Tuesday, January 3, 2012

this incredibly stupid thing i did (aka how i made 999,999 gold in world of warcraft)

I’ve played WoW for a couple of years now.  In WoW you team up with a group of 9 other people, talk to each other over headsets, and band together to kill giant dragons, evil kings, warlocks, I dunno, big ass shit that wants to kill you and is super serious about it.  So here’s the thing: it costs money to do that.  Fake money.  Inside a fake world.  If you want to be in a group and not look like a jerk, there’s stuff you need to buy.  So, since there’s dragons, I’m sure you’ve guessed that we wear pieces of armor.  It’s like science or math or something; dragons won’t fuck with you until you put on a thing of armor.  So ok, there’s armor you need to buy.  You also need to enchant your armor to make it even better.  Then on top of that, you socket gems into the armor to make it even better than that.  Guess what, that’s three levels of shit that costs money. This is literally the bottom level of stuff you’re expected to do to not look like a jerk.  Seriously, ask that guy you know who plays.  He’ll tell you.  We’re fucking merciless about this stuff.

So where do you get the money to buy these things you need? 

For most people, that means doing quests.  You are asked to go out and kill spiders harassing a town, go steal fish from jerkass fishermen, go kill the ghosts haunting a lighthouse, you know, repetitive annoying kind of stuff.  All you want to do is talk to your friends and kill big things, but you need money for that, so you have to spend time killing piddling little spiders and ghosts and stealing fish (hey why were we stealing fish from those guys?  That’s messed up, what if they have kids?). 

There is, however, another option.  You can stay in a capital city and not lift your sword once, and have all the money you could ever need.  There are professions.  If you heard that word and wondered to yourself: are there fake jobs inside this fake world?  You are indeed correct.  There are a bunch of them.  Alchemists make potions, Blacksmiths make plate armor, Enchanters add useful stats to weapons and  armor, engineers build scopes to make your bow better and mechanical companions to keep you company, scribes make glyphs which alter your abilities in useful ways or can create incredibly useful trinkets that give you useful stats, Jewelcrafters make gems which add useful stats to your armor, Leatherworkers make leather and mail armor, tailors make cloth robes, herbalists gather useful plants from the dirt, miners dig up useful ore, and skinners take the hide of animals and provides it to leatherworkers.

So ok, tons of options.  Here’s the trick though, if you have several of these professions at once, either on your own or with your friends, they can interact in ways that are insanely profitable.

The main technique I used is called “The Shuffle.”  What you do is pretty simple.  Jewelcrafters have an ability called “Prospect.”  What that means is they take 5 pieces of ore, which by itself is useless, and destroy it, but in the process create another item which is, in fact, useful.  Imagine Superman crushing a piece of coal to create a diamond.  When we crush coal, we create gems.  

This is a picture of my Jewelcrafter’s inventory.  Those items with the number 20 on them are stacks of Elementium Ore.  Elementium Ore is created by miners who go out in the world and dig it up.  It’s time consuming, boring, and there will be a bunch of other people trying to do the same thing you are.  I’m lucky enough that my server has a high enough population that we are visited by that terrible (and dead fucking useful) byproduct of globalization known as the Chinese Gold Farmer.  CGF’s are real life folks, usually from mainland China whose occupation is to create gold within the worlds of popular video games.  They then sell this gold to people for real money.  Sometimes these are sweatshop type workers, slaving away in a hot room full of a hundred other people doing the same shit as them, sometimes they’re prisoners on a work program (I swear that’s true, Google it), sometimes they’re just an enterprising dude working on his own.  I don’t know how it all works really, but it’s illegal in the game, so these guys have to move fast before they’re discovered.  What that means for making money should be obvious.  They have a ton of items for sale, and they need to sell them quickly, which means discounts.  So you save up a bit of cash, and then buy a big bunch of Ore, like in the picture above.  You then prospect that ore.  Different people do that different ways.  

The default method for prospecting is to click the prospect ability, and then click a stack of ore.  A stack of 20 will turn to 15, then 10, then 5, then poof.  That’s a ton of fucking clicking, and you see how many we’re trying to prospect at once.  You’d be there all day, just click click click like a jerk.  This is where addons come in.  

There exist some true angels in the world.  People who donate kidneys or bone marrow, people who help old ladies cross the street, politicians who don’t steal, you get the idea.  Here’s the thing though, I don’t need bone marrow, and I can cross the street fine, so fuck those angels.  My angels are people who write addons.  These are folks who take time out of their lives to write third party programs with the sole intention of making WoW just a bit easier, a bit more user-friendly. The program I use to prospect ore is called Panda.

What Panda does is allow you to click just once to prospect.  The red circle up there is the Ore we want to prospect.  Now, usually you would have to click prospect, then search through your bag, then click the ore.  I know that doesn’t sound like a huge innovation, but hear me out.  It knows the types of ore, and it tells you how many pieces you have, and it tells you what gems you’ll get from it.  Now, even with Panda, you’d still be sitting there at your computer, staring at the screen going click click click like a jerk.  My mission in life is to find the easy way, and with that in mind, I’ve fucking found it.  It’s called an auto click macro.  

The keyboard I use is called the Razer Lycosa.  I love it.  It glows, it's responsive, it's lightweight, and it makes me feel like I'm a better person than you.  That might be a separate psychological issue though.  So why am I talking about my keyboard if I wanted to talk about an auto click macro?  Because the keyboard lets me create macros that do specific things.  Like auto click.  

This is the Razer Lycosa macro screen.  I'll skip the parts you don't care about and tell you that when I press F12 on my keyboard, my mouse button will click on anything it's hovering over, and it won't stop until I tell it to.  So if, for instance, you had a bag full of Elementium Ore, and you wanted to prospect all of it, you'd load up your Panda, set your auto click, and go make dinner.  When you came back, your ore would be prospected, and all would be right with the world.  Here’s what your bags look like after your Panda has gone to town:

These are the results of our prospecting.  The top row are greater gems, the lower rows are lesser gems.  The trick to the shuffle is finding something profitable to do with all of these items.  Greater red, greater orange and greater purple we cut into different flavors and sell them to players.  These are huge moneymakers.  The lesser red and lesser orange you give to an alchemist.  Your alchemist friend will couple those lesser gems with an herb, and make them into greater gems.  It costs 3 lesser to make one greater.  The reason we don’t send the lesser purple to the alchemist is that, on my server at least, the herb that the alchemist would need to make the transformation is rare, and therefore expensive, and therefore no profit, so we’re gonna hang on to it.

Greater yellow and greater blue we couple with semi rare items called “Volatiles.”  There is a volatile for every element: air, earth, water, fire, and life.  When you couple greater yellow and greater blue with volatiles, you can make powerful rings and necklaces that offer good stats to players who would like to fight in player vs. player battles.  Greater yellow and greater blue would normally be fairly useless, but if they become jewelry, suddenly they’re useful.

Greater green is given to my engineer.  He uses them to create scopes which make guns and bows stronger.  If you were to turn green, yellow or blue into cut gems, no one would buy them.  They’re trash.  But with a little extra work, they can be huge money makers for you.  

That just leaves lesser purple, lesser yellow, lesser blue and lesser green to deal with.  Lesser green can be given to an engineer to make a cute robotic bunny pet.  They sell pretty well, but you won’t use your entire supply of lesser green making bunnies.  So what do we do with all of these trash gems?
You turn them into very shitty jewelry.  The stats on the jewelry you make are very low, so you won’t be able to sell them to players generally.  Once you’re done turning all your trash gems into trash jewelry, you send them to an enchanter.

The trash jewelry can be disenchanted.  Remember how we prospected the useless ore into useful gems?  Well here we’re going to do the same thing.  We’ll destroy the useless jewelry to make useful enchanting items.  Once again, your old friend Panda is going to come and play.  Turn on auto click, and watch as piles and piles of useless rings are turned into useful enchanting materials.  

The only lesser gem that has no use is lesser blue.  Lesser blue is garbage full stop.  There’s nothing we can do with it. You don't sell them to players or turn them into anything, you just sell them to a vendor and get rid of them.

After destroying the trash jewelry you have a bunch of enchanting materials.  Most of these you will turn into enchanting scrolls, which are just an easier way to sell enchants to players.  After doing the shuffle a few times, you're going to find that you have more Hypnotic Dust than you could ever really use.  It just piles up.  There's no real method to getting rid of it.  Your enchants will use some of it.  If you have access to a tailor, he can pair the dust with cloth to make bags that players will buy.  But even after doing that, you'll still have tons of the stuff.  I have a character whose entire job is hanging on to an ungodly amount of dust.  I'm not sure what I'm going to do about it.

So now you have a ton of shit to sell.  How do you get rid of all of it?  Join me next time I feel like it when I talk about TradeSkillMaster.  Or not.  I get bored easily.  Here's the quick version: it helps you make stuff and sell it.  So... maybe don't join me next time.

That's how I made a bunch of money in a fake computer game!  Yay!  Bye. 

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