Friday, February 13, 2015

Former Captain Of Industry

The economy of WOW is no longer favourable to me the way it was.  In previous expansions I was a Captain of Industry, making vast fortunes in manufacturing.  Many people just buy cheap things on the AH and resell them for a profit but I was never much interested in that as it felt like I was just skimming off the top and bringing no value.  What attracted me was finding ways to make huge sums actually doing things.  I used to have a battalion of alchemists to transmute one thing into another and every day I would log in to turn life into air, earth into fire, or whatever the thing was at the time.  This was actually a good thing for the server in general because whatever I was making was the rarest thing and turning common resources into rare ones is valuable.  I also turned uncut gems into cut ones, mass produced crafted gear, and did the ore - gems - jewelry - dust - scrolls shuffle.  If I happened to acquire a gigantic fortune along the way, more's the better.

These days though manufacturing isn't what it used to be.  Cutting gems isn't going to make anybody rich because there are only a few cuts available so everybody can do everything.  Finding rare cuts and making sure they are on the AH isn't feasible.  Transmuting seems to have entirely vanished so my army of alchemists is bored with nothing worthwhile to do.  What happened is that the economy became much simpler than it used to be and that got rid of all the angles and inefficiencies I could step in and fill.  There are ways to make money certainly but mostly it seems like they don't scale.  My ability to product things for profit is extremely limited and mostly I am reduced to waiting for real time to pass.

It feels like a chunk of the game has vanished.  For most people I bet this is a good thing because I don't think they enjoyed funnelling money to me so I would produce the obscure items they wanted.  I was adding value but the rest of the WOW population likely prefers the situation where I don't add value because that value add is unnecessary.  The number of folks who really want an incredibly complex item optimization game is very small compared to the number of folks who just want to buy their stuff and get back to bashing so this is a good move on Blizzard's part I think.  The challenge of the game in terms of beating actual enemies is the same, but the logistical issues are much less.

All of which means that instead of spending an enormous stack of gold at the start of an expansion and earning it all back via manufacturing I just buy what I need and keep my hoard intact.  Thankfully I have enough saved up that unless I go crazy I will have tons of money for a half dozen expansions down the line.  I won't be broke... but some part of me misses playing the economics game.

I have traded my game of money for a game of running a garrison.  Overall for the whole playerbase this is a good thing and I approve of it from an objective design standpoint.  It is a little bit sad that I couldn't have all the games to play at once though.

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