Friday, August 24, 2012

Specialization vs. Diversification

  One of my constant struggles making gold on Warcraft is deciding what balance to take between specialization and diversification. Focusing on just one or two markets can help reduce the total amount of time and effort going into making gold, but to really get that extra bit of gold, one needs to be sure to tap many markets.

  For example, I started real gold making 4 months ago. I scaled up my glyph sales using TSM. I crafted PvP gear of all armor types, including rings and relics; I sold engineer items. I crafted leg enchants and buckles more steadily. I flipped Truegold, Chaos Orbs, Savage Leather, ect. I scaled up my gem and enchant posting, using the ore shuffle. I even dabbled in the transmog market. I quickly became overwhelmed, though, to the point that I was spending at least 15 hours a week on crafting and posting. That left barely 10 hours for playing other parts of the game. (I have work and other hobbies to attend to.)

  After a couple of months of that, I gradually pulled out of the PvP gear markets, made fewer gem and enchant pushes, and posted fewer and fewer buckles and leg enchants, until I just stopped doing anything but posting glyphs and some gems and enchants. My profit/hour went up, since I was focusing on the two things that made the most gold for the amount of time invested, but my total profit went down.

  I was having more fun with the game, though, since I had just leveled and geared my Pally, and was doing more DS pugs on my Hunter, Priest, and DK. I was also leveling my newer alts as well as my much neglected Rogue.

  Between specialization and diversification, I think there is a balance to take. I think that balance may also be a lot easier to reach by gradually building up to it, rather than going all out at once, like I did before. In Mists, I plan to take another try at finding balance.

  I'll start by keeping glyphs posted. Holy crap, do I have practice at that! It's a bit of a chore, staying on top of both the Ally and Horde glyph markets, but I can manage. With a solid base of glyph crafting/posting, I'll build on that by bringing my 3 Inscribers (leveled one to 386 today, will finish before Tuesday) to level 90 and Revered with the Tillers, and start grinding out the new DMC. I'll also be getting my DK grinding out Zen JC Tokens and my Priest and Pally doing Transmute cooldowns, but those will be secondary to DMC's.

  After all that is in maintenance mode (probably by the second week), I'll start in on the new ore shuffle. This will be my second major focus, so it may double whatever amount of time investment I taper down to after a week or two of DMC focused play, especially since prospecting is nearly as tedious as milling, and crafting/posting gems and enchants is definitely more tedious than glyphs. Perhaps it's just my inexperience in that market speaking.

  After all that dust settles, I'll level my Hunter's profs (Still notionally my main) and get into the Leather markets, chiefly the Leg Armor and PvP gear markets, as well as my Shaman's profs, for the related BS and Tailoring markets. My hunter also has Engineering and Cooking, so I'll tap into those as well. This creates a third and fourth and then some focus, so I risk overwhelming myself here. It's doable, but for how long?

  At this point, up to 3 weeks into the expansion, I should have this line-up:

Kalare - Ally Glyphs, DMC, Transmutes
Kalyssa - DMC, Herbalism as necessary
Kallahan - Horde Glyphs, DMC, Transmutes
Kalmali - Ore Shuffle/Gem and Enchant posting, JC dailies
Kalven - Leather and Mail PvP, Leg armors, Engineer items, Cooking
Kalyka - Plate and Cloth PvP, Spellthreads, Buckles

  My next two alts (currently in the 40's) are not currently part of this gameplan, but if I go ahead with RAF, they'll be an additional resource in early Mists. Whether or not I RAF, they'll both be Alchemists, enabling me to get into either the flask or potion markets on either faction. Eventually, (Way long term planning here) I'll get a third Alchemist on each side to be able to either tap into all Alchemy markets or have more transmute cooldowns.

  I think building up to it in a deliberate manner will allow me to be more efficient, economic, and effective (My three E's). What I want to avoid is the burnout I experienced before, while taking full advantage of the nature of an expansion release. Perhaps a phase of focusing on professions, followed by a phase of casual progression (maybe with a PvP streak) is what might work for me.

  In closing, I'm reminded of a quote from Bruce Lee: "Don't get set into one form, adapt it and build your own, and let it grow, be like water. Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless — like water. Now you put water in a cup, it becomes the cup; You put water into a bottle it becomes the bottle; You put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot. Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend."

   Bruce Lee's philosophy has affected my life profoundly (and probably saved my life while I was in the military). Naturally, I apply it even to my playtime. If another player opposes me strongly in one market, I can slide past his resistance and push my gold making efforts in another direction, while letting him expend his energy grasping at what he thinks is his (Glyph campers come to mind). When he tires and is driven out, I will remain.

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