bars is 30g, or Trillium bars costing 300g apiece (not counting the extra Transmute Mastery procs). Even if they sell at 550g instead of the reset price, I’m in good shape.

So, I bought all the cheap ore. And then let out a heavy sigh on my smelter alt:

WoW_Smelt.jpg

Yes, that’s 10 and a half minutes of AFK time.

After that completed, I checked the AH for Spirit of Harmony, in the off-chance I could profit off Living Steel. Incidentally, there were only four Living Steel on the AH, so I bought them all out and doubled the prices. Then I blankly stared at the screen for a moment:

WoW_Mote.jpg

For those of you who might not know, you can combine 10 Motes of Harmony into one Spirit of Harmony. And based on the number of people selling Motes, it seems many have forgot about this:

wow_mote2

Like… I almost feel bad for that top seller. Did he or she not read the tooltip on the item before listing? I mean, okay, I’ll buy your 52g Spirits of Harmony, three of which take the place of three bars of Trillium in the Living Steel transmute.

Now, I fully recognize that not everything is going to sell here. It’s even possible nothing sells – I did pretty much dump 40 bars of Trillium on the AH. That said… this has been the most excited I have been about WoW in quite some time. Which isn’t to say that I have grown bored with the endgame just yet, but the machinations around trying to “optimize” the AH is a entirely novel experience to everything else. And I like it.

Sky Golem, Ho

Still herbing, still making bank.

Sargeras-US prices for the Sky Golem kept getting reset higher, with the latest scan showing them to be 250k apiece. Luckily, the prices were much lower on Auchindoun-US – around 100k – where I originally had all my gold (~320k). I had the Sky Golem pattern on one of my engineering alts, but still had 15 days to go, considering the daily profession cooldown that was necessary.

Then I saw it: Sky Golem on Auchindoun for 85k buyout. Do I wait two weeks and save X gold? Or do I purchase now?

Typically, I would hem and haw on this decision for ages, and likely end up with a crafted Sky Golem two weeks later. Or perhaps find out that I am bored with the game and stop playing two weeks later. In light of that possibility, I decided to go ahead and spend my pixels for fun now. And believe me, the Sky Golem makes random herbing so, so much more fun. Combined with the Legion Herbalism glove enchants, it takes literally 0.5 seconds to herb a node, and I never have to dismount.

Given the difficulty of herbing in Stormheim and Highmountain, I don’t actually consider the Sky Golem to be an “investment.” As in, I do not think the mount is going to pay for itself over the life of the expansion by increasing my herbing yield by X amount. I mean, at current herb prices, it’s the same as around two stacks of Starlight Rose or three stacks of the others. But what I do consider it and can vouch for is its investment in fun. It is so, so very satisfying to herb now.

In any case, this is my WoW time now. Log on, set up some Missions, complete the WQs that grant 835+ gear while hoping for a Titanforge proc, and slowly work through the Legion Pathfinder achievement while herbing at maximum possible speed. I have a Demon Hunter and a half dozen other alts potentially ready to go, but I have a hard time justifying playing anything else. Which, of course, is only going to make things worse for me later, considering that Artifact Knowledge isn’t rolling on alts. Yeah, the AK work orders will be completed faster eventually, but gating is gating.

The thought of taking 1-4 more alts through Friendly rep on every faction and cycling through WQs on all of them just gives me gas though.

Making Gold with Herbalism in Legion

I have not done a specific WoW AH-related post in quite some time, but allow me a moment to make one now: get Herbalism and make bank while you still can.

As of the time of this post, TheUndermineJournal shows the following prices on Sargeras-US:

  • Fjarnskaggl = 105g
  • Starlight Rose = 191g
  • Foxflower = 153g

Even on the backwater Auchindoun-US server, it shows up as:

  • Fjarnskaggl = 54g
  • Starlight Rose = 187g
  • Foxflower = 106g

These prices are per herb. Starlight Rose is only collected 1 at a time unless a bonus mob spawns, and sometimes that 1 herb attempt actually fails and you get vendor trash. Thus, it might be better to simply farm herbs in Stormheim or Highmountain, as each herb node will get you 3-6 herbs and the fox spawn from Foxflower will give you 20-30 herbs for free. All of these herbs can be gathered at skill level 1, and the only thing that matters skill-wise is getting to 100 Herbalism to unlock the occasional Felwort WQ. Farming routes can be found below:

If you want to get fancy with all the farming, there are three approaches, which can be combined.

First, you can speed up your actual farming of herbs via enhancements. If you are mounted in either the Sky Golem or the Mechanized Lumber Extractor, you can herb while remaining mounted. The former has seen it’s price more than double over the last week however (from around 64k to 150k), and making your own is a minimum 30-day affair due to relying on daily Engineering cooldowns. That said, if you can both snag a Sky Golem and then the Legion Herbalism glove enchant, you can saunter up to herbs and zip away nearly instantly.

Second, there are technically addons out there that will allow you to server hop, and either get a fresh set of spawns or avoid someone that is already farming the area on your server (herb nodes are mult-tap, but only for ~10 seconds). In my experience though, farming routes are almost not even necessary. Just collect all the herbs you see while completing WQs in the area. That will generally be enough for 5k-10k gold in sales by the time you hearth back to an AH.

Finally, if you really want to get super fancy, you can follow the advice of this Reddit thread and create a level 101 twink. That’s right, with level scaling mobs, twinks are back. The idea is to get a character to 101 so that you can equip all of those ilevel 835 BoE epics, then lock your XP gains. Bonus points for actually equipping the Brewfest Tankards instead of your artifact weapon, since the former is ilevel 810. Since all the mobs in Stormheim and Highmountain scale to your actual level, as opposed to your ilevel, you should be able to both herb and close to one-shot any mobs that might be in your way. Using a Demon Hunter for this makes it both trivial to create and likely better than any alternative class, what with the gliding and double jumps.

The reason I say “start now” is because A) it is still wildly profitable right now, and B) prices will likely crash in 7.1. As shown on MMO-Champ last week, there is a Blood of Sargeras trader coming in the next patch:

bloodtrader

If accurate, this will change everything.

While a lot of people are praying saying that the conversion rates are placeholder values, the fact remains that any kind of conversion is going to reduce prices across the board. If we take the current AH prices for example, the value of a single Blood at this trader is between 955g-3060g. If you only get 10 Foxflower per Blood, that is still… 955g-1530g. Blizzard isn’t going to make it 1 Blood for 1 herb, so I find it actually incredibly likely that the 20 herb conversion stays at 20 herbs.

Now, I do think it’s possible Herbalism will remain profitable even after the Trader appears. Traditionally, this has not been the case because of bots. There have been more recent reports from players seeing teleporting bots again this expansion, but I think we can all agree that Blizzard seems to be getting better at keeping them under control. I mean, with where prices are at currently, I would have expected a flood of botting already. Since that is not necessarily the case, I have hopes that the “floor” of the herb market will remain acceptably high.

Because I’ll be damned trying to transition to crafting professions when the AH is still throttled.

AH Improvements In the Pipeline

Amidst the summary of Ion Hazzikostas’ recent interview, the section that piqued my interest the most were the comment about improvements to the AH. Here are the MMO-Champ bullet points:

Auction House

  • The Auction House UI is pretty unacceptable at this point and past due for a revamp.
  • Fixing this is a longer term project, but addons can help in the meantime.
  • In Patch 7.1 there may be some logic changes to how items are sorted on the auction house.
  • Right now stacks are sorted by total cost rather than cost per unit.
  • Hopefully in Patch 7.1 the auction house will be able to sort by unit price instead, allowing you to see the cheapest items first.

AH updates continue to be throttled on Sargares as of today. This throttling is not from addons, for the record – it exists even using the default AH interface. If you search for Felslate, for example, there is still a 5 second delay to even be able to click the Sort by Bid tab. Meanwhile, when I checked on my home realm of Auchindoun-US, multiple pages were scanned nearly instantly via Auctionator like they have been for the past four expansions. It has to have something to do with either AH size or realm population or both.

I have been making due with the default AH interface, and every day it reminds me of how abysmal it is. For example, one of the “tricks” of AH goblins is something call a “wall.” That is where you post 200+ auctions of a single item (e.g. ore), in the hopes that anyone else trying to see what the going price is for said item will undercut you… because they cannot be bothered with clicking through 4+ pages of AH results. Trying to sort by lowest price will not get yourself past the wall, even if there are stacks of items at a lower individual price because, as Ion points out, the default interface treats a single item at 20g to be less expensive than a stack of 20 of the same item for 21g.

None of the above is at all an issue for anyone with Auctionator or any other AH addon, of course. Auctionator will condense the 200+ auctions into a single line item on the results screen. Or at least, it would, if not for this asinine throttle that makes it impossible to use addons in any constructive way for Trade Goods. Sigh.

In the meantime, I have made somewhere around ~45,000g since starting at 150g on Sargeras. My friend has given me some of the Hexweave Bags, but otherwise that all comes from selling herbs and ore. I definitely missed the gold mine that was early bracer crafting and/or Obliterum mass production though. I’m kinda sad about that… but another part is not.

With the AH in such a sorry state as it remains, two weeks from launch, I am beginning to feel like all those halcyon AH goblin days of mine are far behind me. And it is almost as though Blizzard is doing me a favor for being so terribly shitty at something so fundamental to their goddamn game. Not having the AH to keep my interest is one less hook keeping my nose the screen and thoughts revolving around WoW.

That’s One Way to Kill My Interest

Been playing Legion at a good clip the past couple of days. Relatively speaking, of course.

If there has been one change that could smother my interest in the cradle though, it’s this:

WoW_AHTime

Are you serious?

There are a couple of things going on. The primary one is that, at some point, Blizzard throttled the Auction House (AH) page scanning to ~5 seconds per page. Did they do this specifically for Legion? I don’t know. Is this a permanent change? God, I hope not. Because as the above picture shows, it takes over 3.5 minutes to even to get an opportunity to post some silk using Auctionator (an AH addon, but other are just as affected). This scan occurs every time you post any item, including the same item, if you decided you want to post two stacks of five and five individual silks.

“Too bad for the AH goblin,” right? Well… yeah. And you. There is still serious gold to be made in the AH – the issue is now there will be less competition for the people willing to sit through the delay. Goblins raise everything to “market prices,” but we also undercut each other. If the delay completely kills my motivation to do anything with the AH other than unloading herbs/ore, that is one less person driving down the cost of produced goods. You’ll be back to the days of the 1-2 Glyph barons on your server with a 10,000% profit margin. Because we are no longer competing on price, but on our willingness to Alt-Tab or bot the process.

In the meantime, I have be using as much of the default AH interface as I can. There is still a 5-second delay is switching pages, but at least the first page gives me some sort of baseline for determining the floor of a given good. A lot of my browsing though, is simply no longer possible. Want to look at every BoE epic armor on the AH above ilevel 800 for flipping purposes? Good luck… you might be able to finish the scan before you get logged off for being AFK.

Sometimes you get lucky with the default interface though. Auctionator doesn’t even bother listing Bid Prices, which means you can lose out on some ridiculous nonsense like this:

WoW_AHBid

Oops.

Yes, I won the auction with a bid of 1 silver, 10 copper. I would have been fine with selling it for ~300g, but it turns out the actual going price since my last scan shows 750g.

That’s a win, but I’d pay all of that and more for a return to 1-second page scans.

Why I’m Not Playing Black Desert Online… Yet

Well, for one thing, I never buy anything for MSRP.

The coverage for Black Desert has been extremely interesting. As noted over on Dragonchasers, a lot of the blog posts read really similarly: being overwhelmed by the map, the quest structures, the crafting, etc. Bhagpuss struck out on his own, of course, with a series of very compelling exploration posts. But perhaps the most intriguing point to be made came from Syl’s observation that:

If we are thinking more longterm however, there is one thing on the forefront of my mind since the beta: BDO is very playing alone together. There is not just very little opportunity to cooperate with other players, the game actively discourages player-to-player interaction on several levels

Nearly 100% of the coverage I have been reading has been solo-exclusive. Which… makes sense, considering this is a sandbox slash sandpark. But even though I feel a strong twinge to jump into Black Desert to fiddle with the AH – Bhagpuss mentioned a particular weakness in the player-made furniture market that got my AH senses tingling – the seeming lack of “endgame” focus somehow dampens my enthusiasm. What do you do on the regular at the end? Amass more wealth? Gank high-level players? Or, god forbid, “whatever you want?”

I have not actively participated in an MMO endgame in probably five years… but the possibility that I am able to is important to me. For some reason. Damned if I could tell you why.

Still, the game is on my radar and will be procured eventually. At something less than full price.

What WoW Economy?

It has been about 20 days since I’ve been mainlining WoW again, and I have yet to get a handle on economy. Not that I anticipated being some AH genius within a week or two, but I don’t even seen the contours of this beast. And I am beginning to doubt they exist.

Way back in the glory days of Wrath, there was the Saronite Shuffle. This was when you could take a stack of Saronite Ore and – through brilliant AH scheming and a stable full of max-profession alts – turn those 20 pieces of ore into damn near anything. The Shuffle was a cornerstone of my gold gains through Wrath, Cataclysm, and even when I came back to Mists.

In looking back at posts like this, I damn near had to wipe a tear for the nostalgia:

Right now, for example, I buy Ghost Iron Ore at 4g apiece (and below). This ore ends up being:

  • Smelted into Ghost Iron Bars –> Transmuted into Trillium Bars –> Transmuted into Living Steel
  • Prospected –> Rare gems cut for >60g minimum
  • Prospected –> Uncommon gems turned into necks/rings –> Rare necks/rings procs sold for 300g, uncommon necks/rings Disenchanted for Dust
  • Disenchanted Dust –> Enchanting scrolls and/or sold for mats

Near as I can tell, the Shuffle is dead in Warlords. At least, if it once existed, prices have warped so much since then as to make it unprofitable.

What’s worse, Blizzard made a number of changes in Warlords that, in retrospect, were probably rooted in heading off PR problems with the eventual WoW Token rollout. For example, players are limited to wearing three (3) crafted pieces of Warlords gear. You know, despite there being enough patterns to completely outfit someone. Why do that? So that someone couldn’t drop $400 in WoW Tokens and be decked out in ilevel 675+ gear at level 91. Unfortunately, that makes the likelihood of someone buying your crafted bracers or whatever pretty remote, unless said person already has better gear in other slots. The sanest path would be to upgrade the most impactful slots such as weapons and the like.

Compounding this issue is the way Blizzard is handling professions in general this expansion. Profession bonuses are gone, which is… understandable in a way. When raiders are willing to spend hours farming mats for a +20 stat boost, having professions grant many orders of magnitude better buffs forced people to make unfortunate decisions in which professions to pick. This also meant opening up profession-specific toys to the general public as well, a direct nerf to Engineering. Then the Stat Squish (and a desire to have raid drops be useful immediately) turned gem slots into extra-rare occurrences, a direct nerf to Jewelcrafting. I don’t even want to get into the problem with opening profession buildings up in Garrisons did to everything else.

The bottom line is I have no idea what’s going on in the WoW economy anymore. I was looking to see if there was a point in doing my Alchemy daily cooldown on Azuriel, and saw this today:

Does not compute.

Does not compute.

Let me save you the math: the higher-level Strength flask sells not only less than the mats (18g vs 33g), it’s selling for less than the lower-level flask. I had already long-since dropped my Alchemy Shack for a Salvage Yard, but this is making me want to drop Alchemy altogether. Remember those Alchemy bonuses that have been in-game since Burning Crusade? Don’t work for Draenor goods. This is just a class-A market failure. Why is the Alchemy cooldown item tradable whereas nearly all the others are BoP? Because fuck you, that’s why.

Near as I can tell, we are living in the age of The Drop Economy. In other words, you don’t make gold from crafting or shuffling, you make gold from farming drops and selling that to people who don’t want to farm. I have little doubt there are some arbitrage opportunities – the Garrison AH robot parts seem to be going for insane prices considering you can just AH on an alt – but most gold seems generated from one’s Garrison. Which… isn’t unworkable, it’s just unfathomably less interesting to me.

The Shuffle was engaging. It rewarded outside game research, learning in-game mechanics, leveling multiple profession toons, and kept the gears of the economy moving. What we have now? Farming raids and vendoring all the things? I would almost rather farm ore. If, you know, there was actually any gold in doing that. And to an extent, the problem no longer exists under the WoW Token paradigm. Spending $20 on 23,000g is a bad deal IMO. At the same time, I’d prefer not spending hours soloing old raids each week.

I have made around 15,000g so far this expansion. Want to know how? Selling Living Steel and Arcanite Bars. I shit you not. And I will continue doing so until I run out of old-world supplies, grow bored with the current AH nonsense, and “unsubscribe.” I love what Blizzard has done with the Garrison generally, but everything outside of it? I’m missing goddamn Cataclysm over here.

If I have missed anything big out of the above picture, let me know. Otherwise this is just depressing.