Friday, February 02, 2007

Time is Money, Friend

That goblin in Gadget has it right, Time is Money!

That's what I heard Taint say last night as we were all spending the first ten minutes of loggin in on bank alts. What he was referring to was the fact that we could be leveling instead of managing our banks. Everyone wants to level, quest, and raid for a reason. There are three main reasons I notice and I call them the three G's. Gear, Gold, Glory. And yes, they are all related to one another.

Gear
Most people don't notice, but I truly believe Blizz developers are pretty manipulative. They are appealing to our sense of style and desire to socially conform. None of us want to look inadequate both aesthetically and actually. Everyone knows how crappy gear looks when you mix and match from 1-60. Nothing you put on looks all that epic.

Wham! Out comes the first model to strut into Ironforge with full Tier 2 gear! Now there's a nice looking set! Check out those shoulders! Wham! Out comes the first priest in our server to get full Grand Marshal gear. I remember sitting outside the Ironforge bank admiring her for a good 15 minutes. I took several screenshots. She was gorgeous, sparkling NE priest with long white hair and piercing eyes. She would park herself outside the bank and just sit there AFK in all her Grand Marshal Raiment glory, literally glowing! She turned out to be a man from Australia.... but that's not the point. The point is that she looked epic, she looked put together, she looked like you should look at end-game.

Half of what you wear tells your WoW story for you. It speaks to where you have been, and probably of how many times you've been there, and how important end-game threads are to you....oh, and how much free time you have. :)

Back in the 40 man raid days (I love that you can say that now), having tier 3 sh1t on said a lot about a person. Good and bad things. Everyone wants to be the best or better than they are. It's human nature to try and exceed your status. Most of us were just trying to feel adequate. It's hard to convince yourself that you're okay wearing 3/8 Shadowcraft when every other rogue has full Deathmantle sets on. I don't care how many times you say to yourself, "I'm just playing casually, this is the best I can do," it's still hard to be okay sitting on subpar gear for nearly a year while everyone around you can probalby one-shot you.

The week TBC was released, we were finaly able to go head to head with High Warlord geared horde for the first time in a year. People try not to make a big deal out of gear but unfortunately, it is pretty important in terms of game play. It defines about 50% of your character. 20% is skill, and 30% is gaming style (includes class).


Gold
WoW gold is very important in this game. Although a lot of people try to blow it off as not being that significant to game play, I'd like to point them to the billion dollar industry in China that says differently. Real life commerce takes place in Azeroth every day and some of us know how to play it right....and some of us are just getting by. Unfortunately for me, I've never been that great at being smart with my WoW money.

Instead, I invest my mats and green armor to someone who knows what they're doing. I have a WoW financial consultant essentially. Someone to play the market for me. Fascinating, huh? So when I needed the money for my riding epic mount, I had it easily. And when I need money for an expensive recipe or spell, I usually have it. The last thing anyone wants is to need something and not have the money in WoW to pay for it....especially you're repair bill.

Making money in WoW....and I mean serious gold, like 10k plus, takes a lot of know-how, some risk, and the desire to play the AH and trade channels. It also takes time and patience. Getting rich isn't over night, it takes at least a good week of smart AHing. I might actually try it out myself and see if I can't find quick ways to make money over the next week to see if I can reach the 6.5k mark. I'll report my findings.

Professions cost more money that they usually make. This statement is true for me because I suck at being an entrepreneur.
I don't know how to whore my goods out there and really take advantage of the real commerce going on daily. I'm honestly too shy to shout in Trade Channel. "WTS Enchant Greater Spell Damage! PST! "or "WTS 2000 runecloth for xxgold!" I also never invested the time in the AH to see what craftable goods actually sell...and then take the time to make those. But some people do make a lot of money from their profession. These people are usually the first and only to craft things and spend a great deal of time to level up their character specifically to better their professions.

....but about needing money. Why do we need money in WoW? Why is it so important that people will pay real world dollars for it? Game play security! Having a good chunk of change on your character insures that you can continue to play the way you want to and not have to worry about repair bills, not being to afford your newest spells, or say, buying that crusader enchant you always wanted to get or hey, an epic flying mount! In many cases, it can help you level. My xp from level 51-52 was almost sponsored entirely by wool cloth, silk cloth, and runecloth. I basically paid gold to for xp. There have been many other occasions and quests like this....ie..That's Asking Too Much at Light Hope's Chapel.

When we started out, we started from absolute scratch. I remember the first time Sadin racked up enough silver to hit 1gold! It was really exciting. We all felt really rich with 2 gold in our pockets. We fought over 8 and 10 slot bags. We had to save up and collectively help each other out with riding mounts. I remember having to pick and choose which spells I wanted in the beginning because I didn't have enough silver for my spells. We're far from those times but I don't ever take for granted the gold we have now.

Glory
What would compel someone to organize a guild to power level them for 28 hours straight to be the first to level 70? Glory! What would compel someone to skip classes or work so they can say they defeated the Four Horsemen in Naxx? Glory! What would compels us to want to conquer a dungeon or ding the next level? You guessed it.

Glory is about achievement, accomplishing things that are praiseworthy, and even gives most of us a certain feeling of dinstinction in an otherwise rather mundane lifestyle. I know it's sad that we don't come home after a hard days work and go DING! I earned money today. We don't make dinner and go DING! Woot! I served dinner! I don't think that any of my friends who have children go DING! Diaper changed!

These are all things to be proud of....things that are necessary and important tasks of our RL life....but life happens regardless. WoW does not happen regardless and as pathetic as it sounds, leveling in WoW gives me more of a feeling of accomplishment than say washing my car or doing laundry. As you get older, you DING in RL fewer and fewer. I mean when you're young it's like DING! I learned to ride a bike! DING! I won the All-State baseball game! DING! I got into college! DING! I'm not a virgin! DING! I got married! DING! I had a baby! DING! I bought a house! DING! I have a family and kids and morgage to support now! doh!!!!

WoW gives you some glory back. Some way to DING again. It's nice having fun goals to accomplish in life besides the mundane responsibilites of RL. And there are a multitude of ways to get Glory in WoW. Public and personal. My personal glory this week was to fly to the top of the floating island in Nagrand and declare it Alachia Isle!

For others, it's being rich in the game or making it into the top raiding guild or being the number 1 PVP arena team or being the most likeable and friendly person in the guild or getting that rare non-combat pet drop or being the first in your guild to fly. You get my point. ;)
.....

SO that being said, the 3 G's are pretty important aspects to this game. And in order to achieve those G's, you have to play, you have to level, you have to progress in the game. All of those things take time invested in the game. Every moment you're not in the game, is a moment you could be closer to the 3 G's. This makes it fairly frustrating for people who can't play every day or as much as everyone else. Because you know that there's always someone out there who can invest more time in the game than you. It's easy to feel left behind and not as adequate as everyone else.

My good friend Boozefort wrote to me last night: "Last couple of days I have been so tired. Last night I logged out at midnight. I don't know if I am ever going to get to 70." And it got me thinking...

My group out leveled him about a week ago and now he's back to soloing. From time to time, he'll admit that the game lifestyle is rough and sometimes lonely. He says its fine with him though, makes his characters a little rougher around the edges and gives them a stronger sense of individuality.

His priorities are his children and family. His kids come before the game absolutely. He and his wife are devoted parents. Just last weekend, I asked him if they'd want to run Mana Tombs with us Saturday. He said that Maebee and he had a date with the kids to watch Cars and take them out to eat sphagetti. I thought it was really sweet and admirable. It makes me sad when people put the game before spending time with their kids.

So yeah, he can't put as much time into the game. He's never the first to level or go into an instance or see content. But something I have noticed over time is that he's the first, in our guild to develop a strong character personality. He's the first to take his character beyond just an avatar. And he doesn't know it but it makes me a bit jealous. Alachia is just another mage, priest, rogue, or druid in the guild. Boozefort logs into the game and everyone's like "BOOZE!!!!!" "its Boozefort!" "you drunk, Boozefort?"

The Booze-factor:
*Widely known among the guild that he collects all things booze-related in the game. Anything that gets you drunk or resembles something you drink booze out of. Not uncommon for his PMs to have a ....hic at the end of them.

*Will mail you (male or female) an item such as a Blackend Defias Legging and write in the content of the in-game mail: I think you left these over at my place. I don't remember last night. What the hell happened?!!"

*Will pick some of the funniest moments in an instance to throw a snowball at you.

*Carried around a shovel on his back because it looked funny.

*HUGE into mining, was mining things in the Southshore and the Badlands about 15 levels beyond him because he loved mining so much.

*Spends a ton of time devoted to learning the Auction House and can pretty much ramble off the price of any item. He's rich.

*Always good for a laugh. You know when he comes along to any raid, it's gonna contain at least one good laugh.

*Pretty well known to collect all of the random useless items in the game. Full Twill Set, The Stoppable Force, etc.

*Did I mention that at one point he was a Defias Gear Salesman?

See, that stuff gives your character some serious personality. And that persists regadless of what level he is. He has the most personality in the guild, the good kind. I wish I had 10% of it because that's a kind of "G" I will never be able to achieve...no matter how much more time I have.

5 comments:

Starman said...

I always said that someday I'd step into MC with full Twill, but my full bank never allowed it.

Humor's so important in this game, and damn near important to keep everyone happy. Too many people take the game seriously (like my last guild). I think that's one of the reasons why I left it - they were too stiff. Yeah, I did the snowball thing too. I was told to cut it out.

Kaz said...

When TBC came out a friend and I stopped playing our mains and vowed never to advance them to 70 in Outlands. Not because we disliked the class or anything like that, it was because we wanted to keep them there as a sorta 'trophy' character. My hunter with 102 days /played had full tier2 and his warlock had gear that gave him around +600 spell damage all up. They were both very 'end game' in their own right and I guess we just couldn't handle seeing them "reset" like everyone else in a way. It's not like we're complaining or anything like that, it's just kinda sad to say goodbye to the super in your super character, ya know? So now they stand on our toon screens as reminders of our 3G'ness. It's (for lack of a better word) nice to look at them in all their epic gear from time to time, kinda like a much loved photo you have of a memorable time in your life.

He's since started over as a BE warlock on another server and I've rolled a D shaman.

kaz said...

Legendary post material btw. Surprised you didn't save it for a podcast episode. Will link on our friend's forums.

jason said...

Alachia, I couldn't have said it any better myself. I too have very limited time to play and when I do get around to it I'm usually stuck soloing because it's difficult to get a group together for a few reasons, first I'm in a VERY small guild and second I may be on for 10 minutes at a time and no respectable gamer would want to cross the wow world to spend 10 minutes with me smashing pigs n' such...anyhow...I know exactly how good ol' Booze feels...A good friend of mine was the first Warlock to hit 70 on our server, he has a habit of calling me a "casual" gamer because I've failed to accomplish this task as well...somehow, not playing constantly makes me casual...nothing could make me more mad.

I had been playing Wow before he was and it was I who introduced him to the game...and to top it off, I've been gaming for 25+ years. Longer than he's been alive.

I get this casual gamer tag because I take the time to explore, read the quests and get into the game...and god forbid I actually rolled this shammy on a ROLEPLAY server! (RED ALERT!).

Anyhow, I'll get off of my tangent and say that I'm glad someone finally realized there are finer points to wow than being the best pvp'er, having the best gear and pwning the biggest monsters in the game. We all pay to play and it is up to each of us individually to choose how we want to spend our time...this is coming from the same guy that's never killed Ony, never set foot in MC.

Ah well, back to work. Saturday morning and I'm dying to get home and log onto wow.

Here's to hitting 66 sometime this week, till then hope all is well and I'm looking forward to the next podcast!

wowcast said...

Yeah, I might talk about this issue in a future cast for sure. It's one that has been on my mind for quite some time. Especially when I was on break. Like I was missing out or not gaining something because I wasn't playing. And I started thinking about what it means to want to play all the time..what am I truly trying to accomplish....beyond just having fun in the game.....what specifically about the game that compels me to want to log in every day for a solid month to play non-stop and give up all of my weekends and weeknights to a game I almost can call a second job.

After hitting 70 with my priest, I've had a hard time getting back into my mage. I almost feel like you Kaz, that she's a novelty and should stay the way she was. But I need her to be a vending macine...so I'm trekking her to 70 as well...But it's been unbelievabley difficult to be motivated to play her. Almost feels wrong.

But Felix's paladin and she are starting up the hellfire quests and we're starting to get back into the swing of things.

I don't know how "casual gaming" got such a bad wrap. Probably to do with the idealogy that average isn't good enough or the simplicities of normal don't hold much value.

I say screw that. If you look at this whole thing realistically, on the macro level of life, it's all relative. Casual/hardcore...when it's all said and done, did you enjoy your time? Did you make the most of it? Not did you get 10 characters up to level 70 but what do you remember about it? Good experiences vs. great playing...etc... it's all relative.. it's all about what you percieve to be important.

okay..it's late... i'm probably not making any sense....gonna stop for now.

...but I think I get it in my head.

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