I was watching some comedians on the interwebs the other day, when I came across a very interesting bit from Jimmy Carr (imbedded above; NFSW; the quote is from 7:48) in which he jokes about his girlfriend buying a bread machine despite them living next to a convenience store with cheap bread:
…but we will break even. In the next 4 years; If we double our consumption of bread; and we can somehow get the ingredients for free; and we don’t take into consideration labour costs.
This joke touches on several concepts that can be applied to gold making and World of Warcraft in general that many people over look I find, one of which is “Is this worth my time?”
What’s In It For Me?
A lot of goblins like to throw around and use the factor of GPH, or Gold Per Hour, when discussing various gold making activities. Unfortunately there are many problems with using such a factor. One of which is that various activities have diminishing returns, the more time you put into it, the less you get per unit of time. Other problems arise from price fluctuations and price variations of different servers and Auction Houses.
I don’t bother with it. That may sound bad, but think about it this way, the time you take figuring out the GPH of your various activities could be spent doing much more productive activities, crafting, prospecting, levelling, raiding, watching clips from old Disney movies etc. I prefer to take a much more anecdotal approach to deciding which activities I partake in, though I do number check to make sure I profit from the activities (the Consortium Shuffling Spreadsheet is amazing for this).
And this is a key point Jimmy Carr seems to miss, you can get more than money/savings out of many activities. I personally love home-made bread, and though I know many people insist home backing is cheaper, I don’t believe them. Still I love it (note I don’t bake, I just like eating what other people bake :P), so what if I can get it cheaper from the convenience store down the street? Just like in real life, in World of Warcraft (and more pertinently, gold making) I assign values to various activities besides simple GPH or even profitability.
One of the biggest problems for me is I hate menial labour, like prospecting. This simply isn’t fun for me, there is a huge list of things I’d rather do than sit there processing ore (or herbs, or jewellery). Luckily for me the Consortium Key Sender lets me do things like produce written gold for the blog while the menial labour goes on in the background.
A lot of people do vendor runs, basically going through Azeroth (and Outlands) picking up various vendor items that are usually either limited supply or a pain in the ass to get. These items fetch a fair price on most Auction Houses since the general public is either lazy or doesn’t research many of these items, and will go the their local Auction House to get these items. Myself? Can’t bother. I’m sure there’s gold in it, and even if I could fit the time in my day (which honestly I could, I make myself out to be way busier than I actually am) I’m sure it would be a positive addition to my gold flow, but the relatively low increase in my income isn’t worth the effort to go do these things, so I don’t.
On the flip side there are lots of things I do that might not greatly contribute to my gold intake. I raid (or at least used to, haven’t since previous guild disbanded), level alts (REALY SLOWLY), PvP occasionally, participate in holiday events, and of course blog. I do all these things because I enjoy them or the end result, not for gold or necessarily for the process. They key is to enjoy what you do as best you can.
Ingredients for Free? Don’t Take Labour Into Consideration?
This is a fallacy many people fall into in game and even in the real world (Really? You flip house? That much profit eh? Did you take into consideration your time? No? Thought not). Just because you farm something doesn’t make it free, it’s at least worth the “minimum wage” for your time spent. Now touching on the previous thought process, if you acquire said items through an activity you enjoy and would be doing anyways (cloth comes to mind) can you count these items as free? Sure. Should you? It’s up to you. In the cloth example, if I was crafting bags, even if I wasn’t buying the cloth for whatever reason and only relying on passive acquisition of the items, I should still value it based on market price, otherwise I’m losing gold I could have made selling the components raw.
They key here is the difference between cost and value. Often, cost doesn’t matter in the final product, rather the value of the item. Obviously if the value is less than the cost you will want to check the numbers to make sure the over all process is still valuable. Ultimately it’s completely up to you how you price things, but your pocket book would appreciate it if you kept these things in mind.
So How Should I Value My Time?
Again this is totally up to you, but i suggest choosing the activities that don’t make you want to drive a metal spike into your eye. Ultimately most gold makers get joy out of big sales and amassing large amounts of gold, and not necessarily the process itself, so you have to choose activities that you can bear, the ends have to justify the means. So many people go through such extremes to squeeze out so little profit or so little savings that they miss the big picture. This is just a game, so you shouldn’t feel like it is too much of a chore, try to enjoy yourself!