Why Almost Every WoW Player is Piss Poor

Recently in chats with guildies, particularly egregious examples have been raised of people making stunningly bad choices when it comes to money making, leveling, and time management in general. So i figured i would make a post about why most players have a spectacularly bad sense of economics and attempt to enlighten people as to why some players can make thousands of gold in the time it takes the average WoW player to do a decent rant in guild chat about repair and respec costs.

Every WoW player has been in situations where they witnessed their buddy spending inordinate amounts of time on something insanely inefficient when much better options for accomplishing their goal should have been obvious to them.

The other day i was PLing a friend of mi on an alt in RFC. It would only take 10 minutes or so to gather all all the mobs up in a pile, kill them, and get him a ton of exp. But after each run he would insist on looting every corpse, he could not “waste” the precious copper and linen on the mobs. “I’ll need to pay for skill training! And i need to buy things off the AH so i can level faster!”. This guy was very new to WoW so it was excusable that he did not realise that the gold he got from the 15 minutes he spent looting each run would not speed up his leveling more than simply maximizing his exp per hour.

However most people when they hit high level are not much better. Recently the MT of my guild who is also a blacksmith was pestered for hours by some stranger who was adamant about getting a low level weapon made for his rogue alt so that he could level faster. This weapon required a very broad, eclectic array of mats. It also about two DPS better than the quest weapons he could easily get at his alt’s level. He spent a few hours over two days messaging my guildie and getting all of the mats prepared so that he could get this weapon made. He would not for a moment listen to my guildie’s attempts to explain to him that in the time he spent getting this weapon made his alt could be far past the level range in which he could use this weapon.

Think back to when BC came out. Everyone was struggling to get their Scryer and Aldor reputations up. A quick glance at the AH revealed that the Scryer rep items sold for at least twice as much as the Aldor items. Furthermore the Scryer camps were highly concentrated with mobs that could be AoE farmed much, much faster than the more dispersed Aldor camps. And yet, most people who were Aldor farmed Aldor rep items? “Why?!” i would find myself asking in bewilderment. Well, because they were Aldor, so they should farm Aldor rep – duh!

This is the essential difference between the mind of a player with a good intuitive sense of economics versus the other 99.5% of the WoW player base; the average person will always farm what they need while the true farmer will always farm what gives them the most value (in terms of gold in this case) for their time and then exchange it for what they need on the market (the auction house). If the regular WoW player needs cloth, they farm cloth. If they need eternal fires, they farm the fires. If they need herbs, they log on their herbalist to get those. The true farmer, on the other hand, will always go farm the resource or craft the product that gives them the most gold per hour and then use the gold to get the cloth, or eternal fire, or herbs in a fraction of the time than the average player will.

Another way of putting it is that the true farmer thinks in terms of equivalency, both in terms of time and money. A true farmer thinks of items in the game that can be traded in terms of their gold value on the market. So when he or she is deciding on how to make money and has the following options the decision is easy:

1. Farming herbs (average of 250g/hour)

2. Grinding a certain camp of mobs for valuable rep items (average of 100g/hour)

3. Farming cloth to sell on the AH (5og/hour)

4. Questing for gold (150g/hour)

5. Mining in Sholazar Basin with a mote extractor (1000g/hour)

The true farmer always strives to think of everything in equivalent terms (like gold per hour) to make the best decision as to what to farm for gold with which he can buy everything s/he needs or wants.  The average WoW player settles on going for the specific item s/he needs directly and ends up spending an order of magnitude more time making his or her money. The more a player thinks in equivalent terms of time and gold rather than specific items the more efficient he or she will be.

One of the ways that thinking in terms of equivalency is used most often is by those who make their money simply by buying and selling things off of the AH. There was a famous video posted during the BC era of someone who made thousands of gold simply buying cloth off of the AH, making them into green armor pieces via tailoring, disenchanting them, and selling the resulting materials. To a true gold farmer a stack of cloth worth 2 gold is nothing but a netherweave tunic worth 50 silver waiting to be made which is nothing but some illusion dust worth 8 gold waiting to be disenchanted which is nothing but a particular enchant worth 3 gold waiting to be posted on the AH. The true gold farmer will do his best to buy out the equivalent item with the lowest market value and turn it into the item with the highest market value.

One way in which I made a lot of my money during BC was to simply spend 5-10 minutes every day scanning the AH for under-priced green items. I had disenchanted a hundred or so greens to figure out the average disenchanting mats so i could know the disenchanted value of a green item. Then i simply scanned the auction house for anything priced under that value and bought it out. Every day i would snatch dozens of blues and greens that were posted at prices under that threshold. Easy money.

In closing, one of the recurrent themes you will find in the posts i will make about video games is that the way people think in game is congruent with how they think in real life. The sort of person who makes bad economical decisions is likely to make them in any context, be it in WoW or the real world. In other words, the sort of people who makes the kinds of bad choices in-game that i have been giving examples of are the exact same people who, in real life, will drive 50 miles out of town to get gas for a penny less per litre. Or they will buy 5 bucks worth of magazines to get 3 bucks worth of grocery coupons and then drive well out of the way to another grocery store to make use of their ‘5 cents off plantains’ coupon.


2 Responses to “Why Almost Every WoW Player is Piss Poor”

  1. Haha, i remember having this conversation. A very well written article that will hopefully have some of our less time efficient friends rethinking the way they gain their gold.

  2. 2nd =P

    My favorite wow type is the lazy people that do not farm and yet continue to blame the people that do farm for the prices on the ah being so high. Some how they should be rewarded for doing nothing. Imo these people play while collecting welfare.

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