Volume vs Margins

In my current mini quest to update my knowledge of the WoW Auction House (and speed up time to get a token), I’ve tried to fit things into one of two buckets. Sales where the margins are high, and sales where the volume is high.

As with all simplifications, the devil is in the details. High margins are useless if the items only sell once a month, and high volume is painful if the gains per item are too small. So I’m looking for ‘perfect’ items with a minimum gold per sale AND a decent sale rate. I am clearly not the only person doing this, so that specific market is already quite aggressive.

So let’s cover the various markets.

Flipping

This is all but impossible to do without TSM (or similar). You need a list to work from, and then you need to filter that list to only look at items with a certain value (I put mine at 1.5k), and that can actually sell (TSM rate 0.05 is my cut off). I focus on transmog, but pets can also be good. I run a scan for 10 minutes every 3 days, pick up the deals that will turn a 1k profit, and then just keep them posted until they sell.

Harvesting

Skinning, Herbalism, Fishing… all of them turn some profit. Herbalism is by far the easiest (hence the bots) but you need to be moving to find things and follow a decent path. Skinning requires an AE tank, so either a Monk or a Druid, with decent gear to sustain massive pulls. Not really made for an alt, yet more profitable than herbalism. Fishing… well I’m glad you can make money with fishing but it should not be the goal.

Leatherworking

The money here is in transmog. All the other mats are going to legendary gear and the margins there are too thin. Pandaria has Magnificence of Leather (dont use Scales, same effect) on a daily cooldown to get a recipe that turns a decent (1-5k) profit.

Tailoring

I’d like to say that Tailoring has transmog, but not so much. Bags are not profitable. What it can do is support a cloth shuffle. Cloth –> blue tailor items –> disenchant –> shard. This can be profitable since cloth drops for everyone, you don’t need a profession.

Blacksmithing

There’s mount equipment that can turn a profit, but that’s a few expansions back now and base mats may be a challenge. I would not recommend this for making gold in SL.

Alchemy

This is a bread and butter profession with crazy volumes. There is some major volatility, and server reset days often have massive spikes. I craft anything with a 25% margin on crafting, which is 3-5 pots depending on the day. The DPS boost pot shot up by 100g this week, and I ended up clearing something like 10k profit on that in a day.

Enchanting

There are two paths here, shuffling and crafting. Shuffling is a math exercise, extremely dependent on the value of base mats. Some factions provide rebates on necessary crafting materials (like flux) that can save you 25g per craft.

Crafting is more complex. Enchants sell if people swap gear often, which was certainly applicable in the loot pinata of BfA. There’s money to be made here, but it requires the highest core investment of all the professions.

Jewelcrafting

Honestly, you should only have this to prospect and then flip. There are more gem slots in gear now, but the profit margins here aren’t much.

Inscription

This market is still amazingly profitable, but the sale rates are much lower than others. The downside is that the crafting cost of some are over 1k.

Farming Rares

Right, this deserves some comment. There are 4-5 locations in SL that are prime farm locations, with drop rates that are simply insane due to super fast spawn times. Boomkins dominate this space. It’s heavy on RNG, but 10k/h is a reasonable expectation if you’re just vendoring. BoE drops can get you 100k+ though.

Callings

This is 2K per day, for about 10 minutes of work. Best to save up 3 days, as often callings overlap. You shouldn’t really bother with the AH if you can’t make similar amounts in similar timeframes.

Is it Worth It?

Unless you really like spreadsheets, honestly I would avoid this entirely. The game is already ultra generous in gold drops, and there are no purchases so far out of reach to bankrupt anyone. In terms of gold/real hour, you figure 1 token = $15. 1 token is around 120k gold. So for near minimum wage at 1 hour you can pay for a token.

Valor is Back

Color me surprised. Blizz is brining back Valor points.

Recall Valor tokens is a system that every other MMO has, and that Blizz has spent 10 years trying to avoid with more RNG (see the advent of coins way back in MoP) to provide ‘bad luck protection’. Tokens provide a focused bad luck protection system, but really made no sense once ‘-forging’ took place. While there’s no RNG in the rolls on the gear, the nature of M+ means that the maximum level of an item will depend on an achievement related to M+ runs. That system is sound, and since it’s variable based, it can be tweaked with a hotfix if need be. Plus, it can scale as more dungeons are released (???) and the general ilvl of the game goes up.

I am really trying to avoid being a cynic here. Blizz’s pattern for system design has been rough to say the least these past years. Few of them ever seem to survive a content patch, let alone an expansion. The mechanics of M+ and Raids have been relatively stable, but those are not power/reward based systems. I cannot think of the last time that Blizz actually deployed something that worked out the gate – there’s always a massive balance change downstream (if not outright removal).

That said, conceptually this design appears to be as complex as a lay-up. One where everyone expects this to be easy, and if you mess up, that comes with ridicule. Blizz is not inventing something new here. They’ve done this before, and there are dozens of WORKING models on which to refer. A roundabout way of saying that I have hopes this works.

Covenant Abilities

9.05 will also come with Covenant ability balancing. Size is relevant. It’s hard to properly articulate what large patch notes mean as a development team. These aren’t flat passes like we’ve seen of ‘all Rogue damage is increased 5%’. These are clearly thought out and have been on the lines for some time. It will impact simulations, certainly. But I doubt this would be enough to actually have people change covenants as mechanically few changes are taking place. Single target skills are staying single target. Kyrian is still going to own tanking, Night Fae on AE, and Venthyr for single target.

Well, Fleshcraft is the outlier. The most useless skill in the game now has a larger damage shield and reduces damage taken by 30% while channelling. Changes like these are somewhat worrysome, as any tank worth their salt is not going to take 2 GCD to stand somewhere and facetank. Maybe as a prep to a large pull in M+ with a 40% shield?

Legendary Abilities

There are no details on the tuning pass, so this is just assumptions here. Multiple specs have a clear best-in-slot legendary. A few have options, but only in regards to some weird variables. BM Hunters are a good example, the trap legendary is the best one by far but it’s a horribly complex/painful one to use, so quite a few folks opted for the passive legendary instead. Curious as to if this is a mechanical pass or just balance. Hope it’s both!

Swapping legendaries is a weird process, given the method of which you acquire Soul Ash. I’d expect a catch up mechanic to accompany any tuning phase.

Mental Strength

So there was a SuperBowl yesterday, and TB showed up, while KC’s O-line decided to take a breather. End result, is further proof of Brady’s position as GOAT in terms of QB position. I’d question anyone’s sanity declaring he’s an actual top 10 athlete, as much as Kasparov would be, but damn if he doesn’t dominate his role.

But its the commercials that people are going to talk about a week+ out. Do you know who won the SuperBowl ’84 game, or do you remember the Apple commercial instead? There’s always winners and losers in this space too, and some that really are so far out of the game that it doesn’t matter. Indeed really did a good job here, Amazon/Alexa is making water cooler talk (irony of irony having Colbert talk about supporting local business to be followed by an Amazon ad), Chipotle’s make-a-better-world burrito ad was neat, and finally Under Armor’s Michael Phelps ad on mental prep.

High performance sport way back when had only a little bit to do with mental preparation. Sure, you studied and practiced, but that was less about thinking and more about managing options. Sports mental coaching really only took off in the last 15 years, with the last 10 having the biggest push forward. Coaching teams are supplemented with psychologists to build a more resilient athlete.

In team sports, traditionally this falls to the head coach. They’ll call a time out and try to refocus the team on the goal. No question they tried that in KC, but very little success. Momentum is a thing, and when a team has it, then it feels like nothing can stop it. You may not be able to stop it, but you can certainly reduce the impacts.

The advantage of sports is that it is outcome focused, at least from the outside. You can measure progress in concrete terms. It is really hard to do that in non-competitive environments. In art? In relationships? At the job? Ehh. While sports certainly have the measure of the end goal (winning), it’s also related to winning in a healthy manner. If you win, but lose yourself in it, did you really win? (see every cyclist in the last 30 years.)

That said, the techniques in mental strength are of absolute benefit to all aspects of our lives. We all encounter adversity, daily. We all have doors closed on us without our control, or input. We don’t all have parents willing to give us a million $ to achieve our dreams and have to really build it ‘on our own’.

I lift weights and run to keep physically fit. I need equipment to do most of that, but more importantly, I need a knowledge of the subject and a plan. Watch any amateur CrossFit video, most people are doing the exercises in a dangerous manner, putting themselves at large risk. With training, they greatly reduce that risk to comparative levels of other sports.

With mental fitness you need to take the same approach – the right tools, some understanding, and then a plan. Similar to physical sports, the simplest path to that is with a coach. The downside is that these folks are next to impossible to find in the amateur space, or perhaps better articulated, educated and accredited coaches. You can find any influencer that will peddle something, but the quality is always going to be questionable. For the time being, your best bet it either through literature from an expert, or just having an honest conversation with your family doctor. A good doctor will refer you to someone that can help you.

I’d be remiss to say that this isn’t a requirement by any means. There are plenty of people who don’t look after their physical bodies and live relatively happy lives. And there are people who spend every waking moment thinking about their physical training and are depressed. Each person has a balance that’s unique to them. I thought I had that balance prior, but life taught me otherwise. So the past 5 or so years have really been focused on finding what works for me. It’s given me additional context for not only setting goals, but achieving them. And importantly, taking any set backs in stride.

Hopefully this post just gets people to consider the concept and do a bit of reading on the topic. Our minds are our best asset after all.

J.J. Abrams Working for BioWare

While I do have some tongue in cheek here, the whole point of Mass Effect was not to provide a vacation getaway setting, it was to reflect on the hardships and dirty corners of sci-fi.

Kinda hoping these are just select images and not reflective of the actual gameplay.

WoW Tinfoil Hat

Who doesn’t like storyline speculation? Rather long post and naturally some spoilers.

For this I’m going to time travel a bit. Mists of Pandaria started as a faction war that spilled over into new lands. What we saw was relatively new content in relation to the previous lore setting, though it was framed within the Alliane/Horde war. It wasn’t until the tail end of the expansion that the story went full circle and had Garrosh become the big bad guy (which is on-par with wrestling heel turns).

WoW typically follows a 3 act storyline per expansion. The first arc introduces the new world and the players are meant to address an existing problem in that world. This act elevates the players to champions of the land, which starts the 2nd act. This typically focuses on an external problem that the players have brought to the world, and by the end the world questions if the players are the good guys or bad guys. The final act is then the expression of that question where the internal and external factors meet, and then set up the next expansion as a boil-over to that conflict. I say typically because there are often small nuances to this arc, and WoD simply skipped the middle part.

Blizz has been upfront about their storyline development process. They are always 2 expansions ahead, so they are already building the expansion after Shadowlands, and have a general idea of what comes after that.

Further, Blizz has long struggled with character developed storylines rather than plot-driven storylines. This is why we see characters do things that are out of character based on their previous actions (again, Garrosh, but Sylvanas was the real blowup). When Blizz adds new characters, that provides them the flexibility to push the plot as those new characters have very little lore conflicts. These new characters have to be tied into existing storylines, and that itself is a hard thing to sort out. This is how you get everyone figuring out the Old Gods were the bad guys on day 1 of BfA launch.

Tangent in this space for a bit. Wheel of Time applied this model of arcs, and avoided character conflicts by adding new characters. Yet those characters all shared the stage, and became a miracle and a mess to keep straight. Game of Thrones does the exact same thing, but kills off characters to avoid this problem.

Shadowlands Reboot

SL has a neat approach here. Every single WoW character, alive or dead, is available to pick from – every covenant focuses on one. Every being that has died, on any world, is available too (see Aliothe). Rather than only having good and bad people, there are instead 5 factions to manage. Those factions themselves each have a duality to them, and they have all existed since before Azeroth existed.

In that sense, everything in WoW so far, scope-wise, can be considered Chapter 1 of a larger world building. Or, if you want, the universe within a universe model. This is cool a it gives tons of flexibility into way forward. If the door from Azeroth to Shadowlands is now open, it bears that the door from Shadowlands to elsewhere is also open. The challenge then is that the established lore can become meaningless as there are no stakes. Ysera, Draka, Vajsh, Kael’thas, Kel’thuzad… you name it, they are most likely in SL now. Every dungeon and raid boss is likely ‘alive’.

This turns all sorts of sideways when you start looking at the covenants. So the Arbiter picks where you go, according to some set of criteria. For Maldraxxus, Revendreth, and Bastion you just ‘plop’, show up and then get initiated by the local faction, and then maybe get ‘corrupted’ by the 2nd faction that is aligned with the Jailer. Anima is used less to live, and more so to give characters magical powers. Ardenweald, not so much. You show up as a spirit and need anima to be reborn. From that point, it seems that anima is only used by the Queen. I’ve completed the Night Fae campaign… the Drust are the bad guys and they have no link at all to the Jailer. It’s the only covenant like this. Side note – Night Fae explain that to cure Tyrande, they need to ‘share’ the night warrior spirit across multiple people.

Venthr have you build a rebellion core, but there’s no true final act as there are missing at least 2 key components (you can see this in the faction hub). Necrolord has you wrest control from Kel’thuzad, put some gear on a statue (no lie) and then that’s it. Maybe it can be seen as building forces to eventually attack the Jailer. Kyrian is a ‘repair the thing’ quest that ends up with Uther moving out of the Forsworm but not back into the Kyrian. They are not in a position to attack the Jailer, they are simply back to where they were when the expansion started.

So Venthyr and Necrolord are amassing forces. Kyrian are rebuilding, and Uther is effectively a 3rd faction (cause Kyrian are borderline bad guys), and the Night Fae are just plain surviving.

The Ben Howell Problem

Kyrian Chapter 3 identifies a very odd space. You re-live Ben Howell’s life and death. For some reason you send his soul to Oribos, where there’s no Arbiter, and he gets sent to the Maw. When you ask why this is, the leader of the faction effectively says ‘we know, do it anyways’. To be clear, they KNOW that the Jailer is building an army and they are actively building that army for him.

The Maw Problem

How does the Maw normally work? How do people go from any of the 4 covenants into the Maw in the first place? Is the portal out of the Maw something only the Primals can use, and if so, how do the players end up with that power? As the Night Fae story goes, how did the Loa end up in the Maw? If this is the spot for the ultra damned, would that not be a landing spot for the old gods too?

And since the Lich King’s helm is a Jailer artefact, that means Arthas was supposed to lead this a while ago (Nerzul before him). So where are all these guys?

And when someone has a true death in Shadowlands, what happens? They are out of the larger thread of life?

Guessing Game

If Act 2 is the meeting of external factors to internal success, then it bears to reason that Anduin and Tyrande will be either a raid boss, or the key goal of the raid. The Jailer wants to ‘use’ Anduin, so that’s a heck of an indicator. Tyrande can only be healed with multiple people. It’s pretty clear at some point, either act 2 or 3, that we’re going to attack the Maw. And we know that there will have to be a battle between Tyrande and Sylvanas.

But let’s take a step back on other parts too. The Arbiter is offline (who looks suspiciously like the Jailer what with a hole in her chest) and there’s no real indication of how. Why is clear, the Maw needs the souls to build an army (which is its own tin foil hat story). The other big mystery is the Primus in Maldraxxus. He’s just gone, and beyond all the other faction leaders, is the only one who ever refers to Shadowlands as a whole instead of their own covenant.

Then there’s the actual Jailer. There’s no clear goal here. If he wins, then everything becomes the Maw. That’s not really a goal. He’s in control of his domain, he can make it whatever he wants. And there’s no criteria as to what actually goes to the Maw if things were working normally.

Maybe, just maybe, the Jailer is looking to open the door of Shadowlands outwards. The Maw is more numerous than the Burning Legion, and we still haven’t found the void. Could be we have a corrupted Primus who is being used as a power source for a portal out. And then we get a true battle against the Void.

/tinfoilhat down

Mass Effect Legendary Edition

We’ll get to see this on May 11th.

I really enjoyed Mass Effect. It was a somewhat natural evolution from KOTOR in terms of sci-fi RPG, and the first one really opened the door to possibilities. With the exception of the vehicle portion, the other systems were just extensions to the KOTOR ones, for better or worse. This was the game that had the most bearing on stats and character selection… some characters couldn’t really use weapons in any meaningful way. In a sense, this was sort of like a dev school project, with a ton of risks taken. What came out at the end is absolutely more than the sum of its parts.

Mass Effect 2 took a really cool approach, one in refinement of less ideal systems and then major expansion on the story elements. The expanded universe, the loyalty missions, and that final mission with actual consequences was a massive breath of fresh air. It only suffers from the ‘Two Towers’ syndrome of being the middle chapter in a trilogy, yet still manages to outshine the bookends. That is most evident in the rather incredible character development arcs seen with Garrus, Liona or

Mass Effect 3 is a curious case of EA’s overall vision coming into gameplay decisions. Recall day 1 DLC of a Prothean character, a race that was hinted at from the first 20 minutes of the first game. The story and mechanics were iterations on the 2nd game all the way until the final act. I’ve never found an acceptable answer as to what happened in the dev cycle to think this release was a good idea. The pushback was so fierce that BioWare built an expanding final act to provide some measure of closure, one of the first times I had ever seen that occur. In a personal opinion, this is the point where I think BioWare lost its way in overall design.

In the technical space, they are sticking with Unreal 3 in order to avoid having to remake the game in a new engine. Considering the last 5 years of BioWare development, this seems like a VERY wise move. I would much rather see an upscaled and tweaked version than something like Warcraft III Reforged. It’s painful porting recent code, let alone deciphering stuff from 15 years ago that’s held together with hope. (Oh how I do miss my code monkey days.)

The game will come with all DLC, and come in two flavours – Standard and Cache (collector’s). So no digital bonus bits, or pre-order garbage. The Caches comes with physical assets including a helmet to scale (1:1!!) Buying the base games today would set you back $70, so this works out a better deal. Or, get EA’s monthly sub for $15 and get it there. Dunno if I’d be able to get through all 3 games in a month though.

The executive in me is thinking that this package is an effort to judge market appeal for Mass Effect 4, and to give BioWare some decent cred given recent years’ stumbles. A relatively low risk effort that can have a very high payoff. They could use it.

Reminder for all of us to not pre-order. If it’s good and working, you can buy it on day 1. If it needs a kitchen sink patch to work, you save yourself the headache.

TSM Examples

So you wanna learn to flip. Let’s take a look at the data set available in TSM to make better decisions.

What I’m looking for here is the 10% in blue in the top right. That’s the posted cost vs. the relative cost of a given item, and where flipping can work. Now in this case there are many items for sale, and at quite a few different price points. What makes this a good idea to flip is that there is only 1 item at 25g, the next one is 190g. So buy this one, post it for 189g and you make the difference. This is the simplest example, and there are quite a few.

Let’s look at the fundamental data next.

This is a more typical view of any AH posting. Lots of an item, and someone is trying to dump stock. 21g is all from the same player, and then prices jump up to 191g. Theoretically you could buy the 10 items and flip them all for 190g. But…

Look at the data highlight. The TSMAuctionDB data is the important one.

  • Min Buyout is the cheapest item on the AH
  • Market Value is the value across AH, on YOUR server. On high volume items, this is the number to look at.
  • Region Market Value Avg is specific to your region, and the average posted value. Region meaning, US, EU and so on.
  • Region Sale Avg is the recorded sale average in your region. The is what people are buying for and not terribly useful unless you’re talking about things with low volume. For BoE this can have some use as they are often low volume.
  • Region Sale Rate and Avg Daily Sold are metrics to see how much volume is in the market. Low numbers means that it can take a while to sell.

So in this case, while people are asking for 191g, the reality is that on my server the avg sale price is 115g and very few are sold on any given day. It would not be a good idea to flip here. To simplify, you want something that is low relative buyout compared to it’s true value, and where either you are the ONLY poster, or the difference between your buy and your post is meaningful (e.g. 150g or more).

Bots a Lots

So let’s see what the AH looks like now that a few bot bans have come across. This is just a dip until the next bot software comes about…

The reason the % are all above 100% is because there was a massive glut of herbs a few days ago. Bots were just flooding the market, and Death Blossom in particular was really hit. 2 weeks ago it was 20g, now it’s 7g. As the market normalizes, it will be interesting to see where this all goes.

I’ve personally set this metric to only buy at 80% of market value (which is higher than the overall market value). If herbs cost too much, then there’s no profit on alchemy. With some herbs still going for 30g, I can blow through 10k in gold without really trying.

Crafter View

This one can be a right pain, as the items that post the largest profits are often the ones requiring the most grind. I don’t mean effort to get mats, or expensive to make. I mean GRIND, as in behind a faction or some sort of super random drop.

The basic crafting window is like this. If it’s green, you make money assuming you buy stuff at market rates. You can see that the flask would cost me 722 to make, and would give me 61g in profit. That’s about 8%. I can make more per craft on other items.

Here’s a high value Transmute.

I could make this, and maybe turn a profit. As much as I’d like to make 10k, the odds are better than I’d make 5, and it would cost me 2 per day to make. There are quite a few transmutes out, and very few of them actually turn a profit. Even more so if you can’t get the mats at a good deal. In this example, Primal Fire is supposed to be 500g, but on my AH it’s 1800g.

The larger point I’m trying to make is that the base UI is not one that’s made to make money. Even TSM is only a tool, and unless you know how to use it, you’re odds better at losing money than making it. I’ve got a fair chunk of optimizing I can make to speed up the scanning and posting. I enjoy the optimizing much more than the actual profit making.

Paying for a Sub

I’ve written a lot on in-game finances, mostly in WoW. I played that game for a while too, enough that I haven’t paid for a sub since MoP launched. The rebuilding of the WoW Auction House had a rather dramatic impact on the overall economy, especially in the context of stack management and undercutting. What’s interesting about WoW in particular, is that gold is relatively immaterial for most gameplay. Only when you focus on a specific slice of the population, does gold really mean something.

In traditional demographics you have a bell curve, with smaller populations at the low and high ends, with a big bunch in the middle. Of course, that depends on the scales you’re using, but in the larger sense it’s a desirable outcome – if only in that controls applied to the demographic can hit the most people at once. If your population is equally distributed, it’s actually harder to make change. If you have multiple peaks, then it’s nearly impossible to implement change without massive disruption.

The concepts of faucets and sinks in an economy are somewhat easy to understand. Money shows up, money then leaves. In games, the faucets are entirely controlled by the developers and then exploited by the players. WoTLK’s daily quests decimated the market with the massive faucets, to a point where Blizz has never really recovered. WoD’s garrisons were WoTLK 2.0 in that regard, as it was even more money coming in and players having no real obligation to interact with the world (also see the start of mission tables).

Shadowlands’ faucets are similar. WQ regularly award 250-300g. Mission tables are the same (though longer investment). Each calling/emissary quest puts ~2,000g in your pocket. Then there’s the actual drops you get as you go through these motions. Let’s just low ball it at 2k per day. Depending on your server and player engagement the amount entering fluctuates. Let’s say 1,000 people do the daily – that’s 2m gold per day entering the system.

Sinks have not scaled in the same sense. You are still limited to flight paths, repairs and the AH % cut. I made a Kul Tiran Druid for level up fun (heirloom armour). In the leveling process I was able to buy access to every flight skill and 30 slot bags with thousands left over when I was done. The net result is that the “floor” of gold available to people is miles higher now than ever before.

And yet, the cost of a WoW token has been relatively stable for years. If more money is entering, and less leaving, should this token not increase? That begs the questions as to whom is buying and who is selling. Which I can get into in another post.

I won’t bother talking much about the Druid bot infestation. Seeing any Druid with ilvl68 gear picking an herb is an automatic report for me. They are a sink to the economy, as the sales through the AH have a % cut. While they may annoy players, at the system level they do more to normalize than anything Blizz has ever done.

Shadowlands Tools

I mentioned the basic daily faucet of emissaries. Even doing it every day you’re only going to see 50k or so by the end, still well short of 120k. Selling harvest mats can be a major increase of income. Necrolords who have completed their campaign have a distinct advantage of accessing an area that is KOS for anyone else for herbs. With such poor travel options in WoW today, it’s easy to pick up herbs between destinations – and selling them for 2-5k a day isn’t all that hard to do.

I prefer to wait until I have 3 callings at the same time, as often they will overlap. Gives 5-6k in easy gold, then a few piles of herbs to sell. This process was enough to make about 200k in the first month.

Using the AH normally is ok, you can see what stuff is selling and make your choices to sell. If you want to really simplify your life, just installing TSM and leaving it at its default setting is going to be easy money. It should scan everything in your bag, look at what’s on the AH, and then post for a bit less than the cheapest one there. You want simple, and this is super simple.

Optimizing

TSM is a tool. It can be used for many things, but in order for that to work best, you need to customize the tool. High volume items (like herbs) are much different than low volume items (like transmog). 50g profit is a LOT when compared to a 100 crafting cost, but is peanuts when it costs 1,000 to make it. Same as with % gains… you need higher margins for lower values to make sense of things.

Let’s say I find an item that’s selling for 10% of value. I can buy it and repost hoping to get 100%. Doing this for an item posted at 20g means 180g profit. Doing this for an item posted at 2,000g means an 18,000g profit. TSM has the ability to be configured to take this into account.

You can also narrow down searches to categories or even items, so that you speed up the scanning process. I have a transmog category with 3,000 items. That takes 20 minutes to scan through and I certainly need to drop that down. But… I’ve also made 50k in the first day with that larger scan.

Maybe I want to craft items instead. TSM has a per-craft profit calculator, so that I’m buying herbs are lower than average value in bulk, then selling only when the profit it at its highest. I want to make 100g per flask, not 50g, so the system will only post when I am at that threshold.

And similar to the GME debacle, it take analysis to make smart decisions. If the average value of an item is 1000g, and the scan shows that the current post is 10%, I need to make sure this is a reasonable item to flip. Are there other items that area less than the average value? If so, can I buy them all and then flip? Is the projected profit worth the time (I draw the limit at 500g per flip). How much and I willing to extend myself on a single purchase? Maybe I could flip that BoE epic and make 20k. But it would cost me 100k to take that chance. Could I use that 100k on say 50 smaller transactions to make the same amount?

And importantly, how much time do I really want to put into this? All I want is to pay for a month’s sub. There’s no AH dinosaur to go for. There’s nothing that I need. Do I aim for 500k to cover 4 months, and then just play? Do I only bother with 1 month at a time? I could spend an hour or two a day just flipping, or I could spend 10 minutes, or even none.

Future post will go into some of the thought process behind picking a flip, with examples.

WandaVision and D+ Content

My wife bought a year’s worth of Disney+ over the holidays. I am personally not a fan of annual subs for things that I am not actively using – I do have Amazon Prime, Netflix, and Spotify, since I use those nearly every day. D+ is different. We binged on the Mandalorian, watched Soul, some Pirates of the Caribbean movies, and a couple other films. And now we’re scraping the bottom of the barrel in terms of interest (for me). It’s not a lot of money for us, and we’re still miles away from the previous cable costs that we cut 10 years ago, but I guess it’s a principle thing.

D+ certainly has plans for content streaming, no questions. Investment in the Marvel world and a bajillion offshoots to the Star Wars world are on the way. Not tomorrow, or next month though. From a month to month basis, is there content that makes sense to pay a fee? There’s no ‘vault’ content that’s suddenly going to show up here.

I think Disney is aware of this challenge, and why they are taking the non-binge approach to release. Having week to week releases makes sense if you want to maintain engagement (hello Blizz!) and therefore subscriptions. Netflix pumps out insane content in large chunks to keep engagement.

Slight tangent on episodic vs serial content. Episodic is something like Star Trek TNG. You can watch it in pretty much any order and it makes sense. A serial is closer to LOST or GoT, where missing an episode is a problem as it has key pieces for the next one. It works in a positive sense, as it allows you to digest what occurred before the next episode. Which is one reason why I like The Boys more than Umbrella Academy.

Now for WandaVision. The pitch for this series does not do justice to the actual content. It’s weekly and serial, so there’s than concept of engagement or at least digestion between episode. Without spoiling, it’s set up as a spoof of a 50s romcom, like I Love Lucy. Which it does, but with a surreal tone, effectively breaking the 4th wall on a regular basis.

By the third episode it’s moved into the 70s, and we’re in Stranger Things / Twilight Zone territory now. The framing is consistent to the period, but the subject matter is clearly a different thread.

I won’t spoil anything, but state that the challenge with this particular format (30m serial) is that you need a really good hook (or frankly, hooks) to keep interest going. There is but one hook now, as it’s a 2 person show. That low risk approach makes the time space between episodes feel long rather than an opportunity to dig deeper. If it was an hour long, or if there were more story threads then it would be more engaging. Mandalorian is a great example of this, where it was borderline episodic, but had serial elements that you wanted to see through.

WandaVision is good. More than good, as compared to pretty much any 30min piece of entertainment out there. Is it worth paying 2-3 months of D+ until it reaches its end of arc? eh, not really.

Familiar Fire

A couple weeks ago I started a new job. Well, sort of new. It’s in a field I used to work, yet a different level of involvement. As much as there’s a natural sense of déjà vu when you pick up something after a couple years, there’s also the assumptions you have heading into it.

The good news is that there are still some familiar faces around, which really helps with any transition. I’ve always found the hardest part of change is people, so having established relationships before the move helps to a crazy degree. The second bit is that since I’ve maintained those relationships, I have some relative idea of the state of affairs within the group. There are (and will be) gaps in my understanding, yet both combined mean that I’ve been able to do in 2 weeks what normally would take 2 months.

The less good is the whole baggage still that comes with. I know this field, I know it really well. It was a launching pad for my career, the cause of a burnout, and some emotional scars that I don’t think will ever heal. That gives me a set of assumptions heading into this, and the danger that I fall into old bad habits. It’s an active task to repress those habits, which is terribly exhausting. It’s like giving a kid an ice cream cone and telling them not to eat it. Just drives you crazy.

While I do work in the IT industry, my general job description is more in like with enterprise architecture (EA). I am not aware of any school teaching this in a graduate sense, it’s more like a practice or approach to work. Most graduates I do hire come from some sort of engineering background, and then we train them in this model. EA being a work practice can be transplanted without too many hiccups, which certainly reflects my particular career path. It isn’t terribly useful in an operational sense (there’s ITSM for that), yet for planning and change… it really does an amazing job.

The ‘sales pitch’ for this job was just to address the vertical group, those that report directly to me. So setting up some strategic plans, addressing a couple wrinkles, and basically getting it on track for a modernization initiative underway. I am grossly simplifying, but the task itself was one I’ve done a few times, so it seemed like a nice temporary change of pace. I’ve had some side project ideas, and this seemed a good way to deliver those on top of smaller core obligations.

The reality is that the strategic plans are foundational to the organization’s existence. As in, do hundreds of people have jobs in 3 years or not? Further, the breadth of the strategy impacts a half dozen other similar services which are all asking the same question. And the modernization initiative underway has some serious gaps – things I’ve still got scars from. This ‘simple’ pitch is in reality both an immediate crisis to manage, and an existential one that crosses multiple streams.

I am purposefully avoiding detail. For one, it likely wouldn’t interest most people. Two, the type of work I do necessitates a level of discretion. Certainly one of the perks of having a common name that I can run this blog as I do.

That said, the closest analogy is that I was pitched the idea of being a GM of a relatively stable sports team. The reality is that I’ll need to run a task under the league commish to see how the sport even exists down the road. And given my history in sports team management, folks are expecting that this is both an impossible task, and one that I can still accomplish.

So yeah, feeling good in my level of understanding, very anxious to the challenge and expectations, and further optimistic as to the people I get to work with to get this done.