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The flow of Gold and Minigames

September 6, 2010

It’d be really interesting if we could find out some numbers about Gold intake to individual players. It’d be fascinating, for example, to know just how much of the server posts things on the Auction House to great profit, and just how many folk buy all they need off it. I have a feeling the number of people buying things is more than double the number of posters and profiteers. It’d be fascinating data to see just how many people believe grinding can yield more gold than playing the auction house, and pour all their time into that instead. The list goes on.

If I had to guess an ‘Average Joe 80’s Income’ numbers, I’d put it something like this.

  • Cash reward from Daily Quests, vendoring Gray drops/ Greens from Dailies or other sources.
  • Profit through the LFG tool – the money for doing a run, the items that drop that can be vendored. It makes up more than you’d think.
  • Auctioning, posting things like Dream Shards and other enchanting mats, and a few easy to craft things from their professions.
  • Farmed materials such as Ores, Herbs or Enchanting mats, sold onto either a friend, Gbank, or Auction House.
  • Zomg an epic dropped! Free Auction House money!
  • Tips from things like Mage Portals, Warlock summons, boosts or crafting tips.

This may seem like me being a little harsh on the Average Joe 80, but the majority of my friends do not do sensible auctioning. The majority of my friends are comfortable sitting with a Pie chart like the one above. When at a stretch for money, they will go farm and sell mats cheap and fast. A lot of them claim the Auction house is unfathomable, which in reality it’s not. I shouldn’t, but I find the suggestion mildly irritating. It’s like everything else in the game, if you bothered to check the Internet for five minutes, the answers are all there in large, friendly letters.*1 (Hell, I write a lot of Guides myself for just the kind of intrepid but un-knowledgeable WoWer. That’s my kind of audience.) I’m not going to offer gold making tips. Heaven knows there’s thousands of them around, each with their own charms and so on. I’m more interested in the motivation. Whilst I can’t understand people who believe the Auction House is some unfathomable stock-market matrix and deny it a chance even though they have the time to use it, I can fully understand the people who don’t do it because they don’t have the time, or they simply don’t care about making money.

There’s plenty of people who play this game just for the fun of it, but even fun playing comes with its costs. Most day to day activities ingame run the risk of dying, so you will generate repair bills. Most classes use reagents to buff others; if you intend on doing anything with groups of other people, you need lots of these. You might need to enchant or gem a latest bit of gear to your satisfaction. Whatever the requirement, everyone uses Gold. Therefore Blizzard have implemented ways to make money, completely separately from the Auction House. Here are a few I can think of:

  • Quests, once you hit 80. All quests that previously offer experience offer a proportional amount of Gold. This means the best profit is to be found in zones like Icecrown and Storm peakes, working backwards until you get back to Outland quests for a few gold each, and then to old world for pennies.
  • Daily Quests. They reset every day and offer about 13g per quest. There are random ones connected to the different factions all over Northrend, but the most popular, easy and profitable are the Argent Tournament quests in Icecrown.
  • Vendoring Junk. Why do you think Blizzard puts Gray items on things? Is it to create a sense of gritty realism, when the loot table for the bear you just killed contains a chipped bear claw? Well partially, but the main reason is is these sell for a surprising amount to vendors. Loot all the gray items from one dungeon run, chances are there’s 10g just waiting for you. It all adds up.
  • Vendoring unwanted Quest items. Although Enchanting is a popular profession, it’s not everyones cup of Tea. Therefore, unwanted Soulbound items may as well be vendored. Most green items these days fetch anywhere between 2g and 20g.
  • Sidestepping the need to actually purchase upgrades by farming the materials and making them yourself. I know this isn’t strictly speaking a money making method, but it is how Blizzard intended things to be done, and it’s always more satisfying to have a bit of gear with your name in the toolip instead of ‘Crafted by Loopyxmage.’
  • Helping people. Don’t rely on this as a way of making cash, as the majority of players I’ve come across have been tight-fisted misers who don’t give you anything more than a ‘ty’ for your services. But this isn’t always the case. Making Portals to places, Summoning people, giving people lifts on Multipassenger mounts, Boosting, crafting Items, helping someone on a difficult quest. Whilst all these things could potentially be done from the goodness of one’s heart, they are sometimes rewarded, and generously. Blackmail also works.

Although Dailies are a very popular way of earning money, most players find them onerous and dull after a few days, despite Blizzard’s efforts to spice things up. (They made an effort with the Argent tournament to keep the dailies random, a different selection every day. The only thing this did was make players dread getting certain ones, and the less forgiving types to have less profit that day because they refuse to do that quest.) I think Blizzard is missing some Mini Game potential.

I’m a fan of Mini Games. I play some console games in-between my Warcraft time, and I absolutely love the LEGO series. The charm of those games is undeniable, and the puzzles are fun, interesting and above all rewarding. Warcraft has great potential for this. I expected to see minigames coming in Wrath, after my Hunter spent a few weeks with the charming Ogres over at Ogri’la in Blades Edge mountains. They had a quest where you had to stand near a crystal and follow a memory pattern (it does a blue light, you hit the blue switch. It does yellow blue yellow, then you hit yellow blue yellow.) A nice deviation from the daily grind though this was, memory games are about the worst minigame imaginable (at least, from my perspective. I can’t hold things in my head short term and had to boot up a text-edit document to jot down the longer colour combinations in.) There was some attempt at this in the Northrend dailies, for example there’s a fun quest in Jotunheim in southwestern Icecrown that involves taking a turret and shooting down 10 flying Vrykuls. But there could be so much more.

How about this? Make some Ring of Blood kind of arena. Make the entrance to it a phased area, so you were in your own unique phase. (Alternatively, own unique instance.) Have three gates along one wall, and three obvious paths on the floor to the opposite wall. Warcraft has always been slightly grim, so lets just say at the other end of each of these paths, there’s 3 prisoners of your faction side chained up. The gates will open up on the other side, and Scourge will come out of the gates slowly. They will not attack you at all, just move slowly down the path. There can be different kinds of them with different levels of health or speed, and you have to use all your powers to stop them reaching the prisoners at the other side of the room. After 5 minutes of doing this, one massive abomination comes slowly down, covering all three paths.*2 To make it fair across the classes, all characters are given some items to use, like a targetted bomb that has a frost nova effect and a 30 second cooldown, and so on. Whilst the mobs don’t have loot tables, you could have a fixed reward of say 50g at the end of it, with a 10g penalty if you lose a prisoner. If you’ve done the first level 5 times, then you have the option to put it on heroic mode, with double the health and a longer cooldown on your items, but much greater rewards afterwards. Maybe mob health increases with your gear, as does the reward. I feel this would be a step into something new and interesting.

I’m mainly suggestion things like this because people need ways to make money that don’t put them off the game. The amount of times I read ‘oh god not argent tourney again, ****ing hell,’ or ‘I don’t wanna do dailies but I want the rep with Gnomeragan so I guess I just gotta bite the bullet.’ Technically that second one is straying away from the point as that refers to rep reasons than gold reasons, but it’s along the same lines. (Incidentaly, I’d kill for some dailies for Silverwing Sentinels. 35 Rep a Flag is just traumatic.) These things need to be more fun! Any suggestions?

-Zal

*1 Just in case you were wondering, people who ask questions in Trade annoy me too. Like you’re going to get a sensible answer out of Trade, and you could have typed out exactly the same question into a search engine.

*2 Yes, this is heavily influenced by Plants VS Zombies. I realised as I was writing it. I blame Riccah.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Riccah permalink
    September 6, 2010 12:13 pm

    Plants vs Zombies is WIN!

  2. Comito permalink
    September 10, 2010 11:12 am

    Good old towers style gameplay, those customized games you came across online for WC3 were awesome! Mini-games would be awesome to take you away from the main gameplay!

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