Thursday, June 11, 2015

One Experiment Ends, Another Begins (Soon?)

Update: New experiment has been put on hold for an undetermined amount of time. Turns out things like WoW in Retrospect are taking up too much of my time.

Over a month ago, I started an experiment in an attempt to spice up my World of Warcraft gameplay, but also for science by finding how much gold I could make through what I considered my regular activities. Prior to and while doing the experiment, I determined this involved activities associated with Garrison management, daily profession cooldowns, some questing, LFR, and using the Auction House to sell anything acquired from the previous activities. While I probably could've made a bit more money were it not for the release of Witcher 3 partway through the experiment, the results are still quite good. Based on the final day's statistics, I made a little over 770k gold, or ~25667 gold per day. This didn't quite meet the goal I personally set of 900k, or 30k gold per day, but it's still quite decent.

Below are some observations I made over the course of the experiment:

  • I broke the gold cap within a week of starting the experiment since my Guild Bank had over 800k at the start, which is part of what prompted this experiment.
    • This means by the end of the experiment, I nearly doubled my wealth in terms of gold.
  • I personally found myself being a little more aggressive with the money making during the experiment, such as by checking missions and posting auctions more often. This probably only changed the results slightly, however.
  • In general, the activities that involved actively making money took around 1.5 hours each day to do. Considering more aggressive farming tactics usually involve hours of grinding, this method is very good for more casual players with less time to play.
  • A very large amount of the money I made came from level 3 Barn work orders, which yield Savage Blood and various animal-related materials. Each character with the building obtained roughly half a stack of materials and 3-4 Savage Blood each day.
    • The amount of money made will be very server dependent. For instance, Savage Blood varied wildly between 200 and 300 gold on my realm, generally dropping slightly over time.
    • This method will be less effective in 6.2, when Savage Blood can be purchased for 25 Primal Spirits instead of 50.
    • Overall, considering it takes about 15-20 minutes to farm enough animals for a week or more in work orders per character, the amount of money/time from this method is excellent and highly advantageous for altoholics.
  • Ores and herbs farmed from the associated Garrison buildings generated a modest profit. However, it may not be a big loss to skip them since while it doesn't take a long time, it adds up over multiple characters and, unlike the Barn, is a daily activity.
    • The amount of gold/time is once again server-based. In the case of my realm, it's highly worth it to farm ores, but not so much herbs. 
    • If you're unsure as to whether you should farm ores and herbs from your Garrison, I'd recommend doing them for characters that need it for daily cooldowns at the bare minimum.
  • Daily cooldowns have a pretty decent yield for the brief time investment associated with them. Even for less lucrative crafting professions, the daily cooldown is excellent to use due to the creation of Sorcerous elements.
    • If I had to choose one profession that will probably do well overall, I'd go with Tailoring due to Hexweave Bags. Leatherworkers and Blacksmiths do pretty well too.
  • Stacking Treasure Hunter followers, as expected, helped a lot with gold yield from missions. A lot of the money made on all characters except for my warrior came from those missions.
    • Selling items from Salvage Crates encompassed most of the rest of the money made on those characters. The yield here was also significant since some items could vendor for as much as 40 or more gold and getting multiples of such items was high.
  • I also played the Auction House a little over the course of the experiment, such as by buying herbs for close to their vendor price. However, I made probably about 2k doing this and chose not to focus on it, but rather selling goods I already had, which I pretty much never ran out of.
  • While this is somewhat unrelated to the amount of money made, I leveled a couple characters to 100 over the month largely through Garrison management. While the amount of money that was required to outfit a Garrison for a new level 100 (it was easily over 10k) was significant, as laid down in the previous article's guidelines, I withdrew the exact amount I spent on plans and upgrading from the Guild Bank since the costs of reaching level 100 isn't a periodic occurrence.
    • If one were to check all the images, they can see the gradual experience gain for characters as they slowly leveling to 100. It is worth noting that once a character got really close, I finished their leveling in Nagrand.
Overall, I'm really happy with the results and observations I made. I probably won't do this again but it's not necessarily a bad idea for others to try or at least utilize some of my observations. While I'm going to use some of the gold for some personal goodies (such as a Spectral Tiger mount), I will be using some to fund my next experiment.

The next experiment will be an attempt to determine the burden of knowledge that a completely new player has to deal with when playing World of Warcraft. So far, I've dictated the following guidelines, though they are subject to change when the experiment begins:
  • No addons or anything a new player normally wouldn't have are allowed at all. I doubt I'll reach Draenor by the time the experiment ends so I won't need to use Master Plan to avoid suffering through default UI Garrison mission management.
    • To clarify, this also pretty much means no heirlooms. I probably won't restrict mounts or pets that don't provide some convenience (so mounts like the Traveler's Tundra Mammoth are still restricted).
    • This also means no outside help, such as using one of my other characters or grouping with friends to make content easier.
  • I will start the game with limited knowledge of key bindings and custom key bindings. While I'll probably know about basic character movements through WASD, I won't necessarily know about mouse-turning, strafing, automove, binding Z to certain skills, and so on. This is largely based on my own personal newb experiences, though it should serve as an accurate baseline.
  • The experiment will utilize a "new player" and "experienced player" pair. These will be personas that I will act out. While this will mostly involve the "new player" learning how to play the game, the "experienced player" persona may step in from time to time to give advice or provide an analysis of the situation (the latter of which is more of out of character behavior to explain or discuss something).
  • In an attempt to test the in-game tutorial, I will enable the tutorial (for as long as I can tolerate it) and utilize the information I learn through the tutorial or tutorial-like quests, dialogue, etc. This is to determine if game does a sufficient job at tutoring new players on how to play the game. There will likely be a lot of "experienced player" persona analysis.
  • If it hasn't been made clear already, I will be streaming this and probably uploading it to Youtube as well. Given my general history with streaming, the content won't be of great quality, but should get the purpose of the experiment across sufficiently.
So where does the gold I made come into this? Ideally, I would like to do this experiment on a new account so that I can occasionally bring one of my higher level characters to observe to really take the acting in the experiment to the next level. Thus, I would use WoW Tokens to pay for the subscription, which is something I've been wanting to do for a while.

Regardless, I am unsure as to when I can start the experiment. Ideally, I would like to start it up when the game goes on sale and/or I am sufficiently finished with 6.2 content. The idea is still a work in progress and will likely go through some additional iteration when I make another announcement related to this experiment. Until then, see you in the skies of Draenor soon™.

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