The Free Character Boost Dilemma

So apparently “dilemma” has two m’s in it, I can’t believe I’ve gone my whole life so far without typing or writing “dilemma” before. Well, I suppose I might have wrote it but spelt it wrong.

So I’m in a bit of a pickle, the level 90 boosts have come and I am completely unprepared. I have no idea what to boost. Here’s my current roster.

Character Status 2014 03 11

Not sure why I bothered blacking out my character names, but whatever.

I really like healing; my top four characters are all ones that can heal, and have healing as their main spec (in the case of my priest it’s both specs). This makes me lean towards getting a Shaman because this would give me one of each healer 85+.

The Priest, Paladin, Warrior, Hunter, and Death Knight are all out of the question, because it’s really not worth it to me to waste this freebie on 5-10 levels. I’m also not really interested in the free profession if I chose a 60+ character because levelling professions are easier than characters, and I’m not exactly hurting for professions either.

The other options is a Warlock, which I think I would have some fun with, but it would be my first pure DPS class I’ve ever played at max level. I don’t know if it’s really my thing, when I OS DPS I’m pretty bad at it.

Maybe I should sleep on this. Again.

Time is Money (The Math Behind Character Boosting)

So we got a surprise today (well, at least I did, I’ve been kind of busy lately and haven’t been paying much attention to what’s been going on in World of Warcraft) in the form of pre-orders and character boosts.

A lot of people claim the $60 price tag for the level 90 character boost is too much, but is it really? Levelling takes a long time, especially if you don’t enjoy the process, and it could be well worth your time to make the purchase.

Lets do the math.

Effect June 1, 2014, the minimum wage in Ontario is going to be $11/hr. CAD, or ~$9.90/hr. US (I miss the days when the CAD was worth more than the USD). This means that if I were to take a minimum wage job, I’d need to work a mere six hours and four minutes to pay for the character boost. Lets call it 7 hours.

Now, I know there are a lot of speedy levellers out there, but I doubt anyone can do 1-90 in under 7 hours. So considering how much time you’d have to spend levelling a character, it’s probably not a bad deal.

Not to say that you’d be using the time you’d otherwise be spending levelling to work at minimum wage, but it’s a good baseline. Any increase in how you value your time, and any increase in how many play hours it takes you to level, will dramatically improve the paid character boost.

Lets look at this another way. Everyone has some instinctual idea of what their time is worth, and that changes depending on your needs. Some weeks doing absolutely nothing on a Saturday except talk to friends on Skype and watch TV is well worth the time even though you have a Finite Elements Method assignment due Tuesday, or you could be using that time to work. Or blog. Or clean your room.

I digress.

Lets use another example: gas. A lot of people (e.g. my dad) will go out of their way to get a good deal. According to some internet research, the Jeep my dad drives gets about 16 miles per gallon city, and 23 miles per gallon highway. Or about 14.7 L/100km city and 10.2 L/100km highway. My dad will sometimes drive 17 km (round trip) out of his way to get a “good deal” on gas.

According to the internet gas was about 130.9 cents per litre today. That 17 km round trip brings him to a gas station that is 1-1.5 cents per litre cheaper than normal. If he fills up 90 litres of gas, he saves about $1.35 on gas. Assuming an average driving speed of 80 km/h, he values his time at $4.61/hour if he gets highway mileage (given the route it’s pretty close to it).

Now he doesn’t do this when he has better things to be doing, but I figured it made for a good analogy. Plus, I’ve always wanted to do that math.

Now I’m not saying we should all just skip the levelling process entirely, and realistically we’re not going to spend all our new found free time working, but it does provide us with a baseline to say “yah, this could be worth it.”

I have a Tumblr Now

I decided to see what this whole Tumblr thing is all about so I decided to start my own (Tumblr) blog.

You can find me at TheTeetotallerEngineer.tumblr.com

This won’t have anything to do with gold making or WoW (in general), it’s going to be more of a person blog, and a place for me to spam funny .gifs and stuff.

Teetotalism refers to either the practice of, or the promotion of, complete abstinence from alcoholic beverages. A person who practices (and possibly advocates) teetotalism is called a teetotaler (also spelled teetotaller; plural teetotalers or teetotallers) or is simply said to be teetotal.

2.8 Million Daily Trades

So most people have already seen that Blizzard yesterday released quite an interesting info-graphic on World of Warcraft. It’s neat to see some of the numbers from the official source, instead of player gathered data. The info-graphic has all the information you’d expect, such that over 100 million people have played World of Warcraft (well, over 100M unique World of Warcraft accounts have been created) spanning 244 countries and territories (which is pretty impressive since there’s less than 200 countries in the world), with over 9,000,000 guilds created.

I’d like to point out that 1% of players are neutral, which means Pandaren in the starting zone. Assuming they use typical rounding rules that means 0.5%-1.49% of the 500 million characters are Pandaren in the starting zone, or  2,500,000 – 7,450,000 Pandaren stuck in the starting zone. Considering they reported 11,000,000 Pandaren created, that means 23% – 68% of created Pandaren have never left the starting zone. That sounds like a bit much, but I suppose it’s plausible.

Apparently, the most widely used title is The Patient, followed by Jenkins and Assistant Professor. The first one is pretty easy to explain, The Patient is probably one of the easiest titles to get in the game and you come by it almost accidentally (you don’t have to go out of your way to get it). I’m surprised Jenkins is on the list but I suppose Jenkins is still kind of ingrained in WoW culture, and it’s not exactly difficult. Plus, some people think it’s fun. I’m impressed enough people have done enough archaeology to make Assistant Professor third place.

Some interesting participation stats:

  • 900,000 PvE instances every day
  • 670,000 PvP instances every day
  • 3,600,000 pet battles

Blizzard clearly has a hit on their hands with the pet battles, even accounting for how short pet battles are.  No one should be surprised how popular PvE content is, it’s kind of the main point of the game.

Best Deals Anywhere!

I’m impressed Blizzard included this section in the info-graphic, feels nice to be included.

Apparently we’re busy scoundrels, with 2,800,000 transactions every day on the Auction House (which is apparently twice the number of transactions on eBay during Cyber Monday in 2009).
I’m disappointed though that Blizzard didn’t give us more data on the Auction House, like how much gold goes through it every day, or how many unique players access the Auction House every day. I guess they were going for some stats that would relate well to the real-world though, and wouldn’t fit in on the info-graphic.

As far as I know, this is the first time Blizzard has ever released something like this, and I hope they continue the trend, I find data like this fascinating, and I suspect I’m not alone in this sentiment.

Easing Back into the Game

Since I got back from Christmas break I’ve been slowly easing back into the game. I didn’t mention this on the blog (though I think I mentioned this on Twitter) but back in late November/early December I joined a large raiding guild on my server, but only as a casual member. I didn’t play much because I was just entering exam season (I had 8 exams last semester, never do that to yourself kids).

However, since I got back from Christmas break (I didn’t have a computer to play WoW over Christmas break) I’ve been playing WoW again. I’ve done some LFRs on my monk (keep in mind I haven’t raided since Throne of Thunder) but I quickly realized it was a waste of time since I already had mostly heroic gear from Throne of Thunder. I did however have to get all the titan stone things for the legendary quest, so I stuck it out for a bit and collected the last of them. I’ve since finished all the other parts of the quest line, and am, finally, the proud owner of a legendary. Wohoo!

Been doing some LFRs as well, but most importantly (for the purpose of this blog) I’ve been getting back into gold making. Right now I’ve got the shuffle mostly completely up and running, I just have to take some time to catch up with my other professions.

I’ll try and keep track of my gold progress. Right now I’m at 486,000 gold (of which 250,000 is going towards Profitz’ Mega 2014 Twitch Stream Follower Giveaway. I know, less than half a million is kind of pathetic for a gold blogger, and a far cry from my record 1.2 million gold, but I’ve been having a bit of a spending issue lately, and add in some bad investments and my gold reserve isn’t what it used to be. I’ll be sure to update my progress on my blog as I get back into the swing of things.

P.S. And this is why I never write a “goodbye” post when I take a break from WoW, it seems I can never really truly say goodbye.

P.P.S. To anyone complaining about the winter weather: This morning it was -28, felt like -48 with the wind chill. That’s -18F/-54F for my American friends. I win. Or loose, depending on how you look at it. I know the weather isn’t really pertinent, but it was bloody cold, and I thought you should all know.

Profitz’ Mega 2014 Twitch Stream Follower Giveaway

One of my favourite things about blogging and World of Warcraft (and Twitter) is some of the people I’ve “met” over the last couple of years, some of whom I’ve even worked with on my World of Warcraft Gold Strategy Guide. One of these awesome people is Profitz, a blogger turned streamer, who was one of the technical reviewers for my gold guide.

Profitz is broadening his horizons intro streaming, and is running a mega giveaway for when he reaches 1,000 Twitch followers. You can read the full details of his giveaway on his blog Profitz’ MEGA 2014 Twitch Stream Follower Giveaway.

The prizes include game time, a pet, and, as of this writing, over 1.2 million gold spread over 30 realms. To support Profitz I’ve contributed two 125,000 gold prizes to be given away on US-Stormrage(A), so go and check out Profitz’ stream!

An Open Letter to Ghostcrawler

Dear Mister Ghostcrawler,

It saddened me today to hear the news of your soon-to-be departure from Blizzard and World of Warcraft.

While we may not have seen eye-to-eye on everything (like the realm mergers, I’m pleasantly surprised that’s turning out so well, I guess that’s why you’re the professional), World of Warcraft has been an enjoyable experience for me these past four years.

You’ve been a game designer for World of Warcraft since before I started playing, and while I’m not sure if you were Lead Game Designer for the whole time I’ve been playing, but you have been the only Lead Game Designer I’ve known. In a way, you’re *my* Lead Game Designer.

Okay, this is getting a bit weird now.

One just needs to look at the forums, Twitter, and the blogs to see how much this community appreciates you and what you’ve done for the game. I’m sure whatever new adventure is in store for you, it will benefit from your experience and expertise.

I’m sad to see you go Ghostcrawler, but thank you for all you’ve done for this game, and best of luck in your future endeavours.

Warm regards,

Eric “Xsinthis” Dekker

P.S. If you could leave a note for your successor that I’ve been a good boy this year and really want a moose for Winter Veil, that’d be swell.

I Mean, it’s for Charity, Right?

WoWScrnShot_112513_175421

So apparently it doesn’t take much for me to throw wads of money I don’t technically have at Blizzard for sparkly things. Oh well, at least half of the pet’s cost went to charity, right?

Report: World of Warcraft Gold Survey 2013

The results are in for the World of Warcraft Gold Survey 2013! This year due the size of the report things will be done a bit differently. The 2013 report is published as a pdf document which you can download below.

Important!

Download the World of Warcraft Gold Report 2013

Summary

The survey ran from October 28th through November 10th, 2013 and collected 3,878 usable results. The survey was voluntary and requests for respondents were posted at the following locations:

  • WoW Insider
  • /r/WoW
  • /r/WoWEconomy
  • /r/WoWGoldMaking
  • MMO-Champion Forums
  • Wowhead Forums
  • US and EU official forums
  • The Golden Crusade
  • Phat Lewts Gold Blog
  • Social media

The mean gold players reported having was 472,979 gold, and the median was 100,000 gold. Of the 3,878 responses, 3,133, or 80.8% of the responses, were under the sample mean. The 1st and 3rd quartiles were 25,000 and 325,000, respectively.

Of the 3,878 responses, 74.9% of responses identified as playing on North American servers, while 25.1% of responses identified as playing on European servers. The average player reportedly started playing World of Warcraft 6 years ago (sample mean was 6.12 years, median 6).

Of this year’s respondents, 74.8% reported having never taken the survey before, 8.3% were unsure, and 16.9% reported having taken the survey before.

I’d like to thank everyone who took the survey and especially those who have helped spread the word. The World of Warcraft community is absolutely amazing, and projects like this would not be possible without players support.

My Thoughts on Warlords of Draenor

So unless you’ve been hiding under an incredibly dense rock you know BlizzCon was this weekend. Unfortunately between homework and a two-day first aid course this past weekend I wasn’t able to give the convention much attention. Luckily I didn’t purchase a digital ticket before hand so no money wasted (those in-game goodies weren’t very appealing to me – I don’t understand why people actually like murlocs).

I have however been following on Twitter, and reading up on WoW Insider and the like, so I feel obligated to offer up my thoughts on the announcements about BlizzCon 2013, Warlords of Draenor, and World of Warcraft’s future.

Draenor and General Thoughts

So I’ve mentioned this in the past, but I’m not a huge lore person. I mean I appreciate it, and I get some of the more general concepts, though most of my lore knowledge has been passively acquired through game play (I don’t even read quests or dialog often).

I’m not super excited about this, I’ve mentioned before Outlands was my least-favourite content, but I’ve enjoyed World of Warcraft thus far, I’ll have to put some faith in Blizzard that they’ll pull through. I hope this means that after Warlords of Draenor we’ll get a Northrend reboot, I really liked Northrend.

I have to admit I was very disappointed we’re not getting any new races or classes, though I suppose it makes sense from a game development and from a story standpoint.

Garrisons

So I’m not entirely sure how I feel about Garrisons. I mean I like the idea, and it’s obviously the successor to the Sunsong Ranch we got in Mists of Pandaria (which I loved), but I’m not sure how it will fit in World of Warcraft. It seems a bit too…Simish? Does that make sense?

I guess my point is I love World of Warcraft, and I love the idea of Garrisons (Sim-like aspects), I’m just no sure if I like Sim *in* World of Warcraft, know what I mean?

I think it does have potential though, and I’m eagerly awaiting new details.

New Character Models

I am super excited about the new character models, I mean have you seen the old ones? Of course you have, and they’re atrocious. The new models we’ve seen so far look really good, and still hold true to the old models, so I am excited to see the rest of them. They will be updating the original 8 races in addition to Draenei and Blood Elves. I didn’t realize they would be updating Draenei and Blood Elves since they’re newer than the originals (obviously) but now that I think about it, I guess they do need some updating.

I have to admit that whenever I make a new alt, it tends to be the newer races. In fact, since Cataclysm, I don’t think I’ve created an alt that wasn’t a Worgen or (after Mists of Pandaria) a Pandaren. Maybe that will change when these new character models are released (likely in the Patch 6.0 before the actual expansion goes live, so we’ll have time to play with them first).

No Flying

Some people have taken issue with the announcement that we won’t be able to fly in Draenor until patch 6.1. Now in past expansions we haven’t been able to fly right out of the gate (Cataclysm the exception), but this time, the limit won’t be tied to player level, but rather tied to a patch. This will force players to experience the new content by the ground, which theoretically will give us all a chance to appreciate it more.

My question is, once Patch 6.1 rolls around, when will we be able to fly? I assume we’ll still need to hit level 100, but I wonder if we’ll be able to fly sooner on our alts.

Personally, I think this is a good idea, because Blizzard will be designing the new zones for ground mounts.

Raid Changes

One of the announcements making waves is the proposed changes to the way raiding. The graphic Blizzard produced summed it up nicely:

raid-hierarchy-6-0 So basically there were some name changes and now the three lower difficulties have flex aspects, they’ll scale from 10-25 players.

The biggest issues I see with the change to the new raid structure is the difference in raid sizes between Heroic (currently known as Normal) and Mythic (currently known as Heroic). Any raid team that wishes to pursue Mythic content will have to start with a 20-man roster in Heroic content, presuming that you will need to clear Heroic before you can gain access to Mythic. This change could cause some problems for teams that are thinking about transitioning to “Mythic” difficulty, since if they don’t start out with a 20-player team, they will have to adjust one way or another for the Mythic raid size. I see a lot of potential drama ahead.

This will also obviously cause existing 25 man heroic teams to shed 5 players, and existing 10 man heroic teams to have to pick up 10 extra players to keep going with the content difficulty they enjoy. That doesn’t really seem fair. I wasn’t around when they went from 40 man raids down to 25 man raids, so I’m really not sure what to expect here.

Additionally, there’s been talking about some tweaks to combat stats. Specifically, it seems that they want to do away with hit and expertise, and possibly replace them with stats players will enjoy more, maybe like something that will make you move faster. I think it’s an excellent idea. I mean, I don’t really play DPS so I don’t need to worry about hit and expertise except in my off-spec, but I think Blizzard is right in that players hate it, and removing those stats will better the game.

Boys Club

While Restokin wrote a good piece on this already (Lords of Draenor: Where are the girls at?) and at the time of this writing Apple Cider Mage’s post on the issue is forthcoming (though she’s been discussing it on Twitter (@AppleCiderMage) as best she can in 140 characters or less) I thought I’d add my two cents (Canadian) on this issue.

One of the arguments defending the “boys club” mentality is that it’s more realistic. Says who? The Blood Elf Mage that just took out a murloc with a fireball? Just because in our real-world history things have been done a certain way is absolutely not a reason for it to be done in a game. I mean, nothing else in the game is held up to that standard of realism, why should this one aspect of the game be? I mean you can hop on a flying dragon, meet a Troll mage, and have him/her create a portal for you to a city that is way too small to be a real city (among of a host of other problems) and your defence to the exclusion of female characters is “realism”? In an expansion where you’re using magic to go through time and space and across dimensions, you’re claiming realism? People clinging to this argument need a reality check.

Ultimately World of Warcraft is a game, something that’s meant to be enjoyed, possibly offering an escape from troubles in real life. If something as simple as writing some of your main characters as female (or including existing ones in promotional material), a change that would have no negative impact on anyone (or any impact on those already apathetic to it), can improve the game for a significant portion of the player base, than why not do it? I mean, what’s the harm? And the potential for good is tremendous.

Conclusion

So I’m not nearly as excited about this expansion as I was about Cataclysm (I mean, Ninja Werewolves, awesome right?) or Mists of Pandaria (Pandaren Monks are so cool), but I’m, let’s say, cautiously excited about Warlords of Draenor. I really hope Blizzard hits it out of the park with this expansion, it’s already been discussed to death but the subscription numbers are faltering and the game needs a jolt to get players back.

If you haven’t already seen it, The Godmother is running her So You Win (Again) contest. Basically entrants try and guess which Tuesday Warlords of Draenor will be released. I went with October 7th for no particular reason, just seemed like a solid date. I know World of Warcraft’s 10th anniversary is in November (of 2014) so I  feel like WoD needs to be released by then (and I don’t they’d do it in November, they’d want people to be settled in the new expansion by the anniversary).

I’ve slowly started easing myself back into the game now that I’ve settled into the routine of the whole university thing, so expect to hear more from me about World of Warcraft in the future.

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