Tobold's Blog
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
Where have all the farmers gone?

My financial situation in World of Warcraft never looked better. After doing lots of daily quests to get to revered with the Shattered Sun Offensive, which was already a good earner, I finally decided against using my badges of justice to buy the new badge loot. I only spent 25 badges on PvP bracers for my priest, replacing the last non-epic piece of gear I had. With my remaining badges I slowly bought nether vortexes and sold them for 360 gold each, thus making 24 gold per badge (minus 5% AH fees). A nice pile of money.

Using that money I leveled up tailoring with my mage to 374, planning to make the last point when tailoring the second piece of shadowcloth armor. Shadowcloth armor is great for a frost mage, epic armor with a frost spell damage bonus. To make it you need shadowcloth, 2 of which you can make every 4 days if specialized. And you need Primal Water. Lots of it. Now I spent the last couple of months making one or more Primal Water with my transmute master alchemist. I always sold them for just under 20 gold, although sometimes I needed to wait a few days when through oversupply the market value had dropped to 15 gold or below. So, getting Primal Water for shadowcloth armor? No problem! ... Man, was I wrong. When checking the AH now, for several days, there is either no Primal Water at all for sale, or they are selling for crazy amounts of money like 60 gold. My warrior alchemist is still making one Primal Water per day, unless transmute mastery procs and I get 2, but progress is slow. But as he happens to have 375 fishing as well, I hopped on my trusty flying mount, and flew to the elemental plateau in Nagrand, hoping to fish for some pure water. And there an astounding sight greeted me: there was nobody, absolutely nobody farming the elementals there, all the spawns were up. So in the end I only got one fishing pool of pure water, but made many more motes of water by killing water elementals.

I've never seen the elemental plateau unfarmed and the AH empty of primals. Where have all the farmers gone? One possibility is that Blizzard (Europe) just launched one of their periodic mega-bans, banning the accounts of all the thousands of gold farmers who have been found botting over the last months. The other possibility is that gold farmers are doing what everyone else is doing: daily quests instead of primal farming. Sure, you can only do 25 of them per day. But assuming the gold farmer has several accounts, there is no more limit. The amount of gold you can earn with dailies is higher than what you previously made with primals. And of course the activity is virtually undetectable, as presumably it doesn't involve botting, and the gold farmers just disappear in the mass of regular players doing exactly the same.

Whether they got banned or just changed what they do to farm gold, the absence of primal farmers is hurting. Fact is that the demand of primals for crafting and enchanting is as high as ever. And most people preferred to buy primals instead of farming them theirselves. So only with the 24/7 presence of professional primal farmers could the demand of the regular players be met. Contrary to a popular misconception, primal farmers had a deflationary effect on the economy, not an inflationary one. Now they are gone, my shadowcloth armor is going to be expensive.
i am a primal/ore farmer, but its gotten to the point where all my characters have epic flyers, i've bought all the items i need and all my friends have no need for crafting resources. pve has become stale, and pvp requires little money at all to play and you'll usually get 10g a day on each character doing the battleground daily quest anyway. i might farm a little a few months before the expansion is due to be released, but as it stands i have no need to gather large amounts of cash because there are more enjoyable things to do.
I believe the farmers are doing what everyone else is doing at the moment: Dailies.
Why bother grinding motes anyomore? You can easily earn over 300+ gold by doing dailies.

10 gold for a 5 minute quest, plus the possiblity of a Green or maybe a Badge of Justice, perhaps an item like a 'Wedding Ring' that you can vendor for 15 gold, and so on.
These new Sunwell dailies are seriously messing up the economy. I was looking at having to save a long time for my epic mount, but by the end of tonight my Belf will be sitting pretty, which will mean I can do even more dailies in the time I am playing her. No crawling along to Nagrand, Skettis and Netherstorm, I will be there in a couple of minutes.

As for gold farmers, I presume they are doing the dailies, too, because the amount of gold spam in LFG is getting ridiculous; it is now every 5 minutes, as well as whispers. I press the report spam button every time it happens, and yet it seems to make no difference.

Blizzard, gold is out of control; do something about it!
one more thing to add to my earlier comment: people may laugh at engineering, but in the burning crusade it is THE gathering profession. when i do gather i make hundreds of gold a day sucking up those pretty gas clouds.
It's server-specific, I think. Primals have gone up on my server too, but not by that extent.
I think you are right in assuming it is not a matter of a huge ban by Blizzard but rather dailies being the by far most profitable activity at the moment. Patch 2.4 gave a huge inflow of everything it seems to me, more gold, more badge loot & more badges and the new MrT giving more epic loot simply from drops. But unlike for gear, that is disenchanted or vendored in the end, the gold needs a gold sink of sorts, or we just get plain inflation. Maybe this is Blizzard's way of giving everyone a shot at an epic flying mount before expansion without having to lower the price? Or as some people claim, maybe they want to stop gold farming by simply drowning us all in gold coins? It is a strange sight at any rate.
Most likely the huge influx of dailies is aimed at letting people earn flying mounts before the expansion. If one side effect is that all farmers are earning gold the same way then I think Blizzard is happy because they are now controlling the rate of gold flow into the economy. The Daily Quest Limit has become the federal interest rate of World of Warcraft. Blizzard can raise or lower it to effect the virtual economy and gold farming.

And I have to disagree with farmers having a deflationary effect on the economy since primal farmers were only a small percentage of the overall farmer population. A lot of them simply ran bots that killed things for gp while others had tricks/exploits for farming certain instances.
Tobold, Tobold, Tobold.... Primal Water is the easiest to get!

Just fish the Elemental Plateau and the Lake between there and Garadar, killing the elementals when there are no pools up. You can easily get 10 or more Primals in an hour's play.
This situation is poor, Blizz is beginning to flood WoW with gold. The problem is there is very little else to reward players with. When you first start out in WoW you are rewarded by money, exp, and gear. At 70 you no longer get exp, and after a few weeks most of the gear you will come across will not be an improvement unless you are doing heroics or raids. All that is left is Gold. This is a basic design flaw, we need some thing else to reward us other than gold. There is honor, but that is just another kinda of currency. Sadly it can not be added as a end-game mechanic and thus won't be added at all as Blizz seams pretty content on ignoring Azeroth unless it makes getting to Outland easier.

So we are all grinding our Dailies, going after the only reward we have left. Hopefully Blizz will introduce some new concept in WotLK that will give us something else to do with out time other than farming gold, in one form or other.
hmmm this post makes me wonder if this is what blizzard had in mind. If the farmers are doing dailies they aren't fighting regular players who want to farm thier own mats and become far less visible. And as supply drops everything the farmers used to supply us with become more expensive. Boom instant money sink that people don't blame on blizzard.
Arrow, you forgot to mention reputation as a currency. Right now many are grinding for the shattered sun reputation and the supply packs. I think the gold is a by-product for many of us.

However, when the reputation is reached (which those who are steadily ganing it will probably cap out sometime this week) we will truly be at the point you outlined.
To tell the truth T... The best place ive found to farm primal water isnt the plateau any more. Its skettis. The water elementals there are plentiful... easy to kill for a BM hunter like myself... and drop more motes than the elementals on the plateau.

If however they are farmed on your server, or if you have trouble killing them quickly, then you might be better served sticking to the plateau while it is empty.
It's funny. I went to farm some primal water and life today for my primal mooncloth cooldown and I don't think I've seen so many people farming motes in a long time. At both spots there were like 5 others so I just got my single primal of each type and left. I haven't checked the AH, but if there's a shortage of primals maybe people are being forced out to farm for their own primals?
Whenever you indiscriminately dump a bunch of money into an economy, especially when the money isn't needed by most people, you create inflation. That's basic economics.

Throw in the fact that farmers, who were definitely a deflationary agent in the economy before 2.4, can now make gold instantly upon completion of a quest, and presto, higher prices for items that were previously sold to earn gold. Supply and demand at work.

So, its not just one factor or another, but both. Gold farmers don't need to compete with people for primals, they just do redundant daily quests. Because of this, the supply of the previously farmed goods are lower, increasing the cost. And because everyone and their sister is swimming in gold, the few primals on the AH will sell for a lot more now than before, when everyone was broke.

The whole Sunwell Plateau patch is basically an experiment in the economy. People are now making a ton of gold, but spending their time grinding rep for newer items.

Anyone who actually believed that gold farmers created inflation should now understand that their belief was incorrect.

Gold farmers created cheaper prices for primals and other farmable goods, while half the gold that was being purchased (generalization) was being instantly dumped into epic flying mount costs, or used to buy goods for professions/gear/fluff.

Of course primals are more expensive. There isn't a gold farmer around who is putting their primals up for cheaper, lowering the average selling price. Why bother waiting for a sale, when you can take a few hours to make a couple hundred gold.
In the case of water, air, mana, and shadow, I farm those with my engineer with the mote extractor, mapping goggles, and fast flying mount. I can get 5 primals in 30 minutes if there is no competition, which there usually isn't.

I don't know where the farmers have gone, but on my server, I can run the dailies faster than I could ever manually farm by killing elementals. So I buy all my fires, and can usually get them for around 20g on my server.

In fact, I have a 375 miner, but he has a slow flyer, so I buy all my ore because it's just faster to run dailies.
First, they are scum and should be put down, and now lamenting where are they?

Love the duplicity of mankind.
I have the feeling that in WotLK Blizzard will introduce a new currancy which will cause gold to become like silver, totally worthless.

Either that or prices in the expansion will be ridiculously high.
On a sidenote, the motes you can get whilst doing the Sunwell dailys (The mobs tend to drop mana motes ) have driven the price of Primal Mana's *down* on my server.
(Although Primal Mana isn't as useful as Primal Water, naturally. :)

Other Primal prices on the AH seem to have remained stable.

We have, however, noticed that the price of gold spaming (dollars per 1000g)in our Trade channels seems to have dropped about 40% in the last 2 weeks.

The Sunwell area is designed to *give* players money. Lots of simple, fast daily quests, in a small zone, means that the gold adds up very very quickly, and even faster for those of us with multiple 70's.

I'm a fairly casual player, and the Sunwell dailies have meant that I've finally picked up a Epic flyer for my druid (which will be converted to Epic Flight form when I can wrangle a Heroic SH run) which is something I've *never* expected to have. I've noticed a few other 'casual' friends of mine are now busily grinding away in Sunwell, so if Blizzard's Sinister Plan was to encourage casuals to sink very large amounts of money into mounts they can't use for most of WotLK, it's working. :)
So how will this affect the goldselling market, now that everyone have easy access to gold, but materials seems to grow more expensive?
We'll definitely see the price of WoW gold constantly going down for both US and EU servers. This will probably be the trend for some months until the WotLK comes out.
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