Friday, July 19, 2013

20 Days of Gold Making, Day 4 - The Cautionary Tale of the Neglected Alt

Evening, folks. I apologize that it's been longer than expected since my last post, but you know how that pesky "real life" thing can get. My time for WoW in general got sporadic for a bit, and when that happens, the attention I give the blog also tends to suffer.

Anyway, I thought I'd finally dive back into Nev's "20 Days of Gold Making" topics. Why, then, did I skip from day number 2 to day number 4? Well, first of all, day number 3's question is about strategies when first starting out, which I plan on discussing further when I get into some "Back to Basics" sort of posts. Secondly, I had a...learning experience today that related to day 4's question.

So, without further delay...

4. Do you use a banker alt/guild? When did you start doing that & why?

When I first started out, I used my main, my Druid, as a banker. I had things down to a general process, for each day, which would go something like this:
  1. Use any daily cooldowns on crafting alts
  2. Check Druid's mail
  3. Post anything that had expired
  4. Queue up the various professions' Restock queues in TSM
  5. Shop for all the mats
  6. Send the mats off to the various crafting alts
  7. Hop onto each crafting alt and do the actual crafting
  8. Mail everything back to the Druid
  9. Have the Druid post everything
That actually wasn't as much work as it seems. Steps 6 and 8 were also made much easier than they would otherwise be by the use of TSM Mailing. Still, not everything was perfect there. Step 6 in particular became much more complicated when two of my crafting alts needed the same mat. Herbs, ore, and especially the various Volatiles (thankfully gone in MoP) were common offenders there. I couldn't set TSM Mailing up to mail some of an item to one alt and some to another. (At least as far as I know. If anyone knows differently, please let me know.)

The other problem was the sheer amount of mail for the Druid to sort through in steps 2 and 8. Postal helped with that, of course, but bag space was still an issue, not to mention that only 50 items can be displayed in the mail at once. I would spend very long stretches of time going between long stints of mail opening and long post scans on TSM.

In addition, the fact that my Druid was the one with 99% of the gold wasn't ideal. The crafting alts may not have been really interacting with the Auction House at all, but many of them still needed vendor mats. Most notable was my Jewelcrafter. Hundreds, if not thousands, of Jeweler's Settings add up, and the vendor value of cut Zephyrites wasn't cutting it. Having to send more gold his way every so often was a bit of a pain.

There were other, more subjective problems with the arrangement, as well. Most notably, I just felt like I was spending so much time hopping between characters as opposed to how much time I was spending actually doing something. Granted, this was before I got my first solid state drive, so load times were longer, but the feeling likely would have been there regardless.

All in all, I like the way I do things now better. Almost everything is handled on the character that crafts it. Mats a character acquires that they have no use for (like cloth on anyone but my tailor) gets sent off to the appropriate characters, but otherwise, each character is mostly independent. Each handles his or her own mail, buying, crafting, selling, etc.

Honestly, it solves most of the problems of the other method quite well. Each character's mail load remains relatively small (except my Scribe, but that's the nature of that profession, really). I have TSM set to not count any other character's inventory, so it doesn't matter that, say, my Scribe and my Alchemist both have herbs. Each character handles their own gold, and is thus quite unlikely to go broke. (In fact, it often makes it much easier to get an at-a-glance idea of whether a segment of the business is profitable.) I probably spend about the same amount of time "toon hopping", but it feels like less, because I'm stopping and doing quite a bit between each hop.

It should be noted, however, that this system is not without its drawbacks. Unfortunately, I discovered one of them the hard way today. In cases where you just plain get very busy for a while, it can be surprisingly easy to leave a character alone for too long.

Under the current system, I'll start at the top of my list of characters, finish all of that person's crafting and posting needs, then move on to the next. Time has been limited lately, so I haven't always been making it all the way down the list. Still, I'd start from the top each day. I figured there would be so little needing to be done on those characters near the top that I'd still make my way down the list in good time.

I was corrected today, when I finally logged onto my Death Knight, who happens to be my Tailor and Enchanter. All of the greens I had sent from my Jewelcrafter recently were there in his mailbox...but nothing else was. It took me a while to realize what had happened, but finally, I figured it out. It had actually been more than 30 days since the last time I had logged onto that character to check his mail. As a result, every single mail message, whether it be gold from auctions that had sold, or items from auctions that had expired, was gone.

The tailoring stock wasn't a big deal. Cloth is still dirt cheap, for the most part, so I was able to restock fairly easily. Enchanting was another matter entirely. I don't exactly mass produce the high-end weapon and bracer enchants, since they're fairly slow sellers, comparatively. I usually only keep 3 of each in stock. Still, restocking those all at once meant needing almost 150 Sha Crystals, which are currently running between 200 and 300 gold each on my server. I was honestly tempted to wait until 5.4, when they would be much easier to mass produce (more on that in a future post), but ultimately, I decided to take the chance at profit now, particularly since we have no idea when 5.4 will actually go live.

Was it something I could afford? Yes, of course. Was it something I was happy about? Absolutely not!

Still, there's nothing to be done for it now. No amount of fretting will magically bring back what was lost. I just have to move forward and take it for what it is: a learning experience.

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