Monday, April 4, 2011

April 15 Gold Blogger Challenge: Server Success Stories

First things first: this is not a Carnival. JMTC and Cold's Gold Factory both do a super job with monthly theme-related posts. Instead, this challenge is designed to illustrate via real in-game examples how our gold tips can help a total stranger.

Interested? Read on......


Recently I have had several in-game conversations with players of all levels and experience who share the same frustration: not knowing how to effectively earn gold has made the game less enjoyable. A couple of these conversations have led to posts. Both Phuggly and Garahadar had specific issues that were conducive to creating a post. Other conversations have been much less specific and may not make good reading for the general public.

Or so I thought.

As I read gold blogs I consider the tips and whether they would work on my server; I generally find that the tips that are being circulated are not relevant for me at my level of Goblin-ness. That's not always the case, but I find fewer solid tips now than I did a couple months ago. Part of this has to do with the game changing, like nerfing the Savage Leather skinning spots or Whiptail nodes. But part of it also has to do with experience.

By the time a Goblin has accumulated a significant amount of gold the odds are he has exploited most of the useful tips; he has most likely tried many more and discarded them for any variety of reasons--not relevant on that server, not as lucrative as other methods, etc.

During a conversation today with a brand new WoW player I had an epiphany.

The Lightbulb Explained

This new player (whose name I am not using b/c I didn't ask permission) had a long conversation with me about a variety of game topics. She didn't know, for example, how to use a talent tree when she hit L10. She didn't know what greens are or what stats were best for her hunter. She also hadn't trained any new skills since L4 b/c she didn't have the gold (actually, silver) to do so.

We discussed several topics for about half an hour. I answered a bunch of questions and hopefully gave her enough useful information to make her gaming experience more enjoyable. One tip I gave her was an endorsement of a few gold blogs. I encouraged her to read up and learn more about the gold situation within the game.

And that is when it hit me: so many of the blog topics we construct are very specific. Many are not very helpful to the newbie player, though some are useful for mid level players. Sometimes I read the comments on a blog and find 7-10 posts from other bloggers--and very few from general readers.

We sometimes write about topics that seem more designed to help each other, the advanced player, rather than the casual or new player.

The Challenge

On April 15, any blogger who chooses to accept the challenge should publish a brand new post in the following format:
  • Title: Success Story: (Server) (Faction)--(Tip Name);
  • The post should only go up on April 15, not before;
  • The post should be about a real in-game situation, personally addressed by the author;
  • The post can be of any length but should adequately describe the circumstances, the problem being addressed and the solution;
  • Your tip can be recycled--but should be specific to a given player's situation in-game;
  • Bonus points: the player who inspired the post gives permission to be named in the post.
For example, a post I would write might be called Success Story: Nesingwary US Alliance Low Level Skinning for Profit.

This post would then describe my interaction with a L20-ish player who faced some gold challenges and had Skinning as a profession. I would give some background on the player and describe the areas I pointed out to him as ripe for leather farming. Perhaps I would also explain to him how to make sure the Scraps were not sold for too low a price, how to combine to make Light Leather, how to farm the AH for additional scraps, how to post different stack sizes, etc.

For the bonus, hopefully the player will have agreed to be named, and I would encourage him to include a quote or a comment explaining his experience with the tip. Best case scenario would be the player posting real results--ekg, "I tried this tip and earned 18g in one day! I had never owned more than 1 gold at any time before so this is huge for me!"

Yeah, But What's In It For Me (asks the blogger)?

The ultimate goal of this challenge is to ask bloggers to become more involved with newer players in game, to give useful tips that address specific situations, and to drive blog readership.

I realize you will have to find a player to use as your subject. Trade chat is full of opportunities. Players asking very basic questions may be trolls--or they may just be new. You may have to look around to find someone but I am certain they are out there.

Ask the player about whom you are posting to read gold blogs. Endorse the ones you think are worth his time, and tell him to check your site on April 15. Ask him to tell his friends to do the same.

We all have blog rolls posted on our sites--on April 15, ideally they will be full of posts entitled "Success Story: XXXX". What better way to get new readers than to provide a surge of tips that they can read right away? What better way to get server specific readers than to have a super tip about a player who has his name published? Think he will tell his friends to 'read about my gold story on this great blog'?

Will You Accept The April 15 Challenge?

This may be a great idea, or it could really suck. Fellow bloggers, you hold the key--if you think this is worth a shot then talk this up and embrace the April 15 Challenge. If not, no harm done.

I am hopeful that the Community will engage this topic and create some really awesome, new tips that will generate some excitement and new readers.


  1. So the deal is try to help a new player and then tell the story if it worked or not? Right?

  2. Yes but it doesn't have to be a new player. I continually run into players well into their WoW careers who have the same issues. Phuggly was approaching L80 and Garahadar is a fairly seasoned raider.

    The key for this challenge is to find a player in-game and address his particular issue. And then report on whether it worked or not, yes.

    It might be a brand new player or it might be a veteran who just struggles with the gold part of the game.

  3. Well I could post about me :).
    I am having a bit of a sticky situation whit glyphs, they are undercutting my arse off :)

  4. hmm, interesting idea... I was going to write more, but it was coming out all wrong and badly... I hope this accomplishes whatever it is you are hoping it will accomplish.

  5. @ Alberthus: that would be interesting but I'm hoping we will have a lot of posts about specific situations from other players in-game, those who don't have the same gold IQ that you have.

    @ Achieve: I'm sure your comment was interesting. Feel free to expound and post if you wish.

    The goal is to to generate new blog readers and to address some real life situations that present themselves every day--not very lofty goals.

    I want to see if we as bloggers can do a better job connecting with the players in our realms as well as look at gold from the other end of the spectrum, the player who just hasn't been able to figure it out yet.

    I talk to L85s and L15s who have the same challenges with respect to gold. Since the game scales as levels increase, the mistakes a player makes at L15 become habits that haunt them all the way to L85.

    I'm hoping to generate tips to help break that cycle.

  6. I believe that normal readers are shy, and bloggers are used to write stuff.

    So there's a possible explanation to the phenomenon "several bloggers are commenting, but no regular reader". I wanted to write more, but well, that's it basically.

  7. Great idea Kammler.

    I happened onto the posts of players that have goldcapped and read all the articles in the hall of fame.

    I quickly decided I want to make more and more gold and had been studying all your blogs to figure out how.

    What I realized is many of the topics / ideas are beyond the realm of feasible in some situations.

    Glyphs, for example, are touted as a huge moneymaker; however, what is left out is the INCREDIBLE time commitment that glyphs require with posting, reporting, etc. Luckily I read the posts by Alto and Nev on how to properly set up my add-ons to have a 2 minute cancel / post process. I believe that helped me generate +/- 1,000 gold. As well, Foo and Breevok going on about the milling and selling of inferno to essentially make blackfallow free was clutch - 1,000's will be made there.

    While you might think that you're not getting the average reader, trust me when I say you are indeed. Do we post, maybe not. Do we benefit, heck yes! To that point, this is my first comment on a gold blog but won't be my last (unless my wife cuts off my Internet for too much WoW as she threatens). Based on that, credit Nev and Alto for helping save a marriage = success story and a 1/2.

  8. CRM: Thanks for the great comments. You mentioned several bloggers who I feel have super content--they are on my blogroll for a reason, eh?

    You make a great point--more casual readers (or Goblins in training) are more likely to read and not post. Also true: serious Goblins are likely to read and not post.

    My goal for this challenge is to find folks on our servers and connect to them in a real in game situation.

    I just feel that reporting back to the readers with ideas that address the daily struggles of an average Joe player may be relevant, if not interesting.

  9. I understand you point of view Kammler, and i think you hit a very important point there, sometimes I have a felling that gold blogs are more aimed for experience players, so new player might not get the must from all the provided information.
    That actually gives me some ideas to my blog, maybe i could present more basic stuff, since I am still learning myself, that way I could help more players beside my self.
    But don´t get me wrong lot of bloggers out there help all levels of players, Blogs like JMTC,Altos, your just to name a few .
    So this might be a start of someting good. :)

  10. Okay, interesting it might be... I will let it rip... If it comes off as arrogant or inflamatory, not the intent, just a different point of view.

    We as bloggers do not write on a daily basis to the "noob" crowd. So a one time effort to make blogs that do cater to them is an foreign idea.. they, the "noobs" wont find their way here under almost any circumstances... rather the content is geared to them or not. For instance, how many times have you seen a failed attempt at creating a guild community in the web site of a guild? Almost never happens... people do not game out of the game... there are then those of us out of the game that rather while AFK crafting tabbed out or on a second screen or at work, are contiuous students to the game, elitist AH PVPer, the type that in my imagination are probably all successful elitists raiders and/or PVPers (now or in a former patch).

    All just seems odd. However it is a great idea. I like the idea of a fresh bloat of ideas to help noobs... I consider myself a reasonably benevolant soul, as long as you are willing to listen... Then that comes back to the orriginal point. The vast majority of the player base, do not want to work for it, they want the appearance of being something they are not and credit for something they did not do and something for nothing all around.

    I have a WoW theory... WoW has 2 things going for it that will make it the mountain to topple for a long time. the mountain has a foundation, here in this community among others. I have a post more on this in my blog somewhere... the second thing wow has is the elusive epix... ... as long as "WE" the "AH PVP goblins" have more gold than everybody else.. they will want it.. they wont work for it. If they will they will find their way here to this community.

    So, thats what I was not understanding and still do not understand... Why try to reach out of this community into another community with out leaving this community... I guess, the idea is to do something in game to help someone out, but they dont want help.. they want the magic trick, the fool proof "alchemy x mute, 200gold" income source, but they want more gold and less hassle... and while your at it, for that 14.95/mo, just give me 20K gold/mo too.. that would make my life and my game so much more fun, then everyone would have lots of gold..."

    ehh, confused, and still dont get it. but I still like the idea...

  11. Let me start by saying that I totally agree there is not enough info for new players looking to get into making gold.

    I also agree with some of the comments that the majority of players are uninformed, but also lazy and looking to be spoon fed.

    As a community we are often criticized for preaching to the choir or only providing tips that players with gold can use to make more gold.

    I also would like to say that I am currently working on a project to address newer players outside of my own main site at Cold's Gold Factory. If all goes well, the new project will be a great draw for new players to learn starting tactics and get their feet wet with learning what it takes to make gold in World of Warcraft. This new site project should also help to draw all of us in the gold blogging community new fresh faces to our main sites.

    We are hoping to open the new site at the beginning of next month if all goes well. So be on the look-out.

  12. @ Alberthus: I agree with you on all points. I think it would be great to have more written for the casual player. I plan to offer a feature column every week for lowbies.

    @ Achieve: I'm glad you took the time to post your thoughts. They come across as neither egotistical nor inappropriate. You raise some valid points.

    There is a "chicken and egg" thing going on here. True, bloggers do not write for "noobs" on a daily basis, and true, fewer "noobs" visit our sites than we would like. Would they visit more if we wrote more for them? Or does the content seem to 'high-end' for their limited knowledge? My premise is that if we build it they will come.

    Not that I completely disagree but I find that many players who seem to be demanding of spoon fed assistance actually take well to tips that help them grow as players. We should not take responsibility for whether they use the tips, but rather should only provide tips that are more relevant for them. Their choice to use them or not is, as you suggest, their responsibility.

    Yes, there are players who have little patience for doing the work necessary to earn gold but there are also players who refuse to learn how to tank or DPS appropriately--and there are legions of sites available for them to peruse those topics. Our lack of offering relevant content could be part of the issue--part of the reason why so few are interested or able to do the work necessary.

    @ Cold: So glad to see your comments! I have recently become more solicitous of the new player who struggles with the game. Thus, I have had many more conversations recently than I have in the past. The one overwhelming thing that seems to permeate all these discussions is that "the gold blogs don't help me--I'm too (new, inexperienced, poor, etc.)".

    I am totally fine with writing advanced content for those who need it, but I'm simply trying to get the ball rolling so we are offering more for the lowbies and inexperienced players who really need it.

    This was the reason for my post and the challenge.

    Look forward to the new site. I also hope you accept the challenge for April 15.

  13. @Kammler

    Would like to, but as I speak to no one in game other than customers in trade chat, might be hard to find an example. :)

  14. Hi Kammler, while this idea seems good in spirit, I don't think I will go out of my way to meet your challenge. I agree to an extent with the comments above that many players share a sense of entitlement and don't bother proactively seeking information to help them profit - in many areas of the game.

    Besides that, the best thing that can be done for "noobs" is to point them toward sources of basic information. Most new players don't even know where to go for basic information about the game. I was shocked when I first started playing two years ago at how useless the instruction manual for WoW was. No site elaborated thoroughly on these basics that I could easily find. This includes gold-making info.

    So before taking a newbie (or newbies) in general under my wing, I would send them off to study general info I have found since I started playing.

  15. Here my story

    WAY WAY WAY back in vanilla i hit level 44 and someone told me to go buy a ground mount i had no idea what he meant or where it was. When i was finally shown where it was my mouth dropped at the price of 80 gold when myself never had more then 2 gold on me at any one time.

    At this time i never knew about the auction house (Instead of hopeless in trying to win on the AH) I tried using my profession to sell things to my guild i was in but we had a level 60 priest with max tailoring doing all that work and i could not do anything there.

    I tended to sell all BOE and anything i didn't need to the AH i never leveled cooking or fishing because at the time i thought (I'm a mage i can conquer my own food. Only thing that lend me to finally getting that much was when i was 68 after BC came out.

  16. Well as a new AH player, I am not one that does not know there was gold to be made, I just never knew how easy it was, so I have never given it second thought nor tried to make any gold via PVPing at the AH.

    I had made plenty of gold just selling some items here and there and going Gold DKP runs on my server.(well come to think of it I might have broke even as I would take my under-geared alts on some of those runs and buy gear). Either way I always had around 10k to 20k gold sitting around never really needing to spend it on anything other than a mount or two.

    At the end of WotLK I had saved up to 30k as we had been selling LK kills for the title once a week or so. I had an itch and finally bought the Mammoth with the vendors and was down 16k due to rep discount.

    It was not until then that I played the AH a bit. To get back up to 30k. I felt that was a nice number that should I need most anything I could afford it. So I played a bit but it was all my own from my own experience and speculation. I mabe made it up to 25k after a few months. Granted I woould not farm alot nor buy low sale normal or high. I never tried to corner markets. I had no strategy other than to farm here and there, craft a few items and post them here and there.

    As cataclysm came out and fewer and fewer players played, Rift came out and had taken away most of the remaining 25 man raiding team. My guild stopped raiding and I decided to make gold and do arenas prodominatly.

    This led me to scoure the internet for any information I could get my hands on. Which ultimatly led me to the amny blogs sites like this one. The knowledge to be had was enormous. I spend hours at work reading alot of the older posts and the new ones the came along too.

    What this means to me? Without them I would not have turned my then about 8k gold stash, as I had bought alot of Cataclysm raw mats to level professions, to now over 60k in a matter of about two months of about 2 hours a day playing the AH.

    Thanks goes out to you bloggers, I salute you for the help. (I have played since vanilla btw and was not in any sense a new player) this was the relavent part of the story, lol.

  17. @ Sean: your experience from Vanilla is not that different than players I talk with today. The prevailing opinion from most players is that 'the game should/will provide me with enough gold to get my mount (gear, etc.)'. This is true but grinding dailies for three weeks or only raiding every other week b/c you need to save the gold for repairs isn't fun for most players. Part of how 'the game provides' is the opportunity to play the AH.

    @ Anon: Many, many thanks for the story. Your experience is exactly why I write this blog. I like to help those players who need some additional support and ideas to generate their gold income. Please keep reading!

  18. Its completely true that by the time a Goblin has accumulated a significant amount of gold the odds are he has exploited most of the useful tips, perfectly stated. Also, I found the opinions of other commenters equally constructive.