It’s as real as you make it

I need coffee.

I bought some yesterday and yet failed to bring it in to work. Apparently today I woke up on the fail side of the bed. Those of you that have been around for  a while know what this means.

I get random.

Bizarre tangents get explored, ridiculous posts get written, and I generally get e-mail telling me to go back on my meds. Well, such is life.

Today we will be exploring a tangent that came to mind after I read a news story about the Korean Supreme Court.

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The Korean Supreme Court recently decided that virtual currency is in fact real. The reasoning is that it is earned through “work” as opposed to through gambling.

Interesting.

If the government here in the United States were to decide to agree with them how would that effect me?

Would I have to pay taxes on my glyph business?

Could I write off the money I spend on flasks and buff food as a business expense?

Perhaps only on runs where one of my crafters gets a new pattern to drop?

How about paying government fees?

Could I cover the annual registration for my car with in-game gold? 

Could I pay my income taxes the same way?

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These are the kind of things that run through my head after I read a simple news story and put it together with whats going on in my life. It is all about the real world value of in-game currency. Let me assure you it has real value.

Here is an example.

My sons teachers cannot stop gushing about how his grades have improved over the last several weeks. He has gone from just scraping by to excellent across the board. They are truly impressed, and I am as well.

How does that have anything to do with the real value of virtual money?

If he makes honor roll I buy him the epic flight skill for his main.

Right now he is farming 5000 gold in a classroom.

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Yes the gold has real value.

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Looking forward to the end of the world

Thinking about the future is one thing, actively planning for the unknown is another.

That has been taking up a good chunk of my time lately. Planning, plotting, and gathering has been on my list of things to do for a while now.

Like a squirrel putting away nuts for the winter, or the ant in the famous story stocking up for a rainy day I have been gathering.

Gathering up things that I will need for my new characters when the Cataclysm comes later this year.

In a way that is a shame.

It’s not that I am not enjoying the game that I am playing now, far from it. It’s more along the lines of looking forward to the content to come.

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People who like to raid are getting their fix of new content now, as Icecrown opens its doors to their not so tender advances.

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People who prefer PvP are getting a new arena season. (Or so I have been told, I don’t participate.)

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People like me who actually enjoy the leveling process are still running the same content we have for the last four years. Soon though, that will change.

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I for one am looking forward to it.

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New places to explore, new quests to do, new lore to see, it will be great.

Ok, it will be great unless I am required to swim everywhere. I prefer my gaming environment to be rather two-dimensional. Thats probably why I don’t care for Eye of Eternity or Oculus, but I digress.

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What does any of this have to do with gathering stuff towards the Cataclysm?

Well, it turns out that looking at it I am not gathering like it’s the end of the world.

I am gathering like I am going on vacation.

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I want enough cash in the bank that I don’t have to worry about grinding dailies or working the auction house to support the characters I will be leveling. That sounds an awful lot like vacation to me. I just want to have fun and not “work” to support it.

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I want basic starter gear for both of the ones I plan to start. I am not talking about having a complete changout of gear I can swap to every ten levels sitting, already gemmed and enchanted, in the bank.

I am just talking about a few heirlooms and other odds and ends.

That leads me (as such things often do) to making a list of what I want to have set aside for my new characters. Since I am writing it down anyhow, and need to put it somewhere where it won’t get lost, it’s going to go here.

  • Cash. 8K gold should be enough to cover money sinks all the way through cold weather flight, so I’ll likely go with an even 10K to be safe.
  • Bind to Account chest(s) appropriate to the class.
  • Bind to Account shoulder(s) appropriate to the class.
  • Bind to account weapon(s) appropriate to the class.
  • Inventory bags. I figure four Frostweave Bags at 20 slots each will do fine.
  • Bank bags. Seven Travelers Backpacks will do well here. 16 slots each, and non-binding so I lose nothing by updating them later. 

Is that perhaps going a little overboard?

I don’t think so.

Going overboard would also include things like this:

  • All the cloth to level first aid to 450.
  • All the meats to level cooking to 450.
  • All the raw materials to level both chosen professions to 450.
  • A well stocked personal guild bank full of consumables and recipes.
  • A second tab in that bank with complete gear sets (minus the heirloom slots) to carry you all the way to 80. Bonus points if there are sets for multiple specs.

When the Wrath of the Litch King was still on the horizon I was planning and gathering as well. The difference is I was a raider back then. Everything revolved around getting to 80 as quick as possible so I could get back into the raid group.

Leveling those ten levels from 70 to 80 was a chore to be done, an obstacle in my path. Work I had to do before I could play the game I wanted to. Everything I stockpiled was with that in mind.

Now it’s the leveling I am looking forward to, and raiding is just distant smoke on the horizon.

This time instead of having ten levels of work before I could start to have fun, I am looking forward to 85 levels of fun before I start having to work.

It’s actually kind of refreshing.

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Wake up and smell the future

Hi folks,

Just figured I would take a quick break from NaNoWriMo to throw in my two cents worth on the pet store.

Yep, the same damn thing everyone else is talking about.

I see people screaming about how selling an in game pet for real dollars is game breaking.

I see people complaining about various other account services as well, faction transfers and PvE – PvP realm transfers chief among the complaints.

I have read about how this is a horribly slippery slope. Apparently we will wake up one day and find them selling conquest badges for real money or something.

I have also read a few articles where the authors were extremely unconcerned. essentially saying “they are just pets, and pets have been for sale for a while. Just look on ebay.”

I suppose my take on all this is a little different.

I don’t see it as a way to separate the haves and the have-nots within the game, although to some extent it will. I also don’t see it as some kind of slippery slope that Blizzard might go sliding headlong down at any moment. I see all the changes that have been coming in the last six months or so as a window into where the future of WoW lies.

Since my brain is mush from the whole “Write a novel in 30 days while simultaneously doing everything else life calls on me to do” thing so this might come out a bit disjointed. Sorry about that.

We are all fantasy gamers here right? Well, lets take a walk down fantasy lane. Pretend for a while that you are an executive for a company. We will call them Blizz because I am too damn tired to make up a cutesy name right now.

You have this game, it is literally the cash cow for your business. 

Just like a farmer you will tend to that cash cow as best you can. As a farmer your job would be to milk that cow for as much as you can without causing it to dry up. After all if it goes dry you are hosed, but you don’t want to leave any milk there that you should have taken. 

Now as this executive you know about the next generation MMO, the one you hope will turn out to be the next cash cow. The last one is getting a bit long in the tooth after all. Now you have a few problems.

You don’t want to compete with yourself for subscribers.

You don’t want to just turn off the old game, after all there is money to be made there yet.

You have promised all along that you would never allow out of game purchases to give an in game advantage (a promise artfully broken by the refer-an-alt program, but meh.)

The logical thing to do would be to simply convert you existing game from a subscription model to a microtransaction / free to play model.  If you could pull that off you could run the new one on a subscription model without forcing your customers to choose.

Another advantage would be in having competition in the microtrasaction MMO market, something you sorely lack at the moment. After all, you don’t make games to make friends, it’s a business. The object of business is to make profit, thats simply the way it works.

Ideally you would figure out a way for players of your old game to get a bit of a leg up in the new one. Perhaps by implementing a points system for doing tasks within the game.  This would be a lot easier to implement if we force them to tie all their games together under one login, we should do that as early as possible to work out the bugs.

Let the points earned in the old game be useless there and only spreadable in the new one (selling only vanity stuff or BOA starter gear of course). That way people from your old game would feel like they had money in their pockets for the new one, what better reason to try it out.

Now, knowing that a straight shift would scare some subscribers away you come up with a long-term plan. Start integrating the microtransaction model into the game. Proceed very slowly and cautiosly, until by the time your new game is ready all the infrastructure is in place.

Once the new game is released you can then announce that you are graciously going to make the old game free to play, while leaving the microtrasactions in place to still make a profit. Most of those that prefer the subscription model will move anyway,  so you can always start selling epics later.

Sitting back you think to yourself, Good plan.

Lets do that, we’ll start with pets.

Everyone loves pets.

Winter’s Veil

So here we are, the lights in the pumpkins have gone out. The headless Horseman has gone back to sleep for another season, the cackles of his laughter are a fading memory.The air is getting crisper, the frost is starting to make it’s early morning appearances. Fall is here, at least where I live.  Just like the real world it’s time to start thinking about Winters Veil.
Yes, I know, I really should wait for after Pilgrims Bounty before I post this, but I figured all the stores are getting decorated already. I might as well go ahead and write this up for those that (like me) are trying for the Merrymaker title.

Particularly those looking towards that Violet Proto Drake from What a Long Strange Trip it’s Been.

For starters I suppose I’ll just list the achievements involved in the holiday. As you read you’ll see why I am posting so early. There are a few things you should have in order before hand, and some money-making opportunities for the prepared.

If you plan to do your farming in advance you will need the following to complete the achievements:

  • 6 Small Eggs
  • 4 Bolts of Runecloth
  • 2 Bolts of Woolen Cloth
  • 1 Copper Bar
  • 4 Rugged Leather
  • Cooking skill to 325
  • Quests completed to open the “Bomb them again” daily with Ogr’ila.
  • Everything else can be bought off of vendors in your capitol city.
  • If you plan to do the Tailoring or Leatherworking portions yourself the skill required if 250.

Now on to the meat of the post.

The Merrymaker meta-achievment simply requires the 12 other achievements to be completed. It rewards the title “Merrymaker” as well as counting as one of the eight achievements needed for What a Long Strange Trip it’s Been.

On Metzen! Save Metzen the Reindeer.

The quest for this comes from Kaymard Copperpinch just outside of the Auction House in Orgrimmar, or Wulmort Jinglepocket (coincidentally) just outside the bank in Ironforge.

You’ll receive a ransom letter about Metzen the reindeer and the two locations you can find him.

One will be in Tanaris over in Lost Rigger Cove at about 68. 41. The other location will be in Searing Gorge at 70. 34. In both locations he will have four guards ranging in level from 44-47. If you’re at a low-level you may want to bring friends to help. All you need to do is talk to Metzen and use the reindeer dust on him to complete the quest.

Scrooge Throw a snowball at Cairne Bloodhoof during the Feast of Winter Veil. OR Throw a snowball at King Magni Bronzebeard during the Feast of Winter Veil.

Fortunately snowballs are easy to come by this time of year. On a side note, a bank alt full of snowballs will make you a killing in mid summer. I bought my first ever ground mount that way.

During the holiday they can be purchased from your friendly neighborhood Smokeywood Pastures vendors. Engineers that were lucky enough to get the pattern can craft a Snowmaster 9000, which can turn water into snowballs. Last but not least, for the truly cheap amongst us (like me) you can gather free snowballs from the ground in Alterac Mountains. I figure I will have to spend some time looking for The Abominable Greench over in Alterac anyhow, might as well save money.

Note: Remember to pick up the quest “The Reason for the Season” from your Smokywood Pasture friends, which will lead you to talk to Cairne or Bronzebeard anyway. Don’t be like me and forget.

‘Tis the Season During the Feast of Winter Veil, wear three pieces of winter clothing and eat Graccu’s Mince Meat Fruitcake.

This is probably going to be the most annoying to finish, or at least the most expensive. The three pieces of winter clothing are:

  • Red Winter Hat / Green Winter Hat: These drop from bosses in some regular (or heroic) WotLK instances. The Red one is available from Grand Magus Telestra in The Nexus, and the Green one is available from Mage-Lord Urom in The Occulus. I plan to do the Nexxus so the hat will match my other stuff.
  • Red Winter Clothes (Alliance) / Green Winter Clothes (Horde): Tailoring 250.  The pattern is sold by the Smokywood Pastures vendors in Orgrimmar or Ironforge. Then again you will sometimes receive one in the mail after completing the Metzen or Greench quests. Makes sense to wait until after you’ve done those. If you get lucky so you can save yourself a few coins. Also I recommend farming the mats now rather than waiting to buy them in the Auction House. People like me will be making a nice profit from those who waited.
  • Mats for the clothes are Bolt of Runecloth x 4, Bolt of Woolen Cloth x 1, Red Dye x 2, Rune Thread x 1.
  • Winter Boots : Leatherworking 250. Same as the clothes. These can be bought or received in the mail after doing the quests, Farm the mats now, yadda, yadda, save money.
  • Mats for the boots are Copper Bar x 1, Bolt of Woolen Cloth x 1, Rugged Leather x 4, Rune Thread x 1.

Simply Abominable Complete the quest to retrieve the stolen Smokywood Pastures’  treats and receive a Smokywood Pastures’ Thank You.

You can pick up the quest for this from Kaymard Copperpinch over by the bank in Orgrimmar, or Wulmort Jinglepocket just outside the bank in Ironforge. Yes, the same ones you got “On Metzen!” from.

This will send you to Alterac Mountains  to locate a snowman 35. 72. He’ll give you a quest to kill The Abominable Greench, who spawns every couple minutes nearby. Unfortunately, the area will likely be heavily camped, especially early on in the season. Here are a few ideas to make your life easier.

  • Go early in the morning or late at night, possibly even putting this one off for a few days till the crowds die down. I plan to do this one last.
  • He has three spawn points: 30. 52, 29. 61, and 40. 73. Pick the one with less people camping him. He spawns randomly at any of the three, so just stick it out.
  • If your there with friends group up and all camp the same spawn point, your odds get much better.
  • Make a macro, and keybind to something handy. I use “x”, your mileage may vary. Here is the one I used, just add in your instant cast tagging shot. I use Arcane Shot on the Hunter, Shadow Word Pain on the Priest, and plan to use Death Grip (yank and spank) on my Death Knight. 

/tar The Abominable Greench
/cast [exists] WhateverYourInstantCastIs

 
Bros. Before Ho Ho Ho’s Use Mistletoe on the Horde “Brothers” during the Feast of Winter Veil. OR Use Mistletoe on the Alliance “Brothers” during the Feast of Winter Veil.

To get mistletoe, you need to emote a /kiss at the Winter Revelers inside any of the inns in the major cities. Like trick-or-treating you can only do this hourly. They will randomly give you some Mistletoe, a Handful of Snowflakes (needed for the achievement Let it Snow) or Fresh Holly (can be used in the achievement Fa-la-la-la-Ogri’la).

 This achievement is a bit different depending on faction. The Horde are a bit better off if you are already 77 or higher, where the Alliance have more running around to do.

 
Horde: There are 3 brothers to find. 

Since the only way to get to the airship is by using your flying mount I hope you are 77 or better with Cold Weather Flying. Well, I suppose you could be doing this on an alt and purchase the tome of cold weather flight for them, or even getting a summons from a friendly Warlock. Either way, you have to find a way up there.

 
Alliance: Here you get lucky, while there are a few more people to visit getting to them is way easier, especially for lower level players.

He Knows If You’ve Been Naughty Open one of the presents underneath the Winter Veil tree once they are available.

Just like my house as a kid you don’t get to open the presents until the morning of December 25th. On the plus side they will be there until the end of the holiday on January 2nd. For those of you (like me) who may not log in on Christmas day you can still get this later. Rumor has it that opening a present from a previous year will work, however I can’t test it since I opened mine all last year :)

With a Little Helper from My Friends Earn 50 honorable kills as a Little Helper from the Winter Wondervolt machine.

The Winter Wondervolt machines are located outside of Ogrimmar and Ironforge, with a nicely placed one in the center of Dalaran. Very similar to the G.N.E.R.D. rage achievment from Hallows End with one notable exception. One that makes it a true Pita.

The costume doesn’t persist through death.

Oh, and I feel sorry for Druids since it counts as a costume and is dispelled when you shape shift. I suppose 50 honorable kills isn’t too annoying, especially since we have two weeks to do it. Myself, I plan to go heal me a few AV runs, I need the honor anyhow.

Fa-la-la-la-Ogri’la Complete the Bomb Them Again! quest while mounted on a flying reindeer during the Feast of Winter Veil.

Note: Kaelynn  pointed out that you can now start the quest chain at the quest “The Crystals” and skip a lot of the intro quests. I have not confirmed this (since I already did all the pre-quests), but I take her word for it.

If you have done the Bomb Them Again! quest for the Ogri’la dailies you are pretty much set. Otherwise you will need to do a series of quests to open up the dailies. Unfortunately that puts a lot of new players (or newly leveled alts) in a place where they have to go back and work on rep with what amounts to a dead faction. If you haven’t done those pre-Ogri’la quests they start with Mog’dorg the Wizened. There is also a good guide to the questline in the comments for the Bomb Them Again! quest.

Also note that the group quests are now soloable, at least by a level 80.

Once you are done with that you need to get your hands on some Holly (Preserved or Fresh works). This can be a reward for blowing kisses or from the quest to save Metzen the Reindeer. They can also be bought can be bought from other players through the Auction House since they also are not Bind on Pickup. Doubtless someone will be selling their extra (I know I will).

Note: Once again Druids take it in the shorts. You will have to be on a real flying mount to turn this in. One good thing though, you don’t have to be on a reindeer when you are doing the quest, only when you turn in. So save that Holly in case you get dismounted, just use it right before turn in.

Crashin’ & Thrashin’ Gain 25 crashes with your Crashin’ Thrashin’ Racer during the Feast of Winter Veil. 

Note: As of 2009 this is no longer required for the meta achievment.

Christmas morning everyone should have one of these sitting under the tree. Um, use it until it crashes 25 times. Not quite as simple as waking up in the morning, but close.

Let It Snow During the Feast of Winter Veil, use a Handful of Snowflakes on each of the race/class combinations listed below.

  • Orc Death Knight
  • Tauren Shaman
  • Undead Rogue
  • Gnome Mage
  • Blood Elf warlock
  • Human Warrior
  • Night Elf Druid
  • Troll Hunter
  • Draenei Priest
  • Dwarf Paladin

You can get Handfuls of Snowflakes by doing a /kiss to a Winter Reveler in any major inn. There is a chance at getting Mistletoe or Fresh Holly as well, which will be useful anyway. It feels oddly like trick-or-treating again in that you can do this only once an hour. I plan to hit the inn every time I go past, just to make sure I have enough.

I personally plan to do this one the same way I did the Pumpkin on the head one from Hallows Eve. I will sit outside the bank in Dalaran, possibly running around town a bit. I suppose you could do this in a battleground or out in the world as well, but I am entirely too lazy for that.

The Winter Veil Gourmet During the Feast of Winter Veil, use your culinary expertise to produce a Gingerbread Cookie, Egg Nog and Hot Apple Cider.

Huzzah! another grind (well, maybe). This achievement requires you to have a cooking skill of at least 325.  The three recipes are available quite easily by either by purchasing them from the Smokywood vendors or as a random quest reward in the mail after whackin’ the Greench. I have also seen these recipes listed for fairly high prices in the Auction House, but that’s not really necessary.

Of all the ingredients you need the only one that you can’t buy right in your home city is the Small Eggs. Depending on where you are and what faction and level you are, check out the mobs that drop there Here.

The other option (and one I would frown upon) would be to buy them on the Auction House. There are people out there that will, so people like me will list them at hugely inflated prices during the holiday. I don’t do it because I am evil, I do it because people are willing to pay it.

As a side note you can’t get the achievement by simply having these items nor by eating/drinking them. You need to actually craft them! There are those out there who will list the cookies, cider, and egg nogg in the Auction House as well, hoping to get money from those who don’t read the tooltip carefully enough. That’s one I won’t do.

If you would also like to finish the quest Treats for Greatfather Winter  you will need a total of 6 small eggs.

A Frosty Shake During the Feast of Winter Veil, use your Winter Veil Disguise kit to become a snowman and then dance with another snowman in Dalaran.

You should  have received The Winter Veil Disguise Kit is a reward from completing the Stolen Treats quest. Remember, the one  to kill the Abominable Greench? It’s actually not a quest reward, but you should receive it in the mail soon after completing the quest. I don’t know offhand where the group of dancing snowmen will be, probably somewhere in Dalaran. I suppose I’ll just keep on the lookout while looking for people to throw snowflakes at.

Hopefully this helps a few people along their way to the title of Merrymaker.

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There is another holiday achievement that is not required for the Merrymaker title, I suppose I should list it too for those that may be curious.

BB King (Alliance)

Pelt the following leaders:

  • Cairne Bloodhoof
  • Lor’themar Theron
  • Vol’jin
  • Lady Sylvanus Windrunner
  • Thrall

BB King (Horde)

Pelt the following leaders:

  • King Varian Wrynn
  • High Tinker Mekkatorque
  • Tyrande Whisperwind
  • Prophet Valen
  • King Magni Bronzebeard

I put my money where my keyboard was

There was a time in ages past when A blogger wrote a post about leveling Alchemy on the cheap.

In response to the comments on that post he decided to put his money where his keyboard was and see just how much it would end up costing.

Why are you looking at me like that?

Ok, Ok, I wrote the post like two weeks ago, sue me.

Anyhow, two weeks ago I took on the task of seeing just how much it would cost me in the long run to level Alchemy purely from the auction house. I did use some mats that I already had laying about, but I take their value into account. I also picked up a few more items once I reached 450.

After it was all said and done I had leveled to 450, specced for transmutation specialist, and gotten the materials for the final transmute quest at 450. In total I spent just under 1300G in cash and used about 550G or so worth of my own storehouse of materials. We will just call it an even 1900G to have a reasonably solid number.

Now, as of this writing I have only done two of the epic gem transmutes toward the quest at 450. I have three left to go before I can start transmuting Cardinal Rubies. My shopping list included the mats for making each epic gem once.

Here is whats left after over a week of listing.

Transmute spec really helped out on this one. I used fifteen of these to skill up from 435 to 450. I ended up with 19 of them after having it proc twice.  Since about half of these have sold for a bid and half on a buyout i’ll split the difference at 60g each and call this 420G once they all sell.

I also have a few flasks left over.

The flasks of agility and greater agility have been slowly selling off, but the earthen elixer and elixir of detect undead have not done so well. I am simply going to consider there a loss at this point. At best I could hope to get maybe another 10G out of these, but we shall see. More likely I’ll save the relisting cost and simply send them to my kids so they can use them on their small army of mid level characters.

Over all the strategy of crafting things that people would buy has worked out pretty well. I still have four epic gem transmutes to go over the next several days, and I am finding an average profit of about 100G on each one. That should put me at somewhere in the neighborhood of 800G still coming in from this project.

Another thing I did is to make use of the extra herbs that I bought for the leveling process. I did not waste their value by turning them into low level  potions. While those do sell I took a loss on every single thing I made until I started crafting at about 350 or better. Instead I used inscription to mill them into inks. In the same way as tipping an Enchanter to D/E a bag full of greens you have been carrying about you can find a friendly scribe and pay them to craft the inks.

Or simply put them back in the auction house, thats up to you. Personally I happen to have a scribe so I did it myself, then sold myself the inks at 80% of market value.

The idea was not to eliminate losses, that is not going to happen with low level stuff. The idea was to limit them to the point that the gains from the higher level stuff would balance out. So the question is, how did we do? We still have an estimated 800G coming back to us from the meta gems and the as yet untransmuted epics.

What do we have already?

I started with 50G to cover listing fees, when it’s all said and done I should end up with about 1980G from this little adventure.

So the answer to the question is:

While you might take a loss on some things, especially before about 350 or so skill, over the long haul you can make alchemy pay for itself.

I put my money where my keyboard was, and I’m glad I did.

Inflation, your friend

The other day I wrote a bit about inflation. At high levels your earnings potential is way up there compared to what it once was, we can only assume it will continue to be like that on into the WotLK.

Anna posted in the comments of that post a worry about how inflation has the potential to hurt low level players that don’t have a high level “sugar daddy” character to sponge off of. I thought about it a bit over the past few days and realized I might have a way out of that trap. If you understand what inflation is doing to the in game economy you can use it to help you out instead of bankrupting you.

 

 

I have started alts on several different servers. some have a high level to drop them cash and such, but most are self sufficient. I sat and thought about how my spending habits change when I don’t have a 70 handy to hit up for lunch money. What I wrote down is not really a “money making guide” per say, its just what I do when leveling solo and it works for me.

So take a look, kick the tires, and take it for a test drive. Remember, the gold you save might be your own.

How I keep my pockets full while leveling.

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