That's what 750k liquid in my guild bank looks like. Fascinating.
So here I am, 75% of the way to the one million mark. Three quarter's of the way through! Woo!
Requisite Self-Indulgent Milestone Reflection
Ah yes, it follows all milestones. The self-indulgent discussion of reaching said milestone. Well, let's get this over with!
What's really been on my mind lately is whether or not my blog and my views are an asset to the gold-making community. Don't get me wrong, I'll keep writing because I enjoy doing it, but basically let me put it this way:
In a previous post I compared a person who has very little liquid gold but knows the AH like the back of their hand to the person who has a million gold from doing dailies every day but couldn't work the AH if their life depended on it. Is one of them more gold-savvy than the other?
My implication at the time was that you don't need a lot of liquid assets to be considered a gold-maker, you just need the knowledge and skills, while on the other hand having a lot of gold doesn't necessarily mean you're a great gold-maker.
Lately, what's been on my mind, is what category I may fall into. Now, I'm doing this bar vertically because it looks a lot better on the blog that way and I'm quite vain about my blog's appearance, not because I'm implying top is better than bottom.
Now allow me to explain this chart and all information contained within it. Basically, I believe that there are several stages that someone goes through when they begin to care about gold. Most all of us probably started out at the base level of this chart, not really caring much about gold. As we learn more about gold making and progress through the mini-game that is amassing a fortune we move up through the chart.
Now, not everyone will hit every mark. Most of us probably never begged for gold. Many of us will never hit the Risky Business mark, which I will define in a moment. But I believe that, from my point of view, this chart is a good representation of phases of gold making a player may go through.
What are these phases exactly? Let's start at the bottom and work our way up.
Why would I care about how much gold I have? - Pretty self explanatory of course. Many people came from games like Diablo 2 where gold was pretty much the most worthless currency imaginable and the real dealing was done in SoJs and runes. Some people had never played an MMO in their lives. The bottom line is, with each new game, you never really know how much of an impact currency will actually have on your play-style. Even when we saw we needed gold to buy things, many probably didn't make the decision to go after this gold, they just decided to live with what they acquired normally.
Trade Beggars - Probably one of the phases fewest will go through. This player knows he needs gold and knows he wants to get more of it but doesn't know how to apply his effort in a useful way, instead harassing the denizens of Stormwind and Orgrimmar to fund his purchases. It's interesting, though, how many blog readers at one point were within this category. Often, when someone asks me if I can spare some gold, I follow the "Give a man a fish/teach a man to fish" idea and instead point them towards gold bloggers. Trade Beggars want gold. Readers of gold blogs want gold. There's likely a bit of overlap, if not much!
The Daily Grind - This was something I participated in in Burning Crusade, as most did. The Isle of Quel'Danas gave amazing profits and there were added bonus greens and cloth and all sorts of things. This person is likely not much more knowledgeable than the Trade Beggar, but is spending their time making guaranteed income from Daily Quests instead of begging other players. Often players can amass large fortunes just from doing this day in and day out and be quite happy doing it. More power to them! But that's not necessarily for everyone.
The Farmers - We all know that guy on our server who is gold-capped and all he did was fly in little Sholazar circles for a year. For those with the patience to do this, this can be a great way to make gold. I personally view this as slightly more savvy than the Daily Grind. While both are doing the same repetitive activity, the Farmer must change their tactics based on market trends, and may have a bit more of a handle on the way the particular thing they farm fares on the AH.
The Trend Followers - Most of us probably have a friend or guildie in this group; this is the guy who read about the Obsidium Shuffle on WoW Insider and eagerly chomped through the ore. Suddenly a player went from having 2k to his name to having 50k. He can read blogs and follow trends easily, often reading blogs written by The Theorycrafters, and might know why this particular trend makes money. But when this market falls through, they aren't savvy enough to easily adapt, and must instead turn to others for the next big thing.
The Dedicated Few - Do you have an Enchanter? Do you only have an Enchanter? That's the situation I envision for The Dedicated Few. This person can only hit a few markets, or at least, they think they can only hit a few markets. They make the best of limited resources and dedicate themselves solely to very few markets. They probably don't know the best way to get their materials and they may just sell whatever's profitable that day with no attention to trends, but they will turn a profit through slow dedication to their chosen field.
The Dabblers - I believe most people will go through this phase at some point; whether they are just starting out, or a favorite market has taken a hit and they want to see how best to diversify. This is the person who doesn't invest heavily in any one area, but may sell some bags, some glyphs, some flasks, a few cut gems, some raid food, and any cloth they pick up while playing. They don't have a market they call "their market," they just sell a little of this and a little of that and turn a decent profit doing so.
Causal Marketeers - This is a term I adopted for how I treated the glyph market pre-Glyphmas. It was my first real foray into seriously participating in a market and I was very wet behind the ears when it came to the AH. I didn't know a lot of AH tactics; I would keep five of each glyph in stock, I was able to follow a guide to set up Quick Auctions 3, and I posted a lot. I didn't know who undercut me, I didn't know how often. I didn't know the best way to deal with crashes in the market, I didn't know when best to buy supplies. I just blindly crafted and sold glyphs. The Casual Marketeer has a market in their eye that they want to be theirs, but they fumble through their attempts to use it to turn a profit. In the end they probably do okay, but they do not excel, and likely will move on, or expand, into other markets.
The Theorycrafters - These are the guys who come up with the trends that the Trend Followers latch onto. They come to the interwebs armed with spreadsheets, data samples, and enough math to make me vomit. Or theyr'e that person who spends hours scouring profession lists, old quests, and Wowhead finding some obscure item to sell or some unique way to supply your profession. These guys are awesome, enough said.
Single Market Hardcores - There is a player on my server that sells one thing, and one thing only. He sells blacksmithing rods for enchanters. I bet he knows more than I could ever fathom about market trends for people leveling enchanting and when to sell rods, when to buy the ore to craft them, etc. etc. If you put him in unfamiliar AH territory he will probably be lost and confused, but he will outsell you any day on enchanting rods. The Single Market Hardcores are those who only hit one or two markets, but they've been doing it for so long, and have devoted themselves so much to this market, that it has become enough to sustain all the gold making they could want or need.
Full AH Coverage - This is the person who does it all and does it well. They hit pretty much every profession niche. They are simultaneously selling gems, flasks, potions, cloth, PvP gear, glyphs, all while flipping BoE epics and sipping a cup of tea. They likely spend a lot more time stocking their AH, but at the end, they see a great return for their dedication to diversification.
Risky Business - This is another phase not many will likely find themselves in. I've tried not to identify people by name in case some might take offense or something, but there is a perfect example of this type of gold maker I cannot fail to mention. In this JMTC Q&A Meeting Catharsis discusses his plan for Pyrite Ore in preparation for epic gems. (It's at about the 52 minute mark.) I'm not sure if he's still going with this plan, but basically he was investing over half a million gold in Pyrite Ore in anticipation of epic gems being prospected, with the idea he will double his gold investment. In order to be able to move the stock he anticipates getting he intends to transfer to three different raiding servers simultaneously. So, basically, he's putting massive amounts of gold and extreme planning into one massive gold-making plan. If he is wrong he may find himself down half a million gold. (Granted, he'd totally make most of it back via belt buckles, but that's another issue.) Basically, Risky Business is when people are going through massive efforts to make gold, and if something goes wrong, they can find themselves with egg all over their face. If everything goes well they will find themselves with massive profit. That is risky business, as it is the essence of risk.
That was a lot of information, Faid. WTF did you tell me that crap for?
Basically I've been thinking about where I fall within this chart. I believe the closest I come to any of the above descriptions is that I'm a Dabbler or still finding myself sometimes being a Casual Marketeer. I hit many markets on my server, but none am I wholly devoted to. I turn my profits quite a bit but never really pay attention to how the market fluctuations impact my gold making. I am, quite frankly, a casual gold maker.
Many out there will claim to be "gold gurus," and the more I've thought about it the more I realize I'm not one of these people. I think I have some damn good ideas, some of them rather original, and I think I have a pretty good understanding of the Auction House.
However, I do not feel I have achieved an ultimate status in any way. I've trudged through this 750,000 gold little by little. I've not done anything amazing or particularly impressive, I've done the same thing countless people have already done before me. (Then again, it's near impossible to find a completely unique and original idea, but that's another post altogether.)
As I approach my goal I realize that I am not an impressive gold maker, I am a player with an impressive amount of gold.
Some day I would like to venture into Full AH Coverage, but as I am not a risk taker or a big investor this is not the time for me to do so. Some day I may take massive risks, but that will not be when I'm nearing my goal. At the end of the day, the more I think about it, the more I realize I'm not really that impressive of a gold-maker at all.