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Impressions: Grounded, pt 2

While the first Impressions post for Grounded was a week ago, the reality is that I have been mainlining the game daily for the past three weeks. That first post was written based on my first dozen hours or so, but I ended up playing so much that I never got around to actually posting it. So here are my impressions about the game after some 50+ hours.

Grounded is good. Sometimes annoying. Definitely still Soulslike.

The game world continues to be a huge star of the show. Survival games sometimes have to make huge contortions to accommodate varied biomes – lava must coexist with snow and deep oceans and deserts all in the same map – but the way Grounded interweaves its own biomes is a masterclass in design. The backyard is a believable backyard. And yet going from the Grasslands to the canopy of the Hedge is a big transition. Or to the pond. Or in the sandbox, with it’s deadly Sizzle effect when you traverse the dunes without shade. These are different places, with different resources, and different challenges to overcome. And it all feels… coherent. Believable. Or at least, as believable as teenagers crafting crossbows out of grass vines and crow feathers can be.

Some aspects of the game have begun to provide friction. As you become stronger and explore further afield (ayard?), you… well, have further to go each time. Ziplines become a means of faster-ish travel, but they require a LOT of setup – constructing a vertical tower in the yard, carrying supplies to build destination anchors, and slaughtering dozens and dozens of spiders to turn their webs into silk to craft the zipline itself. Meanwhile, the only way to repair your Antlion Armor is to kill Antlions in the Sandbox, the best healing component must be farmed in the Pond, and you feel in your weary bones how much more time will get wasted with each unblocked attack you take while exploring the Upper Yard for the first time. It gets pretty exhausting, especially when you have to leave an area, inventory laden with loot, and know how much busywork is ahead of you before you can go back again.

Perhaps the better recourse would be to build multiple bases instead of one major hub. Problem with that is some of the more advanced crafting stations can’t really be moved easily. Plus, it’s arguable as to how much time you would really be saving building several bases.

In any case, I am decidedly approaching the endgame. Having achieved upgraded Tier 3 Armor and Weapons, I can say that most fights with bugs are less Soulslike than they were in the beginning. As in, I don’t have to Perfect Block every single attack in order to not die. The tradeoff, as explained earlier, is that you end up needing to farm up considerably more healing potions and items to repair your gear. Some of the bugs I am facing do indeed still pose an incredible threat even with all my gear, so don’t believe you can necessarily gear your way past everything. Plus, there are required boss fights in this game, including different Phases and novel attacks.

And this is kinda what gets me about Grounded. The setting, premise, and story do not match the gameplay. Teenagers from the 90s shrunken down and running around their backyard for flimsy story reasons leads you to believe this is a game that might appeal to younger players. On Normal difficulty, it most decidedly is not a game for younger players. Or older players that may be reflex-impaired. Every time I think I’m hot shit crushing bugs left and right, I take two unblocked hits and I’m sprinting away chugging healing potions. And this is in a game where I can hit Save after every encounter!

I have my frustrations with Grounded, but I’m still here mainlining this game for like 3+ hours every night. There isn’t anything special about the story, and yet I find myself eagerly traversing the yard to clear out the labs to get the next morsel of plot. Or, if I’m more honest, to unlock the next piece of gear and craft the latest weapons from the bones exoskeletons of my enemies. And all this feels fine to me, as there is a definitive conclusion on the other side. No “keep playing until you get bitter and jaded” purgatory here as with ARK or other survival games.

So, yeah. Grounded. Not the worst way to spend 50+ hours.

Gaming Age: Survival

When you look at the general gaming zeitgeist, it’s clear that it goes through distinct ages.

  • RPG-elements
  • MMO
  • Battle Royale
  • F2P
  • Open world
  • Survival

We are currently in an age of survival. Not literally (OK, also literally), but of survival games. Which is good news to me as it is clearly one of my favorite genres, but even I have been surprised at the recent volume and game companies involved. Let’s take a look of what’s coming up according to PC Gamer.

Retreat to Enen (Aug 2022) is about becoming one with nature rather than chopping down all the trees. Forever Skies (Early Access late 2022) is survival and exploration in a blimp base above the ruins of Earth. I Am Future (2022) is another sort of “skyscrapers above the mist” setting but is supposedly more jolly in perhaps a My Time at Portia sort of way. Above Snakes (2023) is isometric survival with Native Americans in which you place down your own tiles to explore. Derelicts (TBA) is a 1-man developed survival game that looks like Satisfactory with actual survival elements. Sons of the Forest (Oct 2022) is a sequel to The Forest, ’nuff said. Nightingale (Early Access late 2022) is described as “Victorian gaslamp fantasy” and certainly looks cool, although it strikes me as less survival and more adventure/story progression.

That article was focusing on new survivals games that weren’t “chop wood, mine ore, repeat” though.

In the pipeline is an open-world Terminator survival game. Ubisoft is making Skull & Bones, which is Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag + survival. Wild West Dynasty is the next game from the publisher of Medieval Dynasty. Jagex is working on an open-world survival game based on RuneScape. ARK 2 is coming, featuring in-game Vin Diesel. My Time at Sandrock is a thing.

What kind of inspired the post though, was Square Enix announcing Harvestella, a “life sim farming game.” I know that farming sims aren’t technically survival games, but it’s kind of a wolf vs dog situation.

[Edit] I cannot believe I forgot the other example: Blizzard’s unnamed survival game.

The thing that I am discovering about myself through all this is that my tastes and predilections have not shifted much. That in of itself is not an epiphany, of course. But 11 years ago I wrote a post about Bean Counting and how I recognized that as the sort of root of fun I dig at in every game I play. For a long time, MMOs satisfied that desire. And regular RPGs like the Witcher, and several F2P games, and Open World games, and so on.

With Survival (and farming) games, I feel I have come to perhaps the purest Form of Bean Counting.

Of course, Novelty is also important… otherwise I would be playing Minecraft and calling it a day. And so I feel it rather fortuitous that I happen to be living through this age, and its embarrassment of survival riches. If you don’t like punching trees or watering plants, well, I’m sorry. I’ll just have to horde crafting supplies enough for the both of us.

A Slower Drip: My Time at Portia

My typical gaming M.O. is to choose a different genre of game after focusing on one in particular. So after Forager, I should have picked something that was not another crafting/farming/grinding game. Following that ancient edict just left me with not wanting to play anything at all though. So, realizing that I am an Adult© with the means and opportunity to do Whatever the Hell I Want™ I decided to head right into My Time at Portia.

It’s good to be back.

My Time at Portia is a Harvest Moon/Stardew Valley game set in a bizarrely upbeat post-post-apocalypse future. There are ruins and collapsed buildings in the skybox, there are tales of the Age of Corruption, and even a period of darkness in which the skies were blackened for over 300 years. And yet the hero who cleared the skies is a man named Peach, the monsters you fight are things like Panbats (bats with panda faces) and sea urchins that float around with the help of balloons, and similar nonsense. It is all very cartoony and whimsical and doesn’t take itself especially seriously.

One element I do like that shakes the formula up a bit is how your character is a Builder and not a farmer. You can have farm plots and a stable and grow things if you want, but the primary mechanism of advancement is, well, building things. You can take one Commission a day from a posting board (“I need 3 Rubber Belts”), townspeople will occasionally ask you to build an irrigation system for them, some elevator needs repaired so investigations into water supply issues can be resolved, and so on. A lot more crafting than farming, in other words. This solves the sometimes awkward problem of having unlockable crafting tiers of items that you only ever make one of and never use the crafting table again.

While it has been an enjoyable game thus far, I do think I am over-optimizing the game a tiny bit. I am not even past the second season yet and have already unlocked and am using the highest-tier tools and Workbench. There are still longer-term items to purchase (expanded housing plot, etc) and upgrade, but I am primarily “done” in terms of exciting progression, e.g. needing a specific tool to gather a particular resource. We’ll see how the rest of the game pans out.

Having said all that, I am certainly doing what I enjoy. It is not ARK or 7 Days to Die or more freeform crafting-survival, but My Time at Portia scratches similar itches for the time being. It also feels more relaxing than even Stardew Valley, as you can tweak settings like Day Length to give yourself more time to explore/talk to townsfolk. If this is what you’re looking for, well, you found it.

Graveyard Keeper

In my still-limited free time, I have been playing Graveyard Keeper.

Even before I purchased the game – or got it through a bundle, I forget – Graveyard Keeper had been unfavorably compared to Stardew Valley. Specifically, how the game devolves into an inordinate grind. Having played the game now for about 25 hours, I have to agree. But it is not the grind that is the problem, but the overall disjointed experience.

As you might imagine from the name, the primary task is the maintenance of the graveyard and nearby chapel. Bodies will be delivered periodically, and interring them can not only improve the overall quality of the graveyard, but gives you a Burial Certificate which you can trade for coins. As things progress, you get the ability to perform autopsies to improve the “quality” of the bodies before burial – primarily by removing “sinful” organs – such that higher quality headstones and such can unlock the full potential of a buried corpse.

So, the gameplay loop starts relatively tight. You chop trees and mine stones/ore to build headstones and such to improve the graveyard. Improving the graveyard eventually allows you lead sermons that generate Faith resources, which allow you to research further technology.

Things fall apart in the mid to late game. The ultimate goal of the game is to collect six items from certain NPCs in town and spend 12g on a last item. 12g is 1200 silver and you get 1.5 silver for each buried/burned body. Thus, you need alternative means of making money. Which is fine, because the quests necessary to get the special items are long and involved and require you to do all sorts of tech-tree development, building dozens of workstations, and basically creating a little empire. However… you can’t specialize. The bartender will purchase the wine you make, for example, but each bottle sold will reduce the price of the next bottle, and prices only recover slowly over time. Which means you need to do all the things all the time, when there will never be enough of it to matter.

To me, that is not even the worst part. The worst part is that your time horizon is ever only seven in-game days. In Stardew Valley, you had seasons and yearly events to plan towards. Sometimes that was a massive pain and source of min-maxing, given that you could spend a lot of time on crops only to have them all die a day before harvesting because the calendar changed. But it also gave you a focus. Hell, you could focus on just a few things, e.g. fishing vs animals vs growing crops, depending on your mood. Graveyard Keeper requires a generalized approach of running around all day every day, never really getting a sense that you’re making progress on any particular thing.

I even have some zombies now to assist in automating resource collection, and I still never have time to do all the things I need to do to feel satisfied on my progress. At one point, I just abandoned the whole corpse part of the game for several in-game weeks because I couldn’t be bothered. I was trying to unlock the second-tier Alchemy Bench so that I could actually start using the Embalming techniques I had unlocked 10 hours beforehand, but the convoluted tech tree and components meant I couldn’t do much of anything. Even when there are interesting choices to make, such as removing more organs than necessary to turn them into alchemical ingredients at the cost of corpse quality, all it becomes is just another chore to do on the path to something else.

It is difficult to discern why I still like playing this game. Well, perhaps not too difficult: it’s a game that encourages planning and thinking even when not actively playing. Same with Fallout 76, really, in that even at work I am strategizing on what I plan to do in-game when I get home. But this chronic tension and sense of never making particular headway is also exhausting, and the last thing I need more of in my life.

Impression: Stardew Valley

While I still have a modicum of free time, let’s talk about Stardew Valley.

It’s awesome. /impression

My current setup.

Describing why it’s awesome is much more difficult. So I’m just going to try talking about its various interlocking systems.

Despite the game looking and sounding like a peaceful farming simulator, there is a rather large amount of tension to the gameplay. You start the day off at 6 AM with (usually) a full energy meter. Each time you till a farm tile, water a plant, chop a tree, etc, you use up a little bit of that energy. Starting out, the only real way to regain energy is to eat either foraged food or perhaps some of your crops. This, of course, will prevent you from selling said items though.

Meanwhile, the clock is always ticking in 10 minute increments. You can walk around and explore the town, but the game doesn’t care if you run out of daylight with a full energy meter or an empty one. People in town have schedules as well, so if you want to seduce/befriend them, you have to plan around their day. Forgot to pick up seeds and it’s 5:10 PM? Tough luck, the store is closed. If you’re not in bed by 2 AM, you collapse and are dragged home by someone, losing money and some of tomorrow’s energy along the way.

On top of that, you have longer-term considerations. Some crops will produce in 4 days of growing. Others take 12 days. Some you have to replant after harvesting, and others will continue producing. Each season in the game is 28 days long, and most crops only grow in one season. Ergo, it’s entirely possible for your 12-day crop to wither on the vine one day before harvest if the season changes.

Oh, and by the way, some of the super-important unlocks require items that can only be found/farmed/fished within certain seasons. If you miss a Spring item after the season changes, well… better luck next year.

Going all-in on seeds.

All of that might sound intimidating. And complicated. And difficult to optimize. And it is all those things.

But it’s also weirdly liberating. Because it is not as though the game just ends if you miss some kind of deadline. Life keeps going. You can try and complete the most efficient path… or you can just keep doing what you are doing. Want a big farm? Focus on that. Want to raise livestock instead? Go do that. Fish all day erry’day? Probably viable. You may or may not get enough cash to upgrade your house before the first winter, but who cares? Only you.

The mutual exclusivity of tasks somehow doesn’t feel constricting. You can’t dig deeper into the mines and also plant new fields and forage for forest plants and also talk to everyone in town in the same day. But that doesn’t feel like an arbitrary restriction so much as a natural consequence. It makes intuitive sense that these things take time to accomplish. And it’s not as though swinging your ax makes time advance faster or anything – it takes precisely as long as it takes to get something done. This also makes you appreciate the tool upgrades a bit more, if they reduce the amount of swings it takes to finish a task.

I recently unlocked the Sprinkler item to craft. As you might expect, it automatically waters crops around itself. That said, the beginner version only waters four tiles in a cross shape around itself. “That’s dumb,” I thought. More advanced versions are available later that water all adjacent tiles, and eventually multiple rings of tiles. But once Summer hit, I went all-in on crops with the idea of earning enough coin by mid-season to finally upgrade my house. And now I’m spending 2+ in-game hours just watering plants each morning. So while the sprinklers are incredibly inefficient, I started thinking to myself that 4 less tiles to water * 10 is actually lot less time/energy used each morning.

That’s just one example of an interesting decision the game presented me without it coming across as an obvious Yes/No binary. The game is just full of them too, thus far. Instead of worrying about watering crops, I could have a different set of concerns if I had decided to build a chicken coop instead. I’m assuming it’d have something to do with feeding all those animals.

So, yeah. Stardew Valley is fantastic. It’s scratching all kinds of itches I didn’t even know I had. Short-term planning, long-term planning, optimization, experimentation, agency… all wrapped up in a pixel bow and all created by one dude. Can’t wait to see what else this designer has up his sleeve, and hopefully the sleeves of a few extra helpers, because I don’t want to have to wait another 4+ years for his next title.

Why? Just why?

Why did I think it was a good idea to start playing Stardew Valley for the first time this weekend? The Fallout 76 Beta is coming out like tomorrow, and I decided it was a good idea to boot up a game that has already consumed 10 hours of my time in two days? Good lord.

As a side note, it’s amusing experiencing the same synapses firing off when I farm and plant crops as I do when playing survival games. It’s starting to make me wonder whether I like survival games, or if I have been using survival games to scratch the itch for farming simulators.

Either way, it’s trouble. I gotta do stuff this week.

So… Now What?

The problem with goals is that you complete them.

When I originally wrote Monday’s post about farming transmog pieces in WoW, I had not yet acquired the Tunic of Unwavering Devotion. Since I had technically been farming since Legion (via LFR), I was buckling in for the long haul. After a presumed failed run over the weekend, I was going to get back to leveling my Monk character to the cap and then seeing if she can also solo Nighthold.

Alas, like a strange monkey paw curse, I got exactly what I was looking for.

WoWScrnShot_340i

Oh, and have I mentioned that my Demon Hunter is sitting at ilevel 340 now? It took a dozen dungeons to go from 310 to 320, but about three days of casual, mostly solo content to go from 320 to 340. So there really isn’t much of a point in doing much of anything on the Demon Hunter now. I will do the occasional WQ if it offers reputation, but only in the off-chance that I continue playing WoW once flying is (re)(re)(re)released.

Leveling alts to the cap seems like a fine goal on the face of things, but… eh. They will not be used for raiding or dungeon running or farming transmog, so what’s left? PvP? I usually reserve my Warlock for PvP endeavors, but the forums are pretty clear about the apparent sad state of Warlocks this expansion. I could try going the healer route for giggles, as I do have a Priest at 111.

The real problem I have is that I somehow lack the motivation to do much of anything, anywhere. Post-game Depression is a thing I talked about a few years ago, and it may well triggered when I got that last piece of transmog gear. Or maybe WoW has been on its way out with me for several weeks.

I dunno. I have a million other games I could be playing, but no motivation to load any of them. The 7 Days to Die Alpha17 patch keeps getting pushed into Star Citizen territory, and Fallout 76’s beta isn’t until the end of this month. In the meantime, I am just logging into WoW and puttering around on the AH, or closing the client and watching people play Hearthstone on Twitch.

Guess my next goal should be to get more goals.

Active Goldmaking in BfA: Gathering

The last two gold-making posts have been about “passive” income in Battle for Azeroth. What follows is what I have specifically been doing since the expansion launch.

Herbalism

End of post.

Not really, but close. While you can sometimes make tens or hundreds of thousands of gold by flipping AH items or getting a BoE epic drop, spotting an Anchor Weed node and looting the equivalent of 1200g on the spot is one of the few means for the everyday player to experience something similar. So, ideally, whatever herbs you are picking, you will want to maximize those Anchor Weed nodes. Usually.

My personal go-to farming route is the Tiragarde Sound/Norwington Estate river area:

WoW_RiverbudRun

Courtesy of WoW-Professions.

There’s a short flightpath that drops you off in Hatherford, and just follow the river in a counter-clockwise manner. If you don’t see any Riverbud within about 100 yards, that means someone is already farming the route ahead of you, and you should either wait in place for respawns, or go somewhere else.

I farmed for about 7.5 minutes and received:

  • Siren’s Pollen x24 (1314g)
  • Riverbud x62 (1319g)
  • Star Moss x12 (155g)
  • Sea Stalk x31 (413g)
  • Total = ~3200g per 7.5 min, or 25,608g/hour

Prices current as of this past Saturday on Sargeras-US. Your own prices may vary. Also, I had 3-stars for every herb but Anchor Weed at the time, so your own yields may vary too.

Another option is the extremely well-known Drustvar Winter’s Kiss loop:

WoW_AnchorRun

Courtesy of WoW-Professions.

I have never had any particular amount of success on this route, precisely because everyone is doing it. While the sheer number of densely-packed Winter’s Kiss makes this area great for “forcing” Anchor Weed spawns (since Anchor Weed has a chance to spawn after a node is tapped), the problem is that Winter’s Kiss itself is practically useless as an herb. On Sargeras-US (as of this past weekend), Riverbud is 22.83g whereas Winter’s Kiss is 15.58g. That might not seem like much, but it’s a difference of 1450g per stack of herbs farmed. Or put another way, you can expect to receive ~35g more per node of Riverbud than Winter’s Kiss.

The unsung hero herb of this expansion is obvious in retrospect, but bears repeating now: Siren’s Pollen. Current pricing on Sargeras put this at 67g per herb, which is almost as much per node as a single Anchor Weed. It was “obvious” that this herb would hold the most value because A) it’s used for Agility/Intellect potions, health pots, and Strength Flasks, B) it cannot spawn Anchor Weed nodes, and C) it’s annoying to gather (growing on trees). Star Moss is also annoying to gather and doesn’t spawn Anchor Weed nodes, but is only really used for Strength potions (and Stamina potions/flasks).

There is not one particularly good route for Siren’s Pollen in any case. The Riverbud route will give you a few nodes, or you can follow the east side of Drustvar like so:

WoW_SirenRun

Courtesy of WoW-Professions.

After farming for 7.5 minutes, I received:

  • Siren’s Pollen x34 (1862g)
  • Winter’s Kiss x19 (225g)
  • Star Moss x7 (91g)
  • Riverbud x11 (234g)
  • Anchor Weed x7 (3315g)
  • Total = ~5727g per 7.5 min, or 45,816g/hour

The yield seems amazing compared to the Riverbud route, but any route will be amazing after hitting two Anchor Weed nodes. If we assume those two nodes would have been Riverbud instead, the actual yield would have been 21,000g/hour. Given the price of Siren’s Pollen, it’s possible that this particular route was already being farmed – there certainly weren’t many nodes until I hit the south – but that’s a risk you take.

Kinnings Lodge route is another option:

WoW_Siren2Run

Courtesy of WoW-Professions.

  • Siren’s Pollen x45 (2464g)
  • Riverbud x3 (64g)
  • Winter’s Kiss x14 (166g)
  • Star Moss x35 (453g)
  • Sea Stalk x49 (653g)
  • Total = 3800g per 9.5 min, or 24,000g/hour

Note that the above took longer than 7.5 minutes to complete the loop. I was also less familiar with it, but you can get the general idea.

Leatherworking

Specifically, farming Blood-Stained Bones. Leather prices are up and down, but Blood-Stained Bones are pretty consistently 35-48g apiece. Many of the hyper-farms have been nerfed already – apparently there were a few 3k HP mobs that could be skinned for full rewards somewhere – but the Quillrat farm in Drustvar continues to spawn endless amounts of walking leather:

WoW_Leather

Small pic courtesy of WoW-Professions.

I turned my Boomkin into a Skinner specifically for this farm. Gather up ~10 mobs, lead them ~10 yards away (important!), DoT them all, then use Treants to survive and nuke the rest down. Any Calcified Bones you get are a total waste, and Alliance can’t really get 3-Stars with bone gathering before level 120 (requires a Horde dungeon), but you can still get a couple dozen Blood-Stained Bones relatively quickly.

Herbalism is higher gold/hour generally, but killing mobs does give you a slight chance to hit a BoE epic or some other drop that can sometimes make up for it. Plus, occasionally Coarse Leather prices creep back up.

Mining

Don’t bother.

Seriously though, it’s a waste. On Sargeras-US, ore is around 28-32g apiece no matter what kind. In fact, you often lose money anytime a Platinum Ore node appears, because Blizzard is a small indie company who can’t spare the resources to make reasonable Professions. Prices are better on smaller servers, but so too are herb prices. Plus, you know, you can herb with Sky Golem and hit nodes within 0.5 seconds.

As mentioned before, sometimes you can hit it big if the Warfront Contribution requires something like Monelite Ore, which saw prices increase to 80g per ore. That is definitely more than most other herbs. The problem is that those prices last for maybe a week, and then collapse back down. It’s a better use of time, IMO, to farm slightly lower-priced herbs with a chance at Anchor Weed, and then just buy the ore you need when you need it.

Fishing

Fishing has rapidly fallen on hard times compared to the beginning of the expansion. Midnight Salmon is still worth 206g apiece, but that is down significantly from where it was at. On Sargeras, there are two fish worth around 40g apiece: Slimy Mackerel and Redtail Loach.

Slimy Mackerel can only be caught off the coast of the Horde island. There are pools for it, but you are likely better off just free-casting into the ocean, where you have a 50/50 shot of Slimy Mackerel and Sand Shifter. Slimy Mackerel will likely maintain its price for a while, as it can be cooked into +Haste food.

Redtail Loach is the inland fish also caught on the Horde island. I’m not particularly convinced it will maintain its price, given the fact that it’s only actually used for creating the raid feast.

Beyond that, the remaining fish sell for 20g or less, and thus not worth it, IMO. In fact, Fishing in general is a pretty poor choice of gold-making activity unless you enjoy it specifically. It might seem exciting getting 40g per fish, or even nabbing a Midnight Salmon, but keep in mind you can get 5-7 herbs per node that sell for just as much.

Active Goldmaking in BfA: Warfront Contributions

The last two gold-making posts have been about “passive” income in Battle for Azeroth. What follows is what I have specifically been doing in an active way since the expansion launch.

Warfront Contributions

Holy shit, guys. If you were not online during the first four hours of the Alliance Warfront Contributions on a high-pop server… then I’m sorry. You can still make some coin, but probably not “selling a 2g item for 250g” level of coin.

Overall, I collected 120,000g in AH sales on Sunday, without expressly stockpiling anything.

WoW_BfAContributions

Hand over fist.

Warfront Contributions are a week-long event in which max-level characters of a specific faction can turn in items for +500 Azerite Power and +75 reputation. There are two default turn-ins of 100g and 100 War Resources. The other nine turn-ins are “random” items from various professions.

This week for Alliance NA, we have:

  • Coastal Mana Potion – 20x
  • Meaty Haunch – 60x
  • Monelite Ore – 60x
  • Coarse Leather – 60x
  • Battle Flag: Phalanx Defense – 1x
  • Straddling Viridium – 15x
  • Incendiary Ammunition – 2x
  • Enchant Ring – Seal of Versatility – 3x
  • War-Scroll of Intellect – 3x
  • Donations: Gold – 100
  • Donations: War Resources – 100x

If you’ll recall, Horde had a similar Contributions list two weeks ago:

  • Steelskin Potion – 2
  • Monel-Hardened Stirrups – 2
  • Enchant Ring – Seal of Versatility – 3
  • Crow’s Nest Scope – 6
  • Great Sea Catfish – 60
  • Straddling Viridium – 15
  • Coarse Leather Barding – 2
  • War-Scroll of Fortitude – 3
  • Tidespray Linen – 60

So, the first thing to note is that the same item can appear week-to-week. This will severely complicate the notion of buying up stockpiles of items for the next turn-in. On the other hand, when certain items fall to levels that may as well be vendor priced, well… sometimes that 1000:1 odds may work in your favor. For example, people were selling the Crafting glove enchants for like 1g apiece. I bought 300 of them. Maybe they will become the turn-in in October, and I can make a killing. Maybe it won’t.

This leads to only note that matters:

Raw Materials Are King

I have consistently been purchasing any ore priced under 20g. The idea was to collect some spare mats to level up Blacksmithing and/or Engineering on an alt in the future, but it allowed me to capitalize on the fact that Monelite Ore went from 20g to 80g apiece. For those keeping track at home, this meant I made a profit of 12,000g per stack. I did not sell them in stacks though, of course, I sold them in auctions of 60 to match the Warfront quests.

Incidentally, I did not have a stockpile of Straddling Viridium ready to go when the Warfront Contributions went live; my bet was on Insightful Rubellite. But I do have a JC character, so let’s look at the prices of Storm Silver Ore and Platinum Ore…

WoW_BfAStormSilver

Let’s do this thing.

It was barely above 25g, and that’s because I bought out everything below that amount. So, I prospected all that Storm Silver Ore, then cut all the Viridium and sold them in groups of 15, with each individual gem selling for 250g+. The precise numbers might have been needed to be crunched to see how I fared fishing for Viridium – it costs at least 125g every time I pressed that Prospect button – if not for the fact that every other outcome was pure bonus. Well, most of them. Owlseye is 580g and Kracken’s Eye is nearly 2000g. But then, someone decided to pay an absurd amount for even raw Rubellite and Kyanite for some reason, so my averages kept going up.

Do they know something I don’t? Who cares! I have always been a huge advocate for mild success over complete dominance, assuming the former takes a fraction of the effort as the latter. Besides, in a worst-case scenario, I simply prospect some more ore and compete with them on their secret strategy or whatever.

Some other easy wins on the Contribution list were Coarse Leather and Meaty Haunch. If you have a Skinner, they can drop from the same mobs, and hey, Blood-Stained Bone still sells for 35-50g apiece too. That’s practically a triple-threat all by itself. More farming tips will be in Friday’s post.

Strategy Going Forward

As with real life, the key to making bank via Contributions is owning the means of production. In this case, raw materials. Instead of stockpiling Coarse Leather Barding in anticipation of those items making a return, just bank a bunch of Coarse Leather instead. Profession alts are easy to make this time around, and one Leatherworker will let you take those materials and turn them into whatever you need crafted. Or in this week’s case, just sell the material straight-up.

While I recommend primarily raw materials, do keep an eye out to those selling below mat-cost just to recoup leveling costs. I’m note sure if any of those glove enchants will come up as an item turn-in, for example, but they sure as hell cost WAY less than the 5 Gloom Dust that it takes to craft them.

Passive Goldmaking in BfA, part 2

If you want to actively make gold in Battle for Azeroth, go farm some herbs.

If instead you want to kinda kick back and get a couple hundred gold a day for doing not much at all (assuming you played in these expansions), then stick around.

Garrison (Warlords of Draenor)

Oh how the mighty have fallen. Mostly.

Back in the day, your Garrison was printing gold every day with missions worth thousands of hard currency. All of that has been stripped out, to the point where even opening those salvage bags rewards gear that vendors for 5 copper. But here’s the thing: there’s still gold in them there hills. You just have to dig a little deeper.

Mission Table: Medallion of the Legion

If you have a level 3 garrison with full followers, there’s still the possibility of lucking into one of those missions that rewards a Medallion of the Legion. This is a reputation consumable still in high demand because it allows you to get that much closer to unlocking WoD flying. On Sargeras-US, the current price is 8222g but I sold one a month ago for 15,000g. It’s not consistent money, but it’s something worth checking out on occasion.

Garrison Resources

You will naturally accumulate up to 500 Garrison Resources (GR) every ~ 3 days per character. Additionally, if you have high-level followers and Garrison overall, there is the possibility of landing missions that reward up to 1650 GR by themselves.

Why does this matter? If you build even a level 1 Trading Post, you can turn GR into a few trade goods that still sell for a pretty penny. Those include:

  • True Iron Ore (15.26g)
  • Sumptuous Fur (8.82g)
  • Raw Beast Hide (11.94g)
  • Sometimes fish meat

With the best trader (changes daily), you can get 1 good for every 16 GR traded. If that good is worth 8g on average, then each individual GR is worth 50s. This means that the 500 GR you receive every few days is worth 250g, and those big GR missions can net the equivalent of 825g. This is not as lucrative or consistent as a MoP farm, but considering you likely have Garrisons on all your toons already, it’s decent coin for doing nothing other than logging into characters twice a week.

Hexweave Bags

Guess what? Hexweave Bags are still a thing. Somehow.

If you have a Tailoring alt, have them endure a loading screen or two and pump out a Hexweave Bag every 2-3 days. According to this Reddit thread, at peak efficiency the material cost is 116 Sumptuous Fur (1023g), 16 Gorgrond Flytrap (12g), and 10 Sorcerous Earth (98.5g). That’s 1134g in mats for something that still sells for ~1900g or more.

Incidentally, stop buying Hexweave Bags. Sell them, don’t buy them. Deep Sea Bags are also 30-slot bags, and at Rank 1 the material cost is 30 Deep Sea Satin (910g) and 15 Tidespray Linen (296g) and 9g in thread. Deep Sea Bag prices are crashing down currently, and sell for 1250g  less than 1k gold (!!!) on Sargeras-US. That’s barely above Rank 1 material costs, but the bags are great for leveling up Tailoring, and the Rank 3 material cost is ~210g cheaper.

These prices are high because Tidespray Linen is almost 20g per cloth on Sargeras-US. That’s likely because a lot of the hyper-farms in BfA have been nerfed in the past few days, but I expect prices to lower over time naturally. This will drive down the costs for making Deep Sea Bags. Which appear to have zero bearing on the price of Hexweave Bags, but it’s something to keep in mind.

Primal Spirit Vendor

Have a bunch of Primal Spirits laying around? Convert them to gold, vendor-style!

Primal Spirits are BoP crafting materials that you used to earn in WoD content, much like Blood of Sargeras in Legion. Whether you have an unknown stockpile of them on one of your alts, or if you end up running Garrison Missions that have them as rewards, 25 Primal Spirits can be traded for a Savage Blood, which can be traded back to a Trading Post vendor for a bag which always contains ~50g and some change. So, in other words, each Primal Spirit is worth about 2g minimum.

You can technically trade Primal Spirits for other things, including BoP crafting materials like Hexweave Cloth and the like. However, the conversion rate is fairly abysmal for anything but the Savage Blood route. Technically, converting 500 Primal Spirits into one Hexweave Bag is an improvement – whatever Hexweave Bags are selling for vs 1000g – it it is not usually worth the hassle. And besides, who has 500 Primal Spirits hanging around? It’s much more likely to convert any of those “30+ Primal Spirit” Garrison Mission rewards.

Goblin Glider

No engineer? No problem! You can still craft Goblin Gliders with just the engineering hut active in your Garrison. The material costs are:

  • 8 True Iron Ore (122g)
  • 5 Sumptuous Fur (44g)

Since you receive 5 Goblin Gliders per craft, that comes out to be 33g per Glider. And you can currently sell them on the AH for… 30g. Oops.

Still, Goblin Gliders are worth checking out as a revenue stream once the prices of True Iron Ore and/or Sumptuous Fur come down. If we look at the median prices of these mats instead of their current prices, each Glider costs around 28g to make. That’s… still not even close to being worth it.

In any case, that’s that. Definitely not as good as the MoP farm, IMO, but it’s likely that you have a stable of alts with high-level Garrisons already, including a free hearthstone. As always, you could earn a lot more per hour by farming herbs or whatever in BfA zones. These “passive” income streams don’t require any thought however, and can easily fit into your warm-up or cool-down routines while playing.