World Of Warcraft, WoW Hand Armor

Monday, January 23, 2012

Robbing Peter to Pay Paul

As a follow up to the "Confessions of an AH Sniper" your very own mystery blogger has given us the pleasure of reading another one of his posts. Are there such things as Gold-Making Guilds? Save Goblin Guilds even? 


     You are a greedy, selfish bastard…  Do yourself a favor, don’t just admit it - own it!  There’s never enough gold in your bank…  You never have enough stock on hand…  You have to undercut even when it means you’ll clear less gold than if you simply wait it out…  You want the sale now; you want the sale first…  You have to undercut because, well, you just have to!  You are who you are, just own it, it’s what makes you Goblin’ish… 

     The first step in the journey to Goblin is taken the first time you hear a piece of mail go, “cha-ching…”  That sound either sinks its claws in you or it doesn’t.  Yes, every player in the game wants more gold.  Very few, however, are willing to do what it takes to become wealthy in the game.  


     My personal journey through Azeroth began almost two years ago and, frankly, I suck at the game (just ask my raid team).  My efforts at becoming a gold maker only began a year or so ago and I pretty much suck at that too…  I’m not capped (never will be with my spending habits) but I’m a player.  I’m not on the porch with the top dogs, but they know me.  I’m a Goblin, and I’m a greedy, selfish bastard.

     Two weeks ago I would have argued that we’re all greedy, selfish bastards, but then something happened that’s given me pause, confused me, even maybe wonder if by some quirk in the cosmos I’m finally actually wrong about something…  surely not, right?...  The very nature of the gold game is to try to get more for yourself than your competitors (and before they can get their grubby little paws on it)…  right?...  It’s all about me, right? 

     The mail came like any other piece would…  I recognized the character’s name from seeing her in the AH frequently…  We compete in a few markets, though we’d never had to go head-to-head for control of any particular niche…  I figured I must have sent her something COD and it’s been long enough ago that I simply couldn’t recall…  “…`bout time you pay up, slacker!'” I thought…  So I open it, notice the disturbing lack of gold therein, and begin reading.

     Allow me to paraphrase: blah blah blah…  we’ve been scanning the AH…  yadda yadda yadda…  analyzing The Undermine Journal…  blah blah blah…  we think you’re the player we want to join our guild’s, “procurement group….”  they were recruiting me…?  Unfortunately, this recruitment did not appear to be based solely on the lore of my raiding exploits, nor the legend of my rogue prowess…  The procurement group, eh?...  procurement group, really?  Initially, I was flattered and I spent a day or so feelin’ puffed-up by the validation that I was, “a player” in the gold game on my server…  but then I got to thinkin’ and the confusion set in…

     I have been in a few guilds…  My current guild is a raiding guild, but one without much success to this point…  we’re getting better, but we’re certainly not one of the big dogs on our server.  That said, our guild-level fundraising is pretty much just what we generate through the cut the guild gets from player’s activities, and the contributions of the benevolent amongst us…  Drops not readily usable by anyone on the raid are sold/vendored and the gold put back in the bank…  


     If I’m crafting a Seafood Feast Magnifique, I’ll craft a couple extra and throw ‘em in the guild bank; same with gems, chants, etc…  Most of the other core members do the same…  This is the system employed by every guild with which I’ve ever been affiliated.  We pay for our repairs, we have our feasts and flasks, we’re sustainable…  The idea that a bigger, “better” guild actually has a team doing nothing but Goblin’ing for the group had escaped me…  it doesn’t surprise me, but I hadn’t really considered the idea…

     So, being all puffed-up, I solicited additional information about what they do, what my role would be, what to expect…  They subsequently explained how it worked, and I considered it for a couple days before, politely, declining…  Ultimately, my decision to pass was based on one single factor…  I am a greedy, selfish bastard!  I’ve worked hard to stake my claim in my server’s economy and there are small little corners of the market that are mine…  How would I, how could I, join the, “procurement group” without running headlong into a wall of conflicting interests?

     As it was explained to me, the procurement group basically goes out and scans the AH looking for deals…  Items for sale below their expected market value…  you know, what we all do every day…  They then take those items and put ‘em in the guild bank…  All the items go in the bank and they rotate through the tabs, FIFO style - items that have been in the bank the longest are relisted on the AH, rinse & repeat.  


     Now, before I go critical, please understand that this is likely an oversimplification of their processes and this is information I gathered through a couple chat sessions with, “the recruiter…”  That said, this is not the way to do this…  Come on, beat me to the punch people!...  You don’t relist an item when it’s been in the bank the longest…  You relist the item when the market for it is at or near the high point of its expecting selling price, even if that’s immediately!  Goblin'ism 101, riiiight!?  This is not my biggest point of confusion however.

     The thing that has me stymied about the whole idea of the, “procurement group” is this…  These people are not leaving the gold games as individuals, you can bet on that…  They’re donating some of their time and knowledge to the guild in this regard while also playing the game as themselves…  the fact that they’re in the, “procurement group” leads me to believe that when they play the game for themselves, they’re Goblin’ing for at least some portion of that time.  How then, can they juggle the two?  


     If I am working the AH as a member of the procurement group, and I see that there’s very little Azshara’s Veil up for sale why would I put up the guild’s stacks if I have a bunch in my bank that has been waiting for this very opportunity?...  Do I sit on mine just to be a nice guy for the guild?  If I see three stacks of Carnelian up for 1/3 my personal sell price, do I snag ‘em for the guild, or for myself?...

     I’ve tried to think it through and the closest analogy I can come up with is the stock broker.  The processes are similar.  They speculate, they hope to buy low, sell high, and they do this for others.  Surely every stock broker in the world is also an investor.  Why isn’t that a conflict of interests too?  Simply put, it’s because the global economy is nearly infinite in its capacity relative to any single investor.  


     The stock broker is not making an investment on a client’s behalf to his own detriment.  If he sees a good deal, there’s enough for him too.  Additionally, he’s paid a commission and/or a percentage based on his sales.  So, while it’s the closest I can ponder, it’s not a very clean analogy.  The economy on any given WoW server is quite finite in its breadth and scale.  Those three stacks of Carnelian are the only ones out there right now…  It’s me or the guild…

     Maybe I’m simply struggling with this because I’m a dick…  Maybe the rest of you are so rich that you’ve not yet had the though cross your mind that you’d list that Azshara’s for the guild at a higher price than was paid for it, but still below it’s max value, and then you’d buy it right away with an alt and flip it…  Yes, I said it…   Isn’t that a win-win?...  See, I told you I’m a greedy, selfish bastard…  Am I alone, or am I just a dick?

     I can’t recall seeing this written about previously.  How do your guilds generate the gold required to do the things you want to do?  How much gold does a guild need?  Is the concept of the procurement group more widespread than I’d imagined?  Could you, would you act in this capacity for your guild and how would you avoid the conflict of interest?  Or is it not a conflict of interest at all in your mind?  Goblin Nation, REACT TO ME!  

15 comments:

Ohnekase said... Reply To This Comment

Great Guest post again. I like his style of writing, its really fun.

Skorpsy said... Reply To This Comment

I like this mystery blogger you got Alto. ;-)
Very thought provoking. As for this whole particular gold guild concept..Completely not for me, for all of the reasons the author listed, haha and then some. :P

It would definitely take a certain personality type I think to go along with this. I also disagree with a LOT of the basic set-up. With some tweeks and fine tuning and the right personality types I could see this MAYBE working, but.... realistically, I see too many reasons that would cause this to become a potentially drama filled, volatile situation, that could erupt nastily in the end, which would be awesome entertainment and fun to watch, but not necessarily be involved in. :)

I am a horrendous player. I suck at actually playing the game, so I do not actually "play" the game, in the traditional sense that most do with raiding, heroics etc. Ruining other people's fun with my skilless and baddie self really wasn't my idea of a good time and not everyone CAN be taught, or even cares to learn. That's basically me.

Goldmaking however, is the awesome solo activity for someone who isn't real fond of working with others. Sure there are the occasional temporary situations where I might team up with a competitor to keep prices in check on a particular market or I might temporarily whitelist someone and with people I know personally certain temp situations have turned into more longterm habits. However, I am in the end completely free to do whatever I want whenever I want. My rules and I can change them on a whim whenever. It is this kind of personality, along with varying levels of greed that I think is in most gold makers on some level and would be why a guild like this on a large scale would have a very high risk potential to backfire, I think.

The perfect scenario in my mind would have to be 5 people or less that all knew each other either personally or for a very long time and truly liked and respected each other. A lot of competitors I respect as good business people, but can't stand personality-wise and many I love to chat with and truly like, but do not respect as business people.

Also I would want to be with people of a similar status, i.e no matter how much I like someone I don't want one of the group to be at 200k personal gold while all of us are at 2m or something because he has more reason to somehow f us over, and likewise if I only have 1m and someone in the group has 4m, one I'm gonna be totally jealous and two why the hek would I want to truly work for the good of the guild, assuming we are all sharing the profits, I am basically helping someone richer than me get richer, which seems not in my best interest.

Honestly I think the conflict of interest represented in this post would be too great for me. Though I can be tempermental and prone to random bitchness, I for the most part try to be a nice person and try to not generate too much negative karma, but this situation I think would bring out all of my worst traits and things I try generally to keep pushed far back below the surface.

This would bring out every sneaky, greedy, conniving, and totally evil, stereotypical female bone in my body! XD


Which I hate to admit, for a brief nano second...sounds exciting!

lol I so know I am gonna regret hitting publish on this post.

Anonymous said... Reply To This Comment

Interesting post! I've had this situation crop up a couple of times too. I was asked to "manage" the GB cash flow for a guild for a salary of 1k a week, but declined because of the conflict of interest you describe. My own guild has also asked me if I'm interested in investing with guild money, and again I declined. I came up with a workable solution, however. I act as a sort of financial advisor for my guild. I regularly scan the GB for stuff that's not being used and would fetch a good price, and sell it on behalf of the guild. If guilds get rare drops they don't need, they send them to me to sell for them. And if someone wants to start farming, I give advice on pricing and market techniques. So far this has been helpful for my guild without interfering with my own gold-making too much.

Faid said... Reply To This Comment

MFirst off, how my guild generates gold:
Leaving aside my 160k or so donation most of our gold is generated from guild challenges and BoEs. We don't do rated BGs but have enough active, social members that we always get the raid challenge and all of the dungeon challenges which helps gain funds.

We have two separate raid groups which we call Orange and Purple. I am in Orange. If an item is not bid on by a raider who is present for their mainspec it gets sold on the AH. You can't even take it for offspec since it was determined gold for repairs would help the raid more than gearing someone's offspec.

That gold goes into the guild bank. Orange raiders are allowed to repair out of the guild.

Purple raiders are not able to repair out of the guild. Not because we don't like them but because they don't contribute as much. They keep their BoEs or allow members to greed roll and sell for themselves instead of for the guild, thus they don't get to benefit from guild funds like Orange does.

We have no dedicated gold making. Our BoEs are even sold off by the guild master often long after they've decreased in value, much to my dismay. I've asked if I can be in charge of selling the BoEs so we can have more of a chance of getting top dollar for them and I believe that's still being discussed.

About Procurement Groups
I've never heard of this before reading this and quite frankly I think it's a shitty idea. So shitty that I'm to the point that I wonder if they weren't trying to take advantage of you. Admittedly I may not fully grasp how this guild would work but it sounds like they want you to do the selling for them. I'm not sure what you'd be getting out of it. I read this as they're trying to hire someone to do the dirty AH work for them.

Think about it. Set up a bank guild, hire a few competent players to do exactly what these people were trying to get you to do. They do all the work and you sit back and watch your lackeys do the AH job for you. Sure you may end up paying them something but at the end of the day whatever you get is free money and you know the profits were maximized since this assures that many people that were once competitors are now working together.

A competent player will end up better going solo IMO.

Valk said... Reply To This Comment

Amazing, the ideas some come up with. Maybe if I were to see all the information on the referenced guild, and chat with some of the leaders, I would be persuaded that this could be a good idea. I doubt it. I believe my own goblin perspective is somewhat moderate: I would never intentionally ninja a seller on the neutral auction house. And I have some altruistic tendencies, though I readily admit altruism is always self-serving on some level at the end of the day. This guild idea, as presented, strikes me as a pretty good April Fool's joke - the kind that can pull me in at the beginning but eventually reveals itself by including a clause like the part about selling on a FIFO basis, which makes no sense whatsoever. Good entertainment though, and provocative writing.

Goblinish said... Reply To This Comment

@Valk

This reply to both Faid and Valk... First, thanks for your comments and insight...

As I mentioned, I too simply couldn't see myself working for others in this capacity. That said, this solicitation / invitation came from a, "prominent" guild on my server. As was described to me, the, "procurment team" at the time consisted of 5-6 folks. They have a website dedicated solely to the procurement group, their activities, etc... While I certainly can't discount the idea that I somehow presented an easy mark, and that they wanted me to do the dirty work while they reaped the benefits, I sincerely don't believe this was an outright scam... Perhaps they've found the select few Goblins with whom membership in one of the, "top guilds" is worth the assignment in the procurement group..? a trade-off, a means to an end...?

As I think back on it now, one of my initial questions was about their raid teams and what my role would/could be therein... The reply that they were, "forming a third team...." wasn't the answer I was looking for... but... had they said, "...yeah, we'll throw you on the A-Team..." and the chances for accelerated progression had been the carrot waved, I may just have accepted the role as a trade-off...

Good questions/comments... Your cynicism likely serves you well in all things Goblin'ish... you selfish, greedy bastards! LOL

Goblinish said... Reply To This Comment

@Faid

...see reply under Valk's comment. - thanks

Nithrius said... Reply To This Comment

Nithrius here,

My guild isn't much active at this time, but I do a raid or two every so often. It usually involves 4-5 guildies and the remainder being PUGs. I provide all flasks, food, and necessary raid items (scrolls if we have no priest buff, etc). I do this because I am, at heart, a scheming bastard.

Of the raid groups I've organized, often my PUG'ers have a good time. I make enough to supplement what I 'lose' from including them, and often end up recruiting one or two into my guild.

As for how my guild gets its funding... well, that one is easy. It's me. There are some that add things to the bank every so often, plus the Guild Leveling Perks that allow gold to allot for basic questing/looting. But I generally provide the most. Depositing a thousand or two every so often. I float at a modest wealth, but it suffices for my needs.

That is not to say I am not greedy. If I see a price worth snagging, it's already mine. I just funnel that greed to my friends and such. Teach them the game, you know? Can't give away too much, though. Gotta keep a few secrets for myself. :)

bigtruck01 said... Reply To This Comment

Seafood Feast Magnifique, is bind on pickup, I don't see how he could possibly throw them in the guild bank.

How much of this post is bravado, and how much is fact?

Anonymous said... Reply To This Comment

make shit up as she goes

Alyzande from the Gold Queen said... Reply To This Comment

This is something I struggle with.

On the one hand, I wanna be the best, I want to have the most gold, to achieve the most, to earn the most, and have the most fun whilst doing it.

On the other hand, I don't wanna take away from someone else in order to get there.

So I keep reminding myself: It's possible to be the best without shitting on others. Or maybe only shitting a tiny tiny bit, in a corner where they won't notice.

My quote: "I'll help you, if you help me. Then we can get to the top together."

Kathroman said... Reply To This Comment

While I don't really understand the logistics of what they are doing, I don't think the idea is all that far-fetched. There are really 2 types of people in the gold-making game: those who enjoy HAVING gold, and those who enjoy MAKING gold.

If said guild was willing and able to pay for any expenses you incurred from your regular gameplay, why not make gold for the guild?

That said, I don't know that it makes sense for complete strangers - it's very difficult to do any sort of meaningful business without a foundation of trust.

Goblinish said... Reply To This Comment

@bigtruck01
Geeez... Seafood Feast is what popped in my head whilst writing pal... making a point... I craft dozens of 'em and drop 'em after every few wipes - as do others... I craft pots/elixirs and throw some the guilds way - as do others... just making a general point about how the guild gets and has the things we need to roll on... as opposed to their being an organized effort from a, "procurement group" of sorts... Nice to see that you focused on finding one little detail to criticize rather than engaging in the discussion in a meaningful way.

Valk said... Reply To This Comment

Just because it's a guild ranks prominently on your server doesn't mean they have all the bases covered. Does it? I'm relatively new to WoW (post-cata), so my perspective comes more from my experience with rl committees - and with non-profit groups in particular. So while it did sound like a clever joke to me, I wasn't thinking of the offer as being a scam - I'm not that much of a cynic. I was thinking it was more like a few idealists who have little personal experience with the AH. One has the research skills to find someone who appears to be a good candidate (has the skills the guild is lacking). Another is assigned to making the offer; and your questions are then fielded by the committee collectively. I've heard even crazier ideas brought up in discussions, and seen them taken seriously. Wish you had been there to put things in perspective - a realist who has a way with words is a rare commodity.

Azz said... Reply To This Comment

Very interesting and thought provoking post. I don't know that I have seen anyone else post about this, but I could be wrong (I haven't kept up with the blogs in a while). Anyway, thought I would share my two cents. I am in a social guild that occassionally raids, PVPs, etc. Most of the members of the guild know that I enjoygold-making, and have an eye on the AH at all times. About a year or so ago, I became an officer of the guild. Prior to me becoming an officer, the officers at that time had been discussing open up repairs to be paid from the guild bank. The big question was how to pay for it. Shortly after becoming an officer, I was asked if I wanted to be "in-charge" of the guild bank and attempt to make gold for the guild. After some additional thoughts and discussions, I agreed to do it. Most of the gold making came through selling BOEs that went unused during raids. I did run into the same dilemma others have pointed out, of making gold for the guild vs. making gold for myself. I basically devoted one toon to the guild gold making. He handled selling all the BOEs, random things in gbank, etc. Also, if there was a deal advertised in trade and I was on that toon, I would make the deal and the guild would reap the profits. I have most professions maxed, so I crafted items and sold for profit. For the professions I don't have, I relied on guild members. This seemed to work well, and without problems. Basically, I let the decision be based on which "bank" toon I was logged on when I came across a deal. It is not easy, and of course you have to have the will power to not get over-greedy and take all the profit.

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