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Mon, Feb. 6th, 2006, 02:38 pm
If I Were A Rich Girl, Part II

For those just joining up, I have a little World of Warcraft habit.

I do mean little, for the record. Compared to the forty-hour-a-week-ers or even to my dear boyfriend, who gets up an hour early every morning to play, I’m just a dabbler. I tend to play about ten hours a week, mostly in forty-five minutes stress-relief bursts, though once a week I’ll get together with my guild and run an instance like Scarlet Monastery. In the big picture, that’s just not much time.

This is why it’s incredibly, incredibly exciting for me that my Tauren warrior, Camellia, just broke 100 gold at level 37. I’ve got several other characters, most of whom are quite broke, so I decided that Camellia was going to earn her way to the top (or at least something like it). For one thing, warriors are a heavily gear-dependent class, so the difference between a rich warrior and a poor one can mean life or death for a party. For another, I’m sick of being slooooow, so I wanted to get my mount as soon as I could ride one. For a third, I’m pretty excited about being able to support my guild financially, since I don’t have any useful professions. And hey - 100 gold! Yeah!

It’s gotten me thinking hard about the design of the economic system in the game, since I’ve found myself making the majority of my cash off selling things on the auction house. Who buys all my tin for 1.5 gold per stack? Who sells their iron ore for 20 silver, allowing me to buy it up and resell it at a huge profit? Where are people getting the money to buy the 100 gold epic weapons? Surely not everyone can be farming all the time . . . can they?

For me, the key to economic success in-game has been allowing lazy people to pay me. I mine and skin, though I refuse to farm either, and sell the results on the auction house. I sell almost all the items I collect from enemies, since I can probably sell the items to someone with lots of cash and then buy something better for cheap by watching the prices. I buy out low-priced auctions and resell them at more reasonable prices, and I always try to sell my tin and iron when I’ve got a monopoly on the good in the auction house and can set my prices extortionately. And, embarassingly, I check in three or four times a day to compare prices and re-list items if necessary. It only takes five minutes each time, but it’s made me a lot of cash!

Then there are the mods, which the boy suggested when he realized what my money strategy was. Auctioneer scans the auction house and tells you how much items have sold for in the past. This has turned out to be much more efficient than my strategy of memorizing prices on the things I buy and sell most! AutoProfit (which, admittedly, I haven’t tried yet) sells all non-auctionable items to vendors automatically.

Finally, there’s my favorite thing ever, the World of Warcraft Gold Guide, available for only $24.99. I haven’t used it, but I’ve been thinking lately that its existence isn’t as silly as you’d think. Knowing how to manage your money in World of Warcraft does make a huge difference to game-play, and there really is knowledge to acquire and skills to gain in doing so. I’m trying to see if I can convince our department to buy a copy as part of our research agenda, to look at how the community is supporting economic understandings in the game-world. We’ll see if I’m successful.

Anyhow . . . 100 gold. Wow. I wish there were better in-game ways to celebrate. I guess I’ll have to do it by killing things.