Sunday, June 29, 2008

Out with the old, in with the new.

This weekend was the first time in a while that I have had a decent chunk of time to actually play Wow. I spent quite a lot of time on my bank alt on Dath'Remar, buying and selling stuff on the auction house. On the theory that money in my bags is idle money, I've re-invested about 700 gold in speculative items. There are now about 300 separate auctions up with my name on them. I had quite a few sales while I was still putting items up so my balance only decreased by about 200g in the process. When I next log on I expect to see several pages of "auction successful" mail and a much healthier bank balance.

One bad thing is that I seem to be stuck with several mail and plate items above level 60. My banker is an enchanter, but not yet high enough to disenchant these items. Unfortunately, quest rewards at the 60+ level seem to give better gear than random greens, so they rarely sell. Mail and plate are particularly nasty, since they cost a fortune in AH fees for every listing. Not quite sure what I'll do with these yet.

With the rest of my time I started two new projects. Friends and guild members on DathRemar have created alliance alts on another server. I already have several alts on that server's Horde. It's been an unwritten rule that I won't play both factions on a single server, even when the game will allow it. I've now broken that rule. It's a "normal" pve realm, so it IS possible to play both sides on the one server. I've created a male Draenei hunter, and have a remaining character slot for another bank alt, probably a NE druid.

On another server, I deleted an unused alt and created both Tauren Hunter and Tauren Druid. I don’t think I've ever had Tauren Hunters before. I spent several hours working on these guys and have kept rough notes on their economic progress. Part of the reason for creating these was to demonstrate clearly how taking two gathering professions at the very start can cure your money blues. I followed most of my own tips from my earlier post: Cure the Cash Flow Blues

First, I generated both characters at the login screen. I chose Druid for their flexibility and hunter for ease of use and farming ability. I'm not sure I'll ever work on these guys enough to get them very high level so they have to be useful in the lower levels. It helps that I like both classes a lot!

First character to start was the hunter. Its been a while since I've rolled a Tauren, so I sat through the intro movie. Essentially, the Tauren owe their continued existence to Thrall and the Orcs. We are supposed to hate the centaur. That's OK.. Centaur are humanoids and drop lots of cloth and coin.. I'll have no trouble farming them and will be doing something for our tribes!

The first few quests in the Tauren starter area are all about proving your worth to the tribe. One quest chain continues all the way until about level 12. Hunters make short work of the early quests, often killing the monsters before they get close and since most are neutral you can always engage at maximum range. Bag space is however at a premium. Sell the useless bread and water you start with, it’s unnecessary and wastes space you need for questing.

My hunter had reached level 2 before completing even one quest, and was less than a bar from level 3 by the time I'd got back to town. I sold all the junk I had scavenged and bought the first few skills from the trainer. Still too little money left over to buy another bag. Off I go to complete more quests. Again these early quests are easy since all the monsters are non hostile until you engage them. They were substantially tougher though and my axe was deployed a lot more. Hunters really suck in melee, but at this level there's almost no choice.

By the time I hit level 4, I was quite a distance from the village and bag space became a problem. I needed 4 of the available 16 bag slots for quest items so I tried to keep only stackable items in the other slots. I had to throw away several grey items before Ii managed to kill Sharptusk, grab his head and hearth back to town. Ding level 5, and still not enough money to buy a bag. Oh well, off I go to Bloodhoof village for the next stage. Elapsed time to level 5: 39 minutes and change.

I kill a few wolves that were close to the road on the way to Bloodhoof. This plus travel experience lets me ding level 6 at about the same time as I pick up the quests in town. I see that the fire festival is set up to the south east, so I go over there and restart the fire and collect a few more fire festival quests. The next series of Bloodhoof quests all involve hunting animals for their parts, so off I go killing tallstriders, wolves and cats. Bag space here is at an absolute premium. I think 10 of 16 slots were needed for quests in this area, so I had to stagger them somewhat. Quests to the south of Bloodhoof all completed, I returned to town, trained up and found that I had a little extra cash left over.

In my other post I’ve suggested skinning and mining or herbalism as good combinations for moneymaking. Both herbalism and mining are not good for hunters, since they interfere with your tracking abilities. There is a skinning trainer in Bloodhoof , and cooking, first aid and fishing trainers, but for mining I needed to go to Thunder bluff. I bought both the skinning knife and mining pick in preparation. Training complete, I activated the "rite of vision" quest and followed my ghostly wolf guide up to the mountain cave west of TB.

I spent quite a lot of time killing the harpies near the cave. One type is a caster and is easy to fight as a hunter since they stay at range. The other types are melee but not too hard to kill. I had only one close call where I was attacked by a patrolling wolf while fighting two harpies. The Tauren racial thunderstomp ability saved my behind then.

Once I'd collected enough claws and linen from the harpies, It was off to kill Dwarves further south. The quest goal here is to collect "broken tools"... but the little guys only dropped "mining pick". The first time I did this zone this was confusing! You have to collect the 5 mining picks then travel to Thunder bluff and "break" them at the forge there in the city.

By the time I had made it to TB for the first time, I had hit level 8 and was really struggling with both lousy hunter melee skills and no bag space. I sold off all the grey items, broke the dwarven tools and visited the auction house.

After going AFK for 10 minutes while auctioneer scanned the entire auction house I came back to sell my extra white gear. I had several stacks of leather and ruined leather, as well as linen and some meat to sell. Leather seemed reasonably priced, so I listed mine. Ruined leather is almost worthless but the AH average was still better than just vendoring it, so I listed those as well. Linen cloth is often a great seller, since everyone needs first aid skill, and it’s used for newbie tailoring as well. On to the AH went my stacks.

When I tried to list my spare wolf meat, I noticed a problem. Auctioneer was telling me that each piece was worth ~700 gold and that I couldn't match the lowest price. WTF? lobwbie meat, that you can get for free killing level 5 wolves at 700g? No way. It usually sells for a handful of silver each at best. What had happened is that someone has tried manipulating prices. They listed several items at 700g, and then listed most of their stock at a "more reasonable" 2-3 gold a stack, hoping to fool people into buying it at the inflated price. This would still be many 100's of percent higher than the usual price.

I put my few pieces of meat on the AH at about 3s each. With the last of my remaining silver I attempted to find under priced items on the AH that I could bid on or buy out and resell. There was only one item I could afford, a crunchy spider leg. I bought it, but then couldn't afford to list it.... and I'd also forgotten to buy the mining skill. Stupid!

I ended up vendoring the mining pick and one piece of spider meat to afford the mining skill, then off I went to continue questing. I headed south along the mountain ranges, killing the last few cougars needed then headed off to Bloodhoof. On the way I saw Mazzaranache respawn. I am tempted to go pick him up once I hit 10! Back in Bloodhoof I finally scrounged the cash for the mining pick a second time and handed in as many quests as I could. The nearest quest remaining was the level 6 one to kill bristlebacks to the west of Bloodhoof. It was close to the mountains where I had seen some copper mines so I went off collecting first.

I mined several nodes of copper then headed into the bristleback's cave. Careful targeting made the kills quite easy, especially the casters. Lots of cloth, some coin, and even a couple of chests made the loot pile up rapidly. Deep inside the cave were the poachers, the last guys I needed for the quest. These were also quite easy since they are hunter types and stay at range as well. I cleared the whole cave, looted the chest, mined the three copper nodes and was about to hearth back to town when I realised that it was still on cooldown. Damn, I'll have to fight my way back out. Here is where I made my biggest mistake of the night.

On the way back out, I found a patrolling bristleback entering a previously cleared area. I needed to get past him, so I engaged. Just as I finished him off, another respawned right next to me and attacked, right in melee range. This fight took a lot longer... too long in fact, because two more ranged guys had also repopped further up the corridor and were hammering me with arrows. Even a health potion wasn’t enough to save me, trapped between fresh respawns behind and ahead.

I made it to almost level 10 before my first visit to the spirit healer. With just a little more care this could have been avoided. Ah well.. I ended up in town without having to use the hearthstone cooldown so its not all bad. Resurrection sickness wasn't an issue for a below level 10 character but the cost of repairs was a concern. I hadn't repaired at all up to this point as I was replacing crap grey gear with more crap grey all the time.

Hand in all the quests and I dinged level 10. Yahoo! Elapsed /played was a shade over 4 hours of which maybe half an hour was stuffing about in town or AFK eating dinner.

Level 10 for a hunter is the most exciting time... you get the three-part taming the beast quest line that ends in you getting your first pet! Hooray!

The quest for Tauren involves capturing in order:

An Adult Plainstrider (tallstrider)
A Prarie Stalker (a wolf)
then a Swoop (carrion bird)

I had the fire festival buff on while I did these quests which nearly resulted in some dead animals. Each time they were hitting me they were taking some fire damage. The wolf was down to about 5% health at the end, but thankfully survived just long enough!

Each of these creatures are quite close to Bloodhoof Village making this a fairly painless exercise for Tauren compared to other races. The plainstrider is neutral so is even easier than otherwise.
When I completed each stage I dismissed the temporary pet just before engaging the next one. The plainstrider reverted to neutral while I was on the bridge just north of Bloodhoof, then fled off south to his home. The wolf and the swoop were both found in the same area, so when I released the wolf he immediately engaged me. Ungrateful wretch! Luckily he dropped a claw I needed and some leather.

Swoops, in the wild, have a knockback caster interupt ability "swoop". This seems to be supressed when using the taming rod during the taming quest. Its back in action again when you release the bird however! I intended training the exact same swoop used in part three of the quest as my first real pet. This proved much more challenging than I expected though, since he managed to get off the swoop ability twice during the taming, forcing a restart both times. Each taming attempt used up mana and I had to wait a few seconds to get enough for the final tame. Also, the fire festival buff was still going and the poor swoop was taking damage each time he hit me. When the third taming attempt finally succeeeded, I was at about 7% health, almost no mana and my new pet was down to under 20% health as well.

Welcome Accipter, my first pet. I wonder if I'm unique in taming one of the EXACT beasts used in the taming quests as the first ever "real" pet? Anyway, he was initially very unhappy with me and since I hadn't yet completed the final stage of the training quest, I couldnt feed him! Off I went immediately to Thunder Bluff for training!

During all this time, not one of my auctions had sold and I had not yet been lucky enough to find a new bag, nor had I had the spare cash to buy a new one. Bag space was still very limited! With hearthstone, skinning knife, mining pick, fishing rod, a stack of bandages, a stack of healing pots as permanent items, as well as partial stacks of leather, copper, linen etc as tradeable items there wasnt much left in the old backpack. I had been keeping a stack of meat aside for pet feeding but mush have vendored it somewhere along the way since I had only once bit of meat on hand for feeding Accipter. He was momentarily less annoyed but soon reverted to unhappy. Now I have a pissed off pet and no food!

The solution presented itself in the form of fishing from the lake in TB... however I hadn't yet leveled fishing skill, so nearly all of the attempts were unsuccessful. I even bought a lure for the rod which helped a bit. At least I got enough fish to bring Accipter to happy state before I returned to adventure. We killed the harpies just north west of TB for a quest, and spotted and killed the ghostwolf for his hide. Accipter dinged several times and I hit level 11 before returning to town and retiring for the night.

I relogged in as my brand new druid and rushed through the initial quests. He dinged level 5 in 42 minutes, but he also found 2 bags, one off the very first kill! He made it to level 6 and Bloodhoof village in under an hour before I logged him out and quit wow for the evening.

Now for the good bit:
Just now I logged in again to my hunter to check his auctions. Last night he had 2 silver and change. This morning, he's got 2 pages of "Auction successful" mail messages and a much healthier bank balance of 6g, 75s with about 20 more unsold auctions waiting.

Best sellers were stacks of copper bars, at about 3g, leather at 1.5g for several stacks, and linen making up most of the rest. I also had a single silver bar and 2 malachite from chests that sold as well.

6g is more than sufficient to pay all the training costs up to level 20. I'll be able to buy at least 8-slot bags for both characters, but will look into 10 or 12 slotters first. The most cost -effective ones tend to be the 16-slot netherweave bags, since there are lots of "lazy" high level tailors making them but they are out of my price range for now.


KC said...

Haven't finished reading this entry yet, but I've had the same problem with green gear around the 60s. My enchanter's only at about 125 enchanting, and the things don't sell unless they're "of the Bandit" gear.

Fortunately, my two priesty friends are both in the late 300s with their enchanting, so I mailed them both earlier to ask if they would be willing to D/E everything that doesn't sell for tips. Maybe you could do that if you know any high-level enchanters?

Cryptography said...

Yes, high level enchanters are certainly available and I guess I'll be using them if it continues too long. I like being completely self-sufficient though. The 60+ items are drops found while questing on Cryptography and not something I've been caught with on the AH!

I logged in again briefly to my Tauren hunter this morning. He's collected another 3g or so and still has a handful of unsold auctions. Call it 10g income from relatively simple actions done while questing.

One really annoying feature I discovered is that the bags on the AH are vastly overpriced compared to my usual servers. 16-slot netherweave are about the same price, but the 14-slotters are only slightly cheaper. 10 and 12 slot bags are about double the price I was expecting.

Here's the stupid thing though: 10-slot bags on the horde AH are about 15-20% HIGHER than the vendor bought items! Obviously there's a business opportunity for me :)

I ended up buying 3 * 10-slot bags from the vendor at just short of 6g total and mailed 1g off to my newbie druid.

I was checking out the armory pages for my characters and discovered that there are HEAPS of people called "Crypt" and "Crypto". There's at least one on VeCo too.... but they aren't me!

KC said...

Heh, I wondered if you were Crypt (nice person I chat with on VeCo; he's fairly notorious on the realm, actually) at first, until you mentioned you didn't have any alts there.

That's weird that bags are so expensive. Both times I've leveled tailoring on an alt, I've had to undersell bags to move them. I guess that's like mini-pets on Venture Co. — I made quite a bit of gold when I was saving for my level 40 mount by selling those on the neutral AH. Marked them up pretty good, depending on the pet, and moved them within a couple hours each time.

I'm kind of in awe that you made so much so fast on the tauren hunter, though! When I started Ahami, I deliberately grabbed double-gathering and sold -everything- I couldn't use except greys on the AH, but didn't even come close to that — she had 3g at level 12ish, I think. I wasn't playing the AH at all, though.

Cryptography said...

At this stage I don't consider myself to be "playing" the AH much either. I used auctioneer to get a snapshot of prices. Since the stuff I'm selling is REALLY common, there will be a range of prices even on a single scan.

Basically its just looking at a reasonable price for the junk I've found or gathered.

Those Ruined Leather Scraps haven't sold at all. I'll probably just vendor them.

I've logged back on my druid in an effort to push to 10 and bear-form tonight. I've started market manipulation with this character, using the ~50s or so I had in change from my starter funds.

I bought 8-slot bags for him with the cash. They are small, but he's had a much easier time than the hunter did at the same point.

Perhaps because I'm not being as careful with him, I've died twice already tonight. I think I'll have to buy a decent melee weapon since the crappy level 3 mace I have just doesn't cut it when he's blown all his mana.

KC said...

Ruined leather scraps and uncured light hide does not move at all on my server. I usually vendor them both or drop the hide in the guild bank. I make enough from medium leather and hide to not worry too much about it.

Cryptography said...

Little Druid has just completed the bear-form quest. He's also got several mail messages. New bank balance is over 6g without the stacks of copper selling yet!