Thursday, 10 January 2019

Pet sales

Pet sales started to pick up yesterday and were really good today. These are mostly resales of 50s vendor pets although I'm starting to build out the selection with pets I've acquired from playing.

I did a little old content pet farming and it was very boring and I didn't get any pet drops. I won't be doing that in any  systematic way.

It looks like investment is a really promising avenue and I'm preparing to launch into that. I need to do two things for that: liquidate my stockpiles and set up TSM, a Wow add-on. My stockpiles are of herbs, ore and leather and I'll sell them when the new raid comes out.

Monday, 7 January 2019

The pets are on farm

Wee Darkmoon Rabbit!

I'm really enjoying myself setting up my cross-realm petshop. I sell 28 types of pets on each of 10 servers plus some rare pets such as this world boss drop that I just got.

This is a web page spreadsheet of the servers I sell on and a spreadsheet of rare beauty. I've spent considerable time browsing this page.

So let's see which server I should post this rabbit on. You have to use Cntrl-F rather than the Find box to get to the line listing its price on each server. Cheapest is 14,998g and dearest is 76,997g. But there's one server without any there so I might try there for a little over the most expensive. I log into my alt on Zenedar, cage it, search the AH and it's there already, the spreadsheet, glorious as it is, is not quite up to date. 46k? Too low, which server was 76k again? There we go, now listed there a copper cheaper.

So is money flooding in?

Not really. Most servers earn 0-200g a day with sometimes 1-2k on one or two of them. None of my premium pets have sold, world drops etc, just the ones from the vendors that I relist.

I think it will change when the new raid starts at the end of the month. New players will come back to the game and want to fill holes in their collection. Hopefully.

Another thing we goblins need is more positivity. The Wow raiding community is really bitter and negative at the moment. I'm pretty sure that depresses the economy.

So we'll see. The goal is to still keep building up the pet shop, branching into investing, a more risky process than farming and relisting pets from vendors.

In other news I completed the Deadmines Pet Dungeon then discovered you can't cage and therefore can't sell the pets from there. Disappointing. I'll stick to the other two.

Wednesday, 2 January 2019

Off to Feralas to test a pet farm!

And it's off to Feralas to grind the Sprite Darters. I wanted to burn off all the rest exp on my mid-40s Shaman alt. I gained 2 levels pretty quickly then ran out of rest exp.

There should be no need to move this girl until level 60 when she can go to Gundrak and farm a pet there for 10 levels.

No drop but it didn't feel like I killed that many Sprite Darters. Maybe about 50, the rest of the exp coming from random other herbs, mobs and quests that were in the area. It seemed a super fast way of getting 2 levels, the power of lots of heirloom gear plus rest exp plus the 8.1 patch adjustment.

WoW: pets from mob drops

Here are the top 20 priced pets that can be farmed from drops:

1. Spineclaw Crab, drops from Monstrous Spineclaw, Timeless Isle.

2. Rebuilt Mechanical Spider, part of Voldun invasions, Zandalar.

3. Rebuilt Gorilla Bot, part of Voldun invasions, Zandalar.

4. Coldlight Surfrunner, Island Expeditions, Zandalar.

5. Moon moon, drops from Moonfang, Darkmoon Faire.

6. Filthy Slime, drops from Gol'than, Tol Dagor mythic, Kul Tiras.

7. Knock-off Blingtron, Blingtron 6000 gift package, Engineering.

8. Spawn of Merektha, drops from Merektha, Temple of Sethraliss, Zuldazar.

9. Baby Stonehide, Island Expeditions

10. Tonguelasher, Island Expeditions.

11. Living Fluid, drop from Primordius, Throne of Thunder, Pandaria.

12. Rotting Ghoul, Island Expeditions.

13. Jadefire Spirit, drop from Spirit of Jadefire, Timeless Isle, Pandaria.

14. Sprite Darter Hatchling, world drop, Feralas. Best drop rate is from Sprite Darters.

15. Shadefeather Hatchling, Island Expeditions.

16. Black Tabby Cat, world drop, Hillsbrad Foothills. Best drop rate from Syndicate Spies.

17. Firefly, drop from Bogflare Needler, Zangarmarsh, Outlands.

18. Fox kit, drop from Baradin Fox, Tol Barad, Cataclysm PvP zone. A pet may also drop from Elementium mining nodes here.

19. Azure welpling, world drop, Winterspring, Wrath pvp zone.

20. Voru'kar leecher, Island Expeditions.

Let's break these into categories.

The first farm is Island Expeditions. Patch 8.1 introduced new expedition pets and a revamped loot system that makes all pets easier to get. However it's clear that demand is currently above the level of supply. Over time that will change as people run expeditions and find pets quite accidentally, with many of them going to the Auction House. It's still possibly the best pet farm in the game at the moment and has the side attractions of gaining your character Artifact Power and Seafarers' Doubloons. 100 Doubloons gets you a Crimson Octopode pet currently worth 77k. (there's also an albatross pet but that has a lower gold/dubloon rate).

It's best in my opinion to do this at the start of the week as even those few days allow prices to drop significantly. However there will probably be another surge in the prices when the 8.1 raid lands in late January and people come back to the game to do the raid (and buy pets!)

Next is the Voldun invasion that only seems to pop in the small hours of the morning. Very worthwhile doing if you happen to be up.

Next are Pandaria farms mostly based on the Timeless Isle. There's also a weekly pet tournament there which gives non-tradeable but very strong pets.

Darkmoon Faire starts on 6th January and offers a ton of pets. It seems better though to spend your tickets on transmog, sell the transmog then use the gold to buy things like Darkmoon Tonk if you want them.

There's a couple of nice ones from Mythic + BFA dungeons. If your group doesn't mind where they go then the chance of getting a 50K pet might be worth considering.

The Blingtron pet is super rare. It's possibly not worth levelling Engineering for but if you see a blue ! on your minimap while in town it's well worth a click.

The drops in low level Vanilla and TBC zones make farming those mobs a possible way to level an alt. Just burn through all your rest exp killing Sprite Darters to occasionally get a sweet gold injection.

I assume the pvp zones that give the pets are pretty much dead now. Could be another good alt leveling spot.

Pet selling: beginner results and first impressions of the market.

OK here's the results of my first round of marketing pets.

26th December: listed 13 pets across 8 servers for a total of 104 listings. 3 sales worth 1700g. The pets are 50 silver or less so that's 1699g profit.

29th December: listed 15 pets across 9 servers for a total of 135 listings. 13 sales worth 1480g.

31st December: listed 25 pets across 8 servers for a total of 200 listings. 18 sales worth 1633g.

- the first result was skewed by the person who bought a 50 silver pet for 1586g. Thanks, buddy!

- most sales are pretty sensible. I'd rather pay 50g to get a pet on my Horde character than try and travel all the way to Darnassus and die to the guards multiple times so I can buy it for 50s.

- I'm branching out into more expensive pets, eg the ones from the Dalaran pet shop that mostly sell at 50g from the vendor. Prices are usually well over 50g but I found some about 35-40g which I bought out. (My first pet trading investment). The risk is hugely lessened by being able to trade across the region. It's possible that someone got stuck with hundreds of these pets and is selling them off and will always put them there for 35g making it impossible to flip on that server. But that doesn't matter in this market.

- I went through my pet collection selling off unneeded pets, mostly drops from  Island Expeditions. There's a huge range in price across servers and across pets. Cheapest Island Expedition pets are about 2k, most expensive over 100k.

Is it worth doing?

I've really enjoyed setting this up. I've spent a lot of hours though for 5k profit. By comparison I could have farmed leather on my skinner for about 25k an hour. So it's a huge opportunity cost.

For me that's fine, I've been learning tons, doing lots of research, experimenting and so on. I'd rather do that than grind while watching Netflix, using about 5% of my brain for the game.

It has the potential to be really lucrative. That's because it's multiplicative in several ways. More servers times a longer stock list times higher average pet price (which generally means more profit per transaction) should see this skyrocket over time. Unless I get bored - I always tend to be more Explorer than Achiever in the classic MMO player tropes.

Observations on the pet economy.

I would love to go back in time and be a fly on the wall when this feature was pitched to the WoW development team. Because it must have been the best pitch ever.

Every designer wants their featuire to be better than the other features in the game. Usually they get shut down by their bosses. Whoever pitched pet design got them to bust open the AH functionality making this market better than any other market, got them to make pets super attractive to gold makers, inserted them into guilds, dungeons, raids, random mobs, achievements and crafting - every part of the game except pvp. Making what is basically a Pokemon clone so ubiquitous it's almost impossible to avoid was a very high risk strategy for WoW. It makes the game more childish. I don't think Blizzard's ever got that a lot of their base take fantasy super seriously and come from the Tolkien, RE Howard, Lovecraft fantasy traditions and find all these "hey look! a pink bunny!" moments annoying and immersion breaking.

Remember WoW peaked around the time the players were pit against Arthas the Lich King and has been declining since they did the Kung Fu Panda expansion (which also introduced pet battles).

However, that doesn't matter, what matters is making gold. Here's my first impressions on the economy:

- the pet market is overwhelmingly driven by collectors not high end pet battlers.

- people buy pets by checking if there's pets they haven't got then buying them. This means that cheap pets sell and cute pets sell. A 5k slug is probably only going to be for the hardcore completionists.

- after 2 weeks of pet battling I have 215 pets which gives me a realm rank of 31st and a global rank of 46,489th. This means only 30 people have put more effort in than a pet newbie on my server. At least there are nearly 50,000 people more invested world-wide.

- analysing the market we can see the following categories of pet:

1. Defunct content pets, such as Blizzcon rewards and card game coupon pets. The most famous perhaps is the Spectral Tiger Cub. They're not completely defunct as a very small trickle of these items is added to the game through the Black Market Auction house (which is definitely part of the pet traders end game).

2. Fresh content pets. The recently added Gnomeregan pet dungeon allows people to farm a handful of pets including the 600k gold Alarm-o-dog. (Rare and cute). The paragon bags rarely drop a pet and those are very expensive. An Alchemy transmute can produce a pet of several types. The Voldun invasion can lead to 2 pets, one for each faction. Lots of these pets are over 100k gold because they have only just been introduced and they're quite hard to farm. These pets are worth a lot right now, even more at the first moment they could be sold and I expect them to decline over the course of the expansion and then perhaps slowly pick up once we have a new expansion and 99.9% of players never run an Island Expedition again.  From an investment point of view the absolute worst pets are the ones that passively drop from content everyone does anyway like Islands and rep gain.

3. Discontined old content pets. Through some happenstance of the way people level now these pets aren't spawned by regular play. The supply depends on specific farmers and even there many would have to grind long quest chains or old reputation grinds.

4. Active old content pets. People love to run old raids for some pretty spectacular mounts, some achievements, even some guild achievements. The highest rated battle pet in the game, Anubisath Idol, is really cheap because of this as are most of the other raid drops, particularly those from Vanilla or cool dungeons like Karazhan.

5. Crafted pets. This seems like quite a good outlet for a crafter. Make a sword and you need to find someone on your server to buy it. Make a pet and you can list it on dozens of servers.

6. Vendor pets. This sub-market depends on how many goblins are doing what I'm currently doing. The 50 silver pets will always make a decent mark up but some of the more expensive pets like Crusher (1000g) are close to zero profit or even negative on many servers. Still because you can sell on any server you're likely to find a good place to list one. Some vendor pets can't be sold. Some are rep-gated but can still be sold.

7. World event pets. These are a pet trader's dream because supply comes once per year for a brief period then demand is constant. So you can currently buy the Winter's Veil pets for under 1g and they should be fairly expensive  later on next year. I found some old Children's Week pets in my collection which I'd forgotten about so I've listed them as it's a long time since that event. This may be the best pet investment market as long as you don't mind waiting about 6 months to cash out.

Saturday, 29 December 2018

Wow: gold-making

I've been playing and researching World of Warcraft a lot in the last few months. I returned in September after not really playing for about 10 years so I had a lot to catch up on.

I found the conventional end-game somewhat frustrating. Each hard fight is an exercise in moving in the correct manner, a kind of dance. I felt like I was always the dance partner with 2 left feet. I know from past experience I do eventually master these dances and then I become one of the people other players look at and feel frustration but that doesn't especially appeal to me as a goal.

So I looked into other ways to enjoy this complex game and particularly gold-making.

Gold-making is in some ways a more fun minigame than the "proper" game of dungeons and quests. It's much more strategic (for a line member, for a raid leader I can see that there's a lot of interesting strategy). It improves almost every other aspect of the game, for instance you can burn consumables like flasks and goblin gliders without worrying about the cost. And it's been utterly transformed by something that has developed in the game since I last played.

Traditionally gold-makers got rich then ran out of things to spend it on. Now with the addition of the WoW token which is a bit like Eve's plex you can turn gold into real money - sort of. You can turn it into Blizzard balance which can only be spent on Blizzard stuff. So becoming a Wow billionaire has the added perks of being able to buy Blizzard games and store items and account services.

The other great change to the gold-making playstyle is the addition of sellable Battle Pets.

Battle Pets are one of WoW's minigames. It's a Pokemon clone and quite good fun if perhaps a little slow in the gameplay. However the pets can be sold cross-realm. If I have a cageable pet then I can sell it on any EU server. If I have alts on multiple servers I can buy a pet cheap on one server and sell it high on another server.

This is way way better than any other market.

In a sense as a gold-maker I don't care what I sell. If I can buy a thing for 1 gold and sell it for 1000 gold I don't care if it's a sword a herb or a battle pet.

Compared to other commodities Battle pets have very cheap auction house fees (1 silver), high prices, slow turnover, and the cross realm aspect I've talked about. They're also immune to obsolescence - a battle pet from a level 20 zone is just as valid as one from a 120 zone unlike, say, a sword.

Here's my plan: to build a trade empire of alts across multiple servers, possibly multiple regions and buy low, sell high. It's pretty easy to get money across to new alts - I let them take pets from the journal to sell. Eventually I want to use the TSM addon to run efficient shopping searches and fast listing but for now I'm doing it manually to help me learn and understand the market.

I have 6 alts camping vendors and buying pets. I have 2 other alts camping vendors who don't have any money yet - they'll become active buyers once one of their auctions sells. I do a run of buying, logging in to one vendor after another which gives me 3 copies of 13 vendor-sold pets. I then log into a separate series of alts who list 1 copy of each unique pet on their server's auction house.

The beauty of this system is that it's multiplicative. Currently I have 13 pets times 8 servers offering people sales that will make me a couple of K each. Eventually I could have 50 pets across 50 servers as I build up the trade empire. As I build up the gold I can do other schemes such as camping the Black Market auction house as a source of big ticket pets, developing garrisons on my alts which allow daily pet quests, etc. When I become rich enough I could consider boosting some random alts so they can do dailies.

One thing about this strategy is that it incorporates some rather predictable price changes. For example right now at the heart of the Winter's Veil event there are lots of very cheap pets from this event. In a couple of days supply will cease until next year's Christmas period. So price will slowly go up as people stop listing them and most people's copies sit forgotten in their banks. For example the Festival Lantern from a Spring event is worth 40k now because people don't seem to have farmed that many last Spring and steady demand has pushed the price up. We can be 99% sure that this price will drop like a stone as soon as the next Lunar Festival goes active.

The Winter's Veil event has a particularly interesting feature in that it's in two stages. The event is live from mid-December but we don't get our presents until the 25th. So next year I plan to be showing off and advertising cool present-sourced pets from about the 19th December, steering people to my auctions as auctions will be the only way to get one before the 25th.

Barking (advertising) is an important part of the strategy and I hit a macro after I list my pets on each realm, encouraging people to get into pet battles. Currently I can point out that pet battles give triple exp because of a weekly event.

It also has made the game in general more interesting to me as I now look for ways to collect new and interesting pets and understand their markets. Island expeditions for example introduced a lot of new pets and recent patch changes made them drop more. In fact even if you don't want them you can't help but get them because people run these islands for azerite power and the weekly mission, occasionally earning a pet as a by-product. This creates an ability to see the future of this market, fun for any speculator. The market will become more and more swamped as people run this, eventually seeing these pets sell for under 10g, possibly under 1g. As soon as the new expansion drops and people aren't motivated by AP these islands will almost never be run as they're quite dull. This will mean the pets slowly gather value as supply is effectively zero, they won't really be farmable as old content and demand remains a trickle but greater than supply. This is a very long term investment but a year or two after the next WoW expansion hits these pets which will be bought in 2020 for 1-2g will sell for 5000g+.

So there we have it: gold-making through pets, a complex and interesting minigame within a minigame.

Friday, 9 November 2018

RIP Test FC Swet Maggs (Cody)

I'm very sorry to say that one of our players passed away at the unimaginably young age of 23.

Swet Mags (Cody in real life) collapsed at work and died shortly afterwards.

Dreddit CEO Cornak Firefist posted this:

Cornak Firefist

@everyone Good morning friends, As you may have heard, our good buddy Swet Mags, or Cody, was taken from us last night. He was a pillar of our community, and was the only thing that kept a lot of us going even when things seemed like they weren't going to work. Swet never stopped looking to do better and achieve more. He was the core of our fc team, the bossman of our mentors, and the inspiration for everything we did. Without Swet Mags, I can safely say Dreddit would not be anywhere near where it is today. He was a force that would not stop going, no matter the odds. The Battle of 46DP was one of the best examples of this, where despite having a full hostile fleet, then caps, then supers, Swet kept pushing through, and managed to win despite the odds. His joy after that was one of the greatest feelings I've known, and he showed us all what it really means to play EVE. He was an icon, and possibly the best known member of Dreddit. Everyone, from the newest newbro to the bitterest bittervet knew Swet, and everything he did. We will never forget him, nor should we. Without Swet, our lives will all be missing something we cannot get back. But one thing that's important to learn from Swet is to never stop looking up. Always keep going, even if things look dark, or you feel like you're up against a ceiling. Swet didn't just break through those ceilings, he didn't even acknowledge that ceilings can exist. There was nothing that was too high for Swet to strive for, and he, often unexpectedly, would always manage to hit that target. He will be missed.

Test Alliance are holding a cyno vigil in our home system of D-PNP9 in Esoteria. People are very welcome to come down and light a cyno in Swet's memory.

Swet Mags Cyno vigil D-PNP9

Swet was a delight and an inspiration, one of those few people you meet in life who were permanently sunny. Last time I flew with him I cocked up lighting a cyno (not enough Liquid Ozone) and Swet handled it with competence and calm while an angry titan pilot yelled at me. We also did quite a lot of flying together to promote corp ops and Swet Mags was the driving force behind an invigorated corp fleets drive that has transformed Dreddit from a corp people joined just to be in Test to a corp that is fun and impactful in its own right.

I'm heartbroken.

His family have started a gofundme for his funeral expenses.