Tag Archives: Summerriver

Gambling: A tax on people who can’t do math.

While in High School I participated in after school activities which led me to having to walk to the local public library every day and wait for my parents to get off work and pick me up. As then went on for 4 years, I had plenty of time to stop and read the books as the case may be. One such book explained probability and gambling. It broke down each game and explained why gambling was always a bad idea. Lotteries, casinos, poker, it was all stacked against the player. I resolved to never gamble, or if I did, only with small amounts of money that didn’t matter.

Many years later, I learned the truth of probability through WoW and it’s item drops. I understood that having a 1 in a 1000 drop rate didn’t mean I had to kill 1000 things to get it, but rather that each time I killed something I had a small chance of seeing said item. After 161 runs to get Baron’s mount, I was pretty sure I understood chance and probability.

Then with Cataclysm, a new item was introduced that peaked my interest.

The Mysterious Fortune Card. (MFC, henceforth.)

What makes them so mysterious? Once Cataclysm hit, I found out they were essentially “gambling” in WoW. They are an item made by inscribers that a player can flip over and receive an white card that sells for some value between 10 silver and 5k gold. I checked the “drop” rate on the 5k card and it seems to be around 1 in 10k. Yeah, so not worth it, I thought, and moved on.

When I leveled my scribe, I herbed, milled, and started making inks. Only to realize that Cataclysm had only added about 20 glyphs total. In fact, there only seemed to be two items worth making, Darkmoon Cards (a combine set can be turned in for a trinket, which is very very good) or these MFCs.

To explain a bit, Inscription, a profession, allows a player to take a stack of 5 of an herb and “mill” them, turning them into powder. Any mill can produce Ashen Pigment, which makes Blackfallow Ink and rarely Burning Embers, which make Inferno Ink. Generally a single mill of the high end herbs produces 2-4 Ashen Pigment, and 1-3 Burning Embers.

The Burning Embers and subsequent Inferno Ink are used to make the very valuable Darkmoon cards. Because the recipe to make them however requires 10 Inferno Inks and is random as to which of the 32 cards it drops, anyone trying to make full decks will need a huge amount of ink.

However, the Ashen Pigment and Blackfallow Ink are practically worthless. They aren’t used for anything other than trading down to lower inks to make glyphs, and even that, is a risky market at best as anyone trying to sell those glyphs will be competing with leveling scribes. So I decided what the hell, I’ll make MFCs.

I checked the auction house, to see how well these cards were selling. 15 gold EACH. Wait. What? Yep. 15g Each. Okay… So it takes 2 pigment to make one card. I get 2 pigment from a single mill generally. So that means, as long as I buy the herbs at 2g each, I can spend 10g to make 15g. I like that return. So I bought down 400g worth of herbs from the auction house. I processed them (by milling them) then spent another 600g to buy volatile lifes (which are used to make the Darkmoon Cards). 1kg spent.

I ended up with around 250 cards, plus two Darkmoon Cards. I banked the two Darkmoon Cards to make my trinkets, and listed all of the MFC. I listed them in stacks. 5 stacks of 20 cards selling for 14g. (Discount for bulk!) 5 stacks of 10 for 14.5 g. 10 stacks of 5 for 14.75g. And finally 50 stacks of singles for 15g each.

Three hours later, I logged back on to the character to find: ~3000g. HOLY FUUUU. *ca-ching* And note this is completely WITHOUT ANY PROFIT from selling the Darkmoon Cards!

So I of course dumped most of that money back into buying more herbs. Process. Make cards. Sell cards. Loot gold.

The price fluctuates, generally ranging from 12g to 15g. The stacks always sell, many to the same player. I also enjoy watching two or three sell, then about 15 minutes later, watching 3 or 4 more sell. I proceeded to do this for the next week or so, spending a great deal of time milling herbs and making cards.

Then Basil screwed me.

BLAST. Now everyone would understand MFC were a TERRIBLE investment. I mean, people understand if a slot machine has a 5% house advantage, they aren’t going to buy the cards that have a 98% house advantage! That would be idiotic. Sure enough, the market tanked instantly. Not only because people stopped buying, but also suddenly it went from me and one other player listing to 50+ listers. In addition the cost of herbs skyrocketed. Bah. My money making scheme gone. Oh well.

Several months later I was leveling my herbalist mage and got a rather huge stack of whiptail (one of the best Cataclysm herbs for milling for ink). I had learned the MFCs could be turned into food and had been using that on my warlock for a while. I figured my mage could use a darkmoon trinket, and so started sending her the whiptail to process for Inferno Inks. She processed, then made her cards. Over 200 MFCs. Man, that’s alot of cookies, I thought. I wonder how the AH prices for these are.


Did everyone FORGET? Do they seriously sell again? No, I thought, surely there is no way. People aren’t that dumb…

Or maybe they are, I thought less than an hour later when all my cards sold at 14g each. True the Darkmoon cards sell for half of what they used to, but then, so do the herbs.

I can generally get them between 1-2g each now. This past week I process thousands of herbs, and made over 1k cards, which I then turned around and sold for about 15k, so about 5k worth of pure profit. The best part is, I can barely keep stock up on the AH. I buy ALL the whiptail below 2g each. I process it all. I put cards up and usually they sell out before more whiptail is available. I am contracting specific farming players to farm for me. I have an alt named Bellagio! I camp the AH at work to buy more Whiptail. I got an addon that allows me to click mill and walk away.

Turns out, I am not the only one. Well, I guess I have a goal now.

Games I Played This Week

I really should have considered prior to deciding that I wanted to do a weekly post about games I played that it does happen I get stuck in playing several games that are very enjoyable.

I am still cracking away on DQ9. I now have multiple grottos available and am clearing out at least 2 every day. Sadly, my characters don’t seem to be leveling very fast. In other DQ9 news, I convinced my mother to purchase the game and she is *quite* addicted at this point. She keeps calling me and asking me questions so I am able to track her progress quite well. This game is definitely going on my list of games to suggest for people who have parents that play DS.

I will likely be grinding on the multiplayer while at home with her in May.

I am also still playing a game or two of the Pokemon TCG trainer every day. I finished with the Fire Deck and I am now halfway through with the Water Deck. I am also noticing that they keep having “overloaded” messages, so clearly I am not the only one who is loving it.

I have been playing quite a bit with my 3DS, mostly showing stuff off at work. Also I am loving the Street Pass, though it makes me long for PAX where there are more people to encounter.

In WoW both my Priest and Shaman are now getting in on Alt runs for Tol Barad. My server has reached critical mass for being able to field successful pugs for TB which is a huge help for my alts. Our guild has also started some TB alt runs. I managed to down Atramedes on two different toons this week, thanks to needing a healer for our 10 man run on Saturday and then needing a DPS for our OTHER 10 man run on Sunday. My guild is actively recruiting.

Joyia finally got bracers from BoT trash and exceptionally luckily managed to get the +spirit wand off Chimareon. Two upgrades in one week! We made some fairly serious attempts on 25 man Elemental Monstrosity, the RNG fight of doom. (Not from Hell, that’s Al’Akir.)

I also volunteered to get a new guild website set up for OLN. I decided to use WoWStead and it took me all of 45 minutes to get everything up and running. Bonus points for WoWStead’s usability.

Finally, I have taken some time this week to start re-reading some Julia Quinn, to inspire me to work on some of my writing. I had a fairly dramatic plot break through on Wasteland, which I hope wraps up the inconsistencies and allows the story to have a conclusion that isn’t completely depressing.

Carrots on Sticks

Even More Update Goodness: I have read several other blogs about the subject, but here is one of the best. His whore analogy is just superb and spot on, and his arguments are valid. The thing is, I understand why Blizz would never do as asked. Maybe they will consent eventually to add raid mounts to the bag (Ashes of Alar might just be enough to drag that bear back in) but for the TCG they *can’t*. If they do, it devalues the TCG and takes away one of the major selling points of the cards. And don’t get me wrong, while I would love to have those mounts available in the bag, it will never happen, because Blizzard makes too much money on the licensing fees for the card game.

I really feel the biggest drawback of this fix is that it doesn’t allow the tank to queue with anyone else. Even allowing the tank to queue with just one other person might take the sting out of it. Pocket healer, trusted cc-er, or just that one person you always play with. You are still taking 3 other people out of the queue, so it is still a win, but seems less… whorish… than it is forcing them to queue alone.


UPDATE: Blizz announced that the bags WILL IN FACT BE BIND ON ACCOUNT. As I said “Make the bags Bind on Account so we can pass them off to our alts. (Then I would be 85 on Pandara in a heartbeat.)” my response to the announcement was “BRB LEVELING”.


I have talked about the Tanking problem a few times. Since the dawn of the Random Dungeon Finder the players of WoW have developed a skewed vision of dungeon running. I barely remember running a few dungeons on my warlock prior to the introduction of the LFD tool. They were simply too time consuming, too prone to failure, and far too difficult to find a group for.

But LFD changed all of that. Dungeons were readily accessible in a matter of minutes. Loot rained down on the World of Warcraft. It was wondrous. And it spoiled us all beyond repair. Seriously. We are spoiled rotten little children demanding more things when we have already been given the world.

The average time to get a pug group together PRIOR to the LFD tool? 4 hours. And then 2 more hours to clear the dungeon because the chances of everyone KNOWING the dungeon was slim to none. The average time I have to wait in the DPS queue for a dungeon? 40 minutes. Which is just about the time it takes to do all of the Tol Barad dailies, killing every fox along the way.

But nooooooooooo people gotta complain about something, so they chose to complain about their 40 minute queue times. To be fair, the queue times for LFD have been slowly increasing through Cataclysm. I have talked about this before. So Blizzard decided to answer the problem with a carrot on a stick. It worked for Oculus right?

Here’s the thing though… I have a tank. I have debated on leveling her. Why haven’t I leveled her despite having leveled 2 healers and 2 dps at 85? Tanking sucks. I hate random healers who aren’t very good. I hate random dps who can’t wait two seconds. I hate RNG fights where one mistake leads to me dead on the floor. So now Blizzard offers me a carrot. Am I going to level her and roll through dungeons with her now?


But I LOVE minipets! I LOVE rare mounts! So why wouldn’t I leap at the chance to get them?!? Oh right, because like MOST other collectors, I collect my pets and mounts on ONE character. I collect them on Joyia. Who is a Pure DPS. If I could tank with Joyia, I would be all over this like a starving man on a steak. Bad DPS, rude healers, wipes would all be ignored with the joy of working towards a rare mount. I don’t want those mounts on Pandara, I want them on Joyia

There are so many other solutions… offer it as a reward for any dps who has to wait more than 40 minutes in the queue. The tanks are already being rewarded, with an instant queue. Make the bags Bind on Account so we can pass them off to our alts. (Then I would be 85 on Pandara in a heartbeat.)

Or they could fix the real problem. Wrath proved that the problem isn’t there aren’t enough tanks and healers. My dps queue during peak times in Wrath was 15-25 minutes, HALF of what it is now. Why was that? Oh right. Wrath dungeons were easier. Wrath tanks had better threat generation, gear, and to be honest, their skills were better tuned. Revert Swipe to it’s old cooldown (none). Give Thunderclap back it’s massive aggro. Increase the threat of Death and Decay and Blood Boil. Revert Consecrate back to it’s Wrath glory. Lower the CD on all tank “panic” buttons. (Just by 1/4th or 1/3rd.)

Or even give classes the ability to tank. Make Beast Mastery like Feral Druids. There are talents they take to get a tanky pet or to get a dps pet. Bam. One more tank. Make Demonology like Bear tanks. Metamorphosis is a form a lock goes into to tank. They have their “big” health pet that splits the damage through soul link, and their skills in demon form generate aggro. Bam, one more tank. Enhancement shamans – they are already halfway there! Give them a few modified skills, and a crit proof skill, bam, tanky tanky.

Another option is to change the group size going into 5 mans. How much of a change would pulling in an extra dps do? 1 tank, 1 heals, 4 dps. Not only would this eat up more of the surplus DPS, but also it would mean less caring when one dps isn’t pulling their weight.

I don’t think their solution is a solution. I think it is a bandaid on a gushing head wound. They need to address the problem, not the symptoms. The problem is role imbalance. And this addition, isn’t going to get more tanks running dungeons. It is just going to get people who *don’t* like tanking and healing to tank and heal, which just exacerbates the problem by having under or poorly geared people, filling roles they don’t know how to play, and causing frustration all around.


Note 1: This would be an EXCELLENT time to bring back lost pets like the vampire bat, scorchling, etc etc. It would also be a great place for rare mob drop pets like Gundrak Hatchling, Whelplings, Foxes, Sewer Rat, Crawler…

Note 2: Would it be different if they added super rare/unobtainable mounts back in? (A la ZG Tiger, ZA Bear.) OH HELL YES it would be different. Tank would be leveled and tanking like NOBODY’S business. Not only would I do it, but I would SERIOUSLY campaign for the ability to have a paid mount transfer service.